St. Anselm's Catholic School

St Anselm's Cahtolic School

St Anselm’s Catholic School

Our Animals

We have a number of animals in the department. They are used in lessons to teach adaptation, camouflage, nutrition, habitats, generating electricity and outside of lessons to teach pupils about caring for animals.

Pupils who cannot have pets at home are able to come to the department to help feed and clean the animals and their homes or to simply just hold them.  We even have occasional visiting animals from students or staff, from dogs to snakes to tiny lizards.

Corn Snake

Phillip the corn snake (Pantherophis guttatus) joined the department in 2017, from a student's home. Corn snakes are constrictors which means that they do not possess any venom and instead coil round their prey to suffocate them before they eat them. They feed on mice which they swallow whole and then digest over a couple of days. Seeing the snake manipulate its jaws in order to swallow a mouse almost twice the size of its head is a sight that must be seen. He will eat one mouse per week.

He is kept in a faunarium equipped with fresh water and a number of hides as they love to hide away as they would in the wild. A heat lamp at one side of the faunarium provides a temperature gradient allowing the snake to self regulate his body temperature. Unlike humans who warm our blood through our metabolism, snakes rely on the environment for their energy.

From time to time snakes need to shed their skinas they grow and will go a blueish colour and their eyes go cloudy during this time. After about 5 to 7 days they will slither out of their skin leaving it in one complete piece.

Degu

We have a Male Degu (Octodon degus) named Mason. They are South American rodents who are extremely active and never seem to be off their running wheel. Their diet is strictly regulated due to their inability to regulate their blood sugar. The are susceptible to developing diabetes so have a low sugar and low fat diet. They love oats and the occasional nut (in its shell) for a treat, as well as fresh vegetables.

Stick Insects

Feeding on leaves there are a colony of 5 stick insects (Carausius morosus), although it is very hard to see them to count them. They are invertebrates and like all insects contain 3 pairs of legs and a 3 sectioned body (head, thorax and abdomen). When they tuck their legs in and remain still they blend in perfectly with the leaf stems as their name suggests.  They 'dance' to ward off predators who do notice them as a way of making themselves seem larger.

Axolotl

Also in the department we have Lizzie, the Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum).  Axolotls are sometimes called the Mexican Walking Fish.  They're actually amphibians, related closely to tiger salamanders, the difference is that Axolotls reach adulthood and, without being forced to by extreme circumstances, never develop lungs.  So they stay 'young' their entire lives.  They come from lakes in Mexico, so now we now where Neverland is!  Axolotls eat worms, her favourites are earthworms, but since those are a lot more difficult to maintain, we mostly feed her Zoophobas Morio (Morio Worms)

Angelfish

We have an Angelfish, who lives in a heated tank in T1.  She's from the freshwater angelfish species Pterophyllum scalare. Ptero means wing, and phyllum means leaf, and scalare means scaled. So they are 'scaled, winged leaves'.  They are tropical freshwater fish originating in the Amazon basin, particularly around Peru.

Tree Frogs

Recently back from holiday we have the two White's Tree Frogs (Litoria caerulea) Gin and Sapphire, who live in a vivarium in B4.  The White's Tree Frog comes from Australia and New Guinea they have a lovely green colour and sometimes a shade of blue, and a fatty ridge above their eyes makes them look constantly sleepy (which is why they have another common name, the Dumpy Frog).  They eat small crickets and locusts, and they love to climb, as their name would suggest!

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