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Posted by Mike on January 23, 1999 at 10:50:47:
In Reply to: Suggestion for animals in classroom posted by MHill on January 22, 1999 at 17:13:07:
There are obviously more acceptable herps available than you have space for. That makes filling the cages the easy part. With several cages available, a variety would help "broaden their horizons." Representatives from different families would be great. Corn snakes, some rat snakes and some kingsnakes are suitable for this. I'm a firm believer that you should know as much about your local area first before moving on to non-native herps. If the purpose of having these animals is just for the sake of having them, then it doesn't matter. I would suggest using local animals and try to create lessons dealing with local ecology first. If you say where you are located, I'm sure local breeders would either sell cheap or would love to make a donation for such a cause. I would put individual species in each of the smaller cages and create a naturalistic vivarium with the largest cage. The vivarium would contain live plant, running water, and smaller herps such as some frogs, lizards, and maybe a turtle or two. Don't rule out native animals. While many herpers want the exotic and unusual, kids who don't get out much (which seems to be the rule, rather than the exception these days) would be fascinated looking at a well-done exhibit regardless of the species displayed.
I am not a teacher yet, so I can't give you ideas on how to integrate the animals in lessons. I will graduate in December and hope to teach high school biology. I am adding a page to my web site titled, "Herps in School," which will tell stories and show photos of classroom experiences with herps. I am working on the first one right now which is about a 4th and 5th grade teacher who centers many of her lessons around herps. She has a wonderful experience with this and I think you will enjoy viewing the page when its done.
I'm sorry this doesn't give you ideas for "specific" animals, but I feel knowing more about your situation would help us give you better ideas for your class.
Wishing you success,