We’ve had some unique visitors here at the zoo lately. And I’m not revisiting the play-date, that’s blogged and forgotten for now! Yesterday my hubby pulled up with a giant alligator turtle in his truck. Apparently some boys were beating him with a stick, and my hubby came to his rescue! We snapped a few pics and let the kids check him out (not too closely, since he is a snapper) before putting him in a nearby pond. The recent rains seem to have caused him to drift off into a drainage ditch, and then when the water receded he was stuck, relocated in a not so safe place for turtles- right next to the highway! He was a pretty old fellow for sure! He was huge; our pet turtles are barely the size of this guy’s toes! Check out his smile, doesn’t he look happy to be visiting the zoo?
After a little investigating, I learned that these turtles are almost endangered. They have been added to the “threatened” list. They have no natural predators. Guess what their biggest enemy is? That’s right, little boys with sticks! (And people who hunt them for their shells and their meat. Campbell’s Turtle Soup? I think NOT!)
I was pretty proud of my hubby for coming to his rescue. As they do in all zoo’s, conservation efforts must be made, right? Oddly enough this guy isn’t the first endangered species we have happened upon. Last summer we provided some temporary housing to a few horny toads. They made for lovely visitors, playing dead and entertaining us for hours on end before returning to their natural habitat safely out of the cat’s reach.
Speaking of cats, you would not believe how many of these Texas horned lizards they have been dragging home lately! Papa brought one over the other day who was missing half his tail, and somehow that guy just keeps on showing up! Strangely the children love these creatures and actually fought over who would hold him up for a picture!
I wonder how the cats are smart enough not to mess with our little turtles or our not so little bird? They must know not to tick off the little boy that feeds them. I’m just guessing… We even had a tree frog pop in for a little “hello” last Saturday night. We came in from a street dance and soon as I got the door unlocked I looked up and there he was! (And he wasn’t outside the door jamb, he was somehow inside the house…)
I guess it’s true what they say, Birds of a Feather flock together, and around here it’s just a collection of strange creatures that keep on flocking. I guess they know someone around here will feed them, although it most likely will not be me. I feed the kids, so the kids must feed the animals. Don’t worry, if they forget we have a Grandma next door who we’ve named as “Honorary Zoo Keeper”. Her task in life is to be sure the bird has fresh seed, the fish are overfed, and the furry friends are loved on and spoiled with leftovers! She more than makes up for my lack of filling the bowls! In fact, when I leave them outside to fend for themselves, guess what they do? That’s right, they run to Granny’s house!
Recently the zoo had to part with one of our Aquatic friends. You know you’ve cared for your fish really well when they die of old age! The other day, one of my favorite fish died, and I was so upset, until I looked him up online only to find his average life expectancy was 5 – 7 years. Then I started doing the math, and since I knew that fish was at least 2 years older than one of my sons (who happens to be 8), I’d say he definitely achieved senior citizen status. His tank mate, however, was facing certain doom. After years of being smaller than my hand, this Red Belly Pacu just tripled in size one day. He kept on growing and growing and growing, until finally he could barely turn around in the tank! He had become a giant, so hubby had to give him a ride to the pond. Maybe the turtle will say hello to him for us!
I told you it was a zoo around here!