Shelli Mader
Granbury, Texas

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August 25, 2014
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Shelli Mader: Road to Ranching 8-16-14

The other day I vacuumed up a lizard tail on our living room carpet. Six months ago this would have totally freaked me out (and it did when we first moved here) but now that we’ve lived in Texas for a few months, I’ve become a little desensitized.

Lizards and bugs are not my thing, but my 5-year-old son Garrett likes animals of any kind. He has been loving it here in Texas — there are so many things to catch. Grasshoppers were about the only thing he could seem to find in Scott City. My husband took him to a thrift store a few weeks ago and got him an old 10 gallon fish tank. The tank has already housed a variety of lizards, geckos, toads and crickets.

If it was up to me, we wouldn’t have any animals except the dog in the house, but my husband is sympathetic to Garrett’s need to catch things, and he has been helping him. One of their new bonding activities is driving around the neighborhood on trash day. People in this gated community seem to throw away a lot of good stuff, so numerous folks go curb shopping early every Monday morning. My husband has found a nice radio, working leaf blower, chairs and a mini trampoline on the curbs — free for the taking. My son’s favorite finds were the 10 and 5 gallon fish tanks they picked up a few weeks ago.

Garrett now has three old fish tanks in his room. His original tank is for the “catch of the day” — usually a lizard or a gecko. The 5 gallon tank now holds a fish, and the 10 gallon tank is home to a baby turtle.

It would be OK if he kept his finds in the tanks, but he feels like he needs to play with the poor pets. He is gentle, but since lizards’ and geckos’ tails fall off easily, they seem to come off whenever Garrett tries to take them for “walks” around the house. After they come off they move for a few minutes, which is much too snake-like for me to handle. The baby turtle is OK — at least none of his parts fall off — but he has caused us a few hours of stress. He’s gotten lost several times in the house (once for a few hours) when Garrett was playing tractors with him.

Though Garrett has been having fun with all the reptiles he’s found, he’s getting a little bored. His new goal is to catch an armadillo. We have seen armadillo holes around the yard, but haven’t been able to spot one yet. One night, Garrett and my husband put out a trap with some tuna in it (supposedly an armadillo favorite) but only caught a bunch of nasty bugs.

I have to admit that I’m glad they are trying to catch something they can’t keep. Even though I have grown a lot during the last few months in Texas, I don’t think I can handle another creepy, crawly thing in the house! My squeamish 8-year-old daughter is even in on the action now. She caught her first gecko on the kitchen floor the other day ... and was surprisingly excited about it. I can only hope that my husband doesn’t find anymore old fish tanks in the trash — she might start filling them up too! ❖

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The Fence Post Updated Aug 14, 2014 02:46PM Published Sep 8, 2014 02:44PM Copyright 2014 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.