A second grade teacher approached me last week and said that she had two salamanders that she couldn’t handle taking care of any more—would I like them? Absolutely!
Ten seconds later.
What the hell did I say yes for? Just what I need. More animals. More food to buy. More stuff to transport between home and school. More stuff to worry about when I’m gone…
In addition to painting the room multiple times last week, I also spent quite a bit of time researching salamanders and searching for and setting up a terrarium.
After much effort and a $40 waterfall, I now have a gorgeous terrarium in my classroom. All the moss a fairy queen could ever want (which is what I read that salamanders like. Turns out, they love it, and simply want to burry beneath it all day and come out at night—perfect choice for a classroom pet [groan]). A gorgeous waterfall to add tranquility and help avoid water stagnation and unpleasant smells (turns out, I have Tiger Salamanders; they don’t need or particularly want water—mine are gonna have water, damn it, since I can’t find the waterfall’s receipt…and they’re gonna like it). Actually, I should say salamander, singular. The little one refused to eat and died this weekend. Thank goodness I came in Saturday. He was already fuzzy and gross. Two more days and we would have had to condemn the classroom. I read that if their environment wasn’t ideal, that this could be the case. He’d spent a couple months before (as a waterdog) in a Tupperware cake top. I’m citing cause of death as over excitement from being moved into an Eden of sorts (ungrateful little shit—not to speak ill of the dead).
I bought some rather pretty feeder fish to keep in the ‘lake’ part of the terrarium—both to serve as a snack alternative for my now single salamander (maybe I should name it Mr. Witt) and to provide some actual movement while our brilliantly chosen pet hides under moss all damn day. When my favorite student I’ve ever had (don’t believe that—teachers don’t have favorites) asked me Friday while I was concerned the about the fish, I told him that I wanted the fish to have a good life while they were in our classroom.
He responded, “A good life!?! They’re in an enclosed environment with a giant creature stalking them. Wouldn’t you be horrified?”
I love that kid! I think I peed my pants laughing. Then was proud of his verbiage and descriptive skills.
Maybe I should name the fish Mr. Witt instead…
Black Coffee Tables
2 years ago