Nathan Hellwig Wiki:Pets

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These are my pets:

Dengus Squatburg Jr. and Pamela E. Lee

Both Girls

Dengus and Pamela are two female Roborovski Hamsters. I can't quite tell the two apart just yet, but one girl is definitely more active than the other. These are the smallest species of hamster. They are most noticeable for they distinctive faces, which sport big bushy whiskers.

RIP: On March 2nd, 2010: Pamela/Dengus passed away. She is survived by her sister, Dengus/Pamela (sorry, I never figured out how to differentiate the two of them).

On September 19th, 2010: Dengus/Pamela was found huddled and unresponsive in her cage. She was pronounced dead at the scene. She is survived by myself, the wife, the cats, the other hamsters we got in the mean time, snake, turtle, tortoise, and plecostomus.

One girl out in the open
One girl hiding in her igloo


I obtained Snake in August, 2007 from Clarks Pet Emporium on Lomas in Albuquerque, NM. He (as sexed by the breeder) was referred to as an Albino Prarie King Snake. While I don't doubt he is a prarie king snake, I doubt the albino-ness. I believe simply that he is a specially-bred, white version of the Prarie King. Eitherway, he is roughly 16 inches long, spends most of his time burrowing in the fir-bark substrate in his tank, and comes up once a week for feeding. I currently feed Snake one or two thawed pinkie mice. I use pre-frozen mice as they are easier to store than live pinkie mice (which are newly-born and require their mother for sustinence).
Snake as a bracelet
Snake getting bigger

Tortoise Baby

Tortoise Baby
Tortoise Eating
I obtained Tortoise Baby in September, 2007 from Clarks Pet Emporium on Lomas in Albuquerque, NM. He or she (too young to sex externally), is a Sulcata or African Spurred-Thigh Tortoise. It eats various leafy greens such as Kale, Collard, Mustard, some fruits such as plums, re-hydrated dates (figs), and certain prepared tortoise foods, though sparingly due to the high protein content. The little thing is currently about 2.5 inches head to tail, but could grow to possibly 2-feet and nearly 200 pounds.

Long needed update March 2016: It's a He (determined by visual inspection years ago).


Turtle head on
I obtained Turtle in July, 2007 from Petsmart on Eubank in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The store had labelled him as a Red-eared Slider, or RES, however, a quick examination quickly revealed this as incorrect. Turtle lacks the trademark "red ears", and has incorrect patterning and coloring. An exhaustive internet search revealed Turtle to be (in my opinion) a Caspian Pond Turtle. The neck and shell patterning is correct, and the dark plastron also fits the species. I had originally thought Turtle to be a Chicken Turtle (due to his long neck and similar shell pattern), but the plastron color and eye pattern was all wrong. It is due to this mislabelling that I believe Turtle to be a wild-caught animal. He was extremely shy when I first purchased him, but has since become quite accustomed to my presence (he will let me watch him bask where before even a slight movement would cause him to dive into the water). It would be a shame if he is wild caught, as Petsmart claims their pets are all captive bred.

Update: after asking an online community, Turtle is most likely not an exotic imported species but probably some sort of hybrid. Maybe a RES and western or yellow belly slider mix.

Turtle Hiding
While Caspian Pond Turtles are omnivorous, Turtle quickly lost his taste for leafy greens. He used to enjoy crickets daily, but after a short period where he wouldn't eat anything, he never regained his taste for them. Currently, Turtle enjoys a healthy diet of Reptomin, Reptotreat, and freshly-molted mealworms. Occasionally, he gets a treat of mealworm pupae (which he seems to enjoy more). This is not a common occurence, as I raise my own mealworms, and need the pupae for future generations.

Turtle's tank-mate is Plecostomus.

Mr. Betta

Betta in profile
Mr. Betta is a solid red male Betta. In certain light, he has hints of blue at the very tips of his scales. He also appears to have pale stripes of blue in his tail, which are only visible when light is passing through the tail. He lives alone in his own 1-gallon bachelor-pad in the most popular room in the house (the bathroom). He enjoys specially formulated Betta pellets, and the occasional mealworm and meal-moth larvae. The meal-moths (species unknown) are a horrible pest, but I hope a weekend outside in sub-freezing temperatures handled most of them. They infest the grain I use to house the mealworms in (which is a funny way to look at it, as the mealworms themselves are often considered pests).
Betta's beautiful colors

RIP: July 24, 2009. Mr. Betta had been showing signs of poor health recently (distended abdomen). Although he was still eating, he wasn't as mobile. I recently moved, and after the long drive, he didn't make it.


Plecostomus is a standard brown plecostomus (species unknown). I keep it (sex unknown) in Turtle's tank to keep the tank free of algae. While too large to be eaten, Plecostomus is often harassed by Turtle, who often tries to get a little taste of Plecostomus' tail (though with no success thus far).

Update: Late 2014 Plecostomus was reported missing from it's tank. While Turtle was questioned, no arrests were made. The remains of Plecostomus were never found. It is presumed that Plecostomus passed away peacefully, because in 7 years Turtle never got close to eating him/her while he/she was alive.