December 8, 2023

Low-maintenance pets in a special education classroom can be a great way to help students learn and grow. They provide an opportunity for social interaction, stress relief and emotional support that can make all the difference in a student’s life.

low-maintenance pets in a special classroom
low-maintenance pets in a special classroom

Not only do low-maintenance pets bring joy to classrooms, they also offer teachers valuable teaching opportunities. With their presence, children can learn empathy and responsibility through caring for their animal companions. Low-maintenance pets do not require a large investment of time or money from the teacher or student—making them ideal for special education environments where resources and time may be limited or stretched.

The Best Low-Maintenance Pets for the Special Ed Classroom

From insects to reptiles, the possibilities are endless when it comes to finding an unpretentious pet that’s perfect for your classroom. Having low-maintenance pets can give you the opportunity to teach your students how to care for them and develop empathy. Here are some favorites for teachers and students!

Beta fish

The beta fish is an ideal low-maintenance classroom pet for special education classrooms. Not only are they easy to care for and affordable, they also provide a calming presence in the room that can help students relax and focus on their studies.

Beta fish require very little space or equipment—all that’s needed is a small tank, food, and clean water—so teachers don’t have to worry about investing too much time or money in their care. They are also easy to transport over holiday breaks if needed.

Plus, these colorful little fish can be pretty fun! With their vibrant colors and unique personalities, it’s no wonder why beta fish are a favorite classroom pet for teachers and students alike!


Worms make great low-maintenance classroom pets in special education settings. Not only do they require minimal care from both teacher and student, but they also provide unique learning opportunities. Worms are easy to keep because they don’t need regular feeding or cleaning like other animals; instead, their diet consists of soil and decaying organic matter in their environment.

Worms can help students develop responsibility through tasks such as monitoring their health and ensuring that their natural environment is properly maintained. Watching a worm move around its surroundings can also be calming for students who may have difficulty managing anxiety or stress. Worms are an excellent choice, albeit an unusual choice, for a low-maintenance classroom pet that will bring a smile to the children’s faces!

Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragons are another animal that makes a great low-maintenance special education classroom pet. They require minimal care and attention to stay healthy, which means they are ideal for classrooms with limited resources.

To properly care for a bearded dragon, teachers and students must provide them with a diet of vegetables, crickets, mealworms, and the occasional fruit, as well as a tank with temperatures between 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit for basking and 77-86 degrees Fahrenheit. Fahrenheit for cold places.

They can live seven to 10 years in captivity, which means they don’t need to be replaced often. Bearded dragons are also an ideal size for classrooms and have docile temperaments, making them unlikely to cause harm or disrupt learning.

Plush animals

Speaking of not causing harm or disrupting learning, stuffed animals also make a great low-maintenance classroom pet! They can provide the same emotional and academic benefits as live animals without requiring any of the extra care or expense that comes with owning a pet.

Plushies do not need to be fed, walked, nursed or taken to the vet – they just need the occasional dusting and petting! Plus, stuffed animals come in many shapes and sizes, so teachers can find one that fits their unique needs.

From small teddy bears to larger plush toys, there is something for every student who wants a furry companion in the classroom. You can have one pet per class, or everyone in the class can have their own! Because of their comfort and affordability, stuffed animals are an ideal choice for low-maintenance classroom pets in special education facilities.

Pet Rocks

If stuffed animals are too expensive or a distraction to your students, try a pet rock! Nothing is as low-maintenance as stone!

The pet rock is a popular low-maintenance pet that is becoming increasingly popular in classrooms. It provides an easy way for teachers to incorporate fun, interactive learning activities into their curriculum. A pet rock can help students learn responsibility and empathy as they care for its “needs.” Stones for pets are particularly advantageous because they require neither time nor financial investment in care.

For even more fun, students can decorate their rocks with googly eyes, fur, markers, and whatever else you have around as craft supplies! Each pet rock will be unique!

Adopt an animal

If all of this seems too much and both living and non-living pets in the classroom would be too much of a distraction for your students, adopt an animal instead! One of the easiest ways to do this is to adopt an animal from a zoo. You can then create a special place in the classroom that is dedicated to learning more about the adopted animal. If the zoo has an animal camera, you can watch it throughout the school day. Any money you would have spent on supplies to care for a live classroom pet, use it toward the adoption fee for an animal at the zoo!

Make sure you carefully consider all the pros and cons of having a classroom pet before bringing one into the classroom. There are logistical and environmental issues that could affect the animal’s quality of life. The mere presence of an animal could also cause disruption and make classroom and behavior management difficult. If you decide to get a classroom pet, make sure you get one that is low maintenance and cost effective!


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