"It's a great educational tool as far as teaching. feeding habits of animals, lighting requirements. Just even interacting... touching the animal, the feel, the senses. I mean, it can be used as a teaching tool in many, many ways."
Some of the reptiles frequently recommended to teachers are bearded dragons and ball pythons, like this one, because they are more docile... and the ball pythons don't ever get to be more than four feet long.
Lord says the way these animals are bred gives them a natural disposition to be handled by children.
"Through generations of captive breeding these animals have proven to be very docile, very gentle and very interactive... friendly."
He adds, however, like any animal, they can still bite. Teachers should be sure to always supervise children, and use the proper equipment and holding techniques so the animal isn't harmed. Some animals like turtles, get a reputation for carrying diseases such as salmonella... and Lord says this is completely preventable.
"There are hundreds of forms salmonella...unfortunately turtles got a bad rap... chicken on the counter, the gas station pump, simply the door handle on the entrance to the school. The precautions are there, washing hands, hand sanitizer... all of that is going to help prevent things like salmonella or anything else that can be contracted."
Lord says with the proper education of how to care for the animal and correctly sanitize after handling it, pets can be beneficial to a classroom.