I am lucky enough to work in a preschool that allows and encourages all types of classroom pets.
The best pet story I can recall is when my gerbil escaped from his cage overnight and I found him behind the file cabinet 3 weeks later. Yea, that was a good one – but the better story comes from the time when I had two gerbils sharing a cage. The pet store clerk said, go ahead, get two gerbils, they like the company and I’m like, OK, that’s cute, the class will love it. They are both girls, right?
The class did love it until the day I came into the room, flipped on the light and discovered six tiny, wrinkled, pink, hairless baby gerbils in the cage. Let me tell you that baby gerbils are not cute no matter how hard you try to convince yourself. I turned my attention to the culprits and railed into them…Dude, really, you couldn’t keep it in your fur? Are you that weak-minded? Weren’t you packing little gerbil protection?
And you, Missy, with your innocent sultry eyes. Did you seduce him with a paper towel roll and a romp on the wheel? Did you seal the deal after you rubbed all against him with your soft ears and long whiskers? And now look at you, a young mother with six babies and a baby daddy that sleeps all day and goes for wild wheel rides at night. Obviously, you are both young and foolish and did not think this through and you are both NOT girls!
When I think of baby animals, I think cute, furry and doe-eyed but that was not what was waiting for me in the cage that morning.
Has all necessary features….cute, furry, doe-eyed.
I was thankfully made aware that the babies need to leave as soon as they are able because the male gerbil has the tendency to eat their young and that is the kind of science experiment I’m not willing to engage in with a bunch of 5 year olds. I did as I was told and donated the dad and the six little ones to the Humane Society as soon as I could.
I like classroom pets but I don’t have a ton of luck with them. Although, I’ve had my one fish for over 2 months so I think I’m getting better at it.
Over the years, I’ve housed several gerbils, a rabbit, and a parrot. I am also a foster parent to crickets, ants and worms which all find their way into my room from the outside.
My new challenge is surviving my stinkbug invasion. At this point, I’m getting the idea they think my classroom is going condo and in this market, even stinkbugs know a good deal when they see it.