Should You Give Children Hamsters
By Hal Storm
Getting a pet for a child is a great idea because it gives them responsibility and a buddy. Hamsters are a popular choice, but are they a good choice?
Hamsters are a type of rodent that belongs to the order Cricetinae which consists of about eighteen species. They come from the Middle East and Southeastern Europe and have become very popular as pets and lab animals because it is very easy to breed them in captivity. The most popular type in the pet store is known as the Syrian or Golden Hamster. They are smaller than Guinea Pigs which make them more suited for smaller homes, but they are equally as sociable.
There are several advantages of a hamster as a pet. The hamster is inexpensive, and does not cost much to feed or maintain. They do not require the care nor can they cause the problems of larger pets such as cats and dogs. It is quite possible to turn the complete responsibility of the hamster over to your little one. The pet can be kept in the childâ€™s room and is not likely to roam the house, bark at night, or chew the furniture. If it barks, you certainly donâ€™t have a hamster!
Although the hamster does not require much maintenance, it does need some. Like any living thing, it needs water and food. Its living area needs to be cleaned on a regular schedule. This is being mentioned as an advantage because one of the best things about pets and children is the opportunity to teach responsibility to the child by making them the pets care giver. It is a good idea to oversee this responsibility carefully though. The lesson you want to teach is not necessarily how to deal with grief and loss.
There are some disadvantages to the hamster as a pet. They are cute and they can be funny to watch when they are active, but they are also nocturnal. They are going to be on a totally different time schedule than your child. They are going to be running around their home late at night, playing and being cute while the child is sleeping. When the child is awake and wants to play with his hamster, the hamster will be curled up under his bedding and not much in a playing mood.
Although the hamster is somewhat social, it is not usually going to be up to the standards that the child was hoping for in a pet. Instead of playing, or even sitting still the hamster is going to run for cover most of the time, and once they get loose and hide they are not easy to find. The bottom line is that they are not dogs and cats, and with their shorter life spans and nocturnal habits they will never be that kind of long term pet. However, they are not expensive, can teach responsibility, and kids do love them. On a final note, keep them out of hot areas. They can die if it gets to hot, which is not going to make your little one very happy at all.
Hal Storm is with www.PetStoreYeti.com – your free resource for pet tips and advice.
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