Saturday, July 22, 2006

Meet Neville...

My daughter has a painted turtle named Neville. She thinks I'm the best mom in the world, not only because I am, (not very humble though) but because I found Neville on a walk one Sunday morning about a year and half ago.... Well, actually our dog Anna found him but I was the one that picked him up and brought him home. The best part was that I crept into my daughters room and gently awakened her with, "Look what I found." She rolled her sleepy little eyes toward me, glanced down at my hand and quite literally SHOT awake. I vividly remember that smile she gave me and that was everything!

We didn't know much about 'Painted Turtles' at the beginning... My daughter made a comfy, mossy covered plastic container for him to roam in, filled with rocks and a little dish of water. She supplied him with some crickets she caught and we assumed 'Neville' was happy. Then we went to the pet store to find out more about caring for our new pet. 'Painted Turtles' we learned are aquatic creatures so we had to purchased a 10 gal. tank... 'Painted Turtles' need special lights... One to keep warm by and one that emits special UV rays in order to help them digest their food properly... 'Painted Turtles' need a filter in their tank, pellets to eat, dried 'crill' to munch on... I soon found out that 'Painted Turtles' are freaking expensive! A $100 later we left that store and I was left with the notion that I should have left the turtle where it was that day and kept on walking... But again, that smile my daughter gave me when I showed her the treasure in my hand that morning was worth oh, at least $150.

So Neville ended up with great new digs and my husband and my daughter ended up with a new household chore with which to bond... Cleaning the turtle tank once a month. So my daughter began feeding 'Neville' pellets... Which we found he had absolutely NO interest in... "It's a ball, it's dead and it floats.... What do you expect me to do with that?" he seemed to say. Then my daughter began feeding him the 'Crill' which stunk to high heaven but he loved them... We later found out that there's very little nutrtition in 'Crill' (it's likened to us living off of 'ding-dongs' but they smell SO much worse!)... My daughter read up a bit on-line about 'Painted Turtles' and found that they really enjoy crickets... But you had to be careful with crickets you found in your yard because they might have pesticides on them... However, when winter comes you needn't worry because you can't find crickets in your house or yard no matter how hard you look. That's when MY new job was defined... Racing around town to different pet stores to pick up crickets... Once we went to 'Petco' to purchase crickets and the $5 box was filled with mostly dead crickets (the few that were still alive were working on their wills) and far be it from Neville to eat anything not moving, besides 'Crill' that is.

So it goes... We're getting crickets once a week and feeding a ravenous 'Neville'... My daughter would feed him 2 or 3 crickets a day and he'd devour them in nothing flat... The rest of the crickets would live in an old pitcher in my daughters room and occassionally we'd find an escapee wandering along the upstairs hall... I amaze myself at how calm I can be when I come across live turtle food wandering through my house.

Well, a few weeks ago we discovered that there must be a problem with 'Neville' because he just wasn't growing the way a 'Painted Turtle' should. A new pet store we found 'Just Fish' told us that we simply weren't feeding our turtle anywhere near enough food and that the best diet for him would include 'black worms' and 'fish' (the place is called 'Just Fish'... Is it any wonder that they'd inform us we should be feeding our turtle 'FISH'??) So okay, we purchased a cup full of 'black worms' (imagine very fine, 1" long pieces of black linguini that writhes) and 15 'rosey red' gold-fish and walked out with smiles on our faces because this meal was WAY cheaper than crickets.

When we got home and bestowed our found treasures on 'Neville' he was beside himself with JOY! That turtle ate like we'd NEVER seen him eat before... Gobbling down fish, one right after the other (sounds gross but it's really fascinating to watch.)... And the worms, my God the worms... 'Neville' LOVES the worms and the remaining fish do too! So the fish get fed, Neville gets fed and the worms... Well, they make for good food I guess. Oh, and the other advantage to feeding 'Neville' fish is that they help maintain the tank... That's right, he eats the fish, they eat the waste products and everyone swims around in a clean tank... Yeah it's gross, but my husband and daughters tank cleaning duties have shrank considerably.

We're in our 3rd week now of purchasing fish for 'Neville' and every week he eats them up faster than the last. This week he went through 20 fish in 3 days... Which makes us feel REALLY bad when we think back to how much we were feeding him a month ago. So now I'm wondering exactly how many fish SHOULD we buy? Are we over-feeding him now? And how much longer before he's going to need a bigger tank? And how much is this all costing? Is it all worth it? And then I see that smile my daughter gives everytime her turtle makes a silly move or greets her swimming wildly when she walks into her room and I think... Yep, It's worth it!
 Posted by Picasa


Blogger thethinker said...

Wow, that's really nice of you to do all of that for your daughter. I would love to own a turtle but my mother would rather stick to something much simpler, like our dog.

11:34 AM, July 22, 2006  
Blogger M said...

i love turtles!

12:34 PM, July 22, 2006  
Blogger Margie Blystone said...

My daughter and I are currently researching 'Bearded Dragons' and the cost that's associated with them... She's been saving her pennies (In fact, she's babysitting right at this moment... She HATES babysitting... Not really fond of little kids... Which says something about how desparately she wants a 'dragon')

As for me... I always imagined a daughter who would love to play and collect dolls and at this age begin experimenting with make-up and all things 'girly'... Instead she's teaching me to enjoy all things related to 'Nature'... Even if a great deal of those things are either slimey or scaley.

I wouldn't trade her for the world!

1:51 PM, July 22, 2006  
Anonymous Linda J. said...

You are an awesome mom. I bow down to you and your willingness to do the black worm thingee. That's where we'd part company. I don't think I love anyone that much.

Linda J.

2:52 PM, July 22, 2006  
Blogger Margie Blystone said...

OH, believe me... I DON'T touch the black worms... That's my daughters job... I did however, rather flinchingly give the okay for the worms to be kept in the fridge until feeding time. I know, I think it's really gross too... But the worms are in a plastic bag and then placed in a zip-lock container.

Go ahead, ask me if I would've allowed this kind of thing 13 yrs. ago... No I tell you... NO! What has the girl done to me?

4:54 PM, July 22, 2006  
Anonymous Linda J. said...

black worms in the refrigerator?
Do you mean the fridge you keep people food in? No way, Jose, or anyone else. They'd need their own little worm refrigerator. My stomach's churning as I write this and the look on my face has taken my wrinkles to a new low. YUKKK!

12:55 AM, July 25, 2006  
Blogger Margie Blystone said...

Oh come now Linda... They're bagged up and in a zip-lock container (tightly sealed)... They don't smell and if you didn't know any better they'd look just like something out of my vegetable crisper drawer that's been over-looked since May 1st... And those items are usually contained in only a flimsy plastic bag... Ugh, now I'm feeling sick!

10:28 AM, July 25, 2006  
Blogger Animal Shelter Worker said...

that's great you encourage her!

She may be the next Jane Goodall. ;)

I looove turtles, but know almost nothing about them. Neville is a lucky dude.

10:22 PM, July 25, 2006  
Blogger Margie Blystone said...

That's what we've always said about her... She's such a 'Nature Girl' she's bound to be researching some form of critter or another someday... Whatever she ends up doing with her life I'm sure it'll involve being outside and around animals.
I'd ask how old do you have to be to work at the SPCA but I'm afraid if she did, she'd bring everybody home with her.

9:35 AM, July 26, 2006  
Blogger Morgen said...

Hi. Found your site via Bestest Blog. I think you're a very cool mom to have Neville & his assorted wriggly dinners!
My mom encouraged my Nature interests as a child, and now I have my own Nature & Wild Bird Gift Store!
Long Live Neville!

12:21 PM, July 27, 2006  
Blogger Margie Blystone said...

Morgen, thanks for your comments... It's my hope that my daughter will choose a path similar to what you've chosen... I bet she'd LOVE your store... Where are you located?

1:05 PM, July 27, 2006  

Post a Comment

<< Home