Friday, August 19, 2011

New Class Pet.... Sponsored by Petsmart

Tonight's adventure.... purchasing a red-footed tortoise for a kindergarten class pet. Petsmart very graciously offered to set me up with a pet of my choice and everything I needed for its habitat. Thank you Petsmart!! I have a class of kindergartners anxiously awaiting the arrival of their class pet!!

First, I met with a Petsmart employee who showed me several pets and answered all of my questions. Together, we decided on a land turtle. Land turtles are easier to upkeep than aquatic ones. They are also easier for little ones to handle. Students can hold them and touch them without any concerns. They just need to wash their hands after handling them.

Here are the two turtles we had to choose from. I say "we" because my daughter, Abby, was as excited about purchasing the turtle as I was and had to be involved in every step of the process. We chose the bigger one because it had more red color on its feet. Both turtles are girls. I learned that girl turtles have smaller tails than boy turtles.

We needed lots of things to set up our new turtle's habitat.
- a large aquarium tank and screen lid
- two lamps (one for the basking bulb and one for the nighttime bulb, they need a warm side and a cool side)
- large water dish (for drinking water and for soaking in)
- a shallow food dish (they eat dark leafy greens, collard greens, apples, bananas, melons, and berries. You need to dust their food with calcium powder twice a week and they eat crickets, mealworms, or earthworms once every two weeks for protein.)
- an artificial log for a hiding area
- a thermometer (during the day on the cool side, the temperature should be 80-90 F and 95-100 F on the basking (or warm) side. At night, it should be 70-80 F.
- a hydrometer (the humidity level should be between 50-80%)You can lightly mist the tank with water from spray bottle each day.

Getting ready to go....

I got the turtle home and all set up. It was all very easy to do. Shelly (that is what Abby and I decided to name her) is going to hang out at my house for the next two weeks, while Mrs. McDonald gets her new class adjusted to school, daily routines, and class rules. At the beginning of September, I am going to introduce Shelly to the class through several science lessons on reptiles, habitats, living and non-living, basic needs, etc. I am working on putting these together now and will be sure to share when I am finished in case anyone else decides to purchase a land turtle for their class pet.

Watch for more postings in the next couple of weeks and throughout the school year on lessons and activities centered around our new class pet.

Thanks again Petsmart for your gracious offer and all of your assistance. Your employees were very knowledgeable and helpful with my purchase. Finding a new class pet has been a great experience.


Jenn said...

I'd love to do this with my class. Would you be willing to share how you got Patsmart to sponsor your class?

Anonymous said...

Class pets are great! This will be
such a wonderful opportunity for you children to learn about pets.

Anonymous said...

How exciting! I would love to have a pet in our classroom this year! I am curious, too, how you got Petsmart to sponsor this for you - if you don't mind, of course! :)

Rachelle said...

Oh how cute!!! Petsmart has contacted us and I think Natalie is getting a class pet this weekend {unfortunately we cannot have pets at our school}! YAY for Petsmart!!!!

Megan said...

oh my goodness, yes i would like to know how you got petsmart to sponsor you, too- might have to do this, as well!

megan @

Kristin said...

Yes . . . PLEASE share how this sponsorship thing works!!! :)
A Teeny Tiny Teacher

bwolfe said...

I would also like to know details! :)

Debbie said...

Wow! This post makes me want to get a class pet too. How much did all your materials cost or did PetSmart donate everything?
You are so wonderful to share. I just love visiting your site.

Mrs. Larremore said...

I actually did not contact Petsmart. They connected me after finding my blog. I will do some checking for everyone though and see how their sponsorships work. I will let you know what I find out about it. They gave me $250 and I spent about $300. Land turtles are actually kind of expensive compared to other things. The turtle itself was about $130.

Pearlann66 said...

How wonderful!! I had 3 water turtles a few years back in my classroom. They had been pets in one of our PreK rooms but the teacher was transferrring and didn't want to take the turtles. I am guessing they were just run of the mill lake turtles because they kept growing the year or two I had them. Eventually they were getting to big to keep in the room so we set them free!!

dbs0786 said...

I have 2 land turtles (rescued from the road in SC) and have had them as class pets for the last 3 years. I need to get them some new supplies from the pet store so any info you can provide would be great! Also I look forward to the school items you share, since I have never taught my kids much about them. I'm curious to know what bedding do you use?

debbie said...

This is the link to the Petco and Petsmart grant page. Grants are for classroom teachers PreK through Grade 6. The application is brief. They will fund a basic home for your pet and you need to pay for half of the pet. There is also a grant to pay for supplies and food if you already have a pet. Hope this helps.

April, I can't wait to hear and see more about Shelly's adventures! How fun!

Kristen said...

Oh my gosh, this is awesome!!! I can't wait to see more about your turtle, she is beautiful! Your kids will never forget this for sure. We raise Atlantic salmon every year (nowhere near as cute as a turtle) and it is the most memorable part of my students' year, they are so funny about it. Have fun and happy new school year!
Ladybug's Teacher Files

Mrs. Larremore said...

Thanks for the information Debbie. That is very helpful.

Mrs. Larremore said...

The information I listed in the post about food is specific to the Red Footed Tortoise. The lady at Petsmart said she has your basic land turtle and she alternates between fresh fruits and veggies and some kind of dry turtle pellet food.

The bedding is a natural bark reptile bedding. It was with all of the reptile supplies. It looks like little chunks of tree bark. The lady at Petsmart said you might want to put a thin layer of soil underneath the bark to help with absorption.

Ami-Beth said...

I am glad to read you went with a land turtle.

When I took over for a retiring K teacher, I inherited the class pet, Mr. Turtle, and aquatic (red eared slider) turtle who had a small bowl of water and something wrong with his shell. I had to nurse him back to health and he is alive and well to this day, 5 years later. But taking care of an aquatic turtle is SO much work.

Good Luck!

Deebi27 said...

I have a black male Guinea Pig. Max (as named by my class 3 years ago) is quite healthy to say the least. As I have a Pre-K classroom and always struggling to find space...our Max is up high and housed so fingers can't get bitten. My class loves to keep monitor on every movement Max makes and help clean his cage almost weekly! I wish Max was at ground/table level for more interaction. I am new to your blog through Pinterest and look forward to reading about Shelly as the year goes on...I know your class will love him as 3 classes have love Max!

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