It's been awhile since I last checked back here! Work has been pilling up and so have the butterflies on the spreading board. Unfortunately, until I can find the perfect shadow box to display them in (I'm looking for something large, that will accommodate all of Khalid's donations, and some of my own besides) they will just have to wait. Last week one of the specimens fell apart though, a beautiful arhopala sp. that had striking purple colored wings. As you can imagine I was simply crushed! Perhaps as crushed as the disintegrated body of a beautiful butterfly gone to waste! Such is the problem when spreading specimens dating several years back! You never know what sort of pests (psocids in this case!) have gotten to them! Oh well, Khalid assures me that he has more spares and maybe the next time I go visit he will be kind enough to donate another one (fingers crossed!)
In the meantime, I've been getting my amphibian love on! I received, for my birthday, a pair of very beautiful Oriental Fire-Belly toads (bombina orientalis)! The toads, which are really a kind of frog, are green and black on the top and striking red, orange, yellow and black on the bottom! their markings, in fact, are very reminiscent of the markings of Japanese firebelly newts and Paddletail newts but I assure you the species are in no way related. As you might imagine, the brilliant coloring of the toad's underbellies signal to predators that the toad are poisonous, and when attacked, the toads can secrete a milky poison from their legs. When threatened, they have a very interesting behavior of flipping on to their backs to display their brightly colored bellies! They seem to be saying "eat me, and you just might croak!" (ps. I do NOT lick them! They're NOT that kind of toad!) I initially started out with two toads, but have since gone and gotten a third. Their names are Kermit, Redtumbles, and Greentumbles (you can "credit" Ray for the last two names!) and although they are all male, seem to thoroughly enjoy mounting each other on a fairly regular basis! Kermit would often object to such an intrusion of his privacy with bark-like croaks but have since been fairly compliant.
|Planted terrarium with a makeshift "pond" that is their current habitat. More plants have been added since taking this photo.|
Aside from the toads we also have one relatively new addition to our family. Another leopard gecko, that was ALSO presented to me on my birthday! She came to us rather small and dull in color (I suspect it might have been the shock of being boxed...) but have since blossomed and grown in leaps and bounds! She's not as friendly as our previous gecko, Evil Keneevil, but she has a certain charm that is unique in her own way. We have named her Penelope Petite (credits also go to Ray).
With all the new animals joining our household, though, I feel it is my duty to remind the average reader that pets do NOT really make good presents! An animal is a living creature with unique wants, needs, and requirements and purchasing one should never, ever, be taken lightly! These pets were gotten for me not on a whim but with the knowledge that I in fact already possessed the necessary equipment, knowledge, and skills to care for them. So please, obtain pets responsibly, and let's all do our best for our animal friends.