Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Willis Files and the Welcoming of Darth Vader

So having reptiles/amphibians as pets comes with some turnover....i mean they don't live forever.  Ya know, the frogs we catch outside, whatever lizard looks cool in the petshop but doesn't cost too much.  For us, it's just something fun to watch.  We are however quite attached to the turtles, and Linus has been a great turtle for us.  We've had him i mean her, for over 2 years.  She's great.  Then we got Willis this summer.  This turtle, also caught saved from the wild was meant for Davis' cage.  He'd been wanting one in his room for a while.  It was obvious from the beginning that Willis was a bit more aggressive than Linus.  He ate his food vigorously, would snap at you if your hand got too close, and he just looked a little rough, ya know?  like maybe he'd been in one too many riverbank fights?  well, we still loved him.  And by we, i mean Davis.  Davis talked to Willis every day and all was well for a while.  Then we noticed one lizard was gone.  A few weeks later we noticed another lizard had a gaping wound and missing tail, and then the last straw was the gruesome murder of our beloved frog, Kitty.  I will spare you the details but it wasn't pretty, and i swear the stench of a violent death permeated the room.   We then removed all other lifeforms from Willis' cage and had a heart to heart with our young Davis.   We gave Davis a choice, keeping Willis, but not having any other pets in his cage, or letting him go and getting a new baby turtle.  There were some emotions involved, but in the end, Davis decided putting Willis in the Mississippi was the right thing to do. 

We did make sure first that our eastern box turtle could survive the winter conditions around here--we found out there were turtles of the same species as far west as Michigan...well, it's cold there.  And now we know there are Eastern Box Turtles a little bit farther west ;)  and listen, if any turtle could make it...Willis can.  He's a fighter at heart.  

Here he is, on our porch, awaiting his freedom. 

The didn't actually end up taking Willis all the way to the Mississippi River cause it seemed like overkill really when we have a perfectly good park/creek not to far from the house.  So they went out and set him free.    Willis did not hesitate at all. 

So with the exit of Willis, we did a little researching and settled on a new species of turtle.  A water species that wouldn't get too big.  Please meet our new Razorback Musk Turtle, Darth Vader.  He arrived to us a few days old and about the size of a quarter. 

a little shy at first, he hid in the holes for a few days.  But now, about 2 months later, he's always swimming around and in a constant territory fight with our goldfish, Chewy. 

and this is Luke Skywalker, formerly known as Leo.  Davis wanted to rename him :) 
He's a leopard gecko and surprisingly friendly.  He loves to be held. 

and here's Rocco.  The Lizard who lost his tail.  It's growing back nicely now though.  Don't worry, and he has since been moved to the twins cage where he has made friends with our other little lizards. 

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