Sunday, December 23, 2007

Drama in the mealworm dish

Chilibelina the leopard gecko, visiting during college winter break, lay sleeping with her head propped on her water dish. She sleeps with her front legs extended, their undersides turned up like a person lying on her stomach on the beach. I can’t figure out how she can be comfortable without upper-body support, letting the rim of the water dish press into her throat. Any of us humans would be choking.

I was also watching the mealworms because one woke up and raised its upper half as if trying to see over the edge of the food dish. Mealworms appear to have legs only on the front half, starting behind the head and extending under the next three segments. My son tells me that when not covered with white vitamin powder and looked at through a magnifying glass, they appear to have goofy smiley-faces. I find them creepy because they’re more like caterpillars than real worms. Real worms are very good things and do not turn into moths.

Anyway, this one mealworm decided to move and went plowing, albeit very slowly, into the side of another worm that lay crosswise in front of it. Worm #2 woke up—if they even do things like wake and sleep—raised its head, and lay back down again. Now # 1 and 2 are lying with heads side by side, asleep or in conference, while a third worm who is underneath worm 1 lifted its upper end and, legs flailing, tried to crawl out from under 1 by heaving itself over worm 2. He got half-way over and stopped to rest. Then he got started again, disturbing worm 1 who shifted slightly. It’s like watching the mealworm version of Desperate Housewives.

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