Pets in the Classroom’s Tips on Guinea Pigs
There are many choices for classroom pets, and it’s important to have some information on the different types of pets available. Guinea pigs might be the right choice for your classroom. Here are just a few of the things you should know before selecting a guinea pig:
Guinea pigs need a clean and spacious habitat. Try to avoid any plastic or wire mesh that could hurt your pet or cause digestive problems – they chew constantly to help wear down their teeth. Unlike hamsters or gerbils, your guinea pig doesn’t need a wheel. Instead, you should provide a small shelter and chew sticks along with food and water inside the cage. Have your students be responsible for weekly cage cleanings and teach them how to properly change the food, water, and bedding.
Diet is important when it comes to caring for your guinea pig properly. A hand full of timothy hay is a good daily source of fiber, and occasional treats like orange slices provide them with necessary vitamin C. Let your students alternate taking turns to hand feed treats like these to their guinea pig both in and out of its habitat. It’s a great way for them to take an active role in the pet’s daily care and to connect with the animal.
Your students will enjoy taking their guinea pig out for handling. Let them know that it’s important to be gentle and to use two hands when picking their pet up. Show them the proper way of holding a guinea pig to their chest or on their lap, and supervise to make sure they don’t thrash around. Consistent, gentle behavior is key to keeping your guinea pig comfortable, so make sure your kids use calm movements and a soothing voice when around their pet.
Guinea pigs are gentle and social creatures, so they’re ideal for small children. Bringing these animals into your classroom will help your students learn invaluable lessons, and they’ll have fun caring for their new pet and working as a team. Read through our website for more information on how to get started, and bring life-enriching experiences to your classroom.