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Are Hamsters Good Classroom Pets?

Classroom pets almost always have to be something small and capable of fitting in cages. This leaves the option of frogs, turtles, fish, birds and more. Perhaps you have been considering buying a pet hamster for your classroom. Kids love class animals and you think It would brighten the spirit of your class even more. However, after thinking it over you still can’t decide because you are stuck dwelling on one question.

Are Hamsters Good Classroom Pets? They are adorable animals which students will love. They are fun to watch and can provide entertainment for any classroom. Hamsters can still sometimes be aggressive animals which can be hard to tame so they may not be the best pick for younger children.

Hamsters can provide kids with lots of entertainment. Hamsters do not require much maintenance and they can be a great starter pet. However, hamsters do not always prove to be sociable creatures. Like any classroom pet, they have their pros and cons.

Advantages of a Hamster

Entertaining: Hamsters are super cute. Many owners derive a huge amount of pleasure just from watching their hamsters play. Some enjoy creating intricate playgrounds for their hammies. Watching hamsters may help students ease stress.

Hamsters are speedy, curious and energetic, and offer tons of entertainment. You can sit beside the cage, and watch your hamster at work and play as she burrows and climbs. Outside the cage, she will explore the environment and use you as a jungle gym, scrambling up your arms and crawling over your legs.

Educational: Hamsters can be an educational experience for kids. Students can watch them and learn about the life of animals through real-world insight. They have puffy cheeks which kids will love to watch them stuff.

Hamsters are like little pocket pets. Small children are able to hold these guys really easily. Their cute small size makes them the perfect portable pet. They are not scary so kids will not be frightened by it. Kids can watch how they interact with their environment.

Low Maintenance: They are affordable to buy and take care of. Once you’ve purchased the hutch and the animal itself, the main upkeep cost is bedding, a material that will be need to be replaced on a regular basis. Having a hamster as a pet might not involve the level of care required of other pets, but it does warrant having a schedule to care for the hamster’s needs. Veterinary care is not a huge cost.

So if you’re a very quiet person, and you need a quiet pet that won’t disturb you, a hamster could be for you. Most of the hamster’s activity happens at night (so don’t place it’s cage in your bedroom).

Independence: Hamsters can stay alone, and you do not have to look for a pair. They are very independent. Usually, managing two pets at a time can get really daunting. So no feeling guilty about having a lonely pet. They are relatively quiet pets as well. Most of the time hamsters make absolutely no noise. Sure, you will hear them faintly rummaging in their hideouts, or digging in their bedding. But they don’t get noisier than that most of the time.

They are pretty self-content even while alone. They happy enough dawdling around her cage, filling her cheeks with food and quite possibly having a snooze if it is daytime. They don’t demand attention the way other animals might. You don’t have to walk a hamster either.

Exercise: Exercise is not huge hassle for hamsters. An exercise wheel is the best way for your hamster to let out the immense energy it has. The hamster will have access to the wheel 24/7, since it’s in his cage all day and night. Also, an exercise ball will be a great help for keeping the hamster from becoming anxious or stressed. All you as a human need to do is help the hamster into the ball, and he will do the rest by himself.

And the hamster itself is incredibly cheap, somewhere between $5-10. An average budget, for a new cage, wheel, exercise ball, transport cage, hideout, and toys can get to $225.\

Cleanliness: Another pro to having a pet hamster is how clean they are. They usually only use one corner of a cage as a latrine. This is much easier than having to deal with other bigger animals like dogs and cats. Hamsters are good starter pets as they require little maintenance. You will have to clean the entire place very less frequently.

They are still a very clean pet all around. Even in their hideout, hamsters keep their pile of food well away from droppings, and only pee in the opposite corner of the cage. As far away from their hideout as possible.

Don’t have any time in your hectic life to groom a pet, or even to take your pet to the groomer? Not to worry, hamsters groom themselves, and they don’t require any baths. Hamsters also do not shed. This is great news for people who have allergies to fur. Over all, you should be safe with a hamster! Your clothes and furniture will not need a regular brushing as well, since there are no stray hamster hairs laying about.

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Disadvantages of a Hamster

Lifestyle:

It should be noted that hamsters live a very nocturnal lifestyle. This means that they are up even in the night. hamsters must have peace and quiet during the day when they sleep. If you disturb them frequently, they can develop health issues and get sick. They also will get aggressive! Since they are nocturnal, they will make noise at night when you are trying to sleep.

Hamsters have a short life span. They only live 2-3 years. This is okay since you will only have your class for one year before receiving new students. However, they may die throughout the year. However, if you can’t make a long commitment to a pet, this characteristic may be appealing.

Potential Biters: A hamster awakened suddenly from a nap during the day may bite. Therefore, hamsters need to be handled only with adult supervision by children. Hamsters require a gentle touch and may be easily startled by sudden movement and loud noises.The motor skills of children usually not refined enough to make a hamster feel comfortable being handled.

You can always try training your hamster to be less aggressive. Young hamsters are typically easier to hand tame but you can start teaching your hamster not to bite by making sure you don’t startle it. Try not to wake it up and instead entice it to climb onto your hand on its own using a tasty treat. This will gain its trust over time and allow you to pet and hold your hamster while avoid being bitten.

Difficult Personalities: This, combined with the immense amount of energy a hamster has gives you possibly difficult pet. You need a lot of patience. Hamsters are very active and move around alot.

They’re not crazy about hugs and kisses and cuddles and scratches. Sure, they’ll tolerate them a bit but you can’t hold and cuddle a hamster for a half hour as you could a dog. This can potentially be a pro if you do not have the time to give your pet much affection and time.

Aggressive Behavior: Hamsters will fight and inflict serious injuries to each other if housed in the same quarters, so each must have their own separate space. So if you want more than 1 hamster, you will have to buy a new cage. Also, even cage will have to be relatively large for your hamster to be comfortable. This may involve some renovation to your classroom to adjust the furniture.

Not Trusting: They’re not as trusting as dog or even cats. Hamsters have evolved to run away from everything, since anything can be a predator for them. They easily feel threatened causing aggressive behavior.

Hamsters have very poor eyesight, because of this, they rely on smell to help them know their surroundings. Typically, your hamster will only be able to see 2-3 inches in front of them.

Keeping Your Hamster Healthy

Having a hamster as a pet might not involve the level of care required of other pets, but it does warrant having a schedule to care for the hamster’s needs. Hamsters must have fresh food and water available daily, and their cages should be cleaned at least weekly. This involves changing the hamster’s bedding and cleaning the cage. Your hamster will need a dry, comfortable, clean place to live.

Your Hamster’s Home

The area needs to be quiet so they can rest during the day undisturbed. Make sure their cage is not near a window, door, air conditioning vent or other drafty areas.It is generally considered a best practice to take a pet hamster in to see the vet once per year, regardless of their apparent health

Hamster habitats don’t take up that much room and as long as it is big enough for them to play in, explore, and climb around that is all you need. Some plastic habitats have movable tubes that can be attached to extend the habitat’s space.

Choose a location for your hamster’s cage that is not in bright sunlight. In addition, try to pick an area where the lighting will follow a predictable pattern, so the hamster doesn’t get stressed due to changes in the schedule. A well-constructed cage with a solid floor covered with an appropriate nesting material. Plastic cages are better than metal ones, but wooden cages should not be used.

Home Decor: Hamsters are active little guys, and require a great deal of exercise. This can be in the form of a hamster wheel inside the cage. The side-bars of the cage should be close enough to prevent the hamsters from escaping by squeezing through them. Hamsters are master escape artists. They are active and can figure out a way to squeeze through optimum cage spaces.

Once again keep in mind that hamsters like and need to chew on items so wood, cardboard, plastic, and other items that are able to be chewed may not last very long inside the enclosure.

Avoid tall cages, as hamsters are terrible at climbing down. They could fall and get seriously injured.

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Healthy Eating

The easiest and safest approach to feeding your hamster is to go with a complete meal that you can find at a pet or store.The easiest and safest approach to feeding your hamster is to go with a complete meal that you can find at a pet or store.

Hamsters can typically eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Some options are listed below. These should all be fed to your hamster in moderation.

  • Carrots
  • Grapes
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumbers
  • Kale
  • Apples
  • Eggs

Water should be in a bowl accessible to the hamster at all times. They are very active critters and need water to stay hydrated throughout their day.

As a hamster’s teeth never stop growing, you need to provide your them with hard treats, like tree branches or dog biscuits, once a week. Gnawing on something hard will help keep the teeth in check.

What Not To Feed Your Hamster

Do not feed your hamster any of the seeds from these fruits and vegetables. As hamsters can be prone to diabetes, you’ll want to give them fruit (which is laden with sugar) sparingly. If you use vinegar, bleach or any other type of cleaning product on the container, make sure everything is thoroughly cleaned off and dried before adding new bedding and returning your hamster back to its cage.

Although nuts like peanuts and almonds aren’t directly toxic to hamsters, they are dense in caloric and fat content and can be provided in a volume that quickly exceeds daily caloric requirements and contributes to obesity. It’s best to stick to vegetables and fruits that have a high water and fiber content instead of seeds and nuts for snacks.

Hamsters also usually love peanut butter but it must be fed carefully (as with any other sticky food) because it can get stuck in their cheek pouches and cause severe problems.

Make sure that fresh offerings do not exceed around twenty percent of their diet. Fruits and vegetables are typically not as complete a diet as specially made hamster chow.

Hamsters don’t generally like to eat leftovers. For optimum nutrition, keep the animal’s feeding dish about three-quarters of the way full, and change their food out on a daily basis.

Avoiding Sickness and Injury

Makes sure that your students are aware of all these precautions. The teacher should make sure that the hamster is being fed daily even if specific children were left in charge of pet care.

Anytime you plan to reach into your hamster’s cage (or poke your fingers through the bars) be sure to wash your hands. Hamsters are very small and things that barely affect you could result in serious illness to your hamster.

Hamsters lick and chew on just about everything, so it’s important to their health to maintain a clean cage. Weekly thorough cage cleanings (with complete bedding change) are recommended.

If your hamster shows signs of being sick, be sure to take him/her to the veterinarian right away. Common Symptoms

  • Dull eyes
  • Matted fur
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • A runny nose
  • Excessive shaking.

Hamsters are prone to a bacterial disease called wet tail, which can be caused by changes like coming to a new home or suddenly living in an overcrowded cage, and it can be fatal if not treated within 48 hours. Signs of wet tail include lethargy, loss of appetite, failure to groom and diarrhea

Do not wake your hamster up during the day when they are sleeping. They need their beauty rest just as much as we do!

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Types of Hamsters

Each hamster has unique characteristics and features.In order to provide your hamster with proper care, you must be knowledgeable about his or her species—there are five common ones

Syrian

They can grow five to six inches long. Syrian hamsters are the most common pet hamster type. They do not mix well with other hamsters and prefer to be the only child. . Syrian hamsters do not like company.

Syrian hamsters will fight if kept together, so it is best to keep each one in its own cage. Their territorial nature begins at about 6 to 10 weeks of age, so separate them at that point

Dwarf: Though they are nocturnal, they are often awake for short periods during the day. Thay are also the smallest type of hamster

Roborovski: They do well in small same sex pairs or groups if they are introduced at a young age. They are sweet hamsters that do not usually nip.

Chinese: They grow to be between 3- 5 inches. They are distinguished by an abnormally long tail relative to other hamsters, whose tails are stubby

Winter White: Dwarf Winter White Russians come in three colors: Sapphire, Pearl, and a combination of the two called Sapphire-Pearl. Pearl is a white pattern where white hairs are sprinkled throughout the coat, and Sapphire is a purple-gray color.

Hamsters have varying personalities and can learn to recognize their pet parents, accept hand-fed treats and develop unique burrowing habits. Learn about who your hamster is.

Final Perks of Any Classroom Pet

Nobody enjoys being treated roughly. Kids soon learn that if they want to be liked and trusted by the family cat, they’ll need to treat her carefully and kindly.

Helping to take care of a pet gives a child a sense of pride and accomplishment, especially if the animal is able to return the affection.

It’s never too early to start teaching kids proper animal care. Of course, parents or teachers must monitor all pet care that the child carries out. Kids should be expected to fulfill their responsibilities

Ready to Buy A Hamster?

When you buy the hamster, make sure you can afford all the necessities as well. Before purchasing, make sure no child is allergic to hamsters. Also if you choose to buy a hamster ball for your hamster, get a bright color. Always let the students know when the hamster is out of the cage. This can help them to avoid tripping over the ball accidentally.

A small furry pet is a great option for your classroom. Some other choices are guinea pigs, rabbits, gerbils, chinchillas and mice. You can head out to your local pet store and likely buy a hamster for a fairly cheap price.

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