I have had some pretty unusual exotic pets in my day. I think the most unusual, and a little fellow I grew very attach to, was a crawdad. I really didn't go out to find a pet crawdad, it just kind of happened. Luckily, I had an aquarium set up at home. I had it set up to use it for something but I sure don't remember what it was.
When my kids were little we had gone fishing for catfish. We had been fishing on a farmer's pond. It had been a beautiful day. Someone scooped up a pail of lake water. When the bucket was brought home there was a tiny little crawdad. I used the bucket of water we had found the crawdad in to pour in the aquarium.
Finding food for the little critter to eat was a family project and an excuse to spend time scouting the pond area where we had found him. Everyone enjoyed watching him grow up. We created several caves for hide spots. It was a neat family project.
I checked him one night before we went to bed and my heart sunk. He was very still in one of his little caves. The next morning I went to remove the body. I picked it up and had it part way out of the aquarium when I saw movement out the corner of my eye. My crawdad had only shed his old shell. He had moved to a new cave where his new duds hardened. It was a cause for celebration.
A year or more went by. After several more molts he had grown quite big. One morning we were getting ready for church. I checked on the crawdad before we left and he wasn't in the aquarium. He had climbed up the air tubes and had gone on a walk-about. We searched high and low but mostly low. He was nowhere to be found. We went to church and came back home to search the entire house. No crawdad.
Later the next day I went to the coat closet off the living room to hang a new children's coat I had found on sale. When I opened the door a crawdad came dashing out waving his claws at me. He looked up with pleading eyes, "Please put me back in the water I am parched!"
I placed him back in the aquarium. It wasn't long before he forgot his previous predicament and escaped yet again. It was obvious that the aquarium need a much more secure top!
That little crawdad had been a great joy to our family. One of the many joyful experiences that added to my children learning the values of life. Caring for a living creature, loving the critter teaches compassion and responsibility. It is an experience I will never forget.
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National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Animals (National Geographic Little Kids First Big Books) [Hardcover]