We’ve acquired a few more pets lately, at least one by accident, so it’s probably time that I compiled a formal list. I’m prompted by the fact that we’ve now bought two axolotls, so that we now have representatives all of five Linnaean vertebrate classes. So, here goes.
A few weeks back we were given a 130-litre aquarium, complete with fish. This one is Zebedee, a plecostoma about the size of a small nuclear submarine. He has a sidekick, Dougal, and there are several other fish of various sorts. All of them are teleosts, members of the largest and most highly evolved of any vertebrate group. They might not look like much, but with eight Hox clusters you get an average IQ of 165 and can do the Times crossword in under eleven minutes.
Crox Minor (aged 11) is passionate about axolotls (you’re asking me why?) so today we went out and bought a couple, which now live in a very snazzy tank in the kitchen. They’re only about 3cm long (each) but we’re assured that they grow… and grow … and grow …. This one is Squirty Wilberforce Benson III. Not pictured is a mottled brown one, Attila Ambrosius QueenOfSheba VI.
Here’s Sid, our corn snake. He’s our third snake, succeeding Cabbage (another corn snake, died young) and Tallulah (A King Snake, too fierce, whom we swapped for Sid). We’ve had him for a couple of years and I think he’s on his fourth vivarium. He is now at least a metre long and around 5 cm thick, and consumes whole dead mice.
We now have ten chickens – six bantams and four ex-battery hens. They are Charlie and Lola (Pekin bantams); Hermione and Luna (Polish bantams); Bluebell and Bracken (Silver-lace Wyandotte bantams – pictured) and Titania, Portia, Ginny and Cho (ex-batts). They live free-range in the garden. The result is that the garden looks a bit tatty, but we have no garden pests and the soil heaves with worms like a remake of Tremors.
Our first pet was a mammal, Marmite the Cat, who went to join Ceiling Cat last Remembrance Sunday, leaving – bereft – our second pet, Brave Sir Frederick, the Oriental Lilac Siamese, who went around the house howling for his friend before settling down into a sleepy retirement. He has been lately rejuvenated by a new cat, Naughtypants (not his real name) a black tom kitten aged around nine months who turned up in our garden one day, and whom no-one has claimed. Naughtypants has also made friends with Heidi the Dog (pictured) who – to be fair – wants to be friends with everyone.
Victoria, our fourth hamster (she succeeds Nippy, Zippy and Poppy) lives in an elaborate palace in the conservatory, now much bashed around by Naughtypants. Outside lives Beelzebun Demon Bunny of DOOM, who is free-range and sleeps under the toolshed – and eleven (11) guinea pigs.
We started with two females, Bubble and Squeak. We were given another two, Consuela y Juanita, and took in a further two, Blueberry-Muffin and Gingerbread, who had been abandoned in the grounds of the church across the road. We then bought two more, Florence and Emily, to aid lawn-mowing duties. However, Florence and Emily weren’t the females that we’d thought, but blokes. Serves me right for naming them after the two transvestite characters in Little Britain.
The result was the sudden appearance of a litter of six, three of whom disappeared/died/were eaten, leaving two males, Punky and Snowy; and a female, Crystal.
I think that’s it. I am sure I’ll be reminded of any more.