In this article, we will provide you with essential tips and information on how to look after a Hedgehog as a pet.
Hedgehogs make good pets for many people. They are not right for everyone. Between their nocturnal schedule, quills, and intense love of unusual scents, hedgehogs bring a unique combination of traits and qualities that may not work for everyone’s lifestyle.
To help you out, we’re going to break down everything you need to know on how to look after a hedgehog.
Owning a Hedgehog
Many people are unsure about whether or not hedgehogs make good pets due to their exotic nature. Hedgehogs can make great pets for the right person when provided with proper care and attention.
Hedgehogs are solitary animals that do not require another animal to feel at home. They’ll be much more at home without a friend. This is likely because, in the wild, hedgehogs only spend time with other hedgehogs during mating season.
Since hedgehogs are solitary animals, they can take some time to warm up to you. Have patience and start slow, as most hedgehogs will be a bit anxious around humans at first.
If your hedgehog immediately curls into a ball when you pick them up, don’t fret! Gently pet them while they are curled into a ball. Over time, they’ll realize that you mean no harm and they will become more curious about you. Continue socializing with your hedgehog, and they’ll begin to recognize your face, voice, and scent after a while.
Is A Pet Hedgehog Right For Me?
While adorable, hedgehogs are living beings that need a lot of care and attention to thrive.
Before purchasing a hedgehog, please consider the following factors:
Will a hedgehog fit well into my lifestyle?
Hedgehogs are nocturnal creatures, which works well for many people who work during the day. However, if you work overnight and want a pet that is awake during the day, a hedgehog may not be the best choice for you. It’s also important to keep in mind that your hedgehog may make some noise during their nighttime activities. If anyone in your home, including other pets, is a light sleeper, a hedgehog could disturb their sleep.
Are hedgehogs legal where I live?
Hedgehogs are legal in many U.S. states and European countries, but it’s best to check your local laws before you start shopping for your new pet.
Can I control the temperature of my hedgehog’s environment?
Hedgehogs need a warm environment. Otherwise, they may begin hibernating, which can lead to serious health problems. A hedgehog should be kept in a warm area between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent this while keeping them comfortable.
Do I regularly have children around?
While hedgehogs can be affectionate pets, young children and hedgehogs are often not a great match. Between the potential for being pricked by your hedgehog’s quills and the need for hygiene after handling a hedgehog, young children are typically not suited to play with a hedgehog.
Am I willing to practice smart hygiene?
Hedgehogs present a handful of safety concerns. According to Lake Norman Animal Hospital, there have been several pet hedgehogs that have carried and spread salmonella. You must wash your hands every time you touch your hedgehog or its environment. It’s also recommended that you avoid kissing or snuggling your hedgehog close to your face. These hygiene practices are key for protecting you and anyone else who plays with your hedgehog.
Where to Buy a Hedgehog:
Hedgehogs are typically not found at chain pet stores, like PetSmart or PetCo. If you’re looking for a hedgehog, try the following options for finding a pet hedgehog:
● Local breeders: Check for local breeders that sell hedgehogs. You can often find local breeders through Facebook, newspaper listings, and Craigslist. It’s essential to check that they are licensed by the USDA before purchasing through them to ensure that they follow quality breeding practices.
● Local Pet Stores: While many chain pet stores don’t sell hedgehogs, local, independently-owned pet stores may carry them. Call your local, independent pet store to see if they have any hedgehogs available.
● Adoptions: Call local animal shelters or wildlife rescue organizations to see if any hedgehogs have been abandoned or surrendered. Not only could you find a pet hedgehog this way, but you’ll be doing a great thing by rescuing one!
● Exotic Animal Shows: Exotic animal trade shows and conventions give you the chance to ask questions to hedgehog breeders directly and get hands-on with their hedgehogs before purchasing one. Come prepared with a list of questions about hedgehog care and how the seller practices breeding.
● Direct Shipping: If you’re unable to find hedgehogs in your area, many licensed breeders can arrange transportation for pet hedgehogs for out-of-state buyers.
● Local Veterinarian: Your veterinarian may know of reputable hedgehog breeders in the area. Reach out to them to see if they offer hedgehog care and if they have any recommendations for where to buy a hedgehog.
United States Hedgehog Breeders:
● Morning Star Hedgehogs: (630) 346-5122, https://morningstarhedgehogs.com/
● KyTy Critters: 816-608-7784, https://www.kytycritters.com/
● Blizzard Baby Hedgehogs: https://www.blizzardbabyhedgehogs.com/policies.php (Ships throughout the USA)
● Janda Exotics: 210-241-1856, https://www.jandaexotics.com/hedgehog-babies-for-sale
There are currently four domestic hedgehog breeds.
The most common pet hedgehog is the African pygmy hedgehog, which is a charming and loving type of hedgehog that many people enjoy having as a pet. African pygmy hedgehogs were the first hedgehog breed to be domesticated and are also called the “four-toed hedgehog.”
The Algerian Hedgehog is another popular hedgehog breed that the Romans initially domesticated for their quills and as companion pets.
Egyptian and Indian Long-Eared Hedgehogs are two more popular hedgehog breeds, known for their giant “bat” ears. While cute, their oversized ears do make them more parasite-prone, so their owners must keep a close eye on them.
Indian Long-Eared Hedgehogs are especially unique because they can handle both extreme heat and cold much better than other breeds.
No matter which breed you choose, make sure that you shop responsibly and purchase through a reputable store or breeder. Hedgehogs that are improperly bred are prone to more health and behavioral problems, so shop smart!
One of the best parts of getting a new pet is coming up with a name for them! From silly to distinguished to cute, there are so many names out there that are perfect for hedgehogs.
Male Hedgehog Names:
Female Hedgehog Names
Cute and Silly Hedgehog Names
● Tinker Bell
● Shaquill O’Neal
● Hedgegar Allan Poke
● Winston Churchill
With so many names to choose from, it can be challenging to pick just one. Take your time picking out your hedgehog’s name. No matter what you pick – we’re sure it will be great!
Hedgehogs can live long lives with appropriate, high-quality veterinary care. Most pet hedgehogs will live around five years, but some may live up to eight years!
Hedgehogs are prone to a variety of health problems, including parasites, cancer, and cardiac conditions. Regular veterinary care is vital to your hedgehog’s quality of life and longevity.
Please note that not all veterinarians are experienced in hedgehog care, making it vital that you find a veterinarian who does have the necessary experience to treat your pet right away should anything happen to them.
The College of Veterinary Medicine recommends taking your hedgehog to see a veterinarian when you first get them, then taking your hedgehog in for routine checkups each year. Female hedgehogs should be spayed to reduce their risk of uterine tumors.
How to Look After a Hedgehog:
With proper care, hedgehogs can be affectionate and spunky companions to humans. It’s normal for there to be a warming-up period where your hedgehog gets to know you and their new environment.
Hedgehogs strongly prefer staying in the same environment, so when you first bring them home, they may seem a bit more grumpy. This is completely normal and a result of them adjusting to their new environment.
Hedgehogs do not like to be surprised and prefer a gentle, soft touch and voice. Avoid surprising your hedgehog, especially when they are first adjusting to their environment. Be patient, and soon enough, you’ll have a chipper hedgehog. Many hedgehog owners are surprised at how spunky and adventurous their hedgehog becomes after they’ve adjusted to their new home.
Hedgehogs are highly active animals that need a lot of exercise to stay trim and happy. You must give your hedgehog plenty of room to exercise.
Many hedgehogs will run several miles at night so an exercise wheel. Plenty of rooms are must-haves for keeping them active and happy. Avoid exercise wheels with wire bottoms as hedgehogs can get their feet trapped in the wire when running.
The Small Animal Hospital recommends a large cage with good ventilation and a solid bottom. Wire bottom cages are unsafe for hedgehogs as they can catch their legs and toes on the wire, possibly resulting in injury. Line the bottom of the cage with soft, dust-free bedding rather than wood shavings which can irritate their lungs. Clay or clumping cat litter should also be avoided entirely.
It’s recommended that you change all of their bedding once a week and do a quick “spot check” of their bedding daily, where you take out and replace any dirty bedding.
The temperature of your hedgehog’s cage should be comfortable between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, check that your hedgehog’s cage is not directly in the sun and kept away from any drafts and cool areas in your house. Some owners will use small heating lamps or pads to keep them warm and cozy. Your local pet store may have heating options available in the reptile department.
Your hedgehog should not need to be bathed unless they get extremely dirty. Otherwise, hedgehogs generally keep themselves clean. At most, a hedgehog may require a monthly bath. More frequent baths can lead to overly dry skin.
Hedgehogs may need their nails trimmed occasionally.
In nature, hedgehogs are insectivores, which means they primarily eat insects and some vegetables. Since domestic hedgehogs are newer there is still. A lot of debate about the kind of foods they should eat. Currently, the typical standard is a diet made up of high-quality, low-fat proteins. Meat-based diets are recommended.
If you are unable to find hedgehog-specific food, cat kibble may be a good substitute. Dog kibble is typically too large and hard for hedgehogs to chew effectively, making cat kibble a better choice in many cases. Consult with your veterinarian about the best diet and food choices for your hedgehog’s optimal health.
Your hedgehog should have easy access to water. Many hedgehog owners have a water bottle installed in their hedgehog’s cage. If your hedgehog is unwilling or struggling to use a water bottle, try a water bowl. If you use a water bowl, make sure that it’s heavy enough that they cannot tip the bowl over accidentally.
We hope this ultimate guide on “How to Look After a Hedgehog” helped you understand more about the responsibilities of owning a hedgehog, their personality, a hedgehog’s needs, and more.
If you think you’re a good fit for a hedgehog, we recommend considering one as a pet. Hedgehogs are unique pets.