I wondering if anyone can tell me what the best classroom pet is? I have had hamsters, fish and ants in the past; but am looking for something easy to take care, will let the kids handle, and will live the whole school year.
... make great classroom pets. They don't stink and can be easy to care for. I would recommend corn snakes, leopard geckos or a bearded dragon. All are gentle, engaging critters with few requirements (except heat and lighting needs). However, you will need to read about the reptiles before purchasing one so that the tank can be set up and maintained properly.
Also, after students feed, handle or clean the cage, their hands must be washed. If you're not reptile-phobic I would say to think about adopting a scaly friend for the classroom.
I can tell you the experiences I've had with classroom pets:
1. Guinea Pigs - Kids loved them, but the janitors hated them. Cage was cleaned completely once a week and it STILL stunk pretty badly.
2. Turtles - Kids got a kick out of watching them eat especially. Not too high maintenance. Tank cleaned weekly, no foul smell, but I wouldn't let the kids play with them due to salmonella issues.
3. Hermet Crabs - Not extremely active, but the kids still enjoyed watching them. Had to keep fresh water daily, in addition to their "bath" and feeding. Normally only lived half the year.
4. Fish - Easy to care for, but didn't live all year either - normally only a few months. Tank was a pain to keep clean.
I let my hermit crab go home with a child over the summer, so I may or may not seem him when school starts again.
Honestly, I found the best pets are the ones my students bring in. That way we can enjoy them for a while, the child already knows how to take care of them, the child is extremely proud to have their pet there, and if it becomes a health issue (like the guinea pigs) I can send them back home! I only allow caged or tank animals, though - otherwise I'd have dogs and cats running around!
If you don't want a full time pe here is another possibility. In our city, we have an organization called HABIT. This club has dogs and cats that have been certified to visit schools, nursing homes, etc. The animal and its owner comes every week for an hour or two. If you are a pet owner, you can also have your pet certified as a classroom pet. My dog (see avatar) will be going through the process in September. I will take him 1 day a week. Students that have completed all homework will earn Harvey time. They will be given 15 minutes to read to, cuddle, brush, talk to my dog. Just a thought if you don't want a full-time pet.
Oooo....yeah, I forgot about the tadpoles! We did that several times and the kids LOVED it! I got a kick out of it myself. It was neat because we fed them as tadpoles, watched them change, then fed them as frogs. After a week or 2 as frogs we let them go outside (in a safe place away from the playground!).
We also did the same thing with butterflies! Very exciting!
I teach 4th-5th grade science in a lab setting. This past year I had 2 female guinea pigs. I taught the kids how to clean the cage weekly. I did not have any problems with them stinking. However, I was given this tip...I lined the bottom of their cage with a doggie training pad (available at Walmart or any pet store) and taped it to the outside edges of the cage. This way when it was time to clean all we had to do was release the tape and roll up the doggie pad with the litter and deposit in the trash. Before the kids taped a new pad into the bottom of the cage, we always wiped the cage down with disenfictant wipies first. As for fish, my aquarium is a small cow trough that our PTO puchased for me last year for about $100. We bought a filtration system from the local pet store. I have to change the filter about once every 4-6 weeks and siphon out some of the old water and add some new. I keep goldfish in the tank. They are really cool because goldfish will grow different amounts depending on the environment you put them in. The key to keeping your water crystal clear is to not over feed the fish - that will make your water turn murky really fast. One bag of fish food lasted all year for me and I only had one fish fatality this year. Classroom pets are work, but I am a strong believer that this is one case when there are definately more pros than cons. Also, I used the cleaning and upkeep of my classroom pets as a REWARD and kids loved it.
You should try a leopard gecko. They are easy to take care of and i have 5 of them myself. And don't worry about them living long enough because they can live to be 25 years old. And all they need to eat is crickets.
The best classroom pet I've had is, believe it or not, a Beta Fish. They are responsive to my first graders. If you move a marker outside he bowl, the fish will "show his beard" as one child put it. The male makes a spittle nest on the top of the water in preparation for a female laying eggs.
They are extremely easy to care for! I just put bottled water in their bowl about every 2 weeks. A Peace Lily provides food for the Beta when we're on vacation and an interesting environment for the Beta each day. The Beta pellet food will last you years. Don't let anyone in a pet store talk you anything more than a fish, gravel, bowl & food. Get your Peace Lily anywhere you buy houseplants and get some bottled water. Voila! Instant easy pet that your kids will love!
I have to thank my daughter's high school biology teacher for introducing me to the joys of a Beta is a classroom.
I saw you talk about HABIT, my question is will the animals behave around children with disabilities? We have a pet rat right now that seems to work great with our kids but she is getting old and we feel she won't be with us through our spring break coming up. The main reason being that she has developed a nice big tumor on her side. When I've had rats that have developed tumors, we have them removed but they don't last long after. I would love to have a cat or dog in here and I know that the kids would go gaga for the animal.
Ok, here's my experience (shared somewhat with my brother) about classroom pets. I'm a middle school art teacher, and he is a first grade teacher. As a child, I loved our classroom pets. We had gerbils/hamsters, fish, snakes and we hatched chicken or goose eggs and that was just amazing. I've always had a passion for animals. I am a strong believer that it is important to teach children about the responsibility of pet ownership, because thatch a necessary life skill. Also it exposes children of lesser means to interesting animals they might not otherwise encounter. That being said, here are some of the my brother has tried....First it was my ball python when I went away to school. Yes a python, but it was only 4-5 feet long, and ate very rarely, and I personally don't think its traumatic to show how nature works, larger animals eat smaller animals, but I'm not sure if my brother allowed the class to watch or not. Anyway not a problem until my bro forgot to put the clips on the cover and he she escaped...once found she (snake) was promptly asked to leave...to bad, she was so gentle to people, she was in more danger than any of the children. So we got a lovebird which I help with on weekends and summers,and lived in his classroom during the week. The children loved it. It wasn't cuddly (they can bite) but they respected the fact that they needed to give it space and enjoyed its clown like antics and cute little chirps and noises. He had the bird in the classroom for 2 years and was suddenly told to take it home. no explanation. Later found out there is a "No fur or feather" law in the county due to allergies, but she (principal) sent home the snake because it escaped and I always remembered having feathered or furry pets in the classroom. who knows why she decided ot enforce it. anyway this brings us to me..while I have birds and would love ot bring them in (pair of lovebirds are not noisy and keep themselves busy, very colorful and cute) but I just adopted a free leopard gecko. It is gentle, doesn't bit at all. Attractive colors and pattern (art class, I want to use him as a model!) and he makes no noise and isn't smelly. I have yet to tell my principal lol, but i'm not foreseeing any issue and very excited to introduce my less than fortunate students to something exotic and beautiful. well that's my take on it, fish can be cool too, but a lot of work, turtles eventually need 75 gallon tanks or ponds, snakes are escape artists and have bad reps, birds bite and have feathers, and gerbils/guinnepigs/ferrets have fur...so wish me luck with my Leo!
The best pets in my opinion and by far are snails: They are so much fun for so very little maintenance!!!!!
They are fascinating animals, they cannot hurt anyone or make sick, I don't know anyone who's allergic, and you can teach so much with them, kids have a blast, if you do it right there is barely any cleaning involved and feeding during school vacations is not an issue (They love the dark and if they lack food or water, they'll hibernate), how more easy and fun can it get!!!!
I found this website useful: mysnailpet.com: they have a classroom section that explains how it is done.
I would recommend some stick insects. They are low maintenence and only require spraying with tank water twice a day. They are nocturnal and eat at night on leaves (different species have different leaf diets ). They don't bite, and rarely fly. With some species, females reproduce without a mate. They live around 8 months to 1 year and a half. They need a vertical tank for climbing and moulting. They can lay hundreds of eggs in their lifetime, which take 3 months to a year to hatch.
I have had tarantula for 3 years now. Extremely low upkeep they only need to be fed every week, and will be okay if you skip a week, they can stay in the classroom over the shorter breaks as well. You rarely need to clean the cage and they do not smell at all. They eat crickets which can also become a class pet. Crickets are cheap too, about a $1.25 for 24.
This year I've let my first graders catch and drop the crickets in the cage, they love it! They do need to be closely supervised. I do it during choice time, and I have an assistant that can watch the other kids. In the past, when I've been by myself, I've fed it during lunch time and let a few kids come up and watch.
I do not let them pick up or touch the tarantula for obvious reasons, they are are fragile and while most won't bite they do have hairs that will come off and can cause a rash if they are dropped.
They are super easy to take care of over the summer as well. I would highly recommended getting one for your classroom. They provide a natural reason for reading non-fiction books. They are expensive, about $130 for the cage and the tarantula, I asked for mine through Donors Choose. Good luck!
Hi On Friday I asked my teachers if we could get a class pet. They said they'll think about it with each each other on the phone. We're really excited and we hope they will say yes but I don't know what pet to get if they say yes. I'm making it a class effort grade 5 by the way. I was thinking a reptile. Maybe either a bearded dragon leopard gecko or corn snake. Please help!!!
I bought some American bullfrog tadpoles last school year from insect lore. It didn't work out. The first two died within two days of them arriving, and all I was told was that they were probably already sick when I got them. They sent me two replacements and one died within a couple of months. The other lasted until two days after school got out. Insect lore made it sound easy to take care of them, but it obviously wasn't. They also said that they would change within 8 months, and when I did some research online I found out that they can remain tadpoles for up to 2 years.
I noticed some other people on here mentioned they loved having tadpoles. I am curious to know where they got them and what type they were.
I have had quite a few pets. The first ones, hermit crabs. Boring! When you introduce them is fun, but afterwards its boring. Lizard, cute but expensive about $4.00 a week in live food. Betta fish cute cleaning once a week. Ants, just for a short period of time. Not bad! Tad poles, good, but couldn't find someone to take it home at the end of the year. Butterflies, seasonal but awesome! Worms...boring! You can't see them because they don't like light so as soon as you open the panels they hide. Ladybugs seasonal but cute. I am thinking about a teddy bear hamster, but afraid it will be too much work. Hope it helps! Anyone have experience with hamsters?
Hamsters are nocturnal and many get grouchy if you wake them up during the day -- and may bite. Rats are a better option. They are smart, don't smell very much, and are social (so they adjust their sleep schedule for people). You should get two though, because they are happier and live longer in pairs or groups. I'm going to point out that you shouldn't have a classroom pet if you're not willing to treat it as your own. That means longer than a (school)year commitment, making sure they have a proper diet, enough exercise, and get medical care.
I have two Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches: they don't bite or fly, and they are so slow (they don't scurry). The kids can handle them, and they live 3-5 years. They require almost no maintenance, and can live for quite a while without food (although I wouldn't do that to them). They are fascinating! Google them... I can't imagine having a better classroom pet!
Reptiles arn't good for kids. They can get aggressive and can carry salmonella. They hate to be handled,snakes only come out at night and the kids get dissapionted. i reccomend crabs,mouse,or guinea pig.
I teach 10th grade and I have 11 snakes, 4 turtles, 2 bearded dragons, a leopard gecko and two chinchillas. I can tell you without a doubt my students LOVE our snakes. We have ball pythons, boa constrictors, eastern hog nose and some other snakes. They are very sociable snakes and love being held, often when I am teaching my students have the snakes in their laps. The bearded dragons are the newest addition to our classroom and I have to say they have been a huge hit. My students love them and these friendly reptiles are often referred to as the dogs of the reptile world. Our chinchilla is also great, however, they are incredibly fast so when students are holding them all classroom doors should be shut to prevent them from accidentally escaping. Overall, I would highly suggest having reptiles in the classroom because I think that it helps students over come fears that they may have unfairly associated with these types of animals.
I completely agree that the best option is a pair of rats! While some people are afraid, they are the nicest of the rodents, except maybe the guinea pig who is a little more fragile for children. I have owned every rodent there is and rats respond the best to people, especially children, and is the only one that I have never been bitten by. You really do need a pair, though. While Guinea pigs are very sweet also, rats are better for the small and unsteady hands of children. If you have young ones, rats are much more agile and can go with the flow better if not being supported correctly. Mine would often ride around on shoulders and chatter in your ear. Just beware of bathroom functions, they will go one you if you're not careful.
I have taught 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and am currently ending my first of two years as a 4/5 combo teacher. I have always had pets in every classroom I've been in, various types but always at least one reptile and one rodent at a time. Our district does not allow cats and dogs to come into classrooms due to allergies, and the "business line" for the district is "no pets," but in practice they leave it up to each principal. I've done both fresh and saltwater fish, ants, spiders, stick bugs, a giant madagascar millipede, hermit crabs, and other easy things like that, but they just aren't as fun as reptiles and rodents. I don't do birds because of the mess, noise, and sharp beak. I know teachers who have and love it and I've been tempted, but always talk myself into something other than a bird. We have hatched chicks and raised butterflies (with my first and third graders) but since we don't keep them at the end I don't really think of them as pets.
For the rodents, I have had hamsters--fun to watch but don't want to be handled (except for teddy bears, as someone else mentioned, but even those don't love the attention) so those are best if you want a "look only" pet. I agree rats truly do make the best pets for children in any home or school setting, especially to keep kids from developing the ridiculous "tail phobia" so many adults have. Their tails are actually rather soft, and rats are thJe most friendly, sociable of the rodents. I recommend a cage with many levels for climbing and playing, and while people on here said to get two, they will be friendlier if you have one because then YOU are it's companion and it will want to be held and played with more (but you MUST be willing to be that companion if you do only get one). Rats are very smart and can learn to open their cage if it's just a slide lock, so be sure to get one that is secure. They also can chew through cages with plastic bottoms -- I went to a local steel company with the plastic bottom of my rat cage and they created a steel bottom to fit (and didn't even charge me in the end--they were happy to support the kids!). Right now we have a guinea pig because I didn't want to risk not giving a rat the right amount of attention as I figured out my combo class this past year and spend extra time preparing for my upcoming wedding next year -- I was just afraid I wouldn't have the time commitment. Our guinea pig loves to be pet by the kids but our class rule is only adults hold him. Our custodian visits him regularly and shares fruits and veggies from his lunch (the kids can save him snacks from their lunch too, but we don't want him filling up on treats so I have a sign by his cage above a list of safe and harmful fruits and veggies, and when they flip it over it shows a cute cartoon guinea pig holding his too-full tummy and it reads "I already had my snack today!") They are definitely messier and smellier than rats and hamsters, but we clean the cage each Friday and it's not so bad (I love the dog pad idea! Will be trying this next school year!).
As for the reptiles, I've done frogs (western toad and white tree frog), lizards (leopard geckos), and turtles (red eared slider). I love snakes but don't want to deal with having to go buy mice all of the time. Our leopard gecko was great but didn't love to be held as much as I would have liked, and I'd love to get a bearded dragon, but don't have the space they require. I've actually been staying away from lizards and frogs lately because I'm tired of dealing with crickets. Our red eared slider was the hit of the school! His tank was by the window and primary teachers would walk their classes by our room as a reward to get to see him. Students from other classes would come into the room before and after school, and my kids could earn "turtle time" with him. I didn't let my kids hold him after the first year, but he would swim up when kids were at the cage, and if the kids put their head above the water line he'd lift his head out of the water, and then they'd duck back below and he'd follow them. He also had a habit of climbing onto his sunning rock and jumping off to splash into the water whenever it was extra quiet in the room (like when we were taking tests or the principal was observing).
I keep each pet for 2-3 years, and then let it go live the rest of its life in peace in a home setting with a student and get a new pet for the classroom. Being around so many little faces and fingers that change year after year is stressful on little animals. I had our turtle the longest out of anything else, but he was getting to be ready for another tank size, and his current one was already starting to collapse the counter it was on, so just this week I let him go live the rest of his days in a nice pond at the home of another teacher. I've purchased classroom pets myself and have also had them donated, it depends on what I want us to have next. I'm thinking maybe a box turtle to replace the red eared slider, but I'm still researching.
I would not recommend classroom pets to just anyone -- you have to be willing to take time out of our already packed schedules to train the kids to properly hold or touch or even look at the pet (little fingers love to tap glass tanks, poke through bars of cages, and throw things into the habitat if not properly instructed). Even if kids are responsible for food, water, and cleaning you need to instruct them in that as well, and then watch to be sure it is done right (even late in the year when kids are pet "experts" they can still get lazy and skip steps--they are kids after all! Taking shortcuts is big with them!). But if you're willing to get a correct habitat set up and train the kids and do some pet work yourself, I think having pets in the classroom is a great experience for all students, especially those kids who are not allowed to have pets at home. They learn responsibility as they care for the animal, have an easy built-in classroom reward, and have bragging rights around campus since only my class is allowed to touch our pets (other students are welcome to come in and look, but look only). It connects to life science curriculum in any grade, and gives them something to remember about the year -- if they forget everything else, I guarantee when they are adults they will remember our pets! Each time I get a new one I let the kids name it, so they love having that extra special connection.
Has anyone every tried a rabbit or ferret? Too smelly? I like the idea of a guinea pig but the First grade teacher already has them and I would like to try something different. I will be teaching Kindergarten and really like the idea of a class pet but am having trouble deciding on one. Second grade already has frogs and Third grade has fish. The previous Kindergarten teacher had a turtle but I would like to stay away from that. Ideas? I come from a pet family with lots of experience with a variety of animals: dogs, cats, horses, lambs, chickens, hamsters, birds, ducks, lizards, bugs, guinea pigs, rabbits and ferrets.
A rabbit could be a good option. As long as you don't have the kids pick the rabbit up. Rabbits can get scared easily. If they panic and kick hard enough, they can break their own back. A female would be less smelly than a male.
I have had several pets in my classroom. I believe the students need lots of experience with real living creatures before they start dissecting dead animals. I want children to have a connection and empathy for all God's creatures.
I had 2 rabbits. One was definitely not sociable with the students. I would let him out, but he scurried around so quickly I was afraid someone would steip on him, so I resorted to letting him out after school for exercise. He was hard to get back in the cage and he would go up to the outside of the cage to poop and then run away. I eventually took him home.
Then I was given Funny Bunny. He would run circles around your feet to show he liked you and you could pet him, he would sit in the middle of the classroom, but would hide when the students got noisy, so the students managed their noise level so he would come out again. His hiding place was under some tables I had along the wall with plastic table shirts to cover up boxes underneath. Mr. Bunny would wander through the boxes, chewing whatever he choose, and then tear a whole in the skirt so he could sit on a box and see out. We would look over to see a fuzzy face looking out a hole and then when he was ready - he would come flying out of the hole in the table skirt landing on the ground. The students totally loved him and he never escaped the classroom because we have carpet and the hall is slippery tile. He would look out the door, but never venture out. He always went inside his cage to take care of his business. So many likeable qualitites, BUT, he chewed ANYTHING in reach: pulled papers out of student desks, chewed on workbooks, games, storage boxes, my purse, anything! He ruined several computer chords which I repaired or replaced. But, he was so cute, we could no stop loving him. One day we were working with fossils and plaster and the kids made a mess on the carpet. I didn't worry much, because I have a small vaccuum for just this kind of thing. Funny Bunny was very curious and was nibbling on some of the plaster pieces. Didn't seem to affect him, but that eveing he was calmer than usual when I put him in his cage. The next morning, one of the boys said that Funny Bunny was sick. I said he was just laying under the table listening and resting. I took the students to Gym class and when we came back, he was dead. We were in shock! I don't know for sure, but it all seems to point to him nibbling on the pieces of plaster. I had 2 classes of sad students. We had quiet time to write reflections, poems, and draw pictures. I know this helped them, but actually it was what I needed too. I was very distraught, but trying to remain the teacher. I still have the letters, poems, and pictures, and Funny Bunny is buried at my house. Pets can give you the greatest joy, but they can also break your heart. I still have students come back and talk to me about Funny Bunny.
I had a hamster when i was younger. Out of the 5 years or more that the two of them lived I was bitten once. I had hamsters in my pre school class. The kids loved him. As long as you have a ball for the hamster to play in the kids will be fascinated and walk around the room ensuring the ball doesn't escape down the hallway. Hamsters sleep a lot, but are not expensive and not that much work. I took a fish tank and made a lego ladder so that they could crawl upstairs into the "hamster cage" which sat on top of the fish tank part. That worked great until they became old and couldnt walk up the steps any more. This year I am thinking about a Degu (the animal from the movie Ratatoutille (Someting like that) they look like hamsters but i think may be a bit more active. I was thinking of a guinea pig but after reading this site not sure if i want that.
I had 2 Degus my third year of teaching and can tell you they eat/chew EVERYTHING. No plastic cage will hold them, and plastic toys don't work either. They chewed a little wooden ladder in a single night, leaving the metal hooks that attached it to the cage. They chewed the plastic coating off of the wire of the cage topper. They chewed their food bowls. They flung poop outside of the cage, and smelled progressively worse over time, despite being cleaned more often. They were fun to watch, and chattered quite a bit, but tended to be more active at night, so the kids missed a lot of their actions. They also require a special diet, because they can't have high sugar foods.
Animals in the classroom teach kids responsibilty, empathy, and so much more! They are so worth the extra money and time. I have had many classroom pets and my favorites are Guinea Pigs and my Bearded Dragon. Guinea pigs are easy to care for and easy for children to hold. They do not stink if you keep the cage clean. I have had several over the past 10 years and never had one bite. The kids LOVE to hold them.
Bearded Dragons are easy to care for. They like salad, crickets, and mealworms. Ours is rather large, because he's five years old, but the kids can hold him. We use a baby blanket to sit him on, so he dooesn't scratch them with his claws. They enjoy feeding him and making sure his tank is clean.
Hermit crabs require good care or they will not live long. They are easy pets, but don't do much but hide until the kids are gone. We actually have one of those too! They are fun to have visit -- the same with stick bugs and Hissing Cockroaches. Rats are fun and they'll ride around on your shoulder, but their urine REALLY stinks. Turtles and tortoises don't do much. We have a turtle that is very social and loves it when the kids sit by his tank, but our tortoise hides all day.
Get something you'll love or it will get old quick!
Yes! We also have Hissing Cockroaches. They are the best low-maintenance classroom pet EVER! We started with 5 roaches and now have 2 tanks. The children are fascinated by them, especially when they shed. They are wonderful reminders of the number and diversity of insects!
I went to the pet store to look at ferrets and.....#1: very social so you'll need 2 at least. #2. It's like having a puppy that never grows up (such as chewing and energy...so on) and #3. most people who have ferrets dedicate an entire room in their house to them and they still chew through walls and wiring to get out and explore. This was what the lady at the store told me. She wanted to make sure I was prepared for one or two because they get them returned a lot.
actually betas do need more than a bowl. a 5 gallon tank with a slow output filter is great. you rarely have to clean it during the school year if you do not overfeed. then i take it home in a large bowl during the summer and keep the water clean--once a week is a must. but the filter needs to be a low flow output as betas do not prefer much movement in their water and like to make bubble nests. if you provide your beta with a clean roomy habitat, it can live for years. my last one was almost 7 years old when it passed. our new class beta receives the same treatment. they love having a bigger tank that stays fresh and clean. also, they may need a small heater if your room tends to be cold. they prefer about 75-80 degrees F. do your research and you will see if you want to take proper care of betas, this is how. too many people throw them in a bowl because they think they are no maintenance. while they are sort of low maintenance, they deserve a tank.
I have had rats as pets for many years, and had them in my classroom the last two. They are WONDERFUL animals!! They are social, curious, sweet, and much more fun and kind than hamsters!
If you are considering getting rats for your classroom, you MUST get at least two. There was a poster talking about them being friendlier if you only have one. This is simply not true. They get lonely and depressed when they do not live with another rat. We can love them and spend time with them as humans, but we aren't able to snuggle with them when they sleep or groom them the way another rat can (obviously). This connection for them is very important. They live in groups in the wild, so that need for rat companionship is important.
Reptiles are good for all ages. My mom is a library teacher and she has lot of reptiles. She has a frog and it has been living for two years!( Really two school years). Crested geckos make awesome pets! We have two of them and they are so cool! Fish are pretty good but, turtles are way better!