This is Youssouf. Turtle. Tortoise. EChep Peut! if you are Merlin. He likes to dig. Youssouf not Merlin. Merlin likes to pee in Youssouf's box. =( Couldn't express your distain any more clearly if you tried.
I would draw the sticks but I am so distraught with the latest developments that I am not sure I can for a little while. Sticks 2 and 3 went on a nighttime excursion for PINE TREE. The smell was obviously so intoxicating that they made a B line the first chance they could get. Mammal (me) was so gripped watching Ray Donnovan season 3 last three episodes until the wee hours and crawling off to bed bleary eyed, that she forgot to cover them over and LO and BEHOLD. Two sticks gone.
A first day of searching gave no result but day 2 I found a very happy stick just chilling out on the outer skirt of the tree. So that night I (mammal) put some fresh Blackberry leaves under the Pine tree (christmassy in nature) and was hopeful with a prayer that Stick no 3 would also be safely found and returned to the dwindling flock.
But this morning, while merrily inspecting the tree, having noted some mysterious brown dark patches on the sea grass matt, did see what appeared to be a very short green stick.
UGH was my reaction upon picking it up to see it had antannae =(
OH NOO. It was legless and STILL ALIVE. I wailed for a bit and so painful was it to see that I had to go back to bed. Its guts were hanging out and it was in pain, but I couldn't euthenase. I just picked it up in a tissue wandering if they could grow back an abdomen as well as the odd lost leg. And fell into a grief stricken sleep. Merlin and I don't fall out very often but I couldn't congratulate him on this. he has yowled a lot today in between dashing up and down for attention I assume.
No one told me that taking on my brother's sticks would involve so much heart-break and drama. AT LEAST sticks 1 and 2 still have each other. They are social creatures after all.
And we still have 30 or so eggs. Apparently they tend to hatch just as the adults die off at a rate of about 20% success, so here's hoping. I am sure at least one or two of the adults that have died left us due to old age. Anyway. Youssouf is going to out-live us all which is weird. Merlin is lately living a sort of horror show, and sadly the stick paid the price. AT LEAST I CAN KILL SOMETHING I am sure he thought as Youssouf for him is rather hard to fathom. I saw him jump up at the fish today too. It's all gone a bit haywire. Hopefully tomorrow peace will return. We're a sensitive crew in our house.
PS Youssouf is ONE of his names, like Merlin he has two but this one is in honour of his likely Afghan origin. They get picked up as babies and sold as pets =(. He might have been UK reared I don't know as I took him in as he was homeless, Youssouf apparently means "Allah increases in piety, power and influence". I just looked it up in Wikipedia. Its the Arabic version of Joseph. A christmas tale if you will. Just a bit different.