Saturday, April 2, 2011

B is for

Having pets is part of family life.  We had a dog named ‘Midnight’, another dog ‘Buddy’.  Then we had a cat, also ‘Midnight’, and then another one ‘Scuba’.  My daughter had a hamster called ‘Romeo’.   Wanting another pet and being an entomologist, my son decided upon the perfect pet for anyone:  Mr. Bustamante.
The spider is molting.  Really cool!
Mr. Bustamante was a rose tarantula, quite pricey as spiders go.  It was huge, bigger than my splayed out hand.  It had long spider legs, which moved slowly and gracefully over its web covered tank.  It was blind, as all of its species are, so it operated totally on the feeling of vibrations.  When a cricket was dropped into its enclosure, Mr. B. was on that thing with lightening speed.  The cricket never had a chance, since every place it moved was laced with webbing, and that webbing lead Mr. B. to its unfortunate dinner.

He is not poisonous.
In the initial weeks of Mr. Bustamante’s moving in with us, fascination reined.  We learned that it could crawl up our arm, and move onto another surface without pause or fear, since it couldn’t see.  It wasn’t much fun when it came to the rolling around on the ground, but it was entertaining anyway.   After doing much research and consulting with the pet store, my son decided to give Mr. Bustamante a real treat.

The pet store guy said that a fetal mouse would be a ‘treat’ for the spider, and something different from the crickets that we regularly tossed into the tank.  So my son came home with a wriggling hairless blind pink baby mouse.  He held it in the palm of his hand and we both stared down at this helpless and slightly disgusting mouse.  It stretched and wiggled; it turned its blind eyes and mouth in search of food; and, it reminded me of a newborn baby, so much so that I had to leave the room.

With me out of the room, my son placed the mouse near Mr. Bustamante.  Then my son waited for the joyous spider to discover his present.  The thing never moved, even though the mouse was wiggling and turning over.  My son nudged the mouse closer, using a ruler.  Nothing happened.  I came in the check on the mouse’s demise, and found my son staring quizzically at the two life forms in the tank.  We both decided to let the two work things out overnight, and see the result in the morning.
No!  They are not cute!

In the morning, Mr. Bustamante was clinging to the screening that covered the top of its tank, while the mouse lay in its original spot, still wriggling and squirming helplessly.   My son decided that perhaps the tank was too large for them to meet up.  So he took Mr. Bustamante and ‘Fred-the-mouse’ out and put them into a deep bowl with steeply sloping sides.  Surely this new positioning would force Mr. B. to dive right in with his fangs.  Nothing happened.

 Hours passed and Mr. Bustamante was motionless on top of ‘Fred’.  This became too much for both of us.  My son called the pet store guy, who expressed regret about this treat not working out, but he couldn’t take the mouse back.  He told my son to kill the mouse and throw it away.  My son turned ashen, as he has a sensitive soul, and asked how to do that painlessly.  “Put it in a baggie, and then in the freezer.  The thing will go to sleep, and then freeze to death.”  My son reluctantly followed these directions, and after many hours, buried ‘Fred’ in the backyard next to the late hamster Romeo.

Neither of us ever really recovered from this experience, and we don’t talk of it much.  Some things are just too painful.
 Many thanks to Arlee Bird, Jeffrey Beesler, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Jen Daiker, Candace Ganger, Karen J. Gowen, Talli Roland, and Stephen Tremp.  You are all brave people.  Link to the following link to check out other entries!



12 comments:

  1. Hmmmm.....I don't like spiders and I don't like mice. I would have put them both in the baggie and thrown them in the freezer. Sounds like a completely uncomfortable experience was had by all.

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  2. What a story! Interesting and a little disturbing! I felt so sorry for the mouse! But you know what? I hate spiders and would never own one, but I like Mr. Bustamante! I think he was appalled that someone would think he'd attack a defenseless newborn mouse! Poor guy was probably a wreck all night trying to figure out how to get away from the pitiful mouse.

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  3. So sad. And you're right...they aren't cute in any way.
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

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  4. I love all creatures,,,,well perhaps spiders i am not quite so keen on, but I did feel a wee bit sorry for the mouse,

    Yvonne.

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  5. Interesting to hear about this family drama, had one similar myself! And yes, they linger...

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  6. Oh goodness what a story! I have severe arachnophobia and even your pictures freaked me out. My cat Neko was not quite so shy when she found a mouse hiding out in the eaves of our roof!

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  7. That was horrible.
    ...
    ...
    Just horrible. *sob*

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  8. We had a huge albino pac-man frog that ate mice, but not newborns...I can see why that would much much more difficult :(

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  9. Well, I love the name Mr. Bustamante.
    But OHH THIS IS SO SAD! *crying for the mouse*

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  10. Spiders freak me out. They are beautiful and terribly frightening. Can't imagine going through that for real.

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  11. No. Those little rodents are definitely not cute! But the spider is beautiful in a Charlotte's Web sort of way.

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  12. Wow! What a story! I love the name Mr. Bustamente. How sad that you had to kill the mouse-- seems like there should have been another option. Of course, I've trapped mice in my NYC apartment more times than I would like to admit :-(

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!