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February 13, 2011

Nothing Like the Sun

Just in time for Valentines Day, and perhaps maybe not a moment too late: sunshine for a sulcata. Today is a whole six hours of basking, grazing and walking. I am sure Frankie can believe it. But, if Frankie made a wish for Valentine's Day, a perfect sulcata day would be just what he would want.

Frankie does have a hot girlfriend. He has the big Rosie the sulcata to "ooooh" and "awwwwe" over. There is no doubt that Rosie "ooooh's" and "awwwwe's" about him. For two sulcata over a thousand miles apart, they carry on a very dedicated romantic relationship - the old fashion kind.

Frankie's first love and greatest love is without a doubt, the sun. His first exposure to real sunlight, not artificial UV light or halogen basking lights, but the real high in the sky sun, struck his heart, shell and skin in a way that no other light could. It was love at first light.

So being stuck inside the gecko room this winter, no matter how accommodating the environment, furnishings, food and service, nothing is like the sun.

Inside the gecko room: 73º F. Outside 60º F. The sun is full and bright so outside wins.

Inside the gecko room: 55% humidity. Outside: 25% humidity. Frankie soaked in water this last week so he doesn’t care if it's dry outside. The sun is toasty. Outside wins.

Inside Frankie is served a mix of orchard, botanical, and timothy hay soaked in warm water for two minutes, and served with a shredded organic carrot. Outside: dormant grass with brown blades remain with just the smallest amounts of hardy weeds barely showing themselves above ground due to three months of brutal cold, snow and freezing temperatures. Frankie don't care. Room service is nice but nothing like strolling in the sun seeking little bits of brown grass and little green weeds. Outside wins!

Inside Frankie sits under his ceramic heater like rich man in a sauna. Outside is his beloved yard: walking among the birds and trees, enjoying fresh air and yes, the sun beams down on him. Outside wins by a landslide.

No doubt Frankie knows what he loves the most. Yesterday, I had to drag Frankie back inside as his eyes plead, "No, no, no! Please let me stay outside! It won't get cold. The sun won't go down. Night is years away! Please!"

Betrayed by time and the spinning earth orbiting around his beloved sun, Frankie must come in for the night for his own good.

"Yes, Frankie, yesterday was perfect" I say as I pull the 75 pound lump from under is favorite bush. "And today was perfect," I say as I push him over the lawn toward the garage. "But I promise Valentine's Day will be a perfect sulcata day too. Tomorrow you can sit outside again all day and worship and love your perfect sun."

Frankie finely starts walking toward the garage when nothing but cold, dark shade surrounds him. Separating the lovers breaks my heart but maybe the best gift of Valentine's Day is the promise that spring and summer are right around the corner.

How many weeks of winter are left?

Hurry, spring, hurry.


Dedicated to Claudia Long, Frankie's #1 fan who now watches his antics from above.