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Insects in the classroom...

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by lizzii_2008, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. lizzii_2008

    lizzii_2008 New commenter

    I'm really considering the idea of getting an African Snail for the classroom and obvioulsy relate this to our topic of 'Green Gardens' (Minibeasts and Plants) etc. What do you all think of this idea? I've heard they a lot of eggs so slightly worried about this as I don't want a million of them, lol!
    The other idea (although I'd like to do both) is use a Butterfly tent and order some caterpillars and grow those to show children the life cycle.
    What do you think? Anyone done either of these before?
    I will obviously check with the Head before continuing with any of these plans!
     
  2. lizzii_2008

    lizzii_2008 New commenter

    I'm really considering the idea of getting an African Snail for the classroom and obvioulsy relate this to our topic of 'Green Gardens' (Minibeasts and Plants) etc. What do you all think of this idea? I've heard they a lot of eggs so slightly worried about this as I don't want a million of them, lol!
    The other idea (although I'd like to do both) is use a Butterfly tent and order some caterpillars and grow those to show children the life cycle.
    What do you think? Anyone done either of these before?
    I will obviously check with the Head before continuing with any of these plans!
     
  3. I have snails in my class and the kids love them!
    I've had up to 70 eggs laid at a time, with around half of them hatching. Up until about a month ago, I had 30 babies. They like to be warm and I had a problem with the heat mat (plus no heating in my classroom!), so only have 2 of the babies left now. They are hibernating, but the two adult ones are awake all of the time. I usually let one batch of eggs a year hatch, as the children love watching the process and we learn a lot from it! The rest of the eggs I just crush as soon as I notice them. You can freeze them for 24 hours and then throw them away, but it's illegal to let them go outside. Also, you only need one snail for there to be lots of eggs and lots of babies, despite what some of the websites say!
    We also have a hamster and 3 gerbils in my classroom, the kids absolutely love having them and I've had lots of positive comments from the parents too. I did try fish, but had trouble keeping them alive!
     
  4. I have had the caterpillars from insect lore and they are v straightforward and amazing. I personally wouldn't go for the giant snails but I have brought in snails from my garden and put them on a builders tray with lettuce and a water spray and that was fab. If you are keen on the giant snails go for it. I quite fancy the stick insects too! I'm sure the children will love all as long as it's a good experience for the animals too! Eve
     
  5. Seeing as we're talking pets I have 2 rabbits, tropical fish and goldfish. Last terms topic on animals showed how few children have pets, so caring for animals in the nursery is a lovely thing to do ie learning how to care for animals appropriately.
     
  6. lizzii_2008

    lizzii_2008 New commenter

    Thank you for the positive feedback, wasn't sure what the reaction would be. My little cherubs loved our trip to the Zoo and they were so caring considering only 5 or 6 of them have pets at home.
    Is there an expense on the up keep of the Snails? How much did you spend on setting it all up and the heat mats etc. (If you don't mind me asking!!).
    Thank you guys you've got me all excited for next term now knowing all plans could be real possibilities.
     
  7. We were looking at getting guinea pigs. What do you do with the rabbits at the weekend and in the holidays? The gerbils and hamster get left over the weekend, with plenty of food and water, and are fine. Then the caretaker checks on them regularly during the holidays, or one of my LSAs takes them home. I have always kept rabbits/guinea pigs at home, so know what is involved, but they need feeding every day so not sure what I'd do with them? I couldn't bring them home as it wouldn't be fair to the rabbit I have already!
     
  8. Ask away! The heat mat was £15 and the tank was £25 (it has to be glass with a heat mat.) I actually only got the heat mat because my class has no heating, at all. If your class is warm, or you put the tank near a radiator, you may not need a mat. I clean them out once a month, as they don't make much mess at all. They just have regular, damp, compost/soil that you get from the garden centre (untreated) and they also like a cuttlefish to keep their shells healthy. They get through 2-3 cuttlefish a month. They're supposed to like all sorts of fruit and veg, but mine only really like round lettuce and sometimes will eat a bit of raw carrot or cucumber. The two adults are in together and get through one lettuce a week at the moment. When my class eventually warms up, and they become more active, they'll get through two a week. They are really easy to keep, and can live up to 6 years, so make good class pets!
     
  9. I am at a children's centre so bunnies stay over at the weekend with a kind site manager to feed them. I am nearby if needed. In the holidays I go in every day to see to them or they r taken home. Having said that I have had a stressful time coz I tripped over in their enclosure and nearly landed onone but thank god he's ok. Our arrangement works well for all and although it adds to workload ie daily cleaning, I don't begrudge it at all.
     
  10. lizzii_2008

    lizzii_2008 New commenter

    Thank you so much - you're making it seem more and more do-able! Were the SMT and Head OK with this? I think mine will be a little surprised by my request!
    That all sounds very reasonable - where did you get your snails from originally?
    What year are you with? How are the children with them?
    I do have a fairly warm classroom and lots of radiators so not too worried about the heat.
    What do you with the Snails over the holidays?
     
  11. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    We got our GALS about 8 years ago and have never used a heat mat. The East African variety is more hardy. Holidays staff took turns to take them home. Once they've mated they can lay up to 100 eggs every week and you need to remember they are considered an ecological hazard so you either have to destroy the eggs before they hatch or find responsible homes for all those baby snails.
     
  12. I think we will have to give the guinea pigs a miss - I don't think our care taker would appreciate seeing to them every day, and after a bad experience with a parent and a hamster at another school, I wouldn't trust them to go home at the weekends!
    I am in Reception. I do let the kids hold the snails (though the HT asked me not to let any of the children touch any of the animals), and obviously make sure that they wash their hands well afterwards. Some of the children prefer to just watch, and run a mile when you suggest they hold one. It's actually the girls that are more willing! The head was fine with all of my animal requests - mainly because I paid for it all myself. I love having the animals though - children in Year Two regularly come and ask me how all the animals are doing!
    You don't actually need two snails to get fertilized eggs. My snail was donated by the bursars daughter (she didn't like it once it had got big!) and had been on it's own for a year before I got it. Within a couple of weeks I had 70 eggs and have at least two batches a year. All of the information on the various websites suggest that you need two, but it seems not! A friend also has one snail and it regularly lays lots of eggs (that hatch.) You can get them in pet shops (though I'd ring first to check), or you can get them on eBay. Not sure about that option though!
    I leave the snails at school over the holidays and go in once a week to feed them - they've never eaten all of what I've left for them, so just replace it with fresh. They can go 3 weeks without food, so it's not the end of the world if you can't get in.
     
  13. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    yes you do initially but once they have mated they don't need to mate again they can go on producing eggs for ever so unless you want babies it's best to get a young snail and keep it separate from others
     
  14. The snail I have, and the snail my friend has, have never been in contact with other snails!
     
  15. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Then they can't lay eggs... sorry they must have mated at some point
     
  16. I googled it. Apparently it's rare, but they can self-fertilise!
     
  17. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Achatina fulica is a tropical snail, but can survive cold conditions, even snow, by aestivating (equivalent to hibernation). Snails are hermaphroditic (both male and female), and after a single mating can produce a number of batches of fertile eggs over a period of months. This does NOT mean that they can mate with themselves, they still require a partner A. fulica lays eggs in batches of 100 to 400 with up to 1200 being laid in a year.
    Giant African land snails are hemraphrodites, meaining they possess both the female and male reproductive organs. Two snails are still needed for breeding, but they are very prolific breeders. A fulica can reprtedly lay 1200 eggs per year.
    Giant African Land Snails are hermaphrodites i.e. they have both male and

    female reproductive organs. You need two snails to breed and if two snails of

    different sizes mate, the largest of the two normally plays the part of the female

    and carries the eggs. Once mated Giant African Land Snails have the

    capacity to have produce clutches of eggs in instalments. Giant Snails can lay

    clutches of eggs several months apart giving the young snails a greater chance

    of survival.
    and
    http://thesnailtrail.webs.com/breedingyoursnail.htm

     
  18. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    An extremely rare occurence but you know two intstances more likely that they have been exposed to another snail before you got them.
    We were adviced by someone working with mollusca that there is no evidence of self fertilisation when our's suddenly started laying eggs.
     
  19. They're apparently not sexually mature until they're 6-9 months old. Unless the ones that I know of started VERY early, then it is a very rare occurance!
     

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