I like to have animals in the classroom. My students love to name them, take care of them, draw them, study them, write about them, have parties for them, and even have funerals for them. But unfortunately with so many allergy issues and the hassle of taking care of them over weekends and breaks, it’s not convenient for furry little classroom pets. Here are some low-maintenance pets that I have had:
1 – Charlie our Tarantula
We have had Charlie for over four years. It’s a perfect classroom pet because it needs hardly anything. We just keep some water in the aquarium and feed it meal worms and crickets occasionally. It hibernates for long periods of time when you don’t need to provide food and water. It’s fascinating for students and it’s fun to see it slough off it’s exoskeleton. We came to school the next day and thought we had two tarantulas. I don’t let it crawl on me, but I have a paraprofessional who does and will take it out to show the kids.
2 – A Fish Ecosystem
This is a low maintenance fish kit that we have had for a year in my classroom. I bought this kit from Amazon and we made a couple of modifications. First we tried growing the seeds that were provided in the kit, they sprouted but then died so the plants didn’t provide the necessary balance. So our two initial fish (guppy and a snail) also died. But we had a nice funeral. So I bought two little peace plants from the pet store as well as another guppy and an algae eater. We have had better luck with this. We also accidentally broke the air filter/bubbler, but this turned out to be better for the fish as the first bubbler seemed to create too many bubbles that made the fish stressed (though I don’t know that for sure). Anyway, the kids take turns feeding it, and taking it home over the breaks. The fish rarely get fed over the weekends, so far so good.
3 – A Snake
This is actually another teacher’s classroom pet, but she swears by it. Again, very low maintenance.
Other class pet ideas:
Turtles, lizards, birds, and small furry guys (rats, guinea pigs, and hamsters). Here is some information from PetSmart about classroom pets and teacher grants for pets.
So I hope you will consider adding a pet to your classroom!