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  1. #1
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    Default Gecko's in the classroom?


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    Hi! I'm Chloe from London.

    I don't have a great deal of experience with lizarads but at least some... As a kid to a teenager I had a geen iggy which unfortunately we had rehomed when my brother went to uni and didn't have time for her which was regrettable even though she was a spiteful cow!!!

    Throughout that time we also had a leopard gecko who died about 4 years ago.

    Now I am a science teacher and am lucky enough to have my own lab in which i keep a praying mantis (Chinese) a range of different stick insect species and a 35 litre tropical fish set up.

    I really believe that animals can be inspiring and motivational to pupils, plus being in an all boys shcool- it means they dont give me such a hard time as they think I'm "COOL"

    So now i'm looking to get some lizards in my lab but there are a few issues that need adressing...

    First of all weekends, I need something that is ok left for a couple of days (I'm happy to buy one of those water drip things if needs be.)

    Secondly there is always a risk of a power cut- whilst i guess this is the same for all households and the school doesnt experience them frequently, if there were to be one say friday night, nobody would know until Monday morning so i'd need the lizard to be fairly hardy to lower temps just incase

    Also the viv needs to be small and this is for a very important reason- I occaisonally do experiments involving chemicals that give off fumes and therefore the viv would need to be picked up and moved to another room on these days ( i'm more of a biologist so avoid them when i can but if they're in the curriculum then they have to be done!!)

    Also i will be taking the lizard(s) home with me at holidays so need its needs to be easily transportable

    Preferably I would like something that is active in the day like a day gecko but also something that doesn't mind handling- although this is not essential


    Something that is not going to be stressed by kids glaring at it all day is also a plus- my classroom managements is tight and the viv will be locked so there is NO WAY these kids will get any interaction with it/ them unless I say they can with my supervision- none the less the whole purpose of this is to intriugue young people so I'd like them to be able to study behaviour from a distance


    So does anyone have any recomendations? At the moment i'm leaning towards green anole


    Failing that- where can i put this post where I will get a better response?


    Many thanks and pleased to meetyou all

  2. #2
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    Most geckos tend to be small, but I'd probably go for a smaller species that doesnt climb on glass if I would do something like that. I'd actually almost suggest something in style with Underwoodisaurus Milii (australian knob-tail gecko), they're rather small and are supposed to be quite curious around their vivs. You could probably get a plastic terrarium large enough and bring home over the weekends if you're worried about powercuts and keeping the right temperature for it. Friday to monday shouldnt be a problem aslong as you feed them and provide fresh clean water before leaving for the weekend.

    Actually, thinking about it... Keeping something as a gecko also give you a good excuse to keep some species of roaches or crickets for biology studies.
    Last edited by Robineng; 11-10-2008 at 11:07 AM.

  3. #3
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    I have a leopard gecko in my classroom. If I keep him warm enough he ventures out during the day fairly often, especially if I toss a few crickets in! The kids (5th graders from mostly low-income families) love him and I do allow some of the more responsible ones to handle him with my close supervision from time to time. Our building gets pretty chilly overnight during the winter but Sasuke does fine with one heat emitter (he's in a 10 gal tank, sorry I don't know how to quickly convert that to something that would make more sense to you but... the smallest size generally available). I only take him home over the summer... during winter & spring breaks I come in every few days to care for him & my other classroom beasties (bearded dragon, rats, rabbit). But then I live less than 10 minutes from the school so it isn't a big deal to do that!
    Hope this is at least a tiny bit helpful! Like you I believe that living creatures in the classroom are beneficial in a variety of ways, and always like to encourage other teachers to expand their horizons in this area.

  4. #4
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    So first off I want to say way to go Chloe for bringing animals into the classroom. When I was younger the presence of live animals and plants always increased my engagement with the lessons by an order of magnitude. I think interacting with animals teaches so many valuable lessons for kids that I'm always happy when I hear of a teacher who uses them in class.

    Anyway, on to your questions;

    Only very delicate lizards with very specific humidity and/or temperature requirements would have a problem being left over the weekend without food. So long as they have heat, a water dish and you fed them before you left they would do fine. In fact it's often recommended to only feed geckos 5 days a week. It helps your sedentary little pet keep from getting fat. Babies will simply metabolise all the food you give them but adults store it as fat...and I've seen some fat geckos. So you're safe leaving it at school over the weekend and even long weekends, 3-4 days.

    For size, I'd say you're looking at an animal that fits in a 10 gallon tank or less. The dimensions are usually 20" x 10" x 12" or thereabouts. Anything larger than that tends to be too heavy when fully loaded with dirt, water dish, etc. for easy movement. The general rule with lizards is you want them in a cage that is bare minimum 1.5 times their total length in the dimension they will occupy, horizontal for terrestrial animals, vertical for arboreal. You also need to take into account their relative activity levels when deciding on an appropriate cage size. Diurnal lizards are usually more active in general than nocturnal animals and consequently often require larger cages than similarly sized nocturnal animals. If the fumes are your only concern then simply leaving a door and window open with a fan blowing at one of them can do wonders for airflow.

    As for stress levels, so long as your animal has plenty of places to hide from glaring eyes they'll usually be OK. An added bonus to classroom living is the classroom is only really busy for 8-9 hours 5 days a week. Overall, even with high traffic levels during the time it's occupied, a situation like that can be surprisingly low stress for even some of the more delicate animals. Just make sure they have lots of places to hide and none of the kids are deliberately bothering it, loud noises directed at it, tapping on the glass, we all know the drill, you should be fine.

    Now your other two criteria are what really narrows down the field. Low temperature tolerances cuts out most of the commonly kept geckos and small lizards. Leopard Geckos and African Fat Tails, two extremely popular and hardy captive geckos require their temps not drop below 70, and really don't do well with temps much below 80 for prolonged periods of time. Phelsumas, Day Geckos, the most commonly kept active diurnal group of lizards, are another one that really require temperatures above 70. Anolis, in my experience tend to go downhill quickly when their average temperature goes below 70 for any real length of time. For solid low temperature tolerances you're looking at a short list of animals; Tribilonotus Skinks, Rhacodactylus Geckos, some Geckonia Geckos, Aeluroscalabotes Geckos, and Uroplatus Geckos. The last two I mentioned, Aeluroscalabotes and Uroplatus, I would probably discard for you purposes immediately as they're a bit stringent in their husbandry requirements. I include them only for completeness sake. Tribilonotus Skinks are cute prehistoric looking little animals that happily tolerate temperatures down into the low 60s. They're commonly called Red-Eyed Armor Skinks. They eat bugs and worms, and enjoy having an area of their vivarium they can swim in. The problem is %90 of the ones available in the pet trade are wild caught animals. There're a whole host of problems with buying wild caught animals, suffice to say I urge against it in the strongest terms. If you could find a captive bred one for a reasonable price it could make a wonderful classroom animal that would tolerate limited handling. The Geckonia Gecko I'm thinking of is Geckonia Chalizae, commonly called the Helmeted Gecko. These are tiny geckos with huge personalities! They come from the Atlas Mountains in Morroco and thus can tolerate surprisingly low temperatures for desert dwellers. They're itty bitty, 3" tops but have more personality than I've seen in some people. Two drawbacks though. They don't like being touched. When you go to pick them up they will let out a surprisingly loud little growl and bite. Granted when they bite it's more comical than painful but still something you want to consider beforehand. Additionally they are very nocturnal. the ones I worked with would not come out of their holes while their lights were on. Even when I tossed food into their cages they would wait for the crickets to come to them. Finally, you have Geckos of the genus Rhacodactylus. For your purposes we really only need to look at two species; Auriculatus, Gargoyle Geckos and Ciliatus, Crested Geckos. Both species do well with handling, Crested Geckos especially can become so accustomed to human interaction they will climb onto your hand by themselves and lick baby food from your fingers. Both species can easily tolerate temperatures down into the mid 60s and even high 50s provided they don't persist more than a day or two. Gargoyle Geckos are usually slightly smaller than Cresteds though both are of a size that something a bit larger than your average 10 gallon tank is preferred. Both species do best in a vivarium with live plants and soil which can be an added bonus in a classroom, allowing you to use the one enclosure for Biology, Botany, and Ecosystem lessons.

    Hmm I think I've rambled on long enough. Hope this helps, if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask!

  5. #5
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    I suggest a crested gecko. They're VERY easy to care for and don't require any extra heat as long as the room is between 68-78. Check my website for care on them.

    Good luck!
    Currently working with: [I]Rhacodactylus ,UroplatusI]

    rhacsetc@yahoo.com

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    not a gecko, but you might want to try a mali uromastyx.

    great for display and handle-able, and active during the day.

    disadvantage for that lizard would be that it requires high heat, and i dont know how well it would tolerate low temps, that you would need to figure out. otherwise id say that lizard would be perfect.

  7. #7
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    another though would be a garter snake. i know they are handleable and could tolerate low heat pretty well.

  8. #8
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    Chloe, I'm curious- what (if any) did you end up getting? How's it working out?
    My Cash-Draining Beasties:

    1.1 Leopard Gecko (Sasuke, wildtype; Kashmir, SHTC. RIP Zaf'Ran)
    0.1 Corn Snake (Ophelia, amel)
    1.0 Brazilian Rainbow Boa (Damballah)
    0.2 Dreadfully Spoiled Cats (Tanuki & Yami. RIP sweetie-cats Lynx, Tomoe & Chango)


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    yeah i would say to get a heat cord to wrap around a stick and let him crall on it when he is out of the tank

  10. #10
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    Hello I'm honored to join the thread,

    As I read the threads title I immediately hoped in to say that it might or not be stressful for the leos. I guess it all depends on the environmental conditions?
    I personally wouldn't recommend compromising my leos by keeping them in the living room. Because usually when my family comes over there's too might noise,lights, & leos and cresties are sensitive

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