The Hedgehog As A Classroom Pet

May 17, 2013 by

The Hedgehog As A Classroom Pet

 Introduction

  • A hedgehog can make a wonderful classroom pet,ONLY under certain conditions.
  • Some teachers do an outstanding job with their hedgehog in the classroom.
  • If the hedgehog is well socialized and easy to handle, it can interact well with the children in the classroom.
  • In some cases, the hedgehog is merely a novelty animal in a cage, rather than a pet that is loved and cared for by the class.
  • Unfortunately, there are times when a classroom hedgehog suffers greatly. The hedgehog becomes nervous and agitated, and can even be intentionally or unintentionally abused.
  • A hedgehog that is not happy is not only unfortunate not only for the hedgehog, but also for the students who may be missing out on valuable learning opportunities.
Hedgehog Hank on his 1st birthday

Figure 1 – Hedgehog Hank on his 1st birthday

 
Hedgehog Hank on his 1st birthday

Figure 2 – Hedgehog Hank on his 1st birthday

Necessary Criteria

  • The primary caregiver must understand all of the requirements and guidelines of having a hedgehog as a pet.
  • The hedgehog will need a period of adjustment after leaving its birthplace and before entering the classroom.
  • Care must be taken to ensure that it is legal to keep an exotic animal in a classroom setting.
  • Not every hedgehog is a good candidate for classroom living. The primary caregiver should be willing and excited to have a hedgehog as a pet even if it doesn’t work out in the classroom.
  • The primary caregiver should be comfortable and skilled at handling the hedgehog before teaching others to properly care for and handle this unique creature.
  • Teachers should be able to monitor all the children’s interactions with the hedgehog, thus making sure it is treated with respect and care.
  • We do NOT recommend that the hedgehog be left in the classroom over the weekends. Hedgehogs need daily food, water, and careful temperature monitoring.

  • We recommend that the hedgehog go home with the primary caregiver and NOT with various students over the weekend or summer. Rotating a classroom hedgehog through multiple homes can increases the risk of problems such as stress from: changing environments, differences in temperature, differences in feeding times, and the risk of coming in contact with fleas and mites. 

  • Please take into consideration the possibility that your hedgehog may need veterinary care, which can be quite costly.

Conclusion

Under the right conditions a hedgehog can become a great tool to stimulate learning among the students, and can provide exceptional animal therapy as well.

 

 

Primary Author: Gail Dick, Millermeade Farms

Contributor: Mary Lynn K McDermott
http://www.petsintheclassroom.org/blog/

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