Operation Gastropod

On a totally different subject…

X got a fish tank for Christmas.

With his Nana Christmas money he got a small 5 gallon tank with LED lighting, some decor, gravel, 4 guppies, and a snail. Why a snail? Because the tank was just too darned small to house an algae eater PLUS some of the fish that the kid actually wanted and Jay and I wanted something in that tank to clean up the fishy mess. X creatively named the fishies and snail “Fishies” and “Snail.” (I’ll let you figure out which is which. You guys seem pretty smart.)

X loves Fishies and Snail. He says good night to them every night before bed and helps us feed them. Apparently, though, some guppies just can’t live on love and fish flakes alone. Orange Fishy went belly-up a week later. Well, technically he just went gills closed- he didn’t float to the top, but got himself stuck behind the filter, instead. Luckily, X’s counting skills are still slightly lacking, so he didn’t notice that there were now only 3 guppies. Phew.

On Monday, when I woke up X, Snail was holed up inside his shell next to the pirate skull cave-thingy. Later that day, when I went to do a partial water change, Snail was still holed up inside his shell next to the pirate skull cave-thingy. Although most people would think that this could be completely normal for a snail, Snail is not an ordinary snail. He’s a hyper snail that I am pretty sure was the basis for Turbo.

Snail is typically all over the place. I’ve watched him climb from the bottom to the top of the tank in just the time it takes me to get the kiddo into his PJs.

I assumed that Snail had tuckered himself out with his latest ascent to the top of the plastic plant and let him be while I changed the water. He stayed put the whole time. He stayed put when I checked on the tank an hour or so later. He stayed put when we put X to bed.

Tuesday morning, Snail was still holed up in his shell next to the pirate skull cave-thingy. Well, shit. Operation Gastropod was initiated. My mission was to:

A. convince the kid that Snail was sleeping.

B. get to Petsmart after work and obtain an identical snail.

C. return home with said snail and get him acclimated into the tank prior to X coming home from school.

D. dispose of Snail’s carcass.

A was easy. Dead snails and living snails look remarkably similar. B became slightly more complicated when impending Snow Doom made the commute home downright impossible. 5MPH is an acceptable running speed, not parkway driving speed. I managed to get to the store and purchase a new black/brown snail and even a new Orange Fishy. Mother of the year, right here, folks!

C was done within 5 minutes of getting home. D was another story. How do you dispose of a snail in a somewhat respectful manner? Fish you flush down the toilet for a fancy  burial at sea, but my toilet can barely handle toddler potty training wipes, let alone a calcified shell. Hmm… I plopped Snail into a cup of water on my dresser (hidden from X) while I pondered this.

In the meantime, X was picked up from school and life went on as normal. Just before bedtime, I went upstairs to turn on the space heaters and check on Snail II and the new Orange Fishy. Snail the First caught my eye when I entered my room. He was climbing up the side of the cup!! He’s alive! It’s a miracle! A mollusk Easter celebration! (Did I mention that dead snails and living snails look remarkable similar?)

And now there are 2 Snails.

Oddly, X seems completely unfazed by this. I will have to teach this child about Louis Pasteur and that spontaneous generation was disproved over 150 years ago.