We have a number of pets within the setting. These include:
ALeopard Gecko - Sponge, who was bought as a friend for my Tremper Chocolate Albino Leopard Gecko (Sponge, who sadly passed away in 2013) - my 41st birthday present They have had three successful hatchings - although the first egg to be laid wasn't expected - a bit of a "scrambled egg story" to be told there... However, the children enjoyed watching the development of the eggs through to hatchlings. I must admit to being a little excited myself. We are hoping to achieve similar success in the future as the children enjoy the experience, and learn a great deal, without realising it - we need another one (but don't tell my husband!).
Another member of our Lizard family is a Bearded Dragon (on their own now as their brother has passed away) - originally named Tom and Jerry (Tom being the survivor).
We lost a treasured member of our family in November (2011) - Tuppence, our cat, was a big part of our family, and we didn't think we would ever get another one as patient with children as she was, but I think we may have... Ninja (so called because she loves to jump and climb) is a Tabby who is a firm favourite with the children in my care. Thankfully Ninja is not quite the storyteller that Tuppence was - although she has her moments...
We are also in possession of two Netherland Dwarf rabbits - Ziggy has had all of his front teeth removed, and Spike has his upper teeth removed - the vet commented on their unique individual personalities being "just like little men" - something which we have noticed (sometimes being very friendly, and other times 'headbutting' us out of their way).
Another "outdoor" pet is Blossom - a guinea pig who we adopted by two of "my" children as they were leaving the Country and asked me to take care of her... She loves to be handled by the children
Our Tropical Aquarium appears to be a source of relaxation for children - they go in a private world when watching the fish swim by. We have had a number of pregnancies (guppies) over the years, and everyone has watched in wonder as the tiny fish arrive. It is interesting to watch how they grow larger, and I am under strict instructions to make sure they are fed at the right time!
Another addition is a Degu called Dizzy. He is also known, apparently, as a ground squirrel (hence the reference in my Ofsted Report). He can be an escape artist when he thinks we aren't looking - but a slice of bread tends to bring him running.
All animals are kept clean and well cared for. Vaccinations are given when required.
I have found that the pets help children to settle, and gives them a focus, being a great comfort. Children help to feed / care for them - age dependent. Pets are also a great introduction to Hygiene - encouraging hand washing after handling / stroking.