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The Student News Site of Elkhart High School

The PENNANT Online

The Student News Site of Elkhart High School

The PENNANT Online

Teacher’s Pet: Meet Evan, Mrs. Barbour’s Tarantula

Teachers Pet: Meet Evan, Mrs. Barbours Tarantula

While many are afraid of spiders–especially tarantulas–Mrs. Brandy Barbour is drawn to that them for that very reason. Having Evan, a tarantula, as a “teacher’s pet” helps dispel some of the common misconceptions about these eight-legged creatures. Here, she shares her thoughts:

Q: How long have you had Evan? Why did you decide to introduce him to the classroom?

A: I’ve not had Evan very long- About two weeks, actually! I adopted him from Mrs. Shannon. I decided to introduce him to the classroom because my students know I have a menagerie of pets at home, and they are CONSTANTLY asking me to bring them in.

Q: Why did you decide to get a tarantula over another animal?

A: I’ve always wanted a tarantula, but the opportunity never presented itself until now. Next year, I will bring one of my snakes to the classroom, as well!

Q: What has been your favorite memory of Evan? 

A: Evan is an older male tarantula, and males don’t live that long–3-5 years, usually, depending on the species. Mrs. Shannon told me Evan hadn’t been eating and asked if I wanted to take him to try and get him to eat. In the two weeks he’s been with me, I’ve been able to get him to eat three times! That’s super impressive for an animal that typically might only eat once every 2 weeks to once a month. He is doing fantastic!

Q: How does your class interact with Evan? Do they help take care of him?

A: They don’t yet. He is still settling in, but they are getting quite attached. They voted on his name and are constantly asking me if they can hold him! Once he’s feeling more secure and at home, they will be allowed to get him fresh water, clean up after him, and even learn to move him into a different enclosure so his current one can be cleaned. The kids spend time watching him move around and asking about his species– and, a few have told me they are not afraid of spiders anymore because they get to watch one up close and safely!

Q: Does Evan have a favorite snack? 

A: Yes! He seems to like Superworm above all else.

Q: How has Evan helped enrich your classroom experience?

A: I’ve always had a soft spot for “scary” pets. Some of my students were scared at first, but now they come to visit him every day! Even staff members who have described themselves as arachnophobic are stopping by to take a look at what he’s doing. He’s quite popular!

Q: Would you recommend other teachers get a class pet? Why? 

A: Absolutely! It gives the students something to learn about, ask about, and care for–and, it really brings them together in a fun way. Students who may not be able to have their own pet at home can learn about an animal and their care–possibly setting them up with a new love for animals, especially the “odd” animals! Earlier this week, one of my students came to me and told me, “Mrs. Barbour, There was a huge spider in my room and instead of killing it, I caught it and moved it outside!” They are truly learning to appreciate the less-loved creatures.

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About the Contributor
Elena Krueper
Elena Krueper, Managing Editor and News Editor
Elena is a senior this year and has been a reporter for The Pennant since August of 2021. She has a deep passion for all things biology-related and she hopes to use her writing to spread awareness about the climate crisis, teach others about sustainability, and encourage teen activism. Elena hopes that by recognizing the failures of the past, the youth of today will be able to create a more sustainable future for generations to come. Outside of reporting, Elena strives to make climate-friendly changes in her community through her school’s club, Society for a Better Earth, as well as by dedicating her time to a Climate Recovery Resolution. When she’s not writing, Elena enjoys hiking, playing guitar, and spending time with her dogs.

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