How to Care for a Hedgehog?

Pet hedgehogs are unique animals so they also make unique pets. Not only do they eat a very different type of food when compared to other pocket pets, but they are covered with tiny little spikes and roll into balls when scared. Sonic the hedgehog may have been all blue and cool in the Sega video games but the real animals have their own special appeal that only hedgehog lovers can understand.

This kibble has mashed up insects along with vitamins and minerals to create a balanced diet specifically formulated for an African pygmy hedgehog. A soft bedding such as a recycled paper material or towels that are changed out regularly are best for the sensitive feet of a hedgehog.

A large enclosed running wheel should be kept in the cage for your hedgie to exercise in along with a hide box, food bowl, and water bottle. Some owners are able to brush their hedgehog‘s teeth using cat toothpaste and small head toothbrush or cotton tipped applicator weekly but this is very uncommon.

Is a hedgehog easy to take care of?

Some of the benefits of caring for hedgehogs is they are small and pretty easy to take care of. Unlike some animals, they have no dander to bother those with allergies. Hedgehogs are a ton of fun to play with, and once they are comfortable in their environment, they are quite friendly.

Do hedgehogs make good pets?

Pet hedgehogs are quiet, active, entertaining, and require a lot of care. They make great companion pets, however, as nocturnal animals, you will need to feed and care for them in the evening hours.

Do hedgehogs like to be cuddled?

Do hedgehogs like to cuddle? Some pet hedgehogs do like to cuddle especially if they are babies and feel at ease with their owners. Whilst other hedgehogs may not like too much human contact. Each hedgehog has its own personality that defines how they interact with their owners.

How do you take care of hedgehogs?

Hedgehogs need environmental temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees. Keep your hedgehog’s cage away from drafts, direct sunlight, or cold areas. You may want to provide your hedgehog with a small warm spot in his cage where he can go to get warm but would also be able to get away from if he feels too warm.

Hedgehogs are adorable little insect eating mammals that live, on average, 4-7 years when kept as pets. They are known for being timid little animals, but as any hedgehog owner will tell you, hedgehogs respond to their owners voice and appearance and are very interactive if socialized properly.

To minimize the fear response, hedgehog owners should start taking their pets out of their cages every day when the animals are young to get them used to being handled and to be less afraid of people, so that they dont ball up. As hedgehogs are nocturnal, they are best for people who are not light sleepers and who arent disturbed by their pet running in a wheel every night.

Wood shavings or other types of litter meant for cats are not recommended, as they can be dusty and are indigestible if eaten, leading to potential gastrointestinal obstruction. Domesticated pet hedgehogs should be fed pelleted formulas manufactured specifically for hedgehogs while being supplemented with a limited number of insects (mealworms, crickets, earthworms, waxworms) and a small amount of fruits and vegetables, such as beans, peas, corn, apples, and carrots. Hedgehogs can suffer from a variety of medical problems; some of the more common issues include skin infections with fungus (ringworm), and mites.

Obese hedgehogs have pudgy legs and large amounts of subcutaneous fat protruding from under their mantel (the quill-covered top of the body) and in their armpits. Obese hedgehogs should be offered restricted amounts of food and encouraged to run around either outside of their cages or inside on wheels. Hedgehogs can carry Salmonella bacteria in their gastrointestinal tracts without any signs, or they can have diarrhea, weight loss, decreased appetite, and lethargy.

Since Salmonella infection is transmissible to humans, it is critical for anyone who handles a hedgehog or cleans its cage to wash his or her hands afterward.

If you are looking for a fun and unusual pet to raise and nurture, consider getting a hedgehog (if they’re legal in your state). Although a lot of people wouldn’t even consider hedgehogs as a viable option for a pet, just like hamsters, ferrets, and other small mammals, raising these cute little animals can be both fun and a rewarding experience.

There are several varieties of hedgehogs that make for good pets, but even then, there are a few things to look for when you have decided on a breed. If you are at a pet store choosing a hedgehog, look for the ones with bright eyes that display signs of curiosity.

If the hedgehog looks lethargic or tired, chances are it will not make a good pet, and in fact it may be ill. Hedgehogs make great pets, but the wrong one can cause more problems than it is worth, and it may end up displaying aggressive tendencies towards your family members. You should have a large cage or enclosure that can be secured when you are away, as hedgehogs like to escape whenever the opportunity presents itself.

A small box kept inside the cage will provide them a place to hide in and sleep during the day. Hedgehogs like eating insects and worms, but finely minced rice and meat or a low-fat cat or dog food will suffice in case you don’t have fresh bugs to feed them. The truth is, they are omnivores, meaning they will eat many things, including berries, mushrooms, roots, and melons.

Their main diet consists of insects and worms, but they have been known to consume frogs, toads, snake and bird eggs, and carrion and fungi as well. If there is one thing that is important to keep in mind about hedgehogs is the fact that they are nocturnal by nature. Hedgehogs like to sleep during the day and forage for food and mates after nightfall.

Approach them when they are in a calm mood and get to know them slowly and methodically and you will find them to be great pets. As with most small mammals kept as pets, hedgehogs live longer in captivity, mainly due to a better diet and a lack of natural predators. All species of hedgehogs share a common means of defense which is similar to that used by porcupines.

The hedgehog also has 2 large muscles in its back which it uses to position the quills in a manner that covers the entire body. They roll up in a ball and pull in their head and feet, making it is almost impossible to get past their defenses. This maneuver is usually used as a last means of defense, and species like the desert hedgehog will actually go on the offensive and try to attack a predator or enemy by ramming it with its quills.

Also called “anting”, it is performed by licking and biting at the source of the scent, then forming a froth, which it pastes along the body using the tongue. There are several theories as to why hedgehogs do this, ranging from cooling the body to making a poison as a protection against enemies. Others say it is a form of cleansing, as in a lot of cases it happens after a hedgehog has encountered a rather strong odor.

Although a cute trick, a good hedgehog owner will provide clean tubes (usually empty toilet paper rolls) and not just walk off and leave them alone, as they will stay like that for hours on end. Interestingly, McDonald’s had to change the design of their “McFlurry” containers, as hedgehogs would get their heads stuck in them trying to lick the food out, and if not released, they would starve to death. Here’s a photo of Prickles, the little Hedgehog, which just wandered across the road, totally oblivious to the traffic

Cars pose the greatest threat, as a lot of them get run over crossing roads in search of food. Overpopulation is also a problem in areas where they have been introduced that have no natural predators to help keep the numbers down. This usually ends up with unexpected consequences, as once the insects and other foods they normally eat starts to become scarce, they will expand their diet and start searching out snails, worms, and bird & lizard eggs, which in turn can disrupt the food chain balance.

Wild hedgehogs are listed as endangered in the UK, and keeping them as pets is not legal. The Bedouins in the Middle East consider hedgehog meat medicinal and good for treating arthritis. The Romani are reported to still eat hedgehog meat boiled or roasted, and keep the fat and blood for its medicinal properties.

Some of the drawbacks to owning a pet hedgehog include the fact that they don’t live very long, on average three to five years. In conclusion, if you are looking for a cute and playful pet that is low maintenance and inexpensive to care for, a hedgehog may be just what you are searching for! Burger King made special surf boards just for hedgehog tubing!

McDonald’s changed the packaging of their McFlurry products due to hedgehog deaths. McDonald’s changed the packaging of their McFlurry products due to hedgehog deaths. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional.

Answer: Once male hedgehogs reach sexual maturity, it is best to keep them in separate cages. Males can be quite aggressive towards one another during mating season, and the fights can be rather vicious, with one or more of the hedgehogs causing serious injury and damage. If you would go on to that sight and leave a good post with the user name #HumorIsFunny, we will consider keeping it up.

I keep the cage spotless and feed twice a day and give plenty of water. I love hedgehogs, I used to look after wild ones that had been injured, they were very cute, but they didn’t half smell bad! One evening after dinner, my friends and I were discussing what our “Patronus” (from Harry Potter) might be if such a thing were possible.

He (and some of the others) were suggesting tiger and stallion and wonderfully masculine things (my husband is a former police officer) when I yelled out “Hedgehog.” We called her Barbie as I found her wrapped in clingfilm one day, and also saw her trying to wrangle a plastic bag into her nest. She lived in a bag of hay, til the shed started to leak, then she moved into the greenhouse.

When we were children growing up in France, we raised 3 orphaned hedgehogs, It was a wonderful experience. They’ll even crawl under the fence to my enclosed patio and eat the cat’s food right out of the bowl. Great lens, I like hedgehogs, and I have never been bitten by one yet, it was the only one I got wrong in your quiz, I must have handled them okay not to get a bite.

I sincerely hope people will find this fine, well written piece on these cute critters.

This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.

The bigger the cage the better. Line the bottom of the cage with paper bedding, like recycled newspaper, and place an enclosed shelter in it so your hedgehog has somewhere to hide and sleep in peace.

Youll also need to add a litter box, a water bottle, and food bowls to the cage. To keep your hedgehog entertained, provide it with some toys, like balls, tunnels, and ramps to climb on. Place an exercise wheel in the cage to help your hedgehog stay active.

Feed your hedgehog a pelleted hedgehog food every day, and supplement its diet with insects, fruits, and vegetables. Remember to clean up any waste and old food in the cage every day and replace the water. You should also clean your hedgehogs cage with warm, soapy water and replace the bedding once a week.

To learn what foods you should never feed your hedgehog, keep reading! Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 1,399,387 times.

Hedgehog Diet

As their name implies, African Pygmy hedgehogs are native to central and eastern Africa but most of these hedgehogs are actually a hybrid of two species – the Four-toed and Algerian hedgehogs. Their wild counterparts cover miles of ground each day in the wild where they can be found throughout Gambia, Mozambique, Somalia, and other African nations. In the wild they also live primarily off of small insects, grubs, snails, spiders, and small vertebrates – a diet we strive to mimic in captivity.

Keeping Hedgehogs as Pets

Cages made for guinea pigs and rabbits are suitable for hedgehogs but wire grate cage bottoms should be avoided since hedgehogs have small feet that will be injured if they fall through these grates. A soft bedding such as a recycled paper material or towels that are changed out regularly are best for the sensitive feet of a hedgehog.A large enclosed running wheel should be kept in the cage for your hedgie to exercise in along with a hide box, food bowl, and water bottle. Make sure the running wheel is cleaned regularly to avoid fecal matter from building up which can cause foot infections or infections in humans upon handling them.Hedgehogs are very active at night and will run several miles a day on their wheel or in their enclosed play area. If they are unable to get the large amount of exercise they require they may become depressed, overweight, and develop foot sores. Exercise and activity is very important to hedgehogs so potential owners should be able to commit to be able to provide a hedgehog with the space necessary to do so.

Handling Hedgehogs

African pygmy hedgehogs obviously have a lot of prickly spines but that doesn’t mean they aren’t fun to hold. Tame hedgehogs will crawl into your hands, take treats from you and even enjoy being carried for a bit. Younger hedgehogs are easier to tame than older ones, therefore your best chance to having a hedgehog that loves being held is by getting one at about six to eight weeks of age.Typically, hedgehogs don’t like their heads being pet and will roll into spiked balls when scared. Since hedgehogs aren’t big fans of water, if you are having trouble cleaning your hedgehog‘s feet, try placing it in a shallow bath where just its legs are immersed in water or have it walk on a wet towel.

Where Do Hedgehogs Live?

Wild hedgehogs are native to Africa, Asia, Europe, and New Zealand. They are not native to the U.S., but have become very popular pets here. Most North American hedgehog pets have been bred from African species and are considered domesticated. They are generally called African pygmy hedgehogs. Given the right cage set-up and environment, these animals can thrive in captivity and be fun, social pets.

Where Can You Get a Hedgehog?

The International Hedgehog Association and the Hedgehog Welfare Society are great resources for finding adoptable hedgehogs. And like other animals, hedgehogs can be found in shelters across the U.S. There are also many reputable breeders and pet stores that sell hedgehogs.To prevent medical problems from developing, all hedgehogs should have a check-up with a hedgehog-savvy veterinarian when they are first purchased or adopted and should have annual examinations after that. Hedgehogs do not need vaccinations, but they will need periodic nail trims and should have their stool checked annually for parasites.

Who Should Have a Hedgehog?

Like porcupines, the skin over a hedgehog’s back is covered with prickly quills that help protect it from predators. Unlike porcupines, however, hedgehogs cannot shoot their quills out in defense. Their pointed quills can make them difficult to hold, so these animals are not the best for families with very young children or for individuals with very sensitive skin. They are best held in a small towel until they relax.Hedgehogs are great for people who have the time to handle their pet daily to socialize it. They do well when housed alone and do not need to be kept with other hedgehogs, but they should be allowed out of their cages at least once a day for exercise and social interaction.Hedgehogs are notoriously shy and use their uniquely strong back muscles to roll up tightly into a ball, hiding their faces and causing their spiny quills to point outwards so that predators can’t see their faces or limbs. They will remain balled up whenever they feel frightened or threatened. To minimize the fear response, hedgehog owners should start taking their pets out of their cages every day when the animals are young to get them used to being handled and to be less afraid of people, so that they don’t ball up.As hedgehogs are nocturnal, they are best for people who are not light sleepers and who aren’t disturbed by their pet running in a wheel every night. They may sleep for several hours during the day, making them ideal for pet owners who want to interact and play with their pets in the evening.

How Do I Care for a Hedgehog?

Hedgehogs require an escape-proof cage. The cage should be as large as possible, such as a wire enclosure meant for guinea pigs, but the cage floor should be solid, rather than wire, so that the hedgehog’s feet don’t get caught. Lined the cage either with newspaper or other paper-based bedding. Wood shavings or other types of litter meant for cats are not recommended, as they can be dusty and are indigestible if eaten, leading to potential gastrointestinal obstruction. Hedgehogs can be trained to use small litter boxes, which should also be lined with a paper-based litter and placed in the corner of the cage.Hedgehogs need a heavy, untippable bowl for pelleted food and a smaller bowl for insects. Some hedgehogs will drink from a water bottle that is affixed to the cage, while others prefer a bowl.All hedgehogs should be provided with a smooth-sided wheel to run in (not a wire wheel, so as not to get their toes caught), as well as a hiding spot, such as an upside-down wooden box with a cut out door, or a plastic “igloo” for rodents, which can be found in most pet stores.Hedgehogs’ cages should be spot-cleaned daily to keep them free of fecal contamination and leftover food debris, and thoroughly cleaned at least once a week by removing all of the bedding and replacing it with fresh bedding. Fresh food and water should be given daily.Hedgehogs are notorious for becoming obese, so daily exercise is essential. They also need to be provided with mental stimulation when they are in their cages, such as ramps, ledges, tunnels, and other “cage furniture” to climb through or on. PVC pipe and toys such as balls, bells, and certain chew toys meant for cats or birds are also great for keeping hedgehogs busy.

What Do Hedgehogs Eat?

Hedgehogs are insectivores (insect-eaters), but they are not strict insectivores, as wild hedgehogs will eat different types of food, including mollusks (snails and worms), amphibians, lizards, snakes, birds’ eggs, fish, carrion, mushrooms, roots, berries, and melons.Domesticated pet hedgehogs should be fed pelleted formulas manufactured specifically for hedgehogs while being supplemented with a limited number of insects (mealworms, crickets, earthworms, waxworms) and a small amount of fruits and vegetables, such as beans, peas, corn, apples, and carrots.As they love to catch live prey, hedgehogs should not be offered large numbers of live insects or they will choose them over other foods. This can lead to an unbalanced diet, and the hedgehog will likely become overweight.

Popular Hedgehog Species

The African Pygmy variety is the favorite of most hedgehog owners. They are actually hybrids of the white-bellied or four-toes hedgehog (Along with the African pygmy and European species, other popular breeds for raising are the Indian long-eared hedgehog (The rise in popularity of pet hedgehogs has also led to the breeding of new hybrids, such as the pinto and albino varieties.

Tips on Choosing a Healthy Pet Hedgehog

There are several varieties of hedgehogs that make for good pets, but even then, there are a few things to look for when you have decided on a breed.If you are at a pet store choosing a hedgehog, look for the ones with bright eyes that display signs of curiosity. If the hedgehog looks lethargic or tired, chances are it will not make a good pet, and in fact it may be ill. Check around the eyes for redness or any discharges. If the eyes don’t look clean and dry, move on to the next one.Hedgehogs make great pets, but the wrong one can cause more problems than it is worth, and it may end up displaying aggressive tendencies towards your family members. Hedgehogs will bite if they are sick or feel threatened in any way.

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There are several choices these days when it comes to foods formulated specifically for hedgehogs, but if you find that you cannot find a suitable hedgehog food, a low fat, high protein cat food will do in a pinch.Treat your hedgehog to live worms or crickets from time to time, and add a piece of fresh fruit to their diet to keep them happy.

Remember: Hedgehogs Are Nocturnal

If there is one thing that is important to keep in mind about hedgehogs is the fact that they are nocturnal by nature.Hedgehogs like to sleep during the day and forage for food and mates after nightfall. Solitary as a rule, hedgehogs have a tendency to be territorial in the wild and will display aggressiveness towards other hedgehogs it feels are a threat to them.

Keeping Your Pet Hedgehog Happy

Hedgehogs like to be cuddled!Even though you can domesticate a hedgehog, it still may have a desire to escape captivity. Every now and then let your hedgehog out of it’s cage to roam around a bit. If you have a garden all the better. Be there with your hedgehog if you let him roam around, and talk to him to let him know he is not alone.Most hedgehogs will let you cuddle them once they trust you. When petting them, be sure to stroke them the same direction that the quills grow, or prepare to be stuck by some very sharp quills.There is a certain amount of bonding that occurs with a hedgehog, same as with any other pet that is comfortable with you. Approach them when they are in a calm mood and get to know them slowly and methodically and you will find them to be great pets.

Self-Anointing Hedgehogs

Self-anointing is a mysterious and misunderstood hedgehog ritual. When they run across a scent they have not encountered before, they sometimes perform a ritual that is called “self-anointing.”Also called “anting”, it is performed by licking and biting at the source of the scent, then forming a froth, which it pastes along the body using the tongue.There are several theories as to why hedgehogs do this, ranging from cooling the body to making a poison as a protection against enemies. Others say it is a form of cleansing, as in a lot of cases it happens after a hedgehog has encountered a rather strong odor.

Hedgehogs and Tubing

Pet hedgehogs have a cute but potentially dangerous trick, a curious habit of sticking their heads in tubular shaped containers and walking around with the tubes stuck on top of their heads. This is known as “tubing” in hedgehog circles. Although a cute trick, a good hedgehog owner will provide clean tubes (usually empty toilet paper rolls) and not just walk off and leave them alone, as they will stay like that for hours on end.Interestingly, McDonald’s had to change the design of their “McFlurry” containers, as hedgehogs would get their heads stuck in them trying to lick the food out, and if not released, they would starve to death.

Human and Hedgehog Interaction

Humans can sometimes be problematic for hedgehogs. Cars pose the greatest threat, as a lot of them get run over crossing roads in search of food.Overpopulation is also a problem in areas where they have been introduced that have no natural predators to help keep the numbers down. This usually ends up with unexpected consequences, as once the insects and other foods they normally eat starts to become scarce, they will expand their diet and start searching out snails, worms, and bird & lizard eggs, which in turn can disrupt the food chain balance.

Still Deciding on a Pet Hedgehog?

Hedgehogs are enjoyed as a source of food in several cultures.

Answer Key

For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.

Questions & Answers

While hedgehogs are generally solitary animals, you can cage females together without too much fighting between them.