Elementary School Pets

Sep 04 2007 Published by under Biology, Family, Personal, Science

When it comes to teaching first and second graders about things, nothing beats the classroom pet. The little kids learn so many important things. They learn about animals. They learn about responsibility, and about the importance of taking care of things. And they learn about death.

A lot.

It's now the second week of school, and my son's second grade class is on its second hamster. We're scheduled to take the hamster home the last weekend of October. Anyone want to start a pool on what number hamster gets to take refuge in our house?

5 responses so far

  • mollishka says:

    I'll say ... 6.
    When I was in 2nd grade, I got to bring home the class rabbit for a weekend. It took a lot of doing to convince our cat that Oreo the Rabbit was not lunch.

  • Michele says:

    If you're lucky, maybe #4? My niece had hamsters that kept dying on her. She switched to mice which didn't last much longer. She eventually had better luck with rats.
    My brother and his wife had me babysit their hamsters while they were on vacation. Unfortunately, the hamsters were dead when they got home. They never let me babysit their children after that.

  • Michael Ralston says:

    I'm guessing seven.

  • ArtK says:

    Hamsters are awful. Not only do they die, but they are frequently quite nasty and aggressive. Rats are much nicer and more robust.

  • bacopa says:

    Oddly enough, I find myself working in the hamster trade. If its a dwarf Siberian hamster (aka Campbells' dwarf) you will still have the original hamster, but you will be instructed nt to handle it. It will have bitten many clumsy children who do not understand that you have to offer them the tightly stretched skin of the 3rd knuckle of the index finger to teach them the futility of biting. If it's a female Djungarian, it will survive, but you will be put off by her scent marking when she's in heat, which is almost always.
    If it's a standard shorthair or teddybear of the Auratus species, you may have gone through about four hamsters by late October. If its a male shorthair from Petco, all will be OK. Petco carries both M and F hamsters, while most PetsMarts stock only males. Thus Petco has a slow turnover on shorthair males, and any wet tail problems have had time to sort themselves out. However, all females at Petco turen over quickly and are often sold at a vulnerable age for wet tail. PetsMart is a different story, since they stock only males on most stores, their turnover varies with demand. This is a high demand time of year for hamsters, and the faster hamsters turn over the more problems they have. Furthermore, I have heard that PetsMart is having so many wet tail problems that I suspect they may be having a Giardia outbreak. This is much more serious than the standard bacterial wet tail disease.
    But don't think I'm just wailing on PetsMart, Petco had some Giardia last fall. My best advice is to go to an independent dealer who has had possession of the hamster from birth. The second best option is to get a jumbo shorthair male from Petco. The thrd best option is to get the largest hamster of any type that seems reasonably friently at PetsMart, or a larger hamster of any type at Petco.
    Don't choose any of the little Auratus hamsters at either megastore. You could soon have a dead hamster.