After a handful of happy weeks, the chameleon started to look sickly. We took him to a vet specialising in reptiles, who said perhaps he needed some iron, and prescribed liquid iron. Twin A went to his father’s for the weekend and left me in charge of the sickly chameleon, who started looking worse and worse.
I bought a UV lamp to flood the poorly chameleon with more sunlight, and lovingly syringed the liquid iron into his mouth. I picked up crickets, dusted them with nutritional powder, and fed him. I will tell you that over the course of two days, I bonded with the chameleon. I grew very attached, even though research pointed to a metabolic bone disorder, one that he must have already had when we bought him, one that we discovered too late.
The poor, poorly chameleon has now gone to the great terrarium in the sky, and Twin A is already thinking about a replacement pet. His first choice was a snake, until I said hell would freeze over before I let a snake into the house. I was already picturing it escaping and my beloved cats becoming lunch.
Next came talk of bearded dragons, and his obsession grew until it was so deathly boring, I have to admit I slightly switched off, feigning interest with the occasional murmur as he kept talking. This went on for days. I was vaguely aware that he initiated a conversation about feeding the bearded dragon creatures called Dubia roaches, that they were far less mobile than the crickets we’d been feeding to the chameleon, and that if he were to start breeding them for people who had bearded dragons, wouldn’t that be a good idea. Especially as he planned to get a bearded dragon one day. In the meantime, he could make a fortune!
I must have made a sound like an ‘mmm’, as I scrolled through Facebook on my iPhone and pretended to be listening. Days later, a box arrived marked ‘Fragile. Live Creatures Inside’. I frowned, and called Twin A downstairs.
The box contained what I have now come to call the Dubious Roaches. They are currently residing in a large plastic bin in Twin A’s bedroom, which has to have the lid cracked open in order for them to breathe. Twin A swears they can’t get out.
Although he says he wanted the roaches – and to be clear, there is very little difference as far as I can see between the Dubious Roaches and cockroaches – to feed the bearded dragon we have not yet got, he is so unnervingly thrilled by the Dubious Roaches, the only good thing to come out of this is that I suspect we may not even need the bearded dragon in order for him to be fully satisfied.
I have not set foot in his room since the Dubious Roaches arrived. Nor do I want to. And I cannot believe that we are now a family that has two dogs, five cats and 80 Dubious Roaches as pets.
At least we don’t have a bearded dragon. Yet.
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