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Daily Classroom Special
Critter Corner: The Buzz: Past Issues: Volume 2, Issue 8  

About this Daily Classroom Special
Critter Corner allows teachers and students to learn and share experiences about organisms that can be kept in the classroom. Critter Corner is maintained by Judith Jones, teacher at East Chapel Hill High School (NC) and Teachers Network web mentor. E-mail Judith. Make sure to visit Judy's other Daily Classroom Special, The Time Travel Interviews with Famous Scientists

The Buzz  


Past Issues

Questions, Comments, Suggestions

The Buzzzzzzzzzzz
Catch the Buzz
You have questions

Judy has answers

Cane Toad, Fish, Bugs, and Corn Snakes

Subject: The Cane Toad Page
From: Chas C


I'm a high school student going to the University Laboratory High School on the campus of the U of I. I found your page about cane toads while searching on the Internet for a biology project. I just wanted to tell you the web page is very good. Here all the students have seen the video several times. It just struck me as funny that other places would have similar experiences, especially with such a hilarious, but educational video. Thanks for your time


Dear Chas,

Thanks so much for your interesting comments about the Cane Toad page! It is certainly a popular video at our school! The December issue of Discover magazine has a short review of the video - a classic! Thank you for sharing your experience - I will enjoy telling my students about it.

Judy Jones

Subject: Critter corner
From: ICheng

I like your idea, but I have limited budget. I kept asking for donations and parents have not been too giving. Where should I go to find sponsors? Pet stores? I now have a fighting fish in my 3rd grade class. We're learning about animals.

Dear ICheng,

What a good question about how to begin building a population of critters and getting some support for their care! There is no doubt that my extensive collection gets expensive. I think that your idea of asking pet stores to "loan you" some creatures for the school year or part of the school year is a good idea. I know a teacher in New York who has this arrangement with a local pet store. You did not tell me where you are from, but I am wondering if there are any industries who might be intrigued by the idea of sponsoring a "critter corner" in your classroom. And don't give up on the parents; you might find one or two who would help out. How about an advertisement in the newspaper? Sometimes people are eager to find homes for creatures after children leave for college; I have gotten a few of my snakes that way! Good luck and let me know how things work out for you.

Judy Jones

Subject: bugs
From: Libby

Dear Judy:

What is the best way to keep bugs alive for observation in a classroom? What are the components of insect terrium? Is there a safe way to mount the bugs for observation. This is for a first grade class.

Dear Libby,

I have found that I can keep insects alive for a decent amount of time by making sure that I keep a water supply in the terrarium. I usually put in soil, plants, and a food source - the type depends on the insect - and then I spray a little water on the leaves of the plants each day.

For observation of live bugs, you can get those little plastic magnifier boxes at fancy toy stores or science stores; however, an inexpensive idea is to use small clear plastic cups that are covered with Saran Wrap. You could tape down the Saran Wrap. For lengthy observations, you would have to put some tiny holes in the plastic wrap but the insects would be fine for short observations.

How nice that you are planning to help your first grade students be insect-lovers and good observers! Good luck.


Judy Jones

Subject: My Corn Snake

From: mike g.

Dear Judith,

I just bought a new baby corn snake about two weeks ago now and within the first four days he ate four pinkies. So I let him digest those for a couple of days and tried to feed him again about four days later and he wouldn't eat the pinkies. Is there anything wrong with this kind of feeding pattern? Also, he may have eaten an Anole that my friend was keeping in my cage. Is this in anyway poisonous to him? We were thinking that that is the reason why he didn't eat the pinkies, but we don't know for sure if he ate the Anole. Also every time I pick up Hermes (my snake) he poops, I don't know if this is a natural response of him being scared or what? Any answers?

Thank You.

mike g.

Dear Mike,

Your baby corn snake sounds healthy and normal. Baby snakes really don't need to eat more often than every 7-10 days. And two pinkies is quite a meal for a hatchling corn snake. You did not say how old or large the snake is, but if it is a hatchling, I find it rather unlikely that it would eat a full grown anole.......but snakes continue to surprise me - and you do have the problem of the missing anole! To my knowledge, an anole is not poisonous. Typically, you will find that newts and salamanders carrying poison in their wet skin, but lizards are not commonly poisonous. An anole is a lizard-like reptile. But if your baby corn ate two pinkies AND an anole, it will not be hungry for a while.

As to your snake's other "habit," I suspect your corn snake will stop defecating when you handle it as it gets used to being held. Keep in mind, pooping on you is better than biting you!!

Good luck and stay in touch!

Judy Jones


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