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Monday, February 24, 2014

Send in the cavalry!

Two weeks ago Peter approached me to find out if he could buy a bird with the money he has saved up.

"No," was my response.  And it's typically my response when approached about a pet.  The only reason we have two cats is that someone dropped them off at our front door and I was too much of a softie to take them to the shelter.

He could tell that there wasn't any room for argument when I told him my reasons:  They are noisy.  They are dirty.  I hate birds.  End of story.

About 15 minutes later he came back and asked about a turtle.

I told him to Google them, find out what kind he's interested in, and what is required to take care of them and we would see.

Surely we could handle a harmless turtle.

About 15 minutes later he came back and told me about what kind of habitat they needed and what kind of food.  It all seemed reasonable so I told him that on President's day (no school) we would head to the pet store to price everything out and to see if he had enough money to cover it.

We naively trotted into the local pet store this past Monday and asked the owner if they had turtles.  Imagine our shock when he informed us that it is illegal to sale turtles in North Carolina. Apparently they carry salmonella.

Peter did his best not to cry in the pet store but did shed a few tears on the way home.

After ranting and railing against the state of North Carolina for several hours, he approached me about a pet snake.

I told him to research them, blah, blah, blah, you know the drill by now....

He immediately began to Google them and was very pro snake until he learned that you needed to feed them mice - preferably live ones.  He didn't think he had the stomach for that so he nixed the snake idea himself.

Whew!  Pet problem solved on it's own and I didn't have to be the bad guy! (And the state of North Carolina didn't have to take any further maligning from my son.)

30 more minutes passed and he came back into the room and asked if he could have a gecko. He, finally learning the routine, had already researched their habitat, the food they ate, the types of geckos available at Pet Smart and the pricing.  He felt like he had enough money and asked if we could go to Pet Smart.

Sarah had a Girl Scout event on Friday night so as soon as Dan got home from work, we headed to Pet Smart.

He found the leopard gecko he wanted so we started looking at habitats.  They were a little pricier than we thought but we found one that contained the habitat, the decor, the special flooring, the heat lamps, etc. He had just enough for all of that and the gecko. (Roughly $175!  Yikes!)

But he kept wanting to talk to an employee to make sure that we had everything we needed.  Before we could locate someone, I found a pamphlet on geckos.

And y'all, this is where it all fell apart. Apparently Peter's research wasn't quite as extensive as it should have been.

Because geckos are naturally found in the dessert, you have to keep their habitat to desert like conditions. Which means during the day you have to regulate the temperature to between 85-95 degrees.  At night you need to keep the temperature in the aquarium to between 65-75.  And this must be done by remembering to turn on an under-tank heater on in the mornings and off at night.  And thermometers must be kept in the tank and monitored to make sure the temperature is correct.

The humidity in the tank must be kept between 10-30% and this is done by misting the gecko and the tank every other day or using an automatice fogger, mister, or drip system.

The more I read, the more upset Peter got.  He could sense the gecko slipping away.

We finally talked to the manager (who happens to by my cousin's daughter and very knowledgeable about geckos).

She confirmed everything we read in the pamplet and also told us we need to get another type of bulb (a UVB bulb) for reasons I can't remember right now and then dropped them bomb...

Geckos eat crickets.  No problem, they had dried crickets.

Um, yes problem.

Geckos need to eat live crickets.  And not just any type of live crickets.  Crickets that have to be dusted with a calcium supplement twice weekly and a reptile multivitamin once weekly.

Yep.  You heard right.  We would have to buy a cricket habitat in order to keep the crickets alive and ensure that we were feeding them vitamins before we fed the to the geckos.  And the cricket's life span is only about a week so this would involve a weekly trip to the pet store for a fresh supply of live crickets.

Peter was very upset but wisely came to the conclusion on his own that there was just too much involved and he didn't think he handle all of that responsibility.

But he wasn't about to leave the pet store empty-handed and heart-broken.

He decided that a Betta fish would be more his speed.  A mere $25 dollars later he had a bowl, a betta, and some food and we were out the door.

Here's hoping we can keep Kihei (which means cavalry in Japanese) alive.  We don't have much luck with fish around here.  Look how little they are here. Takes my breathe away.

I'm attempting to join the other crazies at Conversion Diary by writing 7 posts in 7 days.  We'll see if I make it!  And click on that link if you are interested in finding any new blogs to read!


Madeline said...

Well we had a turtle and they aren't as much work, no live anything to feed, but still with the temp and lights and such. And they just keep getting bigger so even if was legal Peter would have to buy a bigger expensive tank at some point. I had no idea geckos involved all that! Here's to hoping Kihei does well for him. Oh and I am not a bird person either.

Aimee said...

Oh my gosh, who knew geckos were the primadonnas of the reptile world! :)

Good luck with your fish - we had a beta that we inherited from a neighbor who was moving and it ended up living for 5 more years with us! Does it say too much about my character that I was hoping Senor Pez Azul would meet his eternal reward sooner rather than later?

And yes, our neighbor was a bilingual 5 year old girl who named her pet Mr. Blue Fish. My kids got a pet lesson and a language lesson in one! :)

Billie Jo said...

I had no idea. At all.
And I thought my pup was a pain. : )
Cute fish!
And thanks for the tip to get the wings the other night. I did. And they were delish. : )

Kelli said...

Good to know! This kids have been bugging us to get a dog but we are so busy I am just not sure. I am thinking a fish would be good. :)

Mari said...

I have to say that you handled this really well. I used to just say no. I like the research and educate route!

Busy Bee Suz said...

You are such a great mom!
Kihei is so pretty…and surely he won't make any noise at all.
Both the girls had geckos and they lived for years. I was annoyed that I was the one who ended up going to purchase the crickets weekly for them. We also had a snake….and we fed him 'mice on ice'. Frozen mice from Petsmart. He was pretty quiet too. :)
I hope Peter enjoys his new pet!

Oh, Lolo just purchased 6 hermit crabs (she needs 15) for a school project. She calls them her 'babies'. Are my girls weird or what?