Pets a staple in every science classroom

Holly Spragg, Staff Writer

In almost every school, science teachers seem to have cool pets, and CMR is no exception.  Biology teacher Nathan Gregier has a few animals in his classroom.

Gregier has a tank full of fish and two red-eared-slider turtles.  

“I had a student whose mom said ‘I have two turtles in my house that my daughter hasn’t looked at in years; would you please take them?’ and I said OK,” Gregier said about how he came to acquire the turtles.  He got the turtles eight years ago, and they are around 10-12 years old.

Every pet needs a name, and the turtles do as well.

“Timmy and Lucky, but I don’t know which one is which,” he said.  He mentioned that he enjoyed the kids’ reactions to the turtles and he even had a few classes that had turtle races.

Gregier said that he has used the fish in a few non-harmful experiments throughout the years.

He also has something that he calls the “muck tank” that has a bunch of a stuff growing in it that he uses for experiments with algae and microscopic organisms.

“I used to have a couple leopard geckos, but they all died this last year,” Gregier said about what other animals — including birds and other mammals — have passed though his classroom, including birds and other mammals.

He said the reason that he has the animals is because they are low maintenance.  He said that the only problem is during the summer when he isn’t there all the time.

Gregier said that he would recommend these as pets for anyone except for one thing.

“I cannot technically encourage you to get those turtles because they are red-eared-sliders, which means they are not native to Montana, so they’re an invasive species,” he said.

However, he mentioned that a western painted turtle is similar and a native species.