Saturday, September 25, 2010

Chomper's New Pad

Chomper is our resident fire-bellied toad, here showing off what else? -- his fire-belly! We've had him a while now, let's see, according to this post that would be about 5 weeks. (Sure glad my blog helps me remember when things happen). But during those 5 weeks, he's been living in a glorified plastic goldfish bowl called a "fire-bellied toad landing" with a bit of moss and a sprig of plastic plant.

Since Chomp is officially our homeschool pet, we turned the adventure of making him a new home into our science project for the week. First up, we purchased a complete 10-gallon aquarium set-up off craigslist. Then we went to Home-Depot to get supplies for his 1/2 land/ 1/2 aquatic tank. We did lots of research online before shopping and were going to build a false bottom and use a pond pump to make a waterfall--cool!

Our last stop was the pet store in Belton. Um...should have gone there first! The guy was very helpful...especially in telling me I was making it WAY to difficult. He showed my their set up of simple gravel, rocks, a filter and plants. Well, crap. I guess that means we take all the do-it-yourself, labor-intensive crap back? Yup. Anyway, that made for an entire field-trip day and we happily came home with all the supplies we needed to get started! Plus "we" learned to ask experts before we rely solely on google--duh!

This is Kai adding some river rocks to start the building process. The big rocks are pieces of slate.
This little hoodlum was helping wash rocks in the wheelbarrow. He was wearing Sissy's jacket on the chilly morning, but dunked the sleeves in the water so was just kind of standing there dripping.

Kai and I were using a chisel to knock all the sharp edges off the broken pieces of slate that we were using to build the waterfall.

Oh, darn! There was a cute picture our photographer took of herself and me that was supposed to go here...and I almost put it in but looked twice and noticed you could see straight down my t-shirt. Lovely.

Adding water so we can figure out where the waterfall will work best. 10 gallons isn't a super-large tank, so there are only a few ways to fit the filter and keep it hidden.

Elena's drawing was helpful--she had it all planned out in her head and was getting a little frustrated at me for not doing what she was thinking. I had her make a sketch to help! You can see all the dirt that was still on our rocks even after several washings. The filter worked wonders and we had clear water in 24 hours.

Added plants (some fake glow-in-the dark ones that came with our tank) and some sprigs of philodendron that will grow anywhere.

Ahhh, that looks like a nice place to call home, doesn't it?

And here he is checking things out. He finally gets to stretch his legs again...we think he missed that!

Well, another reason we wanted to upgrade was to get a friend for when I picked up his weekly cricket supply today, look who I brought home:

Eric and I get to name, we think "her" based on the overly-friendly greeting Chomper gave her after just a few minutes, ahem. We thought about Charlene, but we have too many "Chars" in our family already...Charla, Charlotte, Cheri. Maybe Chloe. Or Claudia. Hmmm, ideas?

Chomper has been silent up until "she" showed up. Now we've had the chance to hear his call...kind of like a child's soft laugh. Really cool. He's digging the new pad. What a fun pet!

Add'l Homeschool Notes (just for us, but you can read them if you like):
-Fire-bellied toads have heart shaped pupils. Some frog species have star and diamond-shape ones.
-Chomper's dark skin color is either a result of being bred in captivity or he's a different species than our bright green one.
-The toxins they secrete from their skin and their waste builds up in the tank. It will have to be cleaned out every few months. We'll have to do partial water changes every week or two.
-Unlike other frogs, FBTs eat with their hands, not their tongues.
-They can breathe through their skin and by swallowing air.
-When they swallow they often close their eyes which go down into their skulls and act like a plunger to push the food down their throat whole.
(Thanks, Miss Kim, for the awesome frog book! We're learning a lot!)

1 comment:

Christi said...

Could Kai be any more of a mini Resa?

What an awesome little homestead you have there...when can we expect a few hundred little Chomper Jr.'s? That would be a fun home schooling opp. :)