On The Lizard: So Over It And Can’t Do It Anymore

It’s official, I am the world’s worst person. I am one of those people that buys an exotic pet, and then a few months down the line, gives that exotic pet away. I fail. I throw my hands up in the air and admit defeat. But really, I just can’t any more.

Last year, sometime before the festive season – my darling beloved fiance gets it into his head that it would be cool to get The Kid (all of three years old) a bearded dragon for Christmas. Like everything he does, he researched the shit out of bearded dragons on the Internet, found a place to buy one, and there it was. In my lounge. This itty bitty reptile.

And it was totally cute at first. It was little, it was fascinating and The Fiance enjoyed feeding it baby crickets and The Kid enjoyed watching him. But then holidays were over and Fiance returned to work, and I was left (most days) with the task of catching baby crickets. Soon the task became catching almost-giant crickets – a task which is VERY difficult to do without tweezers (someone broke the big plastic pair we had from a first aid box that made the task a bit easier. I’m not pointing any elbows, but it certainly wasn’t me. So then I was forced to use SIDECUTTERS. To catch crickets. Do you feel my pain yet?). It’s also FUCKING difficult to catch crickets in a box, while trying to hold the lid of the box with your other hand, to prevent the other cricket occupants of the box from jumping out and escaping. For months and months I had boxes of crickets perched on my desk, right near my computer – and MAN do those things STINK and seriously. They never fucking shut up. Constant chirping. INCESSANT.

Keeping the box of crickets on my desk didn’t seem like such a bad idea – The Fiance wanted them there, because he sat IN MY CHAIR AT MY DESK when he caught Mojo’s food – until we got a kitten. A curious, persistent cricket-eating-cricket-LOVING kitten. Seriously, no jokes. When she heard the lid being pulled off the cricket tub – she was up the stairs and rubbing herself all over your face while you were trying to catch crickets and trying to stick her head in the box.

It was easy enough to fend her off by tossing her outside, but then Xena waited until I was out of the room, jumped onto my desk and swatted the box of crickets, spilling out 90+ crickets, cricket shit (which stinks) and gnawed-on carrot shavings, onto the new carpet in the loft upstairs. There were crickets in my couches, under my desk, in the cupboard, under the rugs, on my chair – FUCKING everywhere. At about a hundred bucks a pop for a box of crickets – which lasted about 2 weeks – I was, at that very moment in time, panic-stricken and a little bit ‘aw fuck, are you serious?‘.  I wasn’t about to let a new box of reptile chow go to waste – but at the same time, I didn’t want to actually have to TOUCH any of them. Damned if I did, and damned if I didn’t, I shrieked my way through catching at least half of them, with the assistance of the housekeeper. She was actually in hysterics at how hysterical I was and how much I shrieked, as I tried to corner a cricket and catch it in a tea towel. The cat cleaned up the rest of them – and it was only once I could no longer hear a single cricket chirping anywhere in my house, did I forgive her.

The Fiance got shat out for leaving his box of crickets on my desk when he KNOWS WE HAVE A CAT, DAMMIT and I demanded that we investigate other food sources. I bought a R120 bag of lizard pellets. Mojo never even TRIED to eat a single one of them. Just turned his scaly nose up and gave me the ol’ fuck-you eyeball.

Superworms and silkworms are marginally easier to catch with a pair of sidecutters (it helps that these fuckers can’t jump or scurry to another part of the box) but then the lizard can’t eat them every day, because they’re too fatty, apparently. Superworms also require their heads to be snipped off before you feed them to the reptile, on account of how THEY FUCKING BITE. Yup. Worms bite, people – they are not, in fact as HARMLESS as they seem. Consider that myth busted. Silkworms eat and crap A LOT – and I’ve just been through three years of nappies and shit, so I’m not cleaning up anyone else’s shit. In fact, i think the housekeeper tossed out the tub of silkworms, on account of how full of silkworm shit it was. Ooops.

Roaches (yes, hissing cockroaches) lasted (i.e: didn’t peg if you forgot to feed them – wtf is this anyway, feeding the food?) a lot longer than crickets, but come rain or shine, The Fiance had to take the box outside to catch them, and had to swear an oath to hunt down and immediately kill any escapees. All I had to do now was grate carrots for him to eat between his roach and worm meals.

And I would have been totally okay with doing just that, as long as The Fiance still wanted the thing. But Mojo, after shedding four or five times, turned into a boring brown (I still think he’s beautiful) – when my beloved had wanted a yellow bearded dragon. Apparently the colour you get is luck of the draw (whatever), but he’s pretty much over Mojo. Novelty has worn off. And since Mojo has been nothing but a grumpy c**t whilst he’s been shedding, no one’s been too keen on giving him much personal attention.

In exasperation the other day, after being bitten by a worm, I tweeted in jest the other day and offered off my lizard, complete with terrarium and a free box of roaches. The Fiance had been debating putting the thing for sale on gumtree (after all, we spent a fortune on that terrarium, lighting, electricity, crickets and assorted other creepy crawlies) for some time, but I think he was more than a little relieved when I called him to say that Angel was interested in the lizard for her son.

The Knucklehead, as he is affectionately known by his mother, seems like he has what it takes to be a better lizard mom than me. And so, just as soon as I’ve persuaded (read: found the right bribe for) The Kid, I’ll be one of those awful people. One of those people that buys an exotic pet, and then a few months down the line, gives that exotic pet away.

But seriously. Can you blame me?

I’ve learned my lesson though. So this year, when The Fiance suggested getting The Kid a PSP for his birthday, I agreed without hesitation. Why? Because at least I won’t have to catch crickets for the PSP. That’s why.

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19 Responses to On The Lizard: So Over It And Can’t Do It Anymore

  1. “Because at least I won’t have to catch crickets for the PSP. That’s why.”

    *falls off chair laughing*
    Geoffrey Chisnall´s last blog post ..Nerd Rage

  2. Gina says:

    You have just put me off getting myself a dragon 🙂
    Seriously, who feeds the bloody food!?
    Gina´s last blog post ..How do you explain?

  3. Linda says:

    Honestly this really seems very sad, cruel and thoughtless to the lizard. I wish people would consider all the care, the appropriateness of the pet to their family and lifestyle that is needed before buying pets particularly exotic pets to result in a demand and removal from their natural environments for an enclosure just to be passed from one human to another.
    I know this might seem harsh but this is an issue I feel strongly about. It happens to dogs and cats too.

  4. SheBee says:

    Linda, I’ve met Mojo and honestly, I don’t think he gives a fuck who feeds him as long as someone does.

    Also, did you NOT READ ExMi’s post saying that she feels bad but she’s tried her best? Dragons are not for everyone. I say good for her to find a loving home for Mojo instead of just setting him free like I’ve seen so many other people do.
    SheBee´s last blog post ..Say Mo to Movember!

  5. Angel says:

    Oh my goodness I giggled my way all through this post! Feeding the food!?!?
    I haven’t said anything to the knucklehead, I will wait till your final decision is made ‘coz if I say ANYTHING I will NEVER hear the end of it! He has wanted a reptile of some sort for YEARS so he’s going to be seriously stoked if I can surprise him with an early Christmas present!
    And at least you know its going to a good home!

  6. SheBee says:

    Angel’s home: where all animals go to be loved.
    SheBee´s last blog post ..Say Mo to Movember!

  7. Anneke says:

    I applaud you for saying enough is enough! You tried, it didn’t work, time to move on.. Besides.. It’s not like he’ll miss his daily walks and playtime! As long as he goes to someone who will take care of him, you should sleep easy. Enjoy the low maintenance psp – sounds like you deserve the break 😉

  8. Jeanette says:

    LOL at Sheena’s comment 🙂
    I think the Knucklehead would love Mojo!!
    You’re better than me, I wouldn’t even attempt it
    Jeanette´s last blog post ..A bloggers cookoff with Canderel at Salon de Culinaire

  9. Shawn says:

    I have three plants. No mess. No fuss. No feeding. Water and pick up dead leaves every few months.
    Cats are cranky, dogs stink, fish stink. Plants? Quiet.
    Shawn´s last blog post ..Movember

  10. Robert says:

    Poor Mojo. That said, the poor guy seems to be looked after just not really as loved as he should be.

    Fair enough that there aren’t enough people that really think through the process of having a pet (any kind) they really are for life people. But you continue to look after the little guy and are searching for a new more caring home, so good luck with that one.

    @Linda, agreed, however this should go for all commitments – children included! Exotic pets often require a lot more specifics that seem easy enough from the onset. Perhaps one should have to do a crash course of some sort before being able to take the critters home?
    Robert´s last blog post ..rhcerff: @ohgodknows because that’s where all the best ideas occur! 🙂

  11. windpomp says:

    I got chickens as pets so that should the novelty wear off
    ….. Into the pot they go – yum – practical and carefully researched

  12. Sam says:

    PsP’s are MUCH easier than exotic pets for sure!

    Well done for trying to keep the Mojo peace going – and for finding him a home! I had an acquaintance who decided let their dragon die cos it was too much like hard work (I reported them to the SPCA – cannot BEAR cruelty to animals, thankfully the dragon was rescued)

    xxx
    Sam´s last blog post ..Some Perspective

  13. Louisa says:

    Seems perfectly reasonable to me – anything that lets crickets loose in my house will soon find itself elsewhere too! (You do get lizzards that are vegetarian only, and some of them are a brilliant neon green). Just saying…
    Louisa´s last blog post ..Monday! (now once more with feeling)

  14. George says:

    That’s why I now have chickens for pets – if the novelty wears off they can go in the pot – it’s a win for everyone

  15. Pingback: The Knucklehead Has A Lizard! — Angel's Mind

  16. Nicole says:

    Dude, this post made me laugh.

    The mental image of you and the housekeeper catching bugs is hilarious.

    That said, I don’t judge you for admitting defeat. Rather you give him a new home, where you know he’ll be safe and happy than just making yourself (and him probably) miserable. 🙂
    Nicole´s last blog post ..WordPress.com Blogger Scores Book Deal for “You Are Not So Smart”

  17. cupcakemummy says:

    the kids i teach have two that just laid dud eggs. love feeding them the crickets 😛 am not so keen on the live worms though. it’s funny how they look like they should feel really hard and spiky but they aren’t. out of the weird pets they have i like the iguana’s most. they’re like big chameleons 😛

  18. elly says:

    Woah, I had NO idea that dragons would be that tricky! Also, seriously? Not only having the feed the food, but behead it too? Gross. Superworms sound pretty mad.
    elly´s last blog post ..Define: ‘Elly night’

  19. I think you have made the Knucklehead a very happy young man – maybe that is good enough

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