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.
The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson
1 hour ago