This morning students discovered that the crickets we keep as food for the fire-bellied toads are stinking up the classroom, so we decided to move them to the outdoor classroom (better known as “the white benches”). Upon leaving the building at the end of the day, I discovered that we had an “outside” animal also interested in our captive crickets. By the time I had put down the half-a-dozen things I was holding so I could take a picture, the lizard appeared to be more interested in me, but when I first busted him (her?) checking out the cricket situation, he’d been mesmerized. Even still, I think the lizard’s basic quandary is evident from the picture I got. I got a kick out of it, at any rate.
As you can imagine, there is quite a bit involved when it comes to keeping classroom pets. Our classroom has managed to obtain living examples from each class of vertebrates, and so far we’ve even managed to maintain their status as living examples. So, in our classroom, students can observe a reptile (Pricilla, the bearded dragon), two birds (Desi and Lucy, the zebra finches), a mammal (Sparkles, the grumpy hedgehog), two amphibians (the fire-bellied toads who have no names), and a collection of various fish, also without names. To feed the toads, as mentioned, we also keep crickets. And to feed the bearded dragon, we have super worms which are actually the larvae of some kind of beetle.
The following items are on the menu in our classroom. Can you guess who eats what (or whom)?
a. cat food
e. lettuce and other veggie leftovers
f. fish food
g. bird seed
ANSWERS: a – hedgehog, b - crickets, c – bearded dragon, d – fire-bellied toads, e – super worms, f – fish, g – birds
And, of course, all living things need water and a reasonably clean place to live. The work required is substantial and time-sensitive. As teachers, we encourage the students to do as much of this maintenance as possible so that the animals’ presence in the classroom is not, well, for naught.