Henry — an unusual sixth grader

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - 15:23

(From the Knik Arm Courier, Aug. 30, 1970)


Without any doubt, Henry is the laziest individual in Mr. heath’s sixth grade class at the Chugiak Elementary School. However, to date he is probably the best behaved.

Henry is a five-foot, five-inch boa constrictor, one of the many pets who occupy the assortment of cages in Mr. heath’s classroom. Henry was donated to the class by Mrs. Kuentzel, of Lower Fire Lake, the mother of one of the students.

Mr. Heath’s classroom resembles a cross between a pet store and a museum. Cages of white mice, hamsters and gerbils occupy every spare corner. A wild squirrel keeps house in a nest on a shelf shared by an assortment of bird and hornet nests.

Children are encouraged to bring pets from home to share with their classmates, and there is usually a bird, a fish or a Guniea pig visiting the class.

Of all the pets, Henry is the favorite. At present he shares his cage with a white mouse, who, when Henry decides he is in the proper mood, will become his dinner. The students are looking forward to that day with both fascination and misgivings.

Boa constrictors will only eat live food, and must crush their prey with their coils before they can swallow it. The little mouse is quite unaware of the fate his roommate has in store for him, and runs all over Henry without fear. Another mouse which had been placed in the cage earlier had to be removed. He apparead to have gotten the roles reversed and began to chew on Henry’s tail, inflicting an ugly wound before Mr. Heath discovered it.


This column is provided by the Chugiak-Eagle River Historical Society. Reach them at [email protected] or leave a message at 688-4706.

Facebook comments