Welcome to the exciting conclusion to the story about how my completely normal house turned into a reptile haven.
After getting a turtle and two snakes (and right before I went on deployment), my son approached me and politely mentioned that he didn’t get any pets. I fought down the urge to throw myself through a window and asked what he was thinking about. He didn’t know exactly, but he was pretty sure that he wanted a reptile like his mother and sister. We did some research and figured that a leopard gecko was the best option for him. Like his sister, we made him save up some money to buy the pet and all the supplies that go with it. Once he had done that, we took a trip back to LLLReptile, and I swear that he immediately found the cutest lizard on the planet. It really wasn’t even fair. The gecko just ran up his arm and perched on his shoulder. He’s barely left that spot in the year that we’ve had him. He put down the money, and we added another family member.
Now, this story doesn’t look like a massive failure on my part. In fact, if you squint just right, it almost looks like a success, and to be fair, all of the reptiles are terrific. However, I haven’t really talked too much about the food for these lovely animals yet.
Starting with Missile (the turtle), she’ll eat fruits and vegetables. She absolutely loves kale which is fantastic because the more of it that she eats, the less that I have to. For the proteins, she needs mealworms which we keep in the fridge and certain types of insects which I’ll talk more about in a little bit. She should also eat fish, so we bought some feeder fish and put them in the tank with her. Unfortunately, Missile appears to subscribe to the Finding Nemo “Fish are Friends, not Food!” theory, so in reality all we did was buy pet fish.
Next, we have the snakes which eat mice and rats. It’s important not to give them live rats, however, because (and this might be my favorite thing ever) the rats might hurt the snake. Therefore, we buy frozen rats and then spend feeding day thawing them on the window sill over the kitchen sink. You can also refer to this old post where I talked about how I always wanted a pet rat to get a better idea for how I feel about this.
Fortunately, Wip eats basically the same insects as Missile, so that should have made things easier. However, this phone call with my wife took place about halfway through my deployment.
CINCHouse: “Crickets are a pain in the ass and they’re kind of gross.“
Me (working in the background and barely listening): “Mmmhmm…“
CH: “Plus, it turns out that dubia roaches are way better for both animals.“
Me: “That’s nice…“
CH: “The problem is that dubia roaches are a lot more expensive and they’re not as easy to find.“
CH: “So…I found this thing where I can raise them at home instead. It would be a lot cheaper in the long run and much more convenient.“
Me: “Sure thing, babe…“
CH: “Really? That was a lot eas…“
Me: “Wait! What!?!?“
Me: “Did you just say that you’re going to breed roaches…in our house?“
Me: “Baby, you realize that people pay thousands of dollars to do the exact opposite of what you’re talking about, right?“
Therefore, here we are. We started off with a couple dogs and cats. Now, we also have a turtle (apparently the gateway drug of reptiles), two snakes, and a gecko. I have dead rats in my freezer, live worms in my fridge, and a roach farm in my garage. In the immortal words of Ron Burgandy: “That escalated quickly!”
Did I mention that I’m a massive sucker?