Top 10 pet Reptiles
Classroom pets are an excellent way to teach young children about responsibility. However, deciding which animal is best suited to a noisy environment and constant human attention can be a daunting task. To make sure elementary school teachers know what to avoid, here is a list of the top 10 worst choices for a classroom pet.
#10 Hermit Crabs
Hermit crabs are a class favorite for their low maintenance, but as classroom pets they are amongst the most boring of pets. They prefer to spend a lot of their time being still, and they are easily startled back into their shells. Two more things to consider: Hermit crabs can have a foul smell, which can make the classroom an unpleasant place to be if the terrarium is not kept up with; and far from being the short-lived throwaway pets they are often considered to be, hermit crabs can actually have a life-span of 20-30 years, so keeping them in an environment in which they are not well cared for is unethical.
Snakes don’t shed, aren’t noisy and, if you keep their habitat clean, don’t emit a strong odor either. So, why don’t snakes make good classroom pets? Their unpredictable temperament (especially when molting) can result in aggressive behavior towards inquisitive children. Most importantly, being reptiles, snakes have been known to transmit Salmonella.
These carnivorous members of the weasel family fall under the category of exotic (read: more expensive to care for) pets. Plus, they have a strong odor even after their musk glands have been removed. Generally, ferrets have excitable and aggressive dispositions. Even well trained, they have a tendency to nip when they feel threatened. Overall, ferrets and small children are not a good combination.
If children in your classroom suffer from allergies, you might think a bird would be a good fit - but birds shed dander. They’re also messy and noisy. Birds bite if handled too much, especially if they’re not being handled gently. Also, all that classroom noise and activity isn’t very peaceful; a nerve-wracked bird will pluck out its feathers. Finally, birds can transmit diseases like parrot fever and Salmonella.
Raising a frog to adulthood from the tadpole stage, or keeping an adult frog in a class full of young children is appealing, but misguided. Why don’t frogs make good classroom pets? Younger children will want to handle and pet the amphibian, and that poses a considerable risk for transmission of Salmonella. The Center for Disease Control provides vital information in this article: Reptiles, Amphibians and Salmonella.