Surprise!

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A couple of weeks ago, Lower Elementary Assistant Ms. Sophie brought the much-anticipated new class pet, Chubby, into the Checkerboard classroom. She had been nurturing and caring for the hamster at home for a few days while the children prepared for their new pet, including voting on a name (“Squishy” was also in the running). Chubby was aptly named, and Ms. Sophie received quite a bit of teasing for “overfeeding” Chubby at home, something she insisted she had not done. Alas, Chubby could not even fit into her tunnel, she was so rotund.

After deciding Chubby wasn’t getting enough exercise, the hamster spent the morning running around the classroom inside the hamster ball before returning to the cage. The children gently pet Chubby, and then…

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They exclaimed, “There are babies!!!”

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Much to everyone’s surprise, Chubby quickly delivered 9 tiny pink, hairless, helpless hamsters!

Needless to say, the children were very excited. Over the past two weeks, Ms. Sophie has done her very best to optimize the baby hamsters’ survival, including checking on them over the weekends and feeding Chubby extra protein through tofu, hard boiled egg, and cheese to help with milk production. In addition to the fresh veggies, pear peels, and grains she is receiving, Chubby is a very pampered new mama! We are hopeful that at least some of the babies survive so the children can watch them grow.

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One day old

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A bit over one week old – note the new fur coming in, more defined ears, as well as tiny claws!

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Two weeks: fur is longer, future color/patterns beginning to become distinguishable

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And yesterday! How cute!

Sophie quickly learned that to keep the mama as calm and unstressed as possible, the cage needed to be temporarily removed from the classroom and placed in a dark, quiet place. They will be reunited with the children once they are stronger and less fragile.

Welcome, Chubby, and welcome to your babies! And thank you, Sophie, for all your hard work and nurturing to ensure the success of these tiny creatures, and for keeping us updated with photos!

Meet our other classroom pets (though Elvis the guinea pig has since passed away), and read a bit about the role of pets in the Montessori classroom here