I don't have a class pet now, but I used to have a dwarf hamster. The kids loved her, but they had to be careful because she would nibble their fingers or use the bathroom on them. Overall it was pretty fun having her in the room, even though she escaped twice.
We now have a no pet policy in our building (not sure if it's district wide). There are so many children (teachers, too) that have allergies and some teachers did not keep the cages clean. A few years ago we had a teacher in my hall that had pet mice and you could smell them as soon as you turned into our hallway. So, whatever you decide upon, you might want to keep that in mind. I know many of the children miss not having a class pet, but it just wasn't worth the risk. Maybe you could have an aquarium..... Good luck with your decision!
I've had a lot of class pets over the years. Fish, newts, hermit crabs, gerbils, hamsters, snake, turtle, etc.
My favorite is my teddy bear (long hair) hamster. I would recommend one of those. The kids love to watch her roll around in her exercise ball.
I am planning to bring a Leopard Gecko from home into the class. It is a super easy (but interesting) pet to have. It needs an aquarium and a heat source (I use a heating pad underneath) and is fed crickets(!). I might also get one of those fighter fish (can't remember the real name) that prefer to live alone.
I love rodents as pets. We've had mice, a baby rat, a pile of hamsters. I've also had fish but they're not as much fun (but a lot less work!!). A hint -- watch for wood allergies and switch to the recycled paper bedding. Cleanup and smell are a lot easier/better with that stuff (plus it's better for the little guy too!)
You probably should check with your school nurse. Some schools have regulations against lizards and turtles because they can carry salmonella. My son had a bearded dragon that I brought to school and I got a little note in my mailbox about the dangers of animals that carry diseases. I have had a guinea pig. He screamed any time there were no carrots in his cage, and he bit one of my students (of course it had to be the son of one of our school board members). I also had hermit crabs. The kids love them, they take very little care, they don't smell, and they aren't suppose to carry any diseases. I hope you find one that works for you.
My granddaughter has a Siamese Fighting Fish (the ones that have to live alone). It is blue with red, purple and white markings. You wouldn't think something so small would make a good pet, but they love each other (the fish and my granddaughter!) You should see how the fish responds when she talks next to the bowl, and if she wiggles a finger in the water, the silly things comes over and nibbles! It doesn't recognize me, though, and that's okay since I never liked fish anyway! If you don't mind having just one fish, or you don't mind having several fish each in its separate fish bowl, they are very easy to take care of. Just change the water every two weeks or so, feed once a day (they won't die if you miss a feeding or two on the weekend), make sure there is an artificial plant in the bowl (they like to "rest" in the plant), and that's about it. They don't need an air supply, but they don't like a room that is cold, either. Get the janitor to leave the temp. up over the weekend. I think your kids will love them.
I've had lots of different pets over the years...some came with the jobs I've had... like at one school, I inherited a HUGE iguana. I didn't like the idea at first, but he "grew on me". I wouldn't have ever picked one of those out myself though - way too much maintenence. THis iguana was so big that he could have really hurt me with that tail if he wanted to. (They whip their tails when upset). Luckily, he came to trust me, but I never let my guard down with him. I sort of resent the fact that I was given this thing and expected to pay for its up keep and do all the mainentence myself and I wasn't even asked if I wanted it... but that's a another issue.
I have had rats. I know, you probably think they're gross... but they really are very intelligent and loving little critters. Its nice for the students to show them how stereotypes aren't always true. They are just like any other animal... they just happen to have an ugly.
Along the same lines, Madagascar HIssing Roaches are great for teaching that lesson. They are very easy to care for. The need only the simplest of cages, some bark mulch, water and dry dog food and they are all set! One of mine escaped one year and I found it healthy and happy in the closet 3 months later! So, you can certainly leave them for a couple of weeks over vacations and not worry about them. Mine never did it in my possession, but they can demonstrate the egg, larvae, pupae, adult life cycle to the kids. You get them mail order. I"m sure you can do a search and find some.
The favorites among the kids were the turtle (kid brought it in and gave it to me) and the rabbits. It was a wild aquatic turtle, illegal for me to keep, but a gave it to me and I couldn't just release it in the parking lot. The turtle grew from the size of a silver dollar to the size of my hand in 2 yrs. He was very animated and fun. He was also a lot of up-keep... the sun lamp bulbs were expensive and he was a messy eater. Cleaning his tank was a huge production. My principal would come by just to see the turtle! When I left that school, I gave it to a kid to care for and they gave it to their state's cooperative extension service. Now the turtle is in a tank at a nature center. Come to find out, it was a protected species!
If you are worried about allergies and diseases, the African clawed frog (aquatic and easy to care for) and the hissing roaches are a good bet.
I have found that hermit crabs are quite easy to maintain...the kids like to care for them and bring them to their desks when work is done! (they even set up a "hermit crab rental" this past year--cute!!!)
They live in a glass aquarium with a sandy bottom. We sift the sand every other day with a scoop similar to a cat litter scoop and change the sand about once every 2-3 months. Other than making sure they have water and food (food lasts a few days--and you can add fresh fruits/veggies), it is not difficult at all. No allergies, little mess, not smelly and kids like them!
I have used an Ant Farm in the past as a class pet for my first graders. They are very co-operative creatures and when you get them via the mail they only send you the worker ants. No queen or soldier ants are allowed to be sent. Feed them and add water to their "nest" once or twice a week and that is basically it. I often kept them covered up as I found they did more digging this way - in the dark. Then I would have various times when small groups could go and take the box off and observe the ant farm with all their tunnels. I do prefer the ant farms that are thin and tall and not the hill like ones out there but either would serve the purpose.
I had planned to do one this year as well but wanted to wait until March or April to order them via the mail as it gets very cold here. I might order them right away and have them come in September but will have to bring them straight home at Christmas and get them into a warm house. Cold is not good for them although I have never needed heat lamps or anything like that, just a warm room temperature and they are good to go.
I had tried last year to order ladybugs but was told that they are a pest and could not order them and bring them into Canada. The K teachers do butterflies and then let them go and I was hoping to do the something similar in May or June. I'll have to look and see what is available but will probably just stick with ants.
I believe this fish you are referring to is a beta fish. My principal bought everyone one last year for teacher appreciation week. He lives in a 10 gallon tank now with other fish. It's not that they prefer to live alone, they just dont get alone with other male betas. They can live with other fish as long as they don't look like them.
I was thinking of getting a couple hermit crab for my room. It seems pretty easy, so I've read on this thread and on the Internet. I'll have to see.
I had zebra finches last year. The kids loved them! They were normally very quiet. If you put a nest in the cage they will lay eggs and have babies. The kids really enjoyed watching this process. The only time the birds were noisy was when the babies got old enough to demand food from the parents by chirping at them. I would then give the babies away to one of my students (those whose parents were brave enough to give them permission). The kids really took on ownership of the birds and we learned a lot about them. The kids would always have a lot of questions that we had to research to find answers to.
I have a crested silky guinea pig as our class pet. Tigger is almost 6 years old, so he's a senior citizen in the rodent world! The kids love him. He used to go home with a different student each weekend. Not this year though-- since he's old, I'm afraid he could die while on a visit. You don't want to be the kid that killed the class pet in 2nd grade!! You'd have to transfer-you'd never live it down. Tigger squeaks when we come in each morning & makes noises so we'll get him carrots each day at lunch. We all love that litle furball! I've also had hamsters, 2 sets of mice, a gerbil, and a chinchilla. I get so attached to them. It's hard when they die. I won't stop having pets, though. They give us so much.
I have always had pets as a child, and can't stop now that I'm an adult. At home we have a dog, a rabbit, two aquatic turtles, and a chinchilla (except for the dog, the others are all my daughters' pets).
I have Pixie, a rat, here at home, but she is a classroom pet. I also have Nagini, a corn snake. The corn snake is unbelievably easy to care for. I have had lots of rats over the years and love them too...much easier than mice, smell a lot less (females smell less than males).
I also had a fish tank, but I hate cleaning them when they get dirty, and you can't transport as easily....unless you stay small.
Actually the turtles were originally classroom pets too, but the I transported home for break and didn't feel like transporting back....tank was too big and heavy. I recommend anything that you can easily stick back in the car to take home.
I have heard lots of good things about guinea pigs, but the ones I have interacted with always seemed skittish or I have heard of biting. My rats have never bitten unless they smelled food on your hand.
I might try the teddy bear hamster...though hamster bite more than rats.
Oh, I also had green anoles that came with our 4th grade science kits....they were ok as far as the animal goes, but I hated dealing with crickets and misting the cage every day (they don't drink out of a bowl).
I HATE cockroaches more than anything (and I am pretty open about all other animals), but the hissing cockroach might be a good one....just don't if I could stomach handling one.....ever since I saw the movie "Creepshow."
Things like snakes don't and won't make very good class pets for younger children. They will want something they can hold,or that's cudly but a snake may need to eat large rodents. Frogs and lizards mostly need a lot of extra care. Something like a rabbit or bird is a nice class pet. Rabbit's and Guniea Pigs won't escape easily and will interact well with children. I highly suggest those pets.
I'm a helper in a 3d grade classroom. The following pets were not fit for our classroom.
Joyce-(sometime of minnie lizard).
Paulo- Paulo was a male dove who was just to noisy for class.
One day for show and tell little Hallie brought in her bunny. All the children fell in love with the little fur ball and wanted one. So I walked to the pet store across the street and bought to bunnies. The children named them Sanny and Lenny. They worked so well with the bunnies that Mrs.Helpkin got them a little hamster named Tinkee.
The children also like cleaning cages and feeding the class pets.
I have several children Tanner 14,Hallie 8, and Keema 5. You may have read about Hallie from the other story. Her uncle got her a rabbit for Christmas. Hallie started neglecting her rabbit being too busy thinking about the next door cat. I kept telling them to take care of the bunny first. Sadly bunnies don't make the best pets. They are very smelly and need weekly cage cleanings. My husband brought home a chihuahua puppy named Lynn. Puppies are cute but are a lot of hard work. You need to train them and be very mellow. Again kids are never contempt and keep wanting more. So fish and birds are good for home,work,and schools.