January 28, 2009
Rob to the rescue once again...
About 6 years ago I got a phone call regarding this pair of Newts along with some other amphibians. What was said to me was this... "come get them or they are going down the toilet!"
I won't get much into the past really but let's just say that I've known about these guys (3 newts and 3 frogs) since they were purchased from a pet store. The frogs were all Fire Belly, some may call them toads, but it depends who you speak with. The Newts, well one was a Fire Belly and these two pictured... not really sure what they are anymore.
It seems their owner abandoned them and either I came and rescued them or they would meet their maker really fast. Can a Frog or Newt survive a flush down the toilet? I don't know, nor did I want to think of it happening to these creatures. I had history with them all and wasn't about to let them go like that. One day I will talk about the Fire Belly Newt who I fondly called "Bitch" because she was just that and deserves her own chapter.
The two pictured here, prior to me taking them under my wing, were named "Beavis and Butthead". I never liked such names for them and soon changed them to a couple I loved, though they were well before even my childhood... Ralph and Alice Kramden from the TV show "The Honeymooners". Ralph is the male, and the bulkier of the two, with a bigger appetite and Alice being the gentler, slimer Newt without the voracious appetite of her partner.
Sadly though, Alice passed on early in 2008. I'm not really sure what happened to her, she just stopped eating one day and died about a week later. It's not an easy thing to diagnose amphibians (or tarantulas as I have learned). Sickness? Old age? A combination of both?
Ralph has been on his own ever since. The only company is us, when in the kitchen with him and he watches from the aquarium, and his two remaining roomates, a couple of frogs. He seems content, just doing his daily thing of swimming around, watching the world outside the glass and pigging on blood worms (mosquito larvae) every two days. He doesn't make any noise.
I sometimes wonder if he misses Alice because they were rather inseparable. The one pic clearly shows that. They were seldom apart in the 15 gallon tank for any length of time.
As for the frogs... they too passed on... first losing Robin and then a year and a half later Fatso died leaving Kermy all alone. I thought he missed them because it became very quiet in the house with only one frog. They make this barking sound and I really missed the sound. I have friends over and they find the bark annoying and wonder how I could sleep with it. I wondered how I could sleep without it.
Kermy quickly found himself a couple new friends as Ang and I bought a frog each for the tank. I named mine Muddy and her's was Pickle. Pickle didn't make it to a ripe old age though... we lost him last year to illness maybe. Muddy is still here and keeps Kermy vocal.
There's not much to keeping amphibians... just feed them every couple days, give them lots of light and clean the water/filter every so often.
While they are not an affectionate creature such as a cat or dog; they are a joy to have around the house for visual entertainment and adding more of a soundtrack to an otherwise quiet house when the cat and bird are sleeping.
They must be contained as I have been witness to some little escape artists in earlier years, not under my care, and unfortunately any found were far too late (dead). They mostly live in water. They like to get out of the water for short periods but leaving their tank and taking a hop or crawl across the floor can be deadly.
So, not 100% on Ralph's age now but I am almost certain he has past the decade mark, much like Kermy has. I have been told they are living well beyond their years. Who really knows? I think a lot may depend on the owner and their care they provide. A responsible human over an irresponsible human definitely is a huge difference on any animal's life span!
As I type this, I turn around and realize I have an audience... all 3 of them are glued to the glass of the aquarium, watching me. They are nosey little buggers and good company when everyone else in the house is asleep.