Children have a natural attraction to and curiosity about animals, but having a pet in the classroom provides more than just an interesting pastime for students. Working with classroom pets provides kids with valuable social skills. There are many different small mammals, reptiles and fish suitable as a classroom pet. The African Dwarf Frog is a perfect example.
African dwarf frogs make interesting classroom pets that students might not otherwise have exposure to. They are easy to care for and fascinating to observe. Dwarf frogs will need an aquarium with about one gallon of water per frog. The aquarium does not need to be heated as long as temperature is maintained above 70 degrees. The bottom of the tank can be left bare, making pickup of waste and uneaten food easy with a turkey baster, or you can use sand or aquarium gravel. Larger gravel or marbles should not be used, because the frogs can get trapped under heavier pieces. Of course, clean your tank when needed – every week or two.
Provide your frogs with plants to create a natural environment and offer hiding places. If you choose artifical plants, use silk plants so they don’t scratch the frogs. Your African dwarf frogs will want other hiding places, so you can choose from various aquarium decorations that might provide a cave or spot under a bridge to hide in.
Feeding your African dwarf frogs can be fun. Ask your pet store professional what type of food to try with your frogs. Some suggestions are live guppy fry, freeze dried brine shrimp or bloodworms, or earthworms cut into bite-sized pieces. You can drop the food into the tank, or onto a small feeding plate within the tank. You can also feed your frogs by hand, by holding the food between your fingers in the water. They may be afraid of your hand at first, but will begin to associate your fingers with food. You can tap the side of the aquarium gently when it is feeding time, and they will also begin to associate the tapping with feeding and come over when you tap! This will also make them more fun to interact with, as they will be less shy around people if they are hand fed.
Do you want a pet for your classroom? Do you have a classroom pet, but would like help with supplies? Visit Pets in the Classroom and apply for your grant. It’s easy, it’s fast, and pets are fun!