Monday, September 24, 2012

Georgia's Thoughts about her Xenopus Friends

Georgia is an 11 year old girl who lives in Crown Heights Brooklyn with her parents, two sisters (Grace and Greta), two dogs (Butter and Alfie), two cats (Flower and Digit), two neon tetras (Eller and Bronx), and one betta fish (Brooklyn).  She adopted the juvenile Xenopus from Eben Kirksey at Proteus Gowanus and named them Bananabean Georgette and Spaz Falafel. She has been a vegetarian ever since 3rd grade, she is now in 6th grade.

She changes the water in her 29 gallon tank every few days after treating the water with different solutions.   She also feeds the frogs every other day.   She took the pictures of the frogs which live in our living room.

These are some of her thoughts on her frogs:

I think that the frogs are cool because there is a lot of interesting facts about them, like they only come up for a breath every 15 minutes or so.   I thought since they do get lonely, I wanted to have two.  I didn't know that they would be so close to each other a lot and hold hands.  I think that it is cute that they hold hands but then I also worry that they will have thousands of babies.  

I also think about their personalities.  In the pictures above, the one who is in a stroke is Spaz, is more shy and timid than Bananabean.  Bananabean, who is a girl, is more brave and is more comfortable with people and living in the tank. 

I like changing the water and feeding them.  Because when I feed them and I put my finger in then they start to nibble on it.  

They are different than dogs because dogs are more loyal and they remember you.  Cats are the same too, except maybe not so loyal. I actually think they are similar to fish, except the frogs have more personality than the fish, and probably the frogs are smarter than fish -- like I feel like they remember me and they are more friendly than the fish.

I worry about the water temperature for the frogs because it seems too cold to me, and then I worry it might be too hot.  Since the tank can't stay in the living room forever, I wonder where we will put it.  It will be tricky to find a spot.

I think it is interesting that lay eggs shortly after being injected when they are being used for a pregnancy test with humans.  I don't think it is unfair to the frog because they don't die, they will be shocked afterwards, but I think they will be ok.  They aren't being raised to be killed or anything.  

I think it is cool that the frogs live for 15 years and I wonder what will happen to the frogs when I move out. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

An Obituary for Snowflake

We, the Nichols-Lotterman family, mourn the loss of our strangely beloved companion, Snowflake. An adult Albino Xenopus, Snowflake was the size of a clenched fist and the largest frog any member of her family had ever encountered. In truth, Snowflake intimidated our family and visitors alike. Snowflake was hard to read, spending days a time holding still at the bottom of her plastic enclosure. Her red eyes did not seem to return our gaze in a legible way. We were never able to develop a meaningful language to translate across the boundaries separating our species from hers.
            This is not to say that we did not love Snowflake. For the one week that Snowflake was in our lives, Charlie was always especially excited to get home and check in on her. And Jenny, while horrified, felt an inexplicable but profound love for Snowflake she is still trying to understand. Indeed, since Snowflake’s passing she has had many dreams of tiny frogs that were her children. Even Rosa, a dog, was intrigued by Snowflake and often peered into her tank for extended periods of time.
            This is not the first time that we have believed Snowflake to be dead. The first day we brought her home from the pet store, Petqua, and placed her in her new tank, Snowflake settled at the bottom and became still and unresponsive. After not moving for several hours, even when we violently shook the tank, we determined that she had died. When Charlie used a cup to scoop her body out of the water, however, she sprung to life. Sadly, that was not the case the second time. We knew she was dead when her red eyes stopped glowing.