The Best Classroom Pets

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Bearded dragons pictureBearded dragons can make ideal classroom pets. Flickr/andedam

Peanut butter and jelly, pencil and paper, animals and kids: Some things just go together. So it's no wonder that many teachers choose a pet for their classroom. Animals have a way of bringing out the best in children. Special needs students connect with them, they draw shy children out of their shells, and they can calm excitable kids.

Which animals make the best classroom pets? Here are some suggestions you may not have considered.

Bearded Dragon
A reptile may not be your first thought for a classroom pet, but perhaps it should be. PetSmart owner Chad Beverly recommends bearded dragons for the classroom because these lizards are docile and don't bite. As reptiles, they also lack the fur that aggravates allergies in some students. Additionally, Beverly says that since bearded dragons are desert reptiles, they require less care than tropical lizards. Fill an aquarium with sand, keep it warm, and your "beardie" will be happy. Plus, Beardies love attention, so a classroom bearded dragon can be an ideal pet choice.

The success of Disney's film "Ratatouille" has led to a growing interest in rodents. How about choosing a degu as a classroom pet? You'd be forgiven for never having heard of this little creature; he is less known than other rodents such as mice and rats. Degus are furry and relatively small (about six inches, plus another five inches of tail). They are highly social creatures, and children will enjoy watching a pair of them interact. (Indeed, if you do choose a degu, you should buy at least two, as they do better with companions.)

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