My Household


After celebrating Passover with my extended family, my mom mentioned to me that some of the guests were giving me funny looks when I kept talking about newts at dinner. I hadn’t noticed. Since college things like, the parasitic fish that live inside the digestive tract of sea cucumbers, have seemed like normal dinner conversation to me. So when people ask me what’s going on in my life and I start talking about newts… well you get the idea.

Since starting research for the comic book, I’ve adopted some new creatures as extant behavioral models. This means that besides my usual gardening and chores, I’m something of a zoo keeper. Here’s a picture of my current household.

Dramkon – She is my 4 year old bearded dragon. She eats crickets mostly, but we share a salad for lunch. Today it was pea shoots. (Pogona vitticeps)
Script – He is our 5 month old baby ball python. He eats mice. Dead ones, thawed. We keep the frozen mice next to the frozen strawberries in the freezer, I haven’t confused those two. Yet. (Python regius)
Newtron – An adult paddletail newt. He eats worms and likes waggling his tail. He currently lives above my desk. (Pachytriton brevipes)
Proton, Electron, and Quark – Three juvenile firebelly newts. They are our newest arrivals, they also eat worms. They are quite playful and use their tails to swim around their tank. (Cynops orientalis)
Burrow – A centipede. He lives in a tupperware box next to my bed and eats baby crickets and fruit flies. My friend David brought him for me as a birthday present. I think he likes the home I made for him because he’s nearly doubled in size in the three weeks he’s lived with us. (Lithobius forficatus)
Macro the Minnow and Friends – Four minnow’s live in the tank that will become Newtron’s permanent enclosure. They eat rainbow colored fish flakes and dart around rocks. The way they school, it looks like they are playing tag. (Tanichthys albonubes)

Since the creatures eat mostly live food, my grocery list usually includes worms, crickets, and flies. And, it’s a legitimate concern that I try not to get tubifex worms in the controls of my Wacom tablet when I’m feeding Newtron late at night.

Santa Cruz, CA

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