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We have taken care of a lot of different creatures the last few years, and I thought I’d post a quick summary of what we’ve found as to the difficulty of keeping them happy (the fully detailed methods of care aren’t here, will post later what we used if I have time)

Easiest

sowbugs – only feed about 1/week, carrot/potato, few drops water; keep in ziploc container with thick dirt/leaf layer and small holes, our colonies have been breeding for several years now. 5 yr old can care for independently.

walking sticks – feed daily romaine lettuce or rose leaves. If you forget a day or two they generally are fine, they just stay still to conserve energy. Each lives about 1 year, lays eggs and dies. Use sand or mossy-dirt substrate to let them lay eggs

betta fish – feed few betta pellets daily, clean tank weekly, ours have so far all been doing well for about a year. 6 year old capable of caring for with some help. Nice to have a few tanks near each other so they can have company without fighting.

tadpoles – raise and release – we had about 50/50 survival rate of ones that we rescued from small disappearing pools in the santa cruz river. Feed tiny fragment of algae pellet daily, keep aged water handy and make partial water change every couple days.

dogs – the puppies of course are much more work to train, but dogs are pretty robust pets that will let you know what they need! Also caring for a lost dog and then finding it a home, or fostering an older dog, is not too hard if it is well behaved.

chicks (chicken/turkey) – get them at about 1 week age, younger ones are fragile. Keep in large container with heat lamp, water, food, space to get close or far from lamp. After several weeks can go outside into secure chicken-wired coop with roof. Shade, daily water & food – and you get eggs!

ducks – more cleaning needs than chicks, need swimming pool and more space, but otherwise so far are similar in care.

injured wild birds – once stabilized, can be cared for with daily food and water, every few days cage cleaning, release when able to fly

hermit crabs – seem easy, but when they molt they have some mortality – if kept together may attack the one that has just molted, and sometimes cannot seem to get into new shell. Also they cannot breed in captivity I understand, and they seem to have great desire to get away any time we take them out. If we get more will keep only temporarily and then release at the ocean near Rocky Point.

rabbits – for us, rabbits have been a higher maintenance pet and we had to give back our foster bunny. They need time out of the cage but can be hard to housebreak/keep housebroken. Very sweet, can learn to come when called with treats, but need a lot of time and care. With cooled outdoor area might be easier, but they cannot survive Tucson summers without cooling.

Hardest

I’ve been wanting to start this site for years, finally doing it. Its not themed yet, but a bit of content is there: bTeaching.com – everyday ideas for learning and teaching. The idea is to capture teaching ideas, large and small, and relate them to subjects, age groups, philosophies, etc. Its not as formal as lessonplanet, the ideas can be informal descriptions of games you can play in the car as well as more detailed teacher-style plans. Its intended as a resource for parents, teachers and older kids, but not as a fully fledged curriculum source.

Check it out, and feel free to add ideas!