Hunter Park Kindergarten

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Housing our pets

Pukerua Bay Kindergarten asked about our housing, sorry it's taken a while to get back to you but it's been a busy time with many new children to settle and Monica getting ready to take on her new job at Massey. The house on the left we purchased (from one of the furniture catalogues) and later had fitted with a 40w light bulb in the cupboard to provide heat. We house our crickets in here with chicken mash, cat biscuits and cut grass to eat, and to hide in egg cartons. We also have damp sand covered with moss for egg laying. (Possibly we should have dry sand and containers of wet moss which can then be chilled as they have a diapause, normally in winter.) Do watch the crickets I've caught them eating cockroaches and once one got into my locust house and nearly ate them all. To many at once will even kill frogs! To catch some find were they are singing and lift up debris or pour water in the cracks in February.

The one on the right is for our locusts. I made it from an old set of drawers and features a bottom light 40w which heats via two holes covered in wire fly screen the box above, which has a sandwhich of 1 inch thick polystyrene insulation and with the addition of the 14 hour day (on), 10 hour night (off) energy saver bulb (on a timer). It can reach 40 degrees celcius. A glass company fitted a sliding perspex door (draft excluder attached either side to prevent escapes) and an inner perspex wall with round porthole which pivots shut to lock beneath an s shaped piece of metal suggested by our local mitre 10.
Polystyrene cups hold water and cut blade grass as well as wet vermiculite (saturated but with no liquid) for eggs. We sourced the vermiculite from the local garden centre. Regular collection of the cups allows you to incubate them and watch the baby locusts when they hatch.

On top of the right hand house can be seen my new terrarium (a reptile one product RT-470, see with a heatmat underneath and light tube above found in a large nearby pet shop that stocked lizards.)
The temperature isn't as high as I'd like (20-26 degrees c) so it may need a layer of insulation around it. Maybe a box, maybe a quilt. We're looking to get something similar or bigger for the kindergarten, price around $350 with mat and light, out of our science budget.Here is one of our frog houses. Ideally an outdoor one would be best but we're making do indoors. The top half has a floor with a planter tray suspended in it which we have planted and which gets watered by the tank below via the holes in the bottom. Frogs enter the water via a hole and a ramp at one end. Doors at either end allow food to be put in and u.v. lights above help young frogs get their vitamin D for strong bones. (You can feed them vitamin D powder by sprinkling it on their food.) Turtle pumps designed for low water levels (but as here also useful for fuller tanks) clean the water.

We've built up as I've read you need about a foot of water for frogs to breed.
(This happens after about 3-5 years of age.) We have it strapped down, with a surround at the base, in case of earthquakes. If it looks a little green that's because we also use it for growing the baby snails our big snails have laid. (Not to mention our baby cellar slugs in the room above.)

Here's a moth trap we hang on our back light. It consists of a bit of reflector from a car window sunshade (a cheap one), a funnel and some white bait net from the fabric shop. Paper in the bottom for the moths to sit in, and we can tie and untie the bottom to get them out. (Popping them in the fridge first helps if you have trouble catching them.) We also catch a lot of beetles this way, watch they don't get stuck in gaps in your stitching around the top of the funnel (We drilled holes in it to sew it on). We have this because we like to give our frogs variety (moths, beetles, flies, white butterflies, crickets, locusts etc.)
I hope that answers some of the questions and inspires some ideas.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Housing our pets":

Im a kindergarten - teacher from VietNam
I want to learn more about kindergarten and education of other countries.
May I have a chance to be ur friend ?
May I have a chance to chat with u through Yahoo Messenger ?
If u have free time, Pls add my ID (edit Id removed before posting- David)

Hunter Park said...

We're not currently using messenger but we'll try to get set up for it today so you can contact the teaching team here.

pukerua bay kg said...

Thanks David- wow it looks great. We are bug people too but you have made some great environments! Ann
Pukerua Bay Kindergarten

pukerua bay kg said...

Hi Hunter park- I got interrupted posting a comment earlier and am not sure I finished it. Sorry if I am repeating myself! Thanks for showing us your insect environments- you are innovative in your adaptations. I like your various machines.... We are insect people too. I'd love to come and take a peek but it is a little far away...
Pukerua Bay Kindergarten