So you’ve seen lots of cute Hedgehog Pets videos and memes on your favorite pets channel, and you’re fancying one for yourself. Sometimes, they can be a thorn in the flesh, literally, when they get agitated and curl into a fierce ball of spines on your lap. But most times, they’re adorable cutie babies that can win anyone’s affection.
If you’re considering one for a companion, you should first know that they’re exotic animals – mostly of African and European origin- and are, therefore, subject to exotic pet laws. Owning a pet hedgehog is totally illegal in 5 US states – Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Georgia, California, and Washington D.C.
In states where they’re legal, you still need to double-check with existing laws to make sure your ownership meets all the legal requirements.
In this article, Hedgehog Pets: Everything You Need to Know about Hedgehog Pets, we’ll look into everything you need to know about owning a hedgehog as a pet. We’ll explain when they can be incredible companions and when they can be off-putting.
Why should I Get my Hedgehog only from a Reputable Breeder?
Hedgehogs are less familiar to us, and as a new pet owner, you’d want to avoid any issues and uncertainties with your new pet. The best way to ensure you’re getting a high-quality pet capable of training and grooming is by obtaining it from a reputable breeder.
Hedgehogs need to be placed in the proper environment and cared for properly to increase the likelihood of domesticating them.
Do your due diligence and double-check the track record of every potential breeder before approaching them.
Are Hedgehogs Good Pets?
First off, let’s start with the likelihood of domesticating a hedgehog. Hedgehogs are a solitary species that love to wander in the wild on their own. However, like any other domestic animal, if you feed them properly, give them ample space to roam freely, and shower them with lots of care and compassion, they can become quite loyal companions.
Compared to most other exotic animals, hedgehogs are low-maintenance, easily manageable animals. You don’t need much space to raise them, and their feeding will only set you back a few bucks per month.
However, they could be a mismatch for certain personalities and tastes. For one, hedgehogs are not naturally social and they could take a while to cozy up to their owners. It takes a lot of patience and training to get them to corporate.
Not exactly the ideal scenario if you’re yearning to show off your cuddly pet pictures to your friends on social media. Hedgehogs are also nocturnal and love to sleep during the day – quite the mismatch if you’re a morning person.
Their sharp quills can become a thorn in the flesh, literally. Though the quills don’t shoot out like those of porcupines, they can be quite prickly and pierce your skin – especially when they’re curled up in fright.
Hedgehog pets also require proper, consistent daily care for easy handling – you wouldn’t want to handle them with wild claws and quills. Consistent daily care will also help them quickly recognize you and warm up to you.
Hedgehog Pet Care Needs
Proper care for your hedgehog requires just a few minutes every day. To begin with, you need to put all the appropriate care measures in place. You need to set up a comfortable housing, meal plans, and grooming and care plans.
Here are more details on how to care for your hedgehog:
Hedgehogs naturally forage small animals like insects, worms, frogs, snails, and centipedes. Commercial hedgehog foods are available in different varieties covering all your pet’s nutrition needs, but they may be difficult to find in your local store. High-quality wet and dry cat food can do as alternatives most times.
Hedgehog meals are served in petit proportions, given their small size. Hedgehogs don’t eat much – they can quickly gain weight and become obese, so it’s important to watch how much you feed them. This is also great for economics – a small bag of cat food can last several months on end.
However, hedgehogs need more than just dry and wet cat food. Treat them occasionally to starchy vegetables, fruits, small crumbs of lean meat, and insects – stuff they’d normally find in the wild.
Hedgehog Pet Housing
Hedgehogs can be housed in small cages like any small animal. Ideally, you can use a glass aquarium with a well-vented wire top. Always make sure the cage floor is solid and smooth, with ample space for your pet to run around.
Hedgehogs can be quite boisterous – they need at least two to four square feet of space to roam comfortably. After running around, they need a good place to rest and recover. Get them some good bedding – ideally cotton or fleece cage liners.
Make sure your hedgehog is housed close to a window or natural light source. They need to experience day and night to maintain their body clock. But since they’re nocturnal, ensure they’re not exposed to too much sunlight.
And to prevent your hedgehog from hibernating to death, put proper heating solutions in place to maintain optimal temperatures in the cage at all times.
Also, as less-social animals, hedgehogs often shy off from interactions and feel safer hiding away. You can add igloos or DIY small boxes to provide a safe hiding place.
Cleaning and Grooming
Your hedgehog’s cage must be kept clean every time to avoid health risks. Train them to use a small pan to prevent indiscriminate litter. Bath them regularly to keep their spines, fur, and skin clean and moisturized. Trim their claws regularly to make them safer and easier to handle.
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How Do You Train Your Hedgehog?
As earlier noted, it takes a lot of patience and training for a hedgehog to cozy up to you. Hedgehogs need frequent, copious interactions to open up to people. You may probably never get to enjoy them as a cuddly bundle of fun, but you can train them to corporate and interact in a friendly manner.
Here’s what you need to know to train your hedgehog effectively.
Don’t expect a great start once you welcome your hedgehog into your home. Initially, they can get quite apprehensive and make you doubt yourself with every move – even when feeding or serving them treats. You’ll need to build trust gradually, providing consistent care until they eventually recognize you as their primary caregiver.
Just give them the care they need and allow them to do their own thing inside their cage. Soon enough, they’ll catch on to your voice, scent, and appearance and become grow more comfortable with your presence.
Learning to Read Them
Besides that signature move of curling up into a bowl of quills when agitated, hedgehogs have other, more intricate behaviors. One of the best ways to read them is through their sounds. For a small animal of its size, hedgehogs produce quite a lot of different sounds.
They grunt, snort, or hiss like a cat when upset. You’ll often hear them snuffling and making purring sounds when they’re exploring the environment and having fun.
While they can get quite raucous when playing in their cage, their noise is usually low. Rest assured that your visitors won’t be startled by an awkward noise from your basement or bedroom.
Hedgehog noise can be a good thing because it can help you better relate to them. By learning to understand hedgehog sounds, you can better communicate with them and figure out precisely how they feel about anything at any moment.
Watch this video about Hedgehog Pets, 10 Things You Need To Know Before Buying A Hedgehog
What Precautions Should You Take as a Hedeghog Pet Owner?
If you’re sold on owning a hedgehog as a pet, a few precautions can help prevent regrets and uncomfortable situations.
Hedgehogs are not so Cuddly
Hedgehogs are solitary creatures and don’t usually interact that much – even with other hedgehogs. But they’re not all the same; they may differ in temperament. Be prepared that you may not get to enjoy a lot of cuddling bond time with your hedgehog, especially if you get one after they’ve grown significantly.
To boot, when curled up with pointy spines, it can be quite difficult to get them to lose guard. If you really want an affectionate hedgehog as a pet, your best bet is to get the hedgehog when it’s very young and then care and groom it carefully.
When they tighten up into a bowl, the best way to lull them is by holding them in a small towel or leaving them with treats in their cage.
Hedgehogs may be Infectious
Like most domesticated mammals, Hedgehog Pets are susceptible to certain diseases like rabies and distemper. They also carry infections that can be transmitted to humans, including foot and mouth disease, salmonella, ringworms, and viral infections.
That’s why Hedgehog Pets are banned in certain places. As a precaution, avoid kissing your Hedgehog Pets and wash your hands thoroughly after handling them.
Conclusion: Hedgehog Pets
That’s all you need to know about owning Hedgehog Pets. They can be cute and adorable, but they also have dark sides. They must be properly cared for and well-groomed to inhibit their wild tendencies and bring out their best.
Ultimately, the Hedgehog Pets’ well-being should be of primary importance – no matter how much you’d love to cuddle and play with it, it’s better to leave the Hedgehog Pets on its own if you’re not prepared to put in all the efforts needed to raise a healthy, affectionate pet.
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