Teacher Feature: Ms.L’s creature collection helps students learn biology

Biology teacher Jessica Lichtenwald with her pet snake.

May 11, 2017
Filed under Features, Showcase

Are you an animal lover? Then head down to Gloucester High School’s very own zoo in Room 2411. There, you’ll find a variety of creatures – from the smallest cockroaches to to the longest snakes, and much in between.

Biology teacher Jessica Lichtenwald, also known as “Ms. L”, has accumulated these pets for years. Some she has bought on her own, while others were donated by students and friends. Her extensive collection contains a bull snake, corn snake, bearded dragon, tarantula, hedge hog, fish, and a colony of cockroaches.

“I like weird animals,” said Lichtenwald.  “I’m intrigued by the diversity, and the way they’re so adapted to their environments.”

When dealing with these different animals, Lichtenwald is able to get to know their different personalities.

Jasper, the corn snake, is very active in his cage but calms down when he is held. He’s not aggressive in anyway, in comparison to the bull snake, Snarky. “The bull snake, he’s more aggressive in general, especially about his food,” Lichtenwald said when asked about the contrasting natures of her snakes.

Mrs. L’s most recent addition was Libra, the hedgehog. This diminutive animal has come a long way from when she first arrived. When Libra was brought to her, she was very flea ridden and required special treatment to make the parasites go away. According to Lichtenwald, the animal is now much happier and slowly warming up to the people in her environment. However, because of the cool temperature in the classroom, Libra is being kept at Lichtenwald’s home until her return next school year.


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