A few years ago, I bought my class two hermit crabs as our class pets. The kids named them Grandpa, because he was big, and Ketchup, because he had claws the color of ketchup. The kids really loved those crabs, and took turns caring for them.
One day when the class went to Music, I was looking in the cage and Ketchup was gone. I dug around in the rocks and sand, looked under the little house, and looked inside the tube they often climbed in. He was not in there.
When the kids came back in , we had a class meeting to talk about where Ketchup might be. Nobody could explain it. I told them that maybe somehow Ketchup had gotten out of the cage. Everybody talked about how we could keep our eyes open just in case he happened to crawl out of his presumed hiding place. We didn't find him that day.
The next morning Ketchup was still missing. We went along with our daily routine, and during recess, I happened to have study hall in my classroom. We used study hall as a time for kids who needed to make up assignments could come for a few minutes during recess. On this particular day, there were five or six students from other second grade classes in my room working. While they worked, I went back to the cage and poked around to see if I could have possibly missed Ketchup. Grandpa was in there, but that was it.
As I poked around in the cage, a little girl asked me what I was doing. I told her that I was trying to find our hermit crab. She asked me if it had red claws and I told her it did. She then told me that Chelsie in my class had a hermit crab with red claws at the bus stop the afternoon before.
That afternoon I took Chelsie aside and asked her about the hermit crab, and she denied ever having one. I called her mom later that afternoon, and she said that Chelsie had found a crab at the bus stop the previous day, put it in her backpack, and they put it in a bowl with some water when she got home. She really believed that she found a hermit crab at the bus stop! I explained that I was pretty sure that it was our class pet and asked that she return it the next day.
Ketchup came back to school the next day with Chelsie. The kids were so happy to have him back, but some of them could not understand how she could take it in the first place. They were really mad at her. We ended having a class meeting to get it all out in the open, and I guess she realized that she was wrong, and Chelsie apologized. Everything went back to normal after that.
Grandpa and Ketchup went on to be our class pet for another couple of years. After that, I got a rabbit. I don't think he'll be as easy to sneak into a back pack!