STEM Center now home to exotic animals

The STEM Center is no longer accompanied by only students, teachers and staff. Room 131 houses a hedgehog and a rose-haired tarantula.

These animals live in their respective cages and are on a feeding schedule administered by instructors and students. Rosie, the rose-haired tarantula, feasts upon live crickets, and Reggie, the four-month-old hedgehog, consumes cat food.

“The purpose of the animals is to allow early childhood development students to become comfortable with class pets and learn how they can be used in classroom instruction,” Jane Baker, assistant professor of early childhood education, said.

Every day in class, the creatures are let out to play with early childhood education undergraduate and graduate students.

“It is neat to see future teachers warming up to the animals, along with taking pride and care of them,” Baker said.

Three newts will also soon be living in Room 131. The Twilight series inspired the students to name the new aquatic amphibians Edward, Jacob and Bella.

“Ideally, there would be one of each animal class in the classroom,” Baker said.

Viewing times for the animals are administered by the STEM Center office.