Tonawanda News — The ASPCA says that a year of litter and bedding material will cost around $220. This $7 hamster sure got expensive quickly. To cut costs you can cover the bottom of the enclosure with less bedding, closer to a half an inch, and fill the other one and a half inches with shredded paper from your paper shredder. The hamster may even enjoy the loose paper bedding more since it can be easily manipulated.
The biggest problem I imagine would be the inactivity the classroom pet is exhibiting. Being nocturnal there is going to be a lot of sleeping going on. In addition to this handling the hamster might become difficult. Only children around 7 years old should be allowed to hold the hamster and that should only be with a strong adult presence. Hamsters, like all critter companions, have unique personalities and care should be taken to purchase the friendliest hamster at the store.
If keeping the hamster in their enclosure most of the time is not an issue, then a passive hamster might be a wonderful classroom or bedroom pet. Lots of lessons can be learned from keeping such a pocket pet, including basic pet husbandry, animal handling and enrichment.
Hamsters seem to enjoy wheels, cardboard tubes, tissue boxes, wooden blocks and fresh branches. Placing the enrichment inside the enclosure at the end of the day and recording the location and condition they are found the next morning might be the perfect recurring activity that children can always look forward to throughout the school year.
Kenny Coogan has a B.S. in animal behavior. Please email your questions to email@example.com, or search for “Critter Companions by Kenny Coogan” on Facebook.