The Dilemma of the Yabbies

Most of you may know by now of the Couper family yabbies. When Peanut (my eldest daughter) turned five last May, she asked for a cat. We gave her two yabbies (if you’re not sure what a yabbie is, check out this very informative site here). We named them Mornay and Bisque (yes, we really are that evil) and placed them in a lovely tank any yabby in its right mind would love to call home. There they happily co-existed for five months and all was right in our crustacean pet world.Mornay and Bisque

The thing with yabbies is this – they moult to grow. When they can no longer fit in their nifty little shells they shuck it off and viola, there is their new shell – all soft and fragile. This leaves the newly moulted yabby quite vulnerable to attack. Mornay and Bisque had both gone through various moults since becoming members of the Couper family, so imagine our surprise when one morning, we found Bisque’s old shell discarded in the corner of the tank….and Mornay merrily munching away on what was once Bisque herself. Mornay ate Bisque and I had to give a lesson on the circle of life to my somewhat devastated five year old daughter.

Two weeks later, we took a trip to the pet shop and, after much discussion with the resident yabby expert, came home with The Missing Link – a bigger, meaner, tougher MALE blue-claw yabby. There was no way, Resident-Yabby-Excerpt assured us, that the smaller, weaker FEMALE Mornay would eat Link. In fact, he predicted we would soon be hearing the little splisher-splasher of tiny yabbies.

Two weeks of marital bliss past. We eagerly awaited our tiny new brood.

And then it happened. Mornay ate Link. (We have since decided Mornay is the devil incarnate) An hour later, when my husband dragged himself out of bed, I handed him the fish net and asked him to scoop Link’s body out of the tank.

And then we made a rather interesting discovery. Link was not dead. Mornay had eaten his two nippers, all the legs on his left side, all but two of the legs on his right side and both his main antennae, but she had not touched his body. Well, after much rejoicing (and eewing on my behalf) we called the Resident-Yabby-Expert and the words every couple dreads hearing… Trial separation.

But how does one enforce a period of separation in a fish tank full of rocks, driftwood and bubbling clams? You can’t just, draw a line down the middle of the tank…can you? Turns out, what you need to do is buy yourself a $12 sheet of clear perspex, drill some holes in it and wedge it in the middle of the tank. This I did. And then watched Mornay spend the next twelve hours trying to burrow her way under the perspex to get to Link. After a restless night’s sleep dreaming of cannibalistic lobsters, I awoke to find Mornay had, indeed succeeded in breaching the legally enforced divide and found Link cowering – legless and antennae-less – under an overturned piece of driftwood. After two days of this behaviour, I was at my wits end. Stressed enough to call my big brother who, in the sardonic, casual way of his, suggested I swap them around: put Mornay in Link’s side of the tank and Link in Mornay’s side. “Who knows, she may not be after Link at all. Maybe she laid her eggs over there.”

After blinking like a fool for a good thirty seconds, that is exactly what I did, and guess what? Mornay is now scurrying/paddling around her side of the tank with a tiny little clutch of yabbie eggs tucked under her tail. And Link watches her from the safety of his side, stubby little regrowing pincers and legs and antennae moving excitedly. Life is, as they say, odd.

Next time my daughter asks for a pet we’re buying her something easier – like a boa constrictor.


Oh, and by the way, I have a book coming out on Tuesday from Samhain Publishing – The Sun Sword, a dark and dangerous and very erotic sci-fi romance. But I’ll tell you more about that later. *grin*

8 Responses to “The Dilemma of the Yabbies”

  1. OMG! LMAO
    I CANNOT believe you have this much fun with pets. LOL
    God only knows what would have happened if you’d gotten Peanut that cat!

  2. Hysterical. OMG–ONLY YOU! I’m so glad there was a somewhat ‘happily ever after’ for these two!

    • Apparently in four weeks we visit the Crustacean Divorce Courts again and discuss the terms of a reunion. It’ll depend on the size of Link’s new nippers, I suspect 😉

  3. ROFL
    An absolutely hilarious story.
    But poor Link. Is he seriously regrowing all those legs and antennae?

    Ya know, I’m thinking you should just have gone with the cat. God knows what happens when Mornay’s young ‘uns hatch. Are they safe with the devil mother?

    • He most certainly is. I have to give him 20mls of this vile smelling fish medicine every day for two weeks (well, I pour it into his side of the tank 🙂 ) Makes the new little appendages grow like buggery 🙂

  4. Natasha A. Says:

    Aww! you are gonna have babbie yabbies!

    AND, I am soooo looking forward to The Sun Sword!

  5. That is hilarious!! Mornay is the devil. lol

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