Classroom pets have been used for years to enhance the classroom experience, and frogs have often been a classroom pet of choice. Over time, there have been differing opinions on whether or not frogs belong in a classroom, but, the positive opinions have ultimately outweighed the negative ones.
Classroom pets are influential in the emotional development and maturation of students. These pets help to instill responsibility, encourage nurturing, and build self-esteem in the students that it shares a class with.
In the case of frogs as classroom pets, specifically, there are clear pros and cons. Does the decline in the population of many frog species in recent years overshadow the amazing educational opportunities that only frogs can offer to students?
There are valid reasonings on both sides of this issue. Which issue will emerge victorious in this argument – environment or education?
5 Pros of Having Frogs as Classroom Pets
#1: Frogs are Hypoallergenic.
Children with allergies often never get to experience having a pet. Even when they mention getting ones that won’t cause allergy flare-ups, their parents still tend to be cautious out of concern for their children’s health.
Enter a hypoallergenic frog as a classroom pet. Not only do children in the classroom that cannot have pets due to allergies get to finally experience building a friendship with a pet, but the frog allows all the students in the class to enjoy the classroom pet without worrying about having to fight allergy symptoms.
#2: Frogs are Low Maintenance.
Frogs make perfect classroom pets because they can be left unattended for periods of time, and they only have to be fed a few times a week. This schedule works well with the classroom schedule of 5 school days and 2 weekend days each week. The frog can stay in the classroom without it being harmful to its health.
Additionally, after the initial setup costs involved with purchasing the frog, it’s home, its food, and any other items you may need, frogs are inexpensive to take care of. This is ideal for a classroom setting because the teacher will cover the pet costs.
#3: Frogs are Content as Display Pets.
Because of the typical school safety concerns and insurance policies, students will most likely not be allowed to actually handle the frog unless it is necessary as part of a lesson. If a student does handle the frog, he or she will have to immediately and thoroughly be their hands and forearms to be sure that nothing transferred from the frog to the student.
The frog will doubtlessly spend most of his time relaxing in his tank and observing his surroundings.
#4: Students can Raise Their Own Frogs From Tadpoles, Allowing Them to Observe and Record the Life Cycle of a Frog in Real Time.
This is truly an invaluable lesson. Most of us grew up seeing the life cycle of a frog explained in our faded science textbooks. However, being able to watch a tadpole transform and morph into an adult frog is truly an experience that would benefit any student.
Watching the life cycle happen amongst fellow classmates can initiate intelligent conversation and debate that would not be likely to happen while looking at a chart inside of a book.
Furthermore, students will remember the first time they ever had a fully hands-on lesson and what they learn from the lesson will remain with them.
#5: Frogs are Indicator Species. Because of This, Having a Frog as a Classroom Pet can Facilitate Discussions About the Importance of a Clean Environment and Man’s Impact on the Planet.
The lesson learned from this would be, quite possibly, the most important lesson the students ever learn.
An indicator species is an animal or plant species that can be used to infer conditions in a particular habitat (definition from Google). This means that the number of frogs in a particular habitat can give scientists clues about whether conditions are normal or not.
For instance, if half of the frogs in a habitat suddenly died, scientists would be able to determine that there was something wrong, like contaminated water or an invasive species, and start research to fix the issue.
How does this start a discussion about the importance of a clean environment? Well, unclean water is one of the biggest reasons for declines in frog populations. Frogs’ skin absorbs the water around it into its body. They don’t stand a chance against polluted water.
Furthermore, discussing the impact that humankind has had on the planet brings focus to the negative environmental influence humans have brought to the earth. In response to this, students can use critical thinking skills to come up with ways that they can help reverse the environmental damage within their own lives.
4 Cons of Having Frogs as Classroom Pets
#1: Frogs can Actually be Really Loud.
Depending on the species, or even just depending on the mood, frogs can cause a noisy disturbance in the middle of class. If you’ve ever walked into frog inhabited woods in the dead of night, you will know the exact noise I’m referring to – and it’s LOUD.
If the frog makes a habit of being noisy during the day, it will continue to distract the students from their studies, and he will almost definitely be taken out of the classroom.
#2: Frogs are Not Pets That are Meant to be Handled; They can Carry Salmonella on Their Skin.
Frogs have extremely sensitive skin that can absorb harmful chemicals from human skin if handled. Add this to the fact that they simply don’t care for being handled, and you have a pretty anti-social pet. If students are waiting to see some frog fun during class, they will most likely be sorely disappointed.
Furthermore, frogs can carry Salmonella on their skin. Salmonella bacteria can cause intense sickness characterized by nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fever, chills, headache, and even blood in the stool. Some variations of Salmonella bacteria can cause typhoid fever, which can be deadly.
If you touch a frog’s skin, make sure to cleanse your hands and forearms thoroughly.
#3: Frogs are Nocturnal.
As nocturnal creatures, frogs most often sleep through days and are active during nights. This would be another disappointment to the students because their classroom pet would rarely, if ever, be awake during class to be observed.
In addition, it could be harmful to the frog’s health if he was not allowed to get proper rest because of disturbances in the daytime.
#4 In Recent Years, There has Been a Decline in a Number of Frog Populations, Bringing Some Frog Species Near Extinction.
The drop in frog populations and the danger of extinction for some frog species has shined a disapproving light on having frogs as pets in any place, not just the classroom. Most people insist that frogs be left in their natural habitats in order to attempt to repopulate.
As mentioned before, frogs are indicator species. With this large drop in numbers, there is an obvious imbalance in the ecosystem. One of the only things that regular people can do to help raise frog numbers is to allow them to remain in their natural habitats.
The Debate Concerning the Presence of Pets in the Classroom
Not only have people formed opposing opinions on whether or not frogs should be classroom pets, but the topic of whether pets should even be present in classrooms has come under fire.
Opponents of the classroom pet tradition argue:
- That it’s unnatural to keep animals confined inside a cage or tank in a classroom; it damages their natural growth and behavior
- That most class pets experience illness and neglect because they are left alone in the classroom so often; it is difficult to find people to care for the pets over holiday breaks; most classroom pets end up discarded at overcrowded animal shelters at the end of the school year
- That it’s a health risk for both the students and the animals
- That responsibility and respect for animals can be learned in other, more humane ways, like field trips to animal sanctuaries; students can learn about animal behavior and the life cycle by observing local wildlife and watching documentaries; caring for indoor plants can teach responsibility to students
- That, if the pet dies during the school year, it will leave a classroom of students heartbroken and in need of consolation
- That the mental health of the classroom pets is jeopardized because of class disrupting natural sleep rhythms of some animals and large numbers of students handling animals that suffer severe stress from being handled that often
- That classroom pets suffer from abuse more often
- That children should never be taught to believe that animals are classroom tools; they are independent living beings
Supporters of the classroom pet tradition argue:
- That classroom pets bring new, fun ways to learn into regular, boring lessons causing students to react with enthusiasm
- That they improve the classroom experience by allowing all students to experience all the joys of having a pet
- That students attend school more regularly to care for their classroom pet
- That being around animals helps to strengthen students’ immune systems
- That students who were suffering emotionally sought comfort in the classroom pet
- That the pet helped instill the values of responsibility, nurturing, and self-esteem in students
- That students developed a meaningful friendship with the classroom pet
- That students learn respect for another life and the seriousness of commitment
In summary, the opposition of classroom pets labels the treatment of the animals as inhumane. On the contrary, those who support classroom pets insist that the educational and emotional experience that the students get from the pet is irreplaceable.
Where Have All the Frogs Gone?
The Defenders of Wildlife, an organization that is fighting for the survival of all amphibians, has some answers for us.
Frog populations are declining at an alarming rate due to a number of threats. These threats are:
- Chytrid fungus is killing off entire populations of frogs by drying out their skin, preventing them from being able to control their moisture
- Frogs are being traded both domestically and internationally for use as exotic pets, food, and medicines
- Human-created issues like habitat loss, pollution, pesticides, and roads being built through habitats
- Increased competition from invasive species is causing populations to decline
- Climate change is affecting frog habitats
The Defenders urge us to take action now to help prevent a complete extinction of hundreds of frog species.
Some ways that we can help are:
- Never touch a frog. It’s skin can absorb chemicals, salt, and oils from our skin that can cause damage to the frog.
- Avoid using poisonous substances like rat poison, pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides around your home because rain will cause the deadly substances to make their way into forests or wetlands and cause frog deaths and deformities.
- Don’t use chemical based insect repellent sprays.
- Don’t salt roads in winter – use sand. The salt can affect water’s composition and can dry out a frog’s skin.
- Write to your government officials and demand that they do something to get rid of the Chytrid fungus.
Why Frogs are Actually Really Important Animals
Currently, more than 30% of frog species are facing extinction. Experts and researchers are traveling all over the planet attempting to predict changes in nature and how frogs will respond to them. Their goal is new figure out ways to help frogs survive.
Did you know that frogs have existed on earth for about 300 million years? Unfortunately, environmental issues, invasive species, and uncontrolled diseases are serious threats for all frog species. In the 1950s, frog populations began to decline rapidly.
Since the 1980s, experts estimated that we have lost between 120 and 200 entire species of frogs to extinction.
So, why are scientists working so hard to save frogs? What makes them vital to our earth?
Frogs are an Important Part of the Food Chain.
As both predator and prey, frogs have the ability to keep the food chain moving along, which ensures the survival of life on earth. Removing this middle link of the food chain can cause the entire food web to suffer.
Frogs are Indicator Species.
It can be said that the role of indicator is the most important role that a frog plays in the cycle of life. As an indicator series, the frog can detect contaminants in the environment around them.
As amphibians, frogs reside both in water and on land, so they can notice changes in both aquatic and land environments. Scientists simply have to look at the current state of an environment’s frog population to determine how healthy or unhealthy it is.
Frogs Help Control the Insect Population.
Honestly, we should probably be paying the frogs for doing us this favor. By helping to control insect populations, they lessen the occurrence of insect-transmitted diseases like Malaria and West Nile.
Frogs are “Nature’s Pharmacy.”
Frogs can secrete substances through their skin – some beneficial and some fatal toxins. These secretions are commonly used in medicine. For instance, some of the beneficial secretions have been used to create new antibiotics and painkillers.
Since frog secretions are very diverse, they are consistently being studied to see if they are able to create helpful medicines.
8 Absolutely Metal Reasons That Prove That Frogs are Survivors
Frogs are absolutely fascinating amphibians that deserve our help in saving their species. Check out these insane facts about frogs that prove they are survivors.
- A single gram of toxin from the golden poison dart frog’s skin can kill 100,000 people.
- A group of frogs is called an army.
- One species of frog is called the glass frog because it has see-through skin. You can see all of its insides – even its beating heart and digesting food!
- One kind of Indonesian frog doesn’t even have lungs – it just breathes through its skin.
- The Goliath frog lives in West Africa and is the world’s biggest frog. It can reach more than a foot in length and weigh more than 7 pounds!
- Some species of frogs can jump more than 20 times the length of their body in a single jump.
- The skin of kind of frog secreted a substance that created a painkiller that is 200 times stronger than morphine.
- Frogs literally roamed the earth at the same time that dinosaurs existed.
Frogs would make an excellent classroom pet. However, we owe it to these resilient amphibians to do our part in protecting them and helping them replenish their populations and thrive.
Could any educational lesson be more inspiring and empowering than having a part in the survival of a species? What could be more awe-inspiring for a student than to assist in the repopulation of an endangered species?
Both proponents and opponents of the classroom pet tradition can agree to this idea that is both a teaching opportunity and a humane solution to the classroom pet debate.
After all, one a student helps save an entire species, he or she is capable of anything!