My daughter takes different enrichment classes everyday after school. They're really fantastic! One class is on animals, another is on creating television commercials, another is a martial arts class. She also takes a magic class and flute lessons! These classes are part of her school's after-school enrichment program.
One day, when I was picking her up from her animal class, the teacher was giving the kids mealworms to take home. They were supposed to use them to feed to the lizards, but my daughter and the other kids wanted to save their lives. Each child received two mealworms. I didn't like the thought of keeping worms in the house, but my daughter was excited by it. She's been dying to have a pet. Unfortunately, both she and my husband have allergies to dogs and cats. We bought her a fish, but she still wants an interactive pet.
Anyway, she immediately named her "pets" Mealie and Wormie. We put them in a large butterfly cage and gave them oats to crawl in and eat. We also put carrots in as they use the carrots for their hydration. My daughter loves watching them crawl around and eat. We did some research on them and discovered that they're more related to caterpillars than to worms. They metamorphosize into beetles that can bite. Because of this, my daughter agreed that we would release them once they turn into beetles.
The next week at her animal class, she found out the teacher that gave the mealworms out was actually a substitute teacher that wasn't supposed to do this. The regular teacher was pretty irate that she had done this. The other students all talked about how their mealworms died. For example, one gave his mealworm water to drink, causing the mealworm to drown. My daughter was the only student who still had two mealworms that were alive and thriving.
We later found out from the teacher that we are not supposed to release the mealworms or the beetles they turn into because they are not native to the area. By releasing them, we could potentially destroy the whole ecosystem of the area! This was the real reason the teacher was angry about the sub handing out the mealworms to the kids. So, he told my daughter that once her pets turn into beetles, we would have to kill them.
This made my daughter cry.
As much as I hate the mealworms, the thought of killing them upset me as well. I told my daughter, that we would just have to keep the beetles then. She reminded me that they might be different genders, then we'd end up with a much bigger problem.
Oh damn. That's right!
I talked with the teacher last week and asked him if he'd take the mealworms back. In front of my daughter he said, "Oh sure! We could feed them to our lizards!" I explained that my daughter didn't want her pets fed to lizards. He responded that we could keep them until they turned to beetles, then kill them. He definitely was not getting the situation. I asked him if there were any mealworm farms in the area that he could send the mealworms to. He said they they did have their own mealworm farms. I then made it clear that's where we wanted our mealworms to go to.
I hope he remembers about send the mealworms to the "farm" when we return them.
Ugh. The atrocity!