Saturday, September 26, 2009

Moldy Worms

Did you know that box turtles really cannot eat a quarter of a watermelon at one time? Huh? who'da guessed. We know because one of the kids tried to feed that much to Cleo. It just sat there and collected flies.
Oh, yes, the adventures we have had with our kids and the box turtle...not always humorous at the time...but, hey, I guess they make for good blog material.
In case I haven't mentioned it before, the kids found a box turtle in our yard several months back. (Actually, it was 2 turtles, and the other one's name was Tony, but he got away somehow. The kids were sad.) So, we, thinking what a good science experiment it would be (Ha! little did we know, WE would be the ones doing the learning) let the kids keep her. We made a terrarium out of a large plastic storage container filled with dirt, some monkey grass, and a little water "pond". Then we researched what kinds of things box turtles eat. Apparently they like bugs, worms, fruit, some greens, mushrooms, etc. All stuff we could find in the yard or from leftovers we ourselves eat. Of course they only eat small portions at a time, but we forgot to specify (or the kids forgot to hear) that part. Hence, we have had to do some major cleaning of poor Cleo's box more times than I care to count. Whole containers of strawberry tops, half a bag of soggy spinach, 8 melon rinds...these are just some of the injustices she has suffered. She seems to maintain a good attitude though and always comes crawling out when we go visit her.
The other thing with these turtles is they need to be misted when you feed them. So we got a special nozzle for our hose that lets you adjust the pressure. It's actually pretty cute to see her enjoying the mist. Did you know turtles wipe their eyes with their feet? Yep, they do. The kids love to see her.
Us, being responsible parents, and wanting to teach our children the same, appointed Aaron or Lela the care of the Cleo. At first, it was so much fun...everyone competing. Who can catch the most doodle bugs or worms, who can find the most mushrooms (yes, we told them not to touch them but instead to use a stick and to wash their hands after), and best of all who gets to drown her with a deluge of water. Oops! I mean who gets to mist her. The thing is, Cleo only got the initial force of the blast. The other children lingering nearby, the porch, front yard and anything else in the vicinity got the rest of it. Yeah, they must have forgotten to hear the part about adjusting the pressure too. Or the part about NOT hosing everyone else down.
We had gotten some turtle food to supplement what the kids found but I think the box got hosed a couple times so we lost about half of that. Then a few weeks ago Ed ordered some worms off the internet. I didn't know you could order worms in a can, but apparently you can.
After the first feeding or two of worms one of the kids confused "the top of the fridge" with "inside the freezer". Imagine my delight when I open the freezer to find a frozen can of worms. Yummy! Dinner anyone. I wasn't sure if it would ruin them or not but we saved them anyway and let them thaw. Guess what? It ruined them.
Lela was going to give some more to Cleo, but when she opened the can she told me "It stinks!". No kidding, worms stink? sure enough...they had molded.
I'm not sure how much longer we plan to keep her, but any talk of letting her go is met with laments and moans of disappointment. =)
I think I would rather let her go before we kill her with our tender loving care.

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