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Home : 2006 : Aug : 16

    keep it simple
    By pets

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    I've had lots of different pets over the years...some came with the jobs I've had... like at one school, I inherited a HUGE iguana. I didn't like the idea at first, but he "grew on me". I wouldn't have ever picked one of those out myself though - way too much maintenence. THis iguana was so big that he could have really hurt me with that tail if he wanted to. (They whip their tails when upset). Luckily, he came to trust me, but I never let my guard down with him. I sort of resent the fact that I was given this thing and expected to pay for its up keep and do all the mainentence myself and I wasn't even asked if I wanted it... but that's a another issue.

    I have had rats. I know, you probably think they're gross... but they really are very intelligent and loving little critters. Its nice for the students to show them how stereotypes aren't always true. They are just like any other animal... they just happen to have an ugly.

    Along the same lines, Madagascar HIssing Roaches are great for teaching that lesson. They are very easy to care for. The need only the simplest of cages, some bark mulch, water and dry dog food and they are all set! One of mine escaped one year and I found it healthy and happy in the closet 3 months later! So, you can certainly leave them for a couple of weeks over vacations and not worry about them. Mine never did it in my possession, but they can demonstrate the egg, larvae, pupae, adult life cycle to the kids. You get them mail order. I"m sure you can do a search and find some.

    The favorites among the kids were the turtle (kid brought it in and gave it to me) and the rabbits. It was a wild aquatic turtle, illegal for me to keep, but a gave it to me and I couldn't just release it in the parking lot. The turtle grew from the size of a silver dollar to the size of my hand in 2 yrs. He was very animated and fun. He was also a lot of up-keep... the sun lamp bulbs were expensive and he was a messy eater. Cleaning his tank was a huge production. My principal would come by just to see the turtle! When I left that school, I gave it to a kid to care for and they gave it to their state's cooperative extension service. Now the turtle is in a tank at a nature center. Come to find out, it was a protected species!

    If you are worried about allergies and diseases, the African clawed frog (aquatic and easy to care for) and the hissing roaches are a good bet.

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