Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Guppies and Lizards and Chaos, OH MY!

Well, our fancy guppy population seems to be swelling every time I look at the aquarium. I swear we now have at least 3 spawnings swimming around with all the adults. My friend who was going to take babies off my hands has decided that the 6 she got are enough since they'll populate her tank in no time. I may be able to get my SIL to take a few off our hands since my nephew has a tank that has nothing in it at the moment. But what to do with the rest of them now and in the future?

My two males

Luckily, I can use the Internet (it WAS my job once to help others use an Internet site). I have found a few pet stores not owned by the two major chains (that start with Pet). One has already responded that they can and will take fry off my hands. I'll contact the third one on my list tomorrow to see if they're interested and also search for others in the region that may be able to help me out. If I can get 2 or more stores interested, then I can alternate stores so that I'm not flooding the market so to speak. I may keep a few of the babies of these pairings because they promise to be really pretty (even though I have failed in my quest to have a BLUE fancy guppy). I may keep a female or two and see if I can find a blue fancy somewhere to further mix up the gene pool or I may just ignore the conventional breeding wisdom and just go get a male blue.

As if fish stress wasn't enough, I have lizard worries as well. Virginia is home to a variety of types of skinks - at least that's the type of lizard we have living in our yard. The prettier one is called a five-lined skink. They have five lines running from their heads down to their tails (which would be why they are called five-lined) and when the tail is the original tail it is a very pretty blue color, at least until they reach full adulthood. The heads of the five-lined skinks for the males turn a brighter orangey-color for mating purposes in the spring. We also have broad headed skinks in our yard which  closely resemble the five-lined skinks except that they are larger and tend not to have the stripes.

A male 5-lined skink ready for wooing his female. Note the blue in his lines indicating it's his original tail.
This may be an adult broad-headed skink also ready for love.
Skinks are very beneficial in the yard and garden because they eat BUGS. They are not harmful at all and are pretty skittish when confronted by humans. My cats found out the hard way that at least for felines, they do not agree with the digestive tract. They actually are rather interesting creatures since their tails can pop off and writhe in a convincingly lifelike manner while the rest of the skink runs off to safety. I rather like them in my garden and around the outside of the house. But we have a problem.

I have a VERY large stainless steel bowl outside for water for when Aine decides to spend a fair amount of time in the yard. She likes having water and it's a safety issue for her to have access since she is a rather dark-coated LARGE dog. In the past week or two, I started having to rescue skinks from Aine's water dish. They are able to use the concrete steps to climb up to the lip and jump in, but the sides are so steep and slippery to them that they can't get OUT. Today alone I rescued two different skinks while Aine looked on and then tried to chase them (to play) once I got them out of the dish. The two today may be old tenants of our yard since they actually allowed me to pick them up to gently deposit them outside of the dish. I know some of the past years' skinks have become almost blase about me being out and about in the yard and don't bother to run and hide.

Chaos? That's just the current state of my house and my mind. In a way I can't wait for RP to go to school so I can have some time every day to get the house in order without someone complaining that they were playing with that (4 hours ago or yesterday) and throwing a temper tantrum. 

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