Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tenty the Pet

We have a creepy, new, furry pet we’ll call Tenty - Tenty the tent worm caterpillar. Tenty was taken from 100 of his closest relatives in a process that should have been captured for YouTube. The picture only shows one of four ‘tents’ on this little tree in our back yard. It's very X-Files and GirlChild would like one.

Most of the tent worms convene close by or in their tents (which incidentally look like they’re filled with caterpillar shit), but some are venturing further out along the branches too high for me to reach. I'll need to approach a lower tent. Calling upon my laziness, I grabbed the first pokey thing I came across that I could use to tear a hole in the tent and snag a bug for GirlChild’s Cup of Death (COD).

GirlChild has taken a custard cup and filled it with everything a tent worm could want - leaves, flowers, and thorns. Seriously. It’s got everything but the leaves they are actually eating but I’m not too concerned since they’re pretty damned disgusting and I hope it dies quickly. I can’t decide if the nest of tent worms is more or less disgusting than BoyChild’s plantar wart. The particular tent in the photo was too high for a good poke so I had to make a stab at a lower tent in which all the caterpillars were still nestled inside.

I pull back a few branches to reach the tent and silently swear that if I see a tent worm crawling up my arm I’m going scream like a girl and flail. I make quick stabs at the tent with the pointy end of the comb and then jump back quickly. It's tricky dodging a smack in the head from possibly tent worm infested branches as you leap backwards - but I was that good. I repeat this a few times to minimize my actual contact with the tree and get ‘lucky’ on the fourth stab when a worm comes back with me on the end of the comb.


This tent material is pretty much like a spider web and it takes more than a few shakes to get Tenty off the comb and into the COD. I’m hoping he suffered shaken-baby syndrome before I scraped him off the comb with a weed. GirlChild immediately engulfs the COD in a plastic shower cap.

There will be no airholes for Tenty as I don’t really want him squeezing through and dying in an unknown location. My best guess is that Tenty won’t make it through the night since GirlChild’s got that I’ll-pet-him-and-love-him-and-squeeze-him-and-hug-him mentality. She lost her fish Fred that way. Fred had issues breathing straight oxygen for extended periods of time.

*UPDATE* Tenty is looking pretty sedate this morning, even when prodded with a pencil. Yay!

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6 Comments :

Jenn Thorson said...

Aaahhh. Alice, you are a brave, brave woman. I somehow do not think Tenty the Tentworm will be catching on, any too soon, as one of America's favorite pets. No sir. No way. Here's just hoping GirlChild won't be too disappointed if Tenty dies under mysterious circumstances. (Er, Press 'n Seal. ) -Jenn

Jeff said...

Yuk, I hate those things. Where I grew up we would get an infestation every 7 years. It was so bad they would cover your entire house so you couldn't even see the siding. I'm not making this up. It was like a horror movie.

Thanks for bringing back those memories! ;-)

Alice said...

Jenn - I think he's dead...yay! But he's easily replaced with a brother (that Babycakes can get next time).

Jeff - Honestly, if they were covering a side of my house I'd be on the phone with the Black Flag Man. The tree is pretty creepy as it is and I can't figure out why GirlChild has latched onto these things. Any chance you have a pic of your old house?

gizmorox said...

You're far braver than I, going near that nasty web o'crawlies. I would have made GirlChild fetch her own pet.

boondockramblings said...

I feel like things are crawling on me. I think it is because I am SO CREEPED OUT!

Yuck. I hate worms and really hate worms that hang above my head in any way.

One year we had this infestation of gypsy moths -- they started as worms-gross little disgusting worms that dropped down from the trees on webs and .... eeeeew! I have to go take a shower. They're everywhere!!!!

Alice said...

Giz & Boon - aside from things actually crawling on me (or dropping on my head), I really only get creeped out by cockroaches. And fat ticks on my cats. Double bleh!

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