CLASS PETS (For Irish Teacher)

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Ellie, Jul 28, 2007.

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  1. Ellie

    Ellie New Member

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    Jul 28, 2007

    Hi,
    I'm hoping to get a pet for my class this year. I teach 5th and 6th class pupils (11 - 13 years old , not sure what 'grade' this is in USA!) and would like advice on any pets you think might be suitable. I'm thinking of getting either a guinea pig or a bird. Does anyone have experience of these animals? What are they like to keep, feed, look after - and what do you do with them during holidays????!
    Thanks in advance,
    Ellie:) :thanks:
     
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  3. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    I've never had a class pet, but I have owned birds and I wouldn't want one in my classroom. While they're easy to take care of and can be lots of fun, they can also be VERY noisy. I've had birds (parakeets and cockatiels) that will all of a sudden decide to start squawking very loudly for minutes at a time. It could be very distracting in a classroom.
     
  4. hescollin

    hescollin Fanatic

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    The best pet is a stuff animal, classroom mascot. You don't have clean the cage, feed it, water it. Don't have to worry about allergies. Food gets expensive. Live pets stink and make your room stink.
     
  5. AngelM

    AngelM Rookie

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    I, too, was thinking that you'll have to be careful with allergies. Often students are allergic to pet dander. Feathers, also . . .
     
  6. MelissainGA

    MelissainGA Groupie

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    I have had a guinea pig as a class pet for the past 3 years. He's starting on his 4th year at school (smartest guinea pig in town :) ). Fred has been an awesome pet and even my kids that had allergies didn't have trouble being around Fred. He is also very low maintenance: weekly cage cleaning, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, and grape stems, a little guinea pig food when he has to eat it, fresh water daily, and attention (he doesn't like to be ignored). I highly recommend a guinea pig all I suggest is that you hold it first to "get a feel" for it's nature. Fred is extremely calm so was the perfect pet for a class of 2nd graders the last 3 years and now for 3rd.
     
  7. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I have several class pets. I have a red eared slider, a couple of box turtles, a giant african millipede, fish, and a pair of rats. The easiest to take care of, and one that I suggest is the box turtles. They are very easy to care for, the kids can handle them without any problems, and you can let them "run" around the room with little trouble.
     
  8. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Oh, I failed to add, on short holidays the critters stay at school. I live about a mile from my school and can go in to feed whenever I need to. On long holidays they come home with me.
     
  9. patti2

    patti2 Cohort

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    Gerbils are MUCH easier to care for than guinea pigs. They are very active and build tunnels, run on wheels, etc. They LOVE to tear up Kleenex boxes and paper towel rolls (kids love to supply these!). I have 3 in my room and my kids have 4 at home! We had a g. pig for 4 years and her cage needed cleaning a lot! Also, we went on vacation for 10 days this summer and just put in extra food and a water bottle and they were all fine!
     
  10. ~mrs.m~

    ~mrs.m~ Comrade

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    I have had gerbils, hamsters, and guinea pigs and I agree that gerbils were the easiest and were so much fun to watch. I love to put the paper towel rolls and boxes, etc. into their cage. I had two gerbils and there was usually no problem...
     
  11. patti2

    patti2 Cohort

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    I also put a "gerbil log" by the cage so that students could write sentences about the gerbils! :D
     
  12. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I think that when you are talking about ease of care and lack of allergy problems, you have to go toward the reptile (turtles, lizards, iguanas) or fish. The kids will love anything you choose. Just make sure it is something you don't mind caring for yourself and taken it home on long holidays.
     
  13. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    I vote for fish, even though it wasn't an option :) The water and the filter noise both tend to be relaxing and they are easy to take care of!
     
  14. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    I have a fish and hermit crab. Both are easy to care for. They come home with me on breaks. I really like the idea of a stuffed animal!!!
     
  15. SnowDaisy822

    SnowDaisy822 Companion

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    My mom used to have guinea pigs and they're really easy to care for. I never liked them much though. I have a bunny for my class pet. She's awesome! My kids love her. She's totally potty trained and just hops around our class. On the weekends, I sent her home with students, but I wont be anymore. She's living with me for the summer and will come home with me on the weekends next year.
     
  16. Stacey23

    Stacey23 Rookie

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    Another teacher at my school had the cutest rabbit! She sent it home with the students on weekends and holidays. Why are you deciding not to do that this year? I was thinking of doing that, but would like to hear if there is a good reason not to! Thanks!
     
  17. SnowDaisy822

    SnowDaisy822 Companion

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    My main reason was that she came back one weekend with fleas. Also, I had told the parents in a letter that if they had pets, she needed to be in a room away from them since it's so stressful for her. Well, I dropped her off at that same house and they had a dog that all it wanted to do was get at her. I swear I took years off of her life. It's really stressful for bunnies, but can be done if you're careful. The fleas was the last straw though. Ew!
     
  18. rchlkay

    rchlkay Companion

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    I have to agree that the pets like lizards, turtles, and fish are best if you have to think about allergies. I have a box turtle that I "inherited" when the last teacher left. I hate the thing (don't know why but just have a general phobia of them.) Luckily enough the kids do all of the care and feeding, not that there's much with a turtle, and my aide take him home during holidays.

    I had a seventh and eighth grade science teacher that went crazy with pets. We had a rabbit, two rats, gerbils, fish, a snake, and a chinchilla. Once she even brought in chickens that sat outside the door and a baby pygmy goat that ran around the room for a few months.

    Does anyone have any experience with chinchillas? I know that generally they are not good for young children but I think I might like one for myself.....
     
  19. corps2005

    corps2005 Cohort

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    Do you have to provide anything special for the turtle cages? A heat light? I'm completely ignorant of them. I'm not too fond of them either, but I would like a class pet. Yeah, I could try fish, but I've never owned a fish that's lasted more than a week. I'm about as good with fish as I am with my green thumb. :p

    I believe lizards need heated rocks or things of that sort.
     
  20. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    If you live in an area that gets cool, then you can get a heated basking rock or a heat lamp (I have a lamp). I actually don't use the lamp often, unless the heat goes out in my room. My turtles are vegitarians. I raised worms for them and they wouldn't touch them. They prefer lettuce, carrots, apples, and flowers. (They do like the dried shrimp from the pet store.) The one thing to be aware of with a turtle is that you are getting a life time pet. They can easily live 20 or 30 years. It's not a pet that you are only going to have a few years. Sheila (my female) is very friendly and runs around the room. Chance (my male) sits there in the hopes that he can move with no one looking at him. I still put him out for exercise. I keep them in a shallow plastic tote. It's one of the big ones meant to slide under the bed. The pet store sells all types of bedding. I am using the cocanut bark, that one seems to work the best. I keep a large water bowl (they like to climb in it) and a half log for them to climb in and on. Sheila is a climber an at least twice a day flips onto her back off the log. The kids get in the habit of flipping her over and getting right back to work. In the winter the heat tends to dry them out, especially Chance, so I use a spray that the pet store sells for their skin (smells like almonds) T-Rex Bio-Mist. They are with me for the summer and my cat loves them. She lays in their box with them (which they don't love!)
     
  21. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    I have three hermit crabs. I love them. They are easy to care for, relatively clean, and won't disturb anyones allergies. I let the children take them home over longer vacations (with parents permission of course) and I go to the school to care for them on short breaks and weekends. I also take them home for the summer.
     
  22. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    When I had gerbils, I had students take them home over the holiday breaks. I would take them in the summer. If it was just a long weekend, I would either feed them extra and hope for the best, or see if a family could take them. The problem with my school, is that people take a lot of vacations and are not home during the breaks. I did have a hard time getting someone to care for them on occasion.
     
  23. 3rdGradeTeachr

    3rdGradeTeachr New Member

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    Get a rat! I have an albino rat (named Templeton, of course) that I got from a local pet store, I've had him for a year. Last year, we got him when he was a baby and we measured his length and mass every Friday and kept a journal of his growth for math. He's also GREAT for science... we did experiments about hypothesizing which treat he would prefer (would he pick the carrot or cherry), whether he could find a treat hidden under a cup, etc...

    I know people have misconceptions of rats, but they're wonderful! All 25 of my students would hold him every day last year. Rats love being handled. They don't bite, they're very friendly, and SUPER SMART. They can learn tricks and they have a natural affinity towards people. We would take him out for recess every day, and he would just walk around in the grass near the children. He never ran away, he would just wander 2 or 3 feet and then come back and sit on one of their shoes, then venture out again.

    I LOVE my rat! Though I was very hesitant to get one, I did it on the advice of another teacher. And after seeing my test scores from the past school year, you would be SHOCKED at how much better my 3rd graders did in the "Weights and Measurements" and "Scientific Investigation" categories. They were very familiar with it because we used all those skills with Templeton every week.

    As for the cleanliness factor... I inherited a large metal cage (it's 2-stories) so it's open and he get lots of ventilation. I also line the bottom with a puppy training pad, then I layer wood chips on top of that. This way, it's very easy to clean... you just lift up the entire pad and throw it all away once a week. This was a classroom job for one of my kids, as was feeding and giving him water. EASY! :)
     
  24. NewbieTeachr

    NewbieTeachr Rookie

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    runsw/scissors:

    What do you keep your hermit crabs in? I was thinking about getting some if my school allows it
     
  25. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Just a ten gallon aquarium. They can usually be found at thrift stores.
     
  26. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    We keep ours in a clear tupperwear shoebox type plastic box with vents on the top.
     
  27. computergirl

    computergirl Rookie

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    Class pets

    I don't have a classroom (I don't even have a teaching job yet, although I am an aide in an elementary school). Anyway, please don't think I'm weird, but have you thought of a rat? I don't know if you can get them in your country, but here in the US you can get them at pet stores. Believe it or not, rats are very friendly creatures that love human interaction. I've had pet rats for over two years now, and I was the person who swore they'd never touch a rat when our Pastor's family had them as pets. I couldn't believe they could be pets. But then a parent at the school where I work brought her pet rat in and let me hold it, and it was so sweet. :wub: She told me they are so much better as a pet than a hamster because they actually like humans and they don't bite unless they are really provoked. They don't smell (if you get a female) and if you hold it a bit from the time you get it, it will become conditioned to humans and want attention. Right now we have three females in one cage at home (my daughter's one and my two) and my son has another female in a cage in his room. You can buy rat food at the pet store, and rat bedding, and clean the cage about once a week. Just keep them fed and watered (like a hamster or guinea pig) and play with them, and they are a wonderful pet. They live to be about two years old, or perhaps a few months longer than that.

    Don't think I'm crazy, please!:rolleyes:

    Alison in Texas

     
  28. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I agree Alison. I have 2 pet rats in my room and they are great. The kids love them and love helping with them.
     
  29. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I've mentioned before that I have an African Clawfrog. He's about 10 now. He has to be in water at all times, fresh tap water once a week, wash his rock that he hides under, feed him worms daily. He is so awesome.
     
  30. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Does the aquariaum ever get smelly? I have wanted frogs in the past but was concerned about the smelly factor.
     
  31. MrsNickle

    MrsNickle Companion

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    Are turtles very expensive to take care of? :confused:
     
  32. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    No, not at all. The heat lamp and bulb were about $20 and have lasted a couple of years. The box was actually one I already had, the log was on clearance, and I had the food bowls already. The day to day care is just water and food. I buy the bagged salad for them and the millipede. That's it. I do get bedding from time to time but that's not that expensive.
     
  33. MrsNickle

    MrsNickle Companion

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    Thanks ChristyF!
     
  34. MrsNickle

    MrsNickle Companion

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    Can you leave them at school at the weekends with food, or do you have to take them home and feed them?
     
  35. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Not if you clean it weekly. There might be a slight fishy smell by the end of the week. Make sure to remove anything that the frog doesn't eat(worms.) I use a pencil to fish it out if he doesn't grab it right away.
     
  36. classemom

    classemom Rookie

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    This is my first year teaching...so I have never done this before, but ... my son won a turtle this summer, so he is now going to be my class pet! (The turtle-haha!!) Anyway, I don't think it will be too bad...and me and my kids already love our little turtle....so I am sure my students will too! :)
     
  37. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    For extended holidays I bring them home, but for weekends, I just toss a little extra lettuce in and make sure they have water. Actually the Wildlife and Fisheries biologist that I work with said they are find being fed every 2 or 3 days. I feed mine daily, but not tons of food.

     
  38. Jenni

    Jenni Rookie

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    In reply to your question on chinchillas, I have a male chinchilla. Chinchillas I would like everyone to note do not make good classroom pets. You could stress one to death having it in a classroom. They are very timid little animals, even more so then rabbits. Other then this, they are somewhat expensive. They need at least a 3ft by 3ft by 3ft cage and need specialty food. Unlike many rodents they can live up to 20 years and therefore are a long term pet much like a cat or dog. They are sweet and energetic and full of curiousity. They are easily as smart as a pet rat or mouse and I would say just as easily trained. They form strong bonds to humans if well taken care of. Other then this feel free to PM me with questions do I don't hijack this thread anymore.

     
  39. katrinkakat

    katrinkakat Connoisseur

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    Hello to Ireland! That is a place that I definately want to visit someday! I love that this forum is international! I would wait until your class is underway to vote on a class pet. That way you will have time to find out if there are any allergies, and what will or will not be allowed. A class pet is a great idea, tho. Here 5th graders are 10 and 11 and 6th graders are 11 and 12, so it sounds about aligned with your country. :)
     
  40. MrsNickle

    MrsNickle Companion

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    Where can I buy a box turtle? I've tried Petsmart, they don't have them and said Petco wouldn't either. I've tried Russell Feed and Supply, as well as one local Aquarium store.
     
  41. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Both of mine are "rescued" turtles. One my nephew saved from our dog, and the other I plucked out of the middle of a busy roadway, he was in bad shape, I brought him back for some regular food and water and he's been here ever since. If you advertise to your students that you are looking for a turtle, you are bound to get one quickly. I can't tel you how many parents/grandparents/aunts/etc have contacted me over the years with offers of turtles, tortoises, hamsters, gerbils, etc. :D
     
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