May 2009

Hamsters: A Great First Pet

Soft, adorable, and typically active enough to be entertaining but not annoying (with the exception of some late-night wheel riders), hamsters make an excellent first pet. They are simple to care for, and can provide a child with some important lessons about life, as well as prepare him or her for caring for a larger pet down the road.

“Fancy” or “teddy bear” hamsters, which are actually Syrian or Golden Hamsters, are the most common variety kept as pets. Though usually brown, the Syrian hamster can be a variety of colors, and some have long hair that needs to be cared for. Generally very gentle and curious, they are quite hardy animals who can eat a variety of foods. Syrian hamsters need larger cages, as they are a good-sized species that need room to run and play. They live up to three years.

May 13 is Frog Jumping Day

Whether you’re jumping over a frog or jumping like one, today is a great day for hippity-hoppers.

Frog Jumping Day can be traced back to Missouri author Mark Twain, and his first short story, “Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog.” If you’d like to read this story today, it’s also known as “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” as well as “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.”

Frogs make great pocket pets, so you may want to celebrate Frog Jumping Day by getting a frog—or a toad—as a pet. Many frogs are simple to care for, fun to watch, and can be a great first pet for children—as long as they maintain proper hand washing techniques!