How to Take Care of 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.

Are hedgehogs 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.

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.

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.

What supplies do you need to take care of a hedgehog?

Cage..Hiding Hut/Hideaway..Bedding/Cage Liners..Heating..Exercise Wheel..Food..Food Dishes..Water Bottles/Dishes.

If you are looking to adopt a fun and unconventional pet, consider a hedgehog if they are legal in your state. While hedgehogs can be aloof at first, they are incredibly charming pets once you earn their trust. Additionally, they are pretty easy to care for, as they do not require a lot to be happy and healthy.

One misconception about hedgehogs is they are distant relatives of porcupines since both animals have spiny armor. Therefore, we shall provide you with the pros and cons of keeping this small animal so you can determine whether it would make a good pet for you.

On the other hand, they might be unappealing to some due to their tendency to bite, in addition to not having long lifespans. A healthy hedgehog typically has bright eyes, moves around a lot, and displays signs of curiosity. Since hedgehogs are natural escape artists, a cage with high, smooth walls is the best option.

However, you do not want to keep the cage in a cold area, as these critters are susceptible to respiratory illnesses. Unfortunately, obesity is one of the leading causes of death in pet hedgehogs due to the toll the excess weight has on their bodies, in addition to increasing their risk for life-threatening conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease. Avoid exercise wheels made of wire, as these can trap the hedgehogs tiny feet, injuring the animal.

Since hedgehogs are shy animals, ensure they have a hideout inside their enclosure where they can retreat when they are feeling anxious. For a long time, hedgehogs have been considered insectivorous critters, meaning their diet consists of insects. Therefore, as long as you provide your pet with a nice enclosure, a proper diet, and a couple of toys, they should be content.

Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay As mentioned, hedgehogs have a nervous disposition, especially when in unfamiliar surroundings. Image Credit: ilegalni, Pixabay Like cats, hedgehogs work hard to keep themselves clean. Therefore, as long as you provide your pet with proper care, they will likely live out their lifespan without falling ill.

Nonetheless, scheduling annual checkups with an exotic pet vet is critical to ensuring a healthy life for your hedgehog. Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand.

As a hedgehog owner I have spent the past few years reading articles and researching hedgehogs and everything about them.Through nursing them back to health, giving them spa days, cleaning their cages, and determining products that are not safe for them, I feel I have come up with some quality advice for first time hedgehog owners. Initially, owning a hedgehog can be somewhat expensive, especially with exotic pet vet bills, large enclosures, and the flat price for just the hedgehog depending on where you get them from. However, once you get everything set up, they make great, low maintenance pets. With my advice, hopefully there are some first time mistakes you can avoid.

The essentials consist of an enclosure, a food and water bowl, a wheel, a sleeping hut with something warm inside, bedding, nail clippers, a toothbrush, and hedgehog friendly body wash. NEVER use pine aspen chips for bedding because it can cause respiratory problems in hedgehogs.

Nail clippers, toothbrushes, and body wash are all items used to groom a hedgehog. Hibernation is especially dangerous for African pygmy hedgehogs because they do not contain enough fat reserves to survive for a long period time. Once the hedgehog is active again, you may continue holding them or you may place them back into their enclosure as long as the temperature has been fixed.

Hedgehogs now and then enjoy playing, and are notorious for making sport out of toilet paper tubes. Green droppings or diarrhea in the cage (Note: Baby hedgehogs go to the bathroom a lot, do not be alarmed by this) Loud noises from TVs, vacuums, and small children are very likely to disturb the hedgehogs hypersensitive hearing.

Loud noises are capable of spooking hedgehogs, causing them distress and irritability. Allowing your hedgehog to run around outside and in a room is a good way of exercising them as long as you keep track of them and make sure they dont get lost. Hedgehogs are normally fed dry cat food, fruits, and mealworms.

Avoid feeding them grapes, avocados, nuts, seeds, chocolate, dairy products, any kind of junk food, and citrus fruits. Sudden changes can suggest health problems that can be treated more effectively to more carefully you observe your hedgehog. Keeping a clean space for your hedgehog minimizes the chance of disease and controls scent.

An unclean environment can promote skin diseases such as quill mites and bacterial infections and well as cause an unpleasant smell that spreads in the enclosed area. Make sure to trim your hedgehogs nails and give them baths on a regular basis. Regular trimmings shorten the quick and lower the chances of hurting your hedgehog.

If you happen to nick your hedgehog, use cornstarch to make the bleeding stop more quickly. Put a toothpaste sized dot of hedgehog-friendly body wash on the toothbrush and brush in the same direction as the quills. Wrap the hedgehog in a towel and keep it warm until it dries to avoid any hibernation scares.

Try your best to keep your hedgehogs skin from drying out and try spreading olive oil on its back to lessen the pain or this process.

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.

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.

Hedgehog Facts

Hedgehogs are found all over Africa, Asia, and Europe. They love hanging out around the hedges of shrubs and trees, and their noses resemble those of hog—hence their name.One misconception about hedgehogs is they are distant relatives of porcupines since both animals have spiny armor. However, they are not; hedgehogs belong to the Erinaceidae subfamily, while porcupines are rodents.Ancient Romans were the first people to domesticate hedgehogs. However, the modern domestication of these spiny critters began as recently as the 1980s. While there are numerous hedgehog species, the most popular one is the African pygmy hedgehog. This particular species measures between 6 and 8 inches long and has a 4-6 years lifespan.Other popular pet hedgehog species include the long-eared hedgehog.

Do Hedgehogs Make Good Pets?

Whether hedgehogs make good pets or not is a matter of subjective opinion. Therefore, we shall provide you with the pros and cons of keeping this small animal so you can determine whether it would make a good pet for you.Hedgehogs as pets are easy to care for, allergy-friendly, and are fun once they trust you. On the other hand, they might be unappealing to some due to their tendency to bite, in addition to not having long lifespans.Additionally, their nocturnal nature might not be ideal for some people.

Where Can I Get a Hedgehog?

Since some jurisdictions do not allow you to keep hedgehogs as pets, you will have to check first whether it is legal to keep hedgehogs in your area.You can buy a hedgehog from a pet store or a breeder. We recommend purchasing from a breeder since they are experts on hedgehogs.Before you buy a hedgehog, you want to be sure that it is healthy. A healthy hedgehog typically has bright eyes, moves around a lot, and displays signs of curiosity. As such, avoid choosing a lethargic hedgehog, as chances are it is ill.

What Should I Feed My Hedgehog?

For a long time, hedgehogs have been considered insectivorous critters, meaning their diet consists of insects. While that is partly true, it turns out that hedgies are omnivores, as they also eat fruits and roots.At home, your hedgie can do well on a diet consisting of worms, crickets, and the occasional fruit. However, some pet owners have found high-protein, low-fat cat food to be suitable for hedgehogs as well.Ensure that fresh water is available to your pet at all times. While hedgehogs can drink from a water bowl, you will have to keep replacing the water due to the animal stepping on it. That is why we recommend installing a bottle with a straw from where your hedgie can drink from.

How to Handle a Hedgehog

As mentioned, hedgehogs have a nervous disposition, especially when in unfamiliar surroundings. Therefore, avoid handling your pet during the first few days of bringing them home. Simply bring them food and observe them from a distance. Doing that will allow the animal to become more comfortable in its new environment.Nonetheless, you will need to handle them eventually. The best way of picking up a hedgehog is by scooping it up gently from the belly using both hands. That is because the belly does not have quills. After picking the hedgie up, you can hold him in the palm of one hand while the other protects its back.Remember to stay calm and allow the hedgie to relax. There is a chance it might roll up into a ball due to fear, as that is what hedgehogs do when a predator confronts them. If your hedgehog does that, be patient. When they eventually realize you are not an enemy, they will relax and might even begin sniffing and exploring you.Understandably, you might want to wear gloves, thinking the hedgehog’s quills might hurt you. However, we recommend handling your pet using bare hands. For starters, the quills are not sharp enough to injure you. Most importantly, you want your hedgie to get accustomed to your scent and become comfortable around you.As mentioned, hedgehogs are notorious nippers. Therefore, there is no assurance that your cute little friend will not bite you occasionally as you try to handle them. Nevertheless, that will depend on your hedgehog’s personality; some do not mind handling; others tolerate it, while some do not like it.

Grooming

Like cats, hedgehogs work hard to keep themselves clean. Therefore, as long as you keep the animal’s cage clean, you might not have to groom them.

Step 7: Observe Changes in Habits.

Look for any changes in exercise, restroom, eating, and drinking habits. Sudden changes can suggest health problems that can be treated more effectively to more carefully you observe your hedgehog. Changes in bathroom habits may suggest illness as well as a need for a change in diet.

Step 9: Groom Your Hedgehog

Make sure to trim your hedgehog’s nails and give them baths on a regular basis.To trim a hedgehog’s nails, hold the hedgehog on its back on your lab and gently hold one of its paws. Once the hedgehog is still, you nail clippers to cute the white tip on the nail, making sure to not cut the quick. Regular trimmings shorten the quick and lower the chances of hurting your hedgehog. If you happen to nick your hedgehog, use cornstarch to make the bleeding stop more quickly.When bathing a hedgehog, fill a bath tub, sink, or small bucket with lukewarm water. Use a small cup to wet your hedgehog, but avoid getting water in your hedgehog’s ear to avoid and ear infection. Put a toothpaste sized dot of hedgehog-friendly body wash on the toothbrush and brush in the same direction as the quills. Rinse thoroughly and make sure to not leave any suds behind as these can irritate and dry the skin. Wrap the hedgehog in a towel and keep it warm until it dries to avoid any hibernation scares.

Step 10: Be Aware of Hedgehog Characteristics.

Be aware of normal hedgehog behavior such as self-anointing, quilling, and nocturnal habits.Self-anointing is a defense mechanism for hedgehogs. When they smell something new or particularly good smelling it my lick or bite whatever is causing the scent and then working that saliva into a foam that if spreads on its back in order to mimic the smell. The process can be concerning to new hedgehog owners because of how they contort, but do not be alarmed.Hedgehogs will shed their quills twice in its life so that its adult quills can grow in. During this time be aware of where you step, as this is worse than stepping on a Lego brick. Try your best to keep your hedgehog’s skin from drying out and try spreading olive oil on its back to lessen the pain or this process.Hedgehogs are nocturnal and run and eat at night. This is not a habit that can be broken, this is biology. Do not be surprised if your hedgehog is irritated when you wake them up in the middle of the day and do not be mad when they start running on their wheel at three in the morning. This is something you should prepare yourself of before getting a hedgehog, and if you think this may be a problem, consider getting a diurnal pet instead.

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.