Monday, August 25, 2008

Two Dogs, Four Fish and Twelve Tiny Toads

Last week we finally swapped out the one big fish tank that took up too much space in the dining room and was too hard to clean--not worth the effort for one goldfish--for two little fish bowls which now reside in the kids' rooms. We purchased another big goldfish for Tano, about the same size as Elli's wonder fish, and then our "friends" gave us their two beta fish, which their kids were alternately fighting over and neglecting.

Elli now has SiSi the goldfish and Angel the beta; they're clearly both pretty girls. Tano, on the other hand, has Rambo the goldfish (his mottled coloring reminded the boy of camo) and Fabio the beta (big and strong, but with showy good-looks and a flowing mane--an entirely appropriate name for this fish).

Turns out, a beta--though vicious when another beta is present--is quite placid when housed with a goldfish. They make ideal roommates, if you are wanting low maintenance, low-tech fishy fun, i.e. room-temperature tap water with no filtration.

So, as soon as the aquarium was vacated and sitting outside for the algae-laden rocks to dry out, the kids found another use for it. Today they discovered toads--lots of them--in a window well. For some reason, the mama toad had been raising thirty or forty little toads down there, but they ran out of water and were too weak to hop out. The mama and most of the babies were dried up and dead, but my big-hearted children were able to rescue a dozen who were dehydrated, but still alive.

The twelve tiny toads, no more than an inch long each, now occupy the terrarium, formerly the aquarium, which sits out in what will someday be my kitchen. We put them gently into a shallow bowl of water and they drank it dry, plumped right up, and began to hop around happily. Oh, the delight of it all!

After a little internet research to identify them and learn their needs and habits, we are the proud parents of a knot of boreal toads. And yes, that is what a group of toads is called--a knot.

Adding in the two goofy dogs already on the premises, we can now claim eighteen pets. Eighteen!

Now that we have a wide variety of class mascots, my children say that we are truly ready to start this school year.


Sherry C said...


My daughter has just informed me that there are thirteen toads, not twelve, and she has changed the name of her beta from Angel to Xena--you know--the warrior princess.

alison said...

Get it straight, please. This is really important.