What is the easiest class pet to have?
Easy to clean, relatively quiet, lives a long time, and good with groups staring at them?
Everyone, call my husband. He is Mr. Drew and His Animals TOO! He gathers tanks from donations and sets them up for teachers FOR FREE! He’s very involved with schools and pet education.
Adopt one from FONZ or some other wildlife organization. Some come with a way to see them on the web. Ours also came with a stuffed animal version and a certificate we could hang in the room.
I have a red eared slider turtle. She is great. Responds to the kids. Eats out of my fingers, quiet and with a filter the tank really stays clean. And they do live long lives.
Guinea pig! My last two each lived over 7 years – there’s no smell if you keep their cages cleaned out – they can’t climb, they’re not too fast, they love company!
My guinea pigs love school in my kindergarten class.
Hissing cockroaches. Easiest pet ever and kids love impressing their parents by handling a two inch long insect!
I have Stan the Stone (it’s a pet rock). I let the kids take him home on the weekend and write about what they did with him. They present on Monday mornings.
Hermit crab, kids can feed and water, lives forever, mine is going on three years!
Hermit crabs–if you can get some that don’t die the first week, you’re good to go. Cockroaches?! Yuck–we grow our own in our school!
I had a few African dwarf frogs. You aren’t going to find an easier pet. They are little and easy. No noise and the kids can stare all they want. The year I had them the kids just couldn’t get enough. We named them and everything.
We have a Guinea Pig and a goldfish. They are both relatively low maintenance. The Kinders LOVE to hold our guinea pig, and he loves the attention. Check out the ‘pets in the classroom’ grant. I received that grant last year, and that’s how we got our class pet.
Water frogs/red ear &/or box turtles/bearded dragons/beta fish/rats. Have had all & kids love them
I have had red eared slider turtles for the last 3 years. They are super easy to take care of. Just make sure you change the filter every once in awhile. The kids love them!
Hedgehog- mine only comes out of her house when the kids are quietly reading. Very little fur so no one is allergic. Introduces great vocabulary! Clean its cage twice a week and no noise. Mine likes to run around the room in a hamster ball too
With any reptiles, make sure your students wash their hands after touching them. They can carry salmonella. Not likely anymore, but at one time it was a huge problem.
I have a hedgehog! The kids love it when I get Fluffy out of his cage! He is nocturnal so he does sleep all day.
I did a lot of research and decided on a rat. They are smart (trainable), adapt to be non-nocturnal when around people, and much more hearty than other pet rodents, so safer for kids to handle. I wanted a pet that the kids could help care for and handle. She isn’t as comfortable with the whole class as I’d hoped, but the students love to have her roam in her ball and they are thrilled to share their snack with her. It is also fun to get her new toys and watch her play. I take her out and let student handle her while I clean the cage. She has been a great addition to the class (and our family)! I think my husband will really miss her when I take her back to school next week: )
Leopard gecko!! Feed it crickets. Kid get to watch it hunt and catch its food. Very very low maintenance.
I have the sweetest guinea pig ever! She adores my preschoolers and they love helping take care of her. She talks to us when we enter the room and loves to have her back petted. I also got a grant from Petco last fall. Every PreK -12 teacher can apply each year for a grant….Pets in the Classroom
Check with your school administration before getting anything. We were told no live pets anymore due to allergies.
Mammals stink. Reptiles are the way to go. Kids love them and don’t get as attached to them as they might a mammal. When they die it is less of a dramatic event.
I have a beta fish and a tadpole. The beta is starting his second year of kindergarten. He will fluff up his fins when the class is too loud. His red will get brighter at the end of the day if the pet feeder forgets to feed him. The tadpole was given to me in April and still has not grown legs! Last year’s kids loved to watch him. Hopefully, he will become a froglet soon.
Guinea pigs DO SMELL & poop a ton so would NOT call them low maintenance. My bearded dragon is pretty low maintenance now that it’s grown.
I have Madagascar hissing cockroaches and we also have a vermiposter, with over 1000 red wiggler worms.. and the kids get to learn about composting.
You should NOT get a guinea pig or rat unless you are willing to get two. They are very social animals and need the companionship of another guinea pigs or rats It’s cruel to keep social animals alone and a bad example on teaching about animal welfare. Our district also doesn’t allow mammals to be kept at school, but some still do.
Please check the life expectancy of your potential pet to be sure you can care for it when your school year is done. For example, leopard geckos can live 18 years or more.
When we were allowed to have classroom pets I always had Teddy Bear Hamsters. They are cute as can be and live 3-4 years. Although nocturnal animals by nature their clocks can be reset. I would put them in the hamster ball and let them roll around the classroom. The children loved it. Also, they would run on the wheel in their pen. I always used an aquarium with a screen top as a cage – very secure and little fingers or objects could not get it.
Hermit crabs are about as easy as it gets
a rubber ducky
Rabbits are definitely the favorite – but very high maintenance to keep them smelling fresh, time out of cage and to bring them home every weekend (also more expensive than our family dog). We also have done hamsters, turtles and a rat that were well loved but also took a little more maintenance. The leopard gecko and gold fish have been less maintenance, but the kids are not as interested in them. Still worth having a pet in the classroom!
Frogs, firebelly newts, beta fish….all easy! pollywogs are good too…super easy..but short term….if you get bull frog pollywogs….they take forever to change… box turtles are good too.
I’ve had rabbits and guinea pigs and would NOT get them again! A lot of work! I like gerbils. They are not nocturnal, parents care for their young and they are cute to watch. Don’t put cardboard tubes in for them to chew if u want to keep the odor low. The bedding is easy to change and keeps them smelling fine!
I have an African water frog. It’s a low maintenance pet and is very entertaining for the students. It is not allowed in Hawaii and California.
Jenna I have a stuffed gorilla named Mitchell…no maintenance, kids love him, we celebrate his birthday, he’s in class pictures and at events. No animals are allowed in my school so I improvised.
I had an African frog, too. It was great to watch & easy to care for. Just change water every few days. The kids took turns feeding him.- just dropped in some Newt & Salamander bites one at a time once a day. He attacked & grabbed each piece of food w his front feet. Quite fun to watch, Mine lived a LONG time- died a year ago at age 14!! I hear the average lifespan is more like 2.
Turtle or tortoise
Because of the allergic issues, I was told I could have fish. I have had beta fish. There is very little maintenance. I fed him and added water as needed. He lived 3 years.
I’ve had good luck with tropical fish called Parrot Fish — I had two that lived 10 years. The kids love to watch them swim and it seems to relax “active” kids.
Water frogs definitely! Change water three times a year but water always stays clear. Feed twice a week. Kids love to watch them swim.
Paid 20 cents each for 5 goldfish — 3 are still swimming after 4 years.
We have a fancy rat. Curious, friendly, and the girls are super clean.
My Asian Glass Legless Lizard, Herb, has been a hit for over 35 years! Very quiet, always content, prefers to be alone, eats with eyes-agog students watching (parent permission required!), and easy to clean up after! Requirement: need to love constantly explaining why he’s a lizard, NOT a snake!
Hermit crabs, definitely…
African dwarf frogs. The same ones mentioned by Denise above. They are tiny, super easy, and really cool!
A stuffed animal
I have had my painted turtle, maybe 14 years…and had a goldfish for about 10 years…now have a betta fish…kids love naming them! Great thinking process.
I have two leopard geckos, for the past 7 year. Easy, low maintenance, and they don’t really care about the kids
tortoise and composting worms, perfect!
Gina Morris Anni Fish in a small aquarium with a pump. Walmart has some pretty cool ones now. I’ve had many over the years, but mammals do smell and sometimes bite. Allergies are an issue too. My own children are very allergic to those little crabs from the beach and guinea pigs. Both start up their asthma.
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