1. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    How many of you have a class pet and if so what is it?

    My kids LOVED the butterfly unit and I would love to have a more permanent pet in the room but I want it to be something easy and something that can stay for up to a 3 day weekend without needing to be taken home.

    I would love a turtle or a frog, but the center for disease control says not for kids under five. Thoughts?

    We have a really small room. We also tend to have pretty severely behavior/autistic special education students for different parts of the year as "misplacements."
     
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  3. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Fish?????? they are relatively easy to care for and the kids love them.
     
  4. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    hermit crabs are fun too....
     
  5. mrs.oz

    mrs.oz Companion

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    Jul 7, 2006

    I was going to ask the same thing. I ordered a hermit crab environment from LTD Commodities. I have never had class pets either. I was thinking about turtles. Does any one know if these cause a problem with disease if the children are not handling them. I heard rabbits get nervous around a lot of children and would not make good classroom pets and that mice are the best pets in the classroom.
     
  6. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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  7. dolphinswim

    dolphinswim Companion

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    Jul 7, 2006

    I do fish. I have a pond and I get the baby gold fish (when they are still grey) and put them in the tank at school. I have the kids guess what they are then try to measure them using things like paper clips, cubes, crayon and so on...then through the year we look at the fish as they grow and change color. I also let them name the fish and if one dies that is another lesson in itself! I also have one snail in there and at the end of the year we have 12 to 15 or more...and we talk about that too! My kids love it and so do the other kids that can see the tank from the door.

    I also want to do another pet this year...maybe a hermit crab, worm farm, or ant farm.
     
  8. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    I have a guinea pig named Pinky that I adore. She lives at school during the year, and goes home with a different child each weekend (pending parental approval) but she's all mine in the summer. She is my fourth one. We had to give one away when I moved to England, we got another there, we had to give THAT one away when we moved back. My third one met an untimely death while at a student's home for the weekend (horrible, horrible story), and now we have Pinky. The kids love her. We do research on mammals and rodents and we use her when we discuss healthy food choices (as guineas love veggies and fruit).

    In my district, we aren't allowed to have any birds, reptiles or amphibians for long term classroom pets. (We can grow frogs from tadpoles, but they must be released within a set number of days.) They can carry diseases.

    I've also had hamsters (they bite and they ate each other!!!) and a rabbit (who was very unsocial). So far, I've only had wonderful guinea pig experiences, though, and will always keep one in my classroom.
    Kim
     
  9. Mrs_Goatess

    Mrs_Goatess Comrade

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    Jul 7, 2006

    I recommend hermit crabs. I know a hermit crab that survived the school being destroyed in a hurricane last year and without anyone seeing it for two weeks!

    Plus, kids can paint shells that the crabs can live in.
     
  10. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I have had one of those African Claw frogs in my classroom for about 10 years. I feed him worms(live,) and change his water once a week or so. The kids love him!
    I had trouble keeping hermit crabs alive.
    Furry animals are too much trouble.
    Fish are boring.
    Birds poop all over.
    The frog has been perfect.
     
  11. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    also consider that animals w/ hair may not be a good choice because of allergies.
     
  12. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I had a hamster this year and she's now home with me. I love her, really got her socialized (with treats), and have decided to keep her at home. Hamsters are nocturnal and she only wants to play in the evenings. I hated to wake her up during the day so she wasn't too much fun in the classroom.
     
  13. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Oh, gerbils!! When my oldest daughter turned 7, she wanted a pet for her own to live in her room. She really wanted a hamster, but in my experiences, hamsters bite, so I nixed that. She did some research in the school library and came up with a gerbil. I didn't want to go for it, because they remind me of mice (long tails, small ears), but the evidence was convincing, and it really has been the greatest pet. Here's what we found out:
    1. They are not nocturnal.
    2. They tend not to bite, but that, of course, depends on the animal.
    3. They don't need cleaning as often as guinea pigs or hamsters.
    4. They can live happily in smaller quarters because they like to "nest."

    Kim
     
  14. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jul 8, 2006

    I'm the animal teacher at my school. I normally have rats. (My last pair passed away this past year, I'm debating on getting more, but want to get them young.) I have a red-eared slider (Lucky), a pair of box turtles (Chance and Sheila) that I've had for 7 or 8 years now (the slider stays in his box/tank although the kids feed him flies, crawfish, etc, but the box turtles have free roaming rights most days. We just set them out and let them wander I have a note on the door that warns visitors to close the door so the turtles don't get out.) I've got fish (mostly tropical although I've had a local fish tank before.) We have a giant african millipede (Stretch). I also have visiting "friends" that come throughout the year, frogs, snakes, etc. This year we had a sugar glider that stayed with us for a day or so.
    Whatever you get, use it to teach responsibility to the kids (no tapping on the glass of the fish tank, no poking at the rats, etc). Let them be part of taking care of the pets. Also, if you get a turtle or frog, etc and it's not a local one, please don't release it if you don't want to keep it. Exotic species can cause so much trouble in ecosystems.
    That said, I love my pets. They are part of our lessons and the kids love visiting them and taking care of them. (I teach 5th so they can be a lot more involved in that part.)
     
  15. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    Jul 8, 2006

    Ohhhhh! If you do get a rat (I'm assuming a mouse would be the same) and keep him in a cage with bars, make sure nothing gets within arm's reach of him. I moved my rats last year and came in the next day to discover that they had pulled my curtain (a sheet) into their cage and shredded it. They had a nice little nest going in the corner. They'll do that with anything (electrical wires, etc) so be careful!
     
  16. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Jul 8, 2006

    Christy- Sounds like you have a nice little zoo in your room... the kids must love it. I don't know about the rats though. I would have to get used to that. :D
     
  17. kathy2215

    kathy2215 Companion

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    Jul 8, 2006

    i recceommend a small animal such as a hamster, gueni pig or gerbil. I need my thesis on animal asssited tehrapy and these animals can help with your children let me know if you wnat some advice how or how to addressw the school with that
     
  18. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Jul 8, 2006


    Pet Therapy IS a wonderful thing. It's used with great results with special needs populations as well.
     
  19. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I really want to get a guinea pig again. They're not as fast as some of the smaller pets, easier to hold, they communicate with you. You guys who have had biting hamsters - ours bit one student, then me. We both cried from the pain. But I know it was 'cause the hamster was scared. I began luring her with raisins every morning. Now she comes to the door of the cage when I talk to her, climbs out the open door and up my shirt! I love her little hands. And you should see her drive her little hamster truck around!
     
  20. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    My rats, especially the males, weren't fast at all. But then, I had never had rats before. I fed them twice a day. They seemed hungry! I would feed them in the morning and again in the afternoon. Needless to say they got rather larger. I was putting them back in the cage after cleaning it and I dropped Stewart. He didn't run. He just sat there looking at me like, "Now what?" I just put him back in the cage.
    The males were more friendly than the females, but none of them would walk in the ball. I got a "harness" for them. They still wouldn't walk. They just sat there looking at me!
     
  21. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Have you ever had a ferret? Now they are entertaining!!
     
  22. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    My son had 2 ferrets. They both bit. They were very, very funny! They would run and roll and wrestle, go zooming across the room and back at it again!
    The drawbacks were , the biting, they were escape artists, and they stunk very badly.
     
  23. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    In college, my friend had a ferret, her roommate had a guinea pig... guess who's not with us anymore....the guinea pig. He was brutatlly attacked by the ferret :(
     
  24. Mable

    Mable Enthusiast

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    Jul 8, 2006

    I've had
    1. fish
    2. hermit crabs
    3. guinea pigs
    4. hamsters
    5. turtle

    Of all, fish are the easiest. I gave guinea pigs and hamsters away and the hermit crabs and turtle are at home with me year round.
    Hamsters and guinea pigs I found to be very smelly and dirty (i am a clean freak..) I was spending too much time before school cleaning cages instead of doing things to prepare for the day. I love my turtle. She is not fully aquatic but I never let the students handle her (or any of my pets) too afraid of getting someone sick. Anyway- hermit crabs need more care than one would think. Please get educated on the proper care of your hermies before getting them. They need so much more than what the pet store tells you- so many die because of improper care. They're not as easy as one would believe.
     
  25. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    can you elaborate about the hermit crabs?
     
  26. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I don't let my ferret use those plastic tubes because I found that those are what really stink. The plastic absorbs the urine. The best cage is a fish tank, but it's hard to get accessories for it. I can let the cage go one week without cleaning. When I had a guinea pig, I used a huge Rubbermaid tub.
     
  27. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Guinea pigs can, indeed, get stinky very quickly. I also use a fish tank for a cage, and mine is huge. I can't lift it easily and it's the kind on a stand...you know the kind I mean? (I have a second one at home for the times she spends at home with me.). This way, some of the odor stays inside, and no curious fingers can poke a sleepy piggy. Still, the cage needs to be cleaned at least 2 times a week. By clean, I mean just scooping out the bedding and replacing it. I scour her cage with hot water and soap about 3 times a year. When she's at home with me, she's in a much smaller aquarium, and we clean her every morning.
    Kim
     
  28. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Jul 9, 2006

    I have had great success with rats and mice. They are both very timid and tame animals that do not (usually) bite. I have never had a good gerbil...all the ones I have seen have bit. Dwarf hamsters also bite, but I have found that larger teddy bear hamsters are pretty timid and tame. Hermit crabs are VERY susceptible to mites...ick!
     
  29. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Of all the little furry rodents, I like the guinea pigs the best. I love how they squeal when they get to know you. I think rats are excellent pets, but I just can't get myself to handle them. I had gerbils and they were biters. I would love to have a cat at school!
     
  30. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    Jul 9, 2006

    That's one reason I love being home Grammy, we have two cats as pets.:D However, our older one does NOT like children at all. He's not mean to them, his ears just go back and he bolts away from them. He tries to be sneaky, but they always manage to see him walking around and as soon as he hears those feet coming towards him, he freaks. Every once in awhile they will sneak up to him when he's not looking, then pet him so gently, then he realizes it's one of the kids and you can almost read his mind saying "Oh crap!". Our little Sock's though loves the kids. She likes to snuggle with them while they sleep. Sometimes she even wakes them up:( . Wouldn't that be a trip to have one in your classroom? That would be awesome!
     
  31. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    When one of my sons was in grade school, there was a cat that would come into the classroom through the windows. The teacher was very cool about it and would let the cat stay as long as it wanted. It would sit on their desks and everything! Isn't that cute?!
     
  32. JenPooh

    JenPooh Virtuoso

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    That is adorable! There is a daycare somewhere in Minnesota that is on a farm. The kids get to help in raising the animals...pigs, cows, chicken, and they have 2 cats that roam the daycare. I would LOVE to work there! It's also inside a huge old house. I forgot the name of it though, but I took a tour there for a field trip in college and it was so awesome looking!
     
  33. TXTeacher4

    TXTeacher4 Companion

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    Jul 9, 2006

    I know a teacher that adopted a puppy that was a hurricane victim. She was allowed to keep it for a few months and the kids took turns taking it home. I think one of the kids permanently adopted it.
     
  34. kathy2215

    kathy2215 Companion

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    All of your answers are great. I think the think we need to remmeber as teachers is that any animal we brign in meeeds to be trained and well mannered. It is usually eaiser to start with a baby animal.
     
  35. teach_12

    teach_12 New Member

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    Please please please do not keep your guinea pig in an aquarium! They need air. They are not recommended for classrooms. Guinea Pigs are great pets for adults. I have 5 females at my home. Occasionally, I will take one to preschool with me but I could never let one of my guinea pig and they are very happy. Pet store cages are just as bad as aquariums. A Guinea Pig needs a cage mate. They don't like to be alone and a room full of kids is not the answer to a cage mate! They do not bite. They may nibble on your finger but it's very unlikely unless you smell of veggies and fruits. They need lots of floor time, which means they need out of the cage and plenty of time to run around on the floor for several hours a day, especially if they live in a small cage.

    A classroom is NOT A GOOD PLACE for a guinea pig! Do not have a guinea pig as a classroom pet! Stick with a fish! I don't care how boring they are!

    Also, guinea pigs need hay, fresh veggies, fruits, water and pellets daily! You are at least giving this poor guinea pig the proper foA can get very lonely and wil and their bites do not hurt at all. They also need their nails clipped and vet care!

    Research pets before you pick one for your class. Guinea pigs are cute and friendly but they really should not be used as a class pet! That is cruel, in my opinion!

    Check out guinealynxdotinfo -- It's an awesome site about Guinea Pigs!
     
  36. Ann2006

    Ann2006 Cohort

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    Aug 11, 2006

    Upsadaisy...it's early and I'm reading these wonderful posts about class pets. I've never had one because I am always worried someone will either hurt a pet or behurt by one.
    Ok...so I'm reading about the guinea pig and how you socialized it (with treats). I was reading these quickly and I thought you said (with threats) LOL!!!! As I said...it's early!
    Now I'm cracking up because I'm imagining this guinea pig going through obedience training via threats!!! LOL
    Sorry!
     
  37. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Hahaha. Oh, how cruel!! I'm not cruel!

    I think it was my hamster that I socialized with treats, though. When I had guinea pigs, they arrived socialized - and had each other for companions.
     
  38. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Thank you for your reply and your love of animals. I wish more people would think like you. I have saved a few pets where I work...by just taking them out of their rooms and putting them in mine!!! I will not stand for people ignoring or mistreating pets. When one of the teachers wanted to bring some bunnies to put outside on the playground(in a pen,) I got busy and gave the director a print out of why that would be cruel. I think you get the picture. This lady was mad at me and ya know what? I don't care. Maybe she learned something about how to treat animals.
     
  39. msladybugzz

    msladybugzz Rookie

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    Aug 11, 2006

    I have had the following pets in my classroom during different years:
    rabbit (allowed to run free, used litter box)
    cockatiel
    hamsters
    gerbils
    fish
    hermit crabs
    tadpoles/frogs
    turtles
    guinea pig
    chicks (hatched from eggs in incubator)

    Turtles were banned several years back. Tadpoles were great for learning the life cycle, but they STINK!!! Hermit crabs were boring, but clean. The bird was great at first, but became spoiled and started talking during lessons (LOL). The rabbit died (very sad, he was so great!) The hamsters were nocturnal, so slept all day (boring). The chicks - good intentions, but overall it was sad, some didn't hatch, two were deformed, and then we had to give the others to a farm because they peeped all the time. The guinea pig was great, but during "Mother's Day Tea" a younger sibling tried to pick it up by it's foot and she bit him (nothing major, but I took her home anyway).
    That leaves the gerbils...they played most of the day (as opposed to the hamsters) and were VERY tame and clean - kept in a glass tank cleaned each Friday by students designated as "pet keepers". They ran in balls around the classroom as a class "reward". They could be fed and watered for a weekend, no need to go home except holiday breaks.
    I'd go with gerbils again anytime! :)
     
  40. tm91784

    tm91784 Comrade

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    Aug 12, 2006

    I have done projects involving my pet mouse before. I have brought him into the classroom for just a few days rather than as a permanent pet because he involves a lot of work. He is very gentle with the children and works really well as a pet. The only thing is that he does need his cage cleaned often because it smells really horrible. Female mice do not have an odor if you can find one of them.
     
  41. Michelle Raposo

    Michelle Raposo Rookie

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    Aug 16, 2006

    I know our centre had a bunny rabbit the year before I was hired. That went well.
     

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