If you ever considered having a hedgehog as a household pet the following pages will help you out. Based on our knowledge and experiences from the number of years of researching, breeding, and selling hedgehogs, we have written a guide so you can learn more about these cute little critters.
Please be aware that the guide presented here only provides general knowledge about hedgehogs. It will be a great place to start researching about your new pet, but we also recommend you to look into books, sites, or even veterinary articles that may contain more useful information for the future.
Millermeade Farm’s “Critter Connection” urges you to check out our Resource and Reference guide to learn about the topics discussed in detail. Need more information? Don’t hesitate to contact us about our animals!
Intelligence and Personality
To compare a hedgehog’s intelligence, think of the intelligence of a hamster. Typically, hedgehogs do not come to their owners when called or actively seek attention. Only certain behaviors are learned through positive reinforcement but still at only the most basic level.
A hedgehog’s personality is shaped through the owner’s interaction with it. Proper handle and care of the hedgehog is very important for its development and socialization skills with humans. In order to raise a hedgehog, you must be very patient. Commonly, a hedgehog’s personality might change when its in a new environment. Generally this is due to the stressors of the atmosphere and having a new owner. However, if you are kind and loving to the hedgehog it will return the favor.
Why Being a Hedgehog Owner is Awesome
The average pet hedgehog weighs from 6 ounces to 2 pounds and only requires the same amount of space as a guinea pig. Unlike dogs or birds, hedgehogs do not bark or squawk-so your neighbors won’t hate you. Hedgehogs are pretty quiet pets, except the occasional running on a squeaky wheel or rearranging its furniture. Either way, they’re adorable enough so no one’s angry.
Healthy hedgehogs aren’t smelly like ferrets or male mice. If you feed them the right diet, they are practically odorless.
For people with allergies, hedgehogs would make great pets considering they don’t have dander like cats or dogs.
Hedgehogs are not aggressive by nature. They will be loving towards you if you love them back.
The Struggles of Hedgehog Owners
As you might have notice, hedgehogs are very prickly creatures. Meaning: they will poke you. Hedgehogs are naturally shy and don’t usually display affection or perform tricks. Hedgehogs are most active at night and during the day might seem like they are just being lazy and stay balled up. If handled every day, a hedgehog might grow to like their new owner. Hedgehogs have the potential to bite but your chances of getting bitten will greatly decrease with proper care. Never put two male hedgehogs alone since they can’t cohabitate (only females can).
Luckily, hedgehogs themselves require little maintenance from their owners. The only thing you should most definitely provide is fresh food, water, and a clean cage. Hedgehogs do not need to be walked or exercised. Only when the hedgehog is excessively dirty is when you should give it a bath.
Hedgehogs are not picky eaters therefore they can almost eat anything. Before more developed scientific research, domesticated hedgehogs were fed cat foods since the ingredients had similar to what hedgehogs needed. Nowadays, hedgehogs are more understood and people better understand their needs.
Shy by nature, hedgehogs are slower to trust you. All you have to do is be patient, warm, and gentle, Occasionally, their quills will poke you. So please be mindful of that fact if you are afraid of getting poked or spiked.
Taking care of a pet hedgehog is not cheap. If you are on a tight budget and can’t provide attention for your hedgehog, perhaps this animal is not right for you.
Young Hedgehog Owners
Although hedgehogs make great pets, it is not recommended to be taken care of by the hands of children. Adult supervision is required if there is interaction between the hedgehog and the youth.
Being a Classroom Pet
Again, hedgehogs will make great pets as long as there is adult supervision around. The primary caregiver should understand how to take care of the hedgehog. It is not recommended that the hedgehog goes home with students.
Interaction With Other Pets
Depending on each pet’s personality, you have to monitor if they are compatible. Always be present when the pets are interacting.
Zoonotic diseases are diseases that are transmittable from animals to humans. Always remember to wash your hands and clean other areas that came in contact with the hedgehog when you are finish petting it.
Make sure that your city, state, or country allows the ownership of hedgehogs. Every place has certain rules and it’s important to know what those rules are.
All pet stores must have a USDA license to sell hedgehogs.
Always check before you purchase one.