I'm thinking ahead for next year, and I was wondering how you feel about class pets. Are they a pain to keep, or are they worth the trouble. Also, what type of pets do most classrooms have? Any feedback is greatly appreciated!
I had a betta fish one year. It was pretty easy to maintain. I brought him home for the summer and never carried him back .
I did have a chinchilla and he was a pain. Shavings everywhere. I couldn't take a stinky cage so I was cleaning the thing out once a week. Yuck. I was also slightly afraid he was going to bite me so I think he sensed it. He now lives with one of the aides (at home-not school) and from what she says he is a lot happier.
I'm not sure if I'd get another pet. If I would it would be a fish, frog, or lizard. Nothing furry.
My kids take excellent care of our pets. I have 2 chinchillas, a bearded dragon and a tortoise. They are quiet, don't smell and don't make noise. Kids will do anything to "read to a pet". They are no trouble and for me they provide an opportunity for some kids to have a pet when they can't at home. It's a great "responsibility" lesson too.
Check to see if your district has guidelines to follow. Like, students should not clean the cages (because of the waste material and such).
My partner teacher has a turtle. It's tank must be cleaned each week and he has to do it. It is really a pain. If you have fish make sure you research the size tank they will need and the care that is required. Most people don't realize for example that there should be one goldfish per 10 gallons of water. There should be at least a partial water change at least once a week.
Research before you get any pet and make sure you can handle the responsibility.
I had hermit crabs once. They were cute. I read the book Home for a Hermit Crab with my class.
I would not have a class pet again. They are a lot of work in my opinion.
I have had gerbils, mice and a beta fish. I didn't like the mice much, and the gerbils started fighting and really became a problem... however, I think next year I am going to get a BUNNY! I want to get an outdoor cage, because if you put them outside in the summer, they will grow fur to keep warm in the winter! How cool is that?
I also want a turtle of some kind next year. My beta should probably die before then... he is going on 4 years old!
I had gerbils. They were suppose to be the same sex. Well, of course over the summer I got the dreaded phone call that I had 8 gerbils. I hated cleaning the smelly cages weekly! At one point I had 3 cages because the mom and dad couldn't be together and the male babies couldn't be left with the other females and the males couldn't be put with the father However, I was actually considering paying to have her "fixed" so she and her mate could be together. My kids loved the gerbils and we let them run around the classroom in their balls. They just were so much work and money. When they died I decided to NEVER GET A CLASS PET AGAIN!
Our school district requires that you take all pets to the vet before they can come into your classroom. Also, be careful about children with allergies.
I have a tarantula, which is an awesome class pet! Totally easy to keep, fun to watch, and if you get one that has been used to handling, the kids can interact with it. At the beginning of the year a few of the girls were afraid of her and shrieked or made disparaging remarks. Now they vigorously defend her to any visitor who "hates" spiders. They know that people sometimes hate simply because they don't understand.
Careful with a Bunny Rabbit. They chew on EVERYTHING! Over the course of my 23 years I've had two pet rabbits and they will chew and naw on everything! They have to because their teeth never quit growing. Also, if you put him in an outside cage he'll have to stay outside. Once he has that winter fur and you bring him inside for too long, he'll overheat. He'll need to stay outside once that winter coat comes in.
For our school reading competition I offered the prize of a class pet to my class if they met their reading goal... first I was thinking of a betta fish but thought they would like something more interesting.
We have a school rule of no animals with fur.
I looked into turtles and frogs... Frogs are a big pain and need special humidity conditions, and turtles can have a lot of health problems.
I got a baby leopard gecko.. It is 5 weeks old right now. Super cute! and it's fun to watch it eat insects~ It is pretty easy to clean the terrarium--it just has paper towels on the bottom. And its poop/pee all comes out in a solid waste so all you do is scoop it up with a tissue. The only pain is that it needs live insects, so I keep a mini tub of mealworms in the fridge, and randomly get crickets at the pet store when I have the chance. But an easy pet for sure! I don't let the kids hold it-- only look. With any reptile you have to be careful of salmonella, and I'm also afraid someone's going to drop it. It's still a little skittish since it's a baby. I keep it in a regular aquarium tank with a reptile heating pad stuck to the bottom of the glass underneath the tank. But overall it's an easy pet for me! At first I thought it was a little gross but I think I've grown to love it very much.... I find myself missing it and wondering what it's doing when I'm not at school.
I don't do well with live animals so I got a bennie baby animal for my class. Each student got to take "Max" home on the weekend and kept a detailed account in his journal. Later in the year I found 5 more of the same giraffe and bought them all. I've given one to three of my family members who travel a lot and they quickly began sending us pictures of "Max" on his trips. This year alone he went to South Africa, Russian, Denmark, on a train trip to Organ, and the one the class loved most home with the teacher for spring break. I plan on getting more trips for him and using his pictures where the relate to our studies.
One thing to think about before taking on a class pet is how it's going to be taken care of over vacations... Will you be taking it home or will you allow children to take it home? If you want children to take it home to take care of over vacations, it's not always easy to find volunteers year after year.
I've been lucky I guess. I have never really had a problem with vacations. My pets are fairly easy to care for anyway.
I love the travel pet Beany Baby. I have "gnomes" that travel the world, too. Kids love taking them on trips but I think sometimes the parents have way more fun with them. By the way, where is Organ? .
I don't have a "turtle" I have a land tortoise. She's the about the size of a baseball right now. She is adorable and one of my student's grandfather made her a "tortoise table". It's so cool! She lounges around, basking under her red heat lamp eating grass and hay. The kids love to feed her dandelions in the spring. They take great care of her.
Lots to think about that is for sure. Class pets are NOT for everyone.
I think having a class pet is a great idea! Not only would it entertain the students but they could learn about taking responsibility by caring for the pet. Each week you could choose two students to help care for the pet's needs (e.g. feed the pet, make sure his tank is clean, etc.). As for what type of pet, I would choose an animal that would not be too distracting or noisy, probably a turtle or fish.