Pet Ownership: Purchasing a Hedgehog

They look cute on the cartoon and quite harmless. We are speaking of hedgehogs. They are not your traditional pet so make sure that you do some research before you buy one as a pet.

Hedgehogs are becoming more popular as pets these days. They are small animals that have pointed noses and whose skin is covered in quills. They remind people of porcupines only more compact.

Even though they are small, owning one is not a walk in the park. Here are several tips that can help you know before you buy if a hedgehog will make a good pet for your lifestyle and family situation.

egyptian long-eared hedgehog
Image Credit: Gevorg Simonyan, Shutterstock

What to Know before Buying a Hedgehog

1. Check the Laws

Know the laws. Hedgehogs may not be allowed as pets inside city limits in all areas. If they are allowed, you may need a special permit. Don’t get your heart set on one until you know that it is a possibility.

2. Hedgehogs are solitary animals

This means that they don’t get along well with other animals sharing their space, especially another hedgehog. Putting two together can be disastrous as they will fight.

3. Hedgehog females can breed early

As early as eight weeks a female can have a litter. It is best for them to wait until they are at least five months of age.

4. Know how to house them

Besides being alone, hedgehogs need a solid walled cage that they can exist in. An aquarium can work or you can build a habitat for them. When you first bring your hedgehog home, it is important to let him stay in his cage so he can become familiar with the surroundings. Hedgehogs also need very warm temperatures to feel comfortable (75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit). If they become too cool it can induce a partial hibernation state which can be deadly for your pet.

European hedgehog in the wild
Image Credit: aaltair, Shutterstock

5. Know how to feed and entertain them

They can play with plastic toys made for dogs or even blocks of wood or flowerpots. It is good to create a habitat with hiding places so they can slip out of view. Also, they eat vegetables, some fruit, insects, worms and also foods of other animals such as cats and dogs. Don’t feed them too much or weight will become a problem. Hedgehogs need regular exercise. They can get them by themselves but will welcome you to play with them if you do so consistently.

6. Know how to care for them

Hedgehogs need to have their quills cleaned. Also be careful if they are losing too many quills outside of the times when they shed them naturally. It could be a sign that they are sick or are not getting enough nutrients in their diet. Their habitat needs regular cleaning and daily litter box changes. They also don’t like too much noise at all.

If you want a hedgehog as a pet, go into it with your eyes open. They are small but delicate and need a lot of regular care.

Featured Image Credit: Siem van Woerkom, Unsplash