Archive | March, 2012

Red-eared Slider digging a nest

18 Mar

When I came home from work this afternoon I saw my big female Red-ear out wandering around the turtle enclosure. I told my wife that the males tend to go out and stroll around a bit but the females are usually in the water or basking. I wondered…is she looking to lay some eggs?
Most definitely, yes!
The ground is very dry but she must release fluid from her body to soften the ground because it looks like mud now.
I will be checking this out first thing in the morning.
It still could get very cold here in the coming weeks so I will bring the eggs indoors.

Pond Cleaning Day!!!

11 Mar

Our weather has improved so quickly that I was shocked into cleaning the pond. In past years I haven’t done it until late April.
I have the weekend off and the weather forecast calls for 70 degree temps for the remainder of the week. Wow, Spring is here already!!

If you ever want to build a medium-sized backyard pond I will caution you that it takes a lot of physical work. When I built my pond I worked hard for 7 days straight.  Now, every Spring , it takes a full day to clean out the pond and fill it for the new year.

Last night I drained the pond about halfway. It was smelly and gross and I knew it was only going to get worse as I got closer to the bottom. My backyard was crowded with buckets and nets and hoses and it STUNK like mad. I apologize to my neighbors if they detected the aroma of turtle poo. This morning, I finished pumping out the rest of the so-called water, then actually climbed into the pond and scooped and scraped and almost slipped and swam.

This smells worse than it looks.

Yucky-foo is all I can say.

YAY almost full and ready for fish and turtles.

These are the minnows who survived the winter and will go back into the pond once the water ages a day or so.

I also cleaned my 30 gallon pond. This a great size to begin with. It only took an hour to clean up.

The cat who has no name

11 Mar

We are in danger of this becoming the Practical Catkeeping Blog.
After nearly a week of owning this new gigantic cat we have not settled on a name for him.

This was so damn cute I ran for my camera.

I read that our local animal shelter brought in 1601 cats in 2011. 836 of them were euthanized.

Winter to Spring in one week

11 Mar

Unbelievable how the weather has changed this past week.

Remember those Smelt that I bought for feeding my Lionfish? I tried them as fish bait at a nearby river. Unfortunately, the day I went fishing was cold, about 30F, with winds gusting to 40MPH. Wow, what a day to be outside, but I  had solitude that’s for sure.  No people, no fish.

The photos make it look nice, but watch this video to see the truth!

This road was closed for the Winter so my car was about a quarter mile away dead ahead.

Instead of walking along the road, I took a shortcut through the woods

A few days later it got warmer and there were sure signs of Spring right around my house. Three migrating birds arrived at out bird feeders. Grackles (which I admit are not a well-liked bird), Red-Winged Blackbirds, and the Eastern Goldfinch.

Three Goldfinches were in our birch tree eating the seeds. The bright yellow color of the male Goldfinch doesn't appear until they moult.

Once it was a little warmer I tried fishing again. This time I took Nightcrawlers (those are big worms, if you are not familiar with the term Nightcrawlers) and went to a creek that is about 5 minutes from my house.

I caught and released a bunch of Creek Chubs.


I spotted a medium sized Bullfrog crouched along the bank of the creek.  I picked him up, he didn’t move.  I decided to take him home and fatten him up. You can see that hibernation must be very tough for these frogs.

How did this happen?

9 Mar

SIXTEEN pounds of fluffy love. With front claws to back it up.

…so the next time we go to PetSmart I do my usual tour of the fish tanks and my wife goes and looks at the cats.

I wander over and join her. We look at this HUGE fluffy cat and she turns,  stares at me and says, “I want that cat.” Just like that.

Now, when you see a cat or dog at a Petshop or Shelter it’s common to Ooooh and Aaaaah and say ” Oh, I want that little kitty!” or “Isn’t he a cute little puppy, he looks so sad….” and on and on.

But this was different. No emotion, no attempt to convince me that we should get this cat. Just, “I want that cat.” I knew I was in for a long afternoon.

I tried, I really did.  We have cats, our kids have cats, I don’t want the kids’ cats coming back to live with us, someone will adopt this cat…all of these great arguments.

To get the cat we had to leave PetSmart, go to the Animal Shelter and fill out an application. They only take cash so we had to make a run to an ATM, then back to the shelter, then to PetSmart, and now we have this GIGANTIC 9-year-old cat, who really is beautiful and calm and quiet and gets along with everyone in the house.

It turns out his elderly owner had passed away and he has been up for adoption since January. The shelter wouldn’t have been able to keep him too much longer.

Corydoras Catfish for $1

9 Mar

Last week I looked at PetSmart’s fish prices online and they had a special on Albino Corydoras.  ONE dollar each! I figured they wouldn’t have any by the time I got there but the next morning I went and there they were.

I bought 3 of them, and then noticed in another tank, Peppered Corydoras $1 . Are you kidding me?

When I worked in a Tropical Fish Store in the 1970’s  Corydoras cost $1.50  so the current price of 4 or 5 dollars is not out of line.

Well, what could I do? I had to buy them, right?

I walked out with 3 Albinos and 5 Peppered Corydoras.  8 bucks.

Here are my Peppered Corys stirring up some shrimp pellets.

A really worthwhile interesting post about fish care, I promise!

3 Mar

Well, if I said this post was about How To Bag Your Fish you wouldn’t look at it, would you?
I promise I have something useful for you to see.

Two things can happen when transporting fish in plastic bags. They may get pinned into the corners of the bag and die of suffocation.  Or spiny fish, like Corydoras Catfish, can actually puncture the bag.

Here’s how to avoid those problems:

Let's say you need to move you prized Freshwater Cowfish to a new home.

They cost over a hundred dollars apiece so you want them to be safe while they are in the little plastic bag.

After you twist the top of the bag, bend it over like this.

That makes it easy to put on the rubber band and even easier to take it off.

But Oh My, the Cowfish can still get Smooshed (get it, SMOOOshed) into the corners of the bag.

Some people think double-bagging is just slipping another bag up and over the first bag. WRONG!!!!

Instead, take the second bag and slip it over the top of the first bag.

See the little Cowfish all safe and sound.

The interior of the bag is all rounded off. No corners to get trapped in and spiky fish like Corydoras Catfish can't puncture the bags either.

Here's a Saltwater Cowfish.

The Freshwater Cowfish seen here are native to my Grandaughter’s toy box.