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The pros and cons of keeping pets in the classroom

August 23, 2004

The Minnesota Branch of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science Inc. offers pros and cons for many popular classroom pets.

  • Mice: Active, lively, entertaining - but odoriferous, not easy to handle, short life span.

  • Rats: Intelligent, friendly, trainable - but short life span with health problems at the end.

  • Hamsters: Cute and appealing - but nocturnal and bad-tempered.

  • Gerbils: Good-natured and healthy - but nocturnal and tough for children to handle.

  • Guinea pigs: Friendly and easy to handle - but susceptible to illness if husbandry is poor.

  • Rabbits: Large, can be tame, appealing - but usually shy, susceptible to injury when handled, allergenic, complicated husbandry.

  • Ferrets: Entertaining and inquisitive - but can have bad odor, tendency to nip, can be tough to handle, many possible health problems.

  • Cats: Friendly, affectionate, appeal to shy students - but allergenic and have veterinary costs.

  • Dogs: Friendly, affectionate, appeals to all students - but have veterinary cost and must be well-trained.

  • Reptiles, turtles: Require less care, interesting, unique - but expensive housing, specialized care, salmonella concerns.
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