Critter Profile: Levi!

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Critter Profile: Levi!



Name: Levi!

Species: Bathynomus giganteus (giant isopod)

Primary Caretaker: Jorge Gutiérrez, Aquatic Team

Diet: Protists, fish, mollusks (although he's a scavenger and does a good job at cleaning his aquarium, eating every leftover he finds)

Housed: Marine Enclosure 4

Creature Features!

"Levi" is the name we gave to our huge aquatic woodlouse, and it really is a massive isopod, almost the size of a full-grown horse! But this isn't the only peculiar thing about Levi, as he's able to absorb large amounts of environmental radiation and not harm himself in the process, being one of the ways he nourishes.

Levi loves to live in salt water and it's his favorite environment, but that doesn't stop our crustacean friend from wandering on land for long periods of time.

When we first encountered Levi, his exoskeleton had several wounds, some kind of cuts, that no animal of any kind could've caused. We had the opportunity to see the miracle of molting that crustaceans of his kind exhibit, and we collected his old exoskeleton; none of our tools could inflict any kind of damage to it. We're lucky that Levi has the ability to empathize with the team.

Yep, you read that right! Levi can understand our emotions and intentions, and since the environment is peaceful most of the time in our shelter, he feels safe. However, problems happen when some of our other not-so-empathetic or sympathetic residents get in trouble with the team, so we decided to keep Levi away from other creatures that are out of the ordinary.

When he's under a lot of stress, Levi stares directly at the aggressor or threat and transfers an intense amount of ionizing radiation to that organism, knocking the poor creature out; though it's never lethal. Or, in other cases, he becomes a ball and is capable of propelling himself like a rocket, rolling over whatever is in his path…. It's sad to have to document this, but it's all for the sake of our animals.



Levi looking at the camera.

Our first encounter with Levi was more of a coincidence than anything else. That week we received a call about an accidental nuclear waste spill that had washed ashore in Oregon, USA. We prepared our equipment to help the local wildlife; we expected the worst case scenario, so we were silent the entire drive.

Halfway there, we got a call about a giant cockroach being in the area. That made the atmosphere even more tense, as it seemed like a recipe for the perfect storm. When we arrived at the site we were able to look at the scene, and what they had seen wasn't a cockroach, but a really huge isopod (known also as an aquatic woodlouse or ball bug). The critter seemed to be consuming everything in sight, but upon closer inspection, we realized that he only brought everything close to his mouth and then released the creatures or objects he was taking.

Naturally, we were concerned about Levi and, before we began his retrieval, we checked the amount of contamination in the water with our radioactivity meters. When we took the readings, we were surprised to find that the radiation was decreasing by the second, as Levi filtered more water and returned it to the sea.

Unlike many other creatures we've encountered, Levi didn't seem frightened or uncomfortable with our presence, as if he had been waiting for us to take him to safety. We made a few calls and managed to get a truck full of water to finally transport Levi with us. Once in the truck, he went into that funny ball shape and stayed that way the whole ride.

Special Needs and Accommodations!

Levi just needs a large aquarium where he can rest. He's usually not very active, his movements are slow, he almost seems to be frozen! But he appears to get along fine with other aquatic animals. Throughout all our time with Levi, there has never been any reported misbehavior or violent attitude towards any human being; he has also been seen trying to interact with all our coworkers when they are around. He really seems to have the attitude of a pet!

He must not be in a stressful environment or surrounded by people with bad temper, because he can become very violent, and we don't want that both for Levi's health and the health of other animals.

Notes about Levi!


We had an incident with the tank of jumping piranhas, which changed their behavior due to a variation in the temperature of the water, and began to attack the other residents of Marine Enclosure 4. Almost instinctively, Levi went into alert mode and, using what appeared to be a radiation discharge, managed to render the piranhas unconscious.

We were able to treat the piranhas that suffered from radiation poisoning, and all were saved. During that week, Levi didn't eat any food. He may not have any facial features or produce any sound, but I could see and feel his remorse.

From: Rosa
To: Wilson
Date: 15/12/2008

Mr. Wilson,

I've heard about the sudden appearance of a treasured animal from the past, one that belongs to our people. Therefore, we're compelled to retrieve this beautiful creature and return him safely to where he belongs, after we finish dealing with a more important problem. I appreciate the care and shelter you have provided for him during this time. We're aware of your relationship with your supervisors, as well as the obstacles to bringing the creature to us. Aside from the fact that this being is considered as cultural heritage for our nation, Tlaneyanco, this action might save you some problems in the future. Let me explain.

These animals were originally used in aquaculture activities, but due to a tragic war, they were also used as weapons; their strong exoskeleton gave them great resistance and their considerable endurance to ionizing radiation made them very resilient to the weapons of that time. My mother once told me stories about how they used to be long-lasting life companions, due to their ability to forge a bond of trust with other empathetic living beings. I even once dreamed of meeting one of them, although nowadays there are none in our nation, as they all died in bloody battles or ran away, never to return.

That is until now. Due to a sudden change in our nation's situation, we've been allowed to leave, and this is an opportunity to recover a precious part of our legacy. Beyond that, another group from our nation, known as Radiosol, has darker intentions and may take advantage of the poor animal. Unlike us, they won't hesitate to take it away by force, putting not only the isopod at risk, but also your entire enclosure along with the other animals you handle.

I've been covering up information regarding this matter, so Radiosol shouldn't know about your location, in theory. Once one of our teams is free, I'll send you another message to notify you of the retrieval. I know that you can only facilitate the return of this being to where it belongs by convincing your supervisors. Our plan's not to take more than a couple of months to get the animal, until then we'll entrust his care to you. In case of any inconvenience with Radiosol's staff, you'll have our full support immediately.

And please, take care of what little is left of those eras of Tlaneyanco, or they'll be lost forever like a cruel memory, reminding us of our mistakes.

3rd Group of the Global Defense and Logistics Division

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