Normally I wouldn't be blogging at 5 in the morning (especially after a late night) but I don't think that I would be able to get to sleep and have it be a productive hour of sleep before I had to get up anyway. Besides, after what happened it would feel wrong somehow just to go back to sleep....something so normal and mundane.
There was a tragedy this morning. Or rather between midnight last night and 5am, there was a struggle in the animal kingdom that comprises my brother's bedroom.
A couple weeks ago, Jimmy acquired a frog, his name is Phil. I was surprised about the addition, but Phil has been fun in his own froggy way. Originally, Phil had his own tank and then Jimmy moved him into Fred's tank. Chameleons can live in tanks with other species fine, but not with other chameleons. My only objections to this change in living arrangements was a feeling of indignation on Fred's part for being forced to share his room.
This morning Jimmy came into my room crying. When he had gotten up in the morning he had noticed that Phil was in an unusual spot in the tank and looked really bloated. He turned on the light to check on the frog thinking that it was ill only to discover that Phil had eaten Fred during the night.
Jimmy is devastated.
He at first wanted to get rid of the frog, then considered sticking it in with the crawdads, or even taking it outside and leave him exposed to the elements. But he shouldn't punish the animal for its natural instincts. The frog doesn't have the same sense of morality that Jimmy does. It can't understand that Jimmy loved Fred most of all....or the dynamics that a $20 frog should not eat a $100 chameleon that is its roommate and almost equal in size. From the frog's point of view, he probably watched Fred eat night after night and then decided that not only was this other entity a competition for the food supply in the tank, but also that the competition was getting heavy and might be a tasty meal. So he waited until he could sneak up on it at night while it was asleep and eat it. I hope that Fred was asleep because the thought of waking up to frog eyes and a giant mouth trying to eat me is not a good one.
And poor Jimmy! I know that he has been wanting to build a vivarium where he would put several species in together. They would live in harmony or it would be survival of the fittest. He liked the idea. Hopefully he will re-think that idea after the devastation of Fred's death. I think that he will be grieving for Fred for a long time. Fred represented alot for Jimmy besides the pet/owner bond. Jimmy had to work for Fred. He invested alot of money in him, Jimmy was almost cut off financially from my parents because my Dad didn't think that he should get him if he didn't have a job. Jimmy negotiated the rights with my Dad. Fred also represented a new line of freedom for Jimmy. A time where he made the decisions as to what to buy with his money and didn't have to fight for the right to have him in the house. Fred represented a new type of adult freedom for Jimmy.
Just to think of the logistics of trying to get Fred down to Arizona at Christmas time! That was a herculean task, but Jimmy was determined that my parents meet the newest member of the family.
Jimmy plans on getting another chameleon and admits that it will never truly replace Fred. He will probably do this soon as the empty tank will only be a sad reminder of the loss. Of course, the frog will have to go. For the frog's own good because it doesn't deserve to be the brunt of Jimmy's anger. It was just a frog and Fred was just a meal to him. I do wish that I could have done more to console Jimmy this morning. But I was half asleep and in shock ...and he did have to leave for work. I couldn't even pick up the frog this morning...I could see the odd bony bits pushing out his stomach and couldn't even fathom touching him as he was digesting poor, dear and now deceased Fred.
I hate to see Jimmy hurting this much. I know that I have been nagging him because he hasn't been working on his financial stuff as he should...but he has been directing that energy into love and care for his animals. They calm him. I can't protect him from the heartache out there in the world. Maybe though, if he can come to terms with the fact that two animals, "tank brothers" as it were, could turn on each other....he can come to terms with how the same happened to him.