Is a Pet Hedgehog Right for You?

How do you know if a pet hedgehog is right for you?

Hedgehogs are one of the most popular exotic pets today, and it’s easy to see why. They’re undeniably cute, they’re small (so they don’t take up much space), and they’re easy to take care of.

The appeal of the hedgehog is undeniable. You want one, of course you do! How could you not? However, hedgehogs aren’t just any small animal. They require a specialized environment and care that’s by no means just like taking care of a Guinea pig or gerbil. They also have unique personalities of their own, and require human companions with similar characteristics in order to be happy.

So, is a pet hedgehog right for you? Here are the top 3 ways to find out!

1. Do you need lots of cuddling and affection?

Your hedgehog doesn’t! If you’re expecting a pet like a dog or cat that will follow you all around and beg for your attention, then you’re in for a surprise! Hedgehogs, while friendly and usually docile, have a reputation for being a bit stand-offish. They’ll tolerate your petting and cuddling to a certain extent, but they won’t ask for it, and they’ll definitely let you know when they’ve had enough!

That being said, some hedgehogs are more agreeable to human interaction than others, and these are the hedgehogs you want to hang with. When shopping for your new spikey companion, select a hedgehog that is laid back and accepts being picked up and handled without getting too stressed out. Hedgehogs that curl up into a defensive ball at the first touch are better off left at the pet store!

2. Do you have an adequate living space for the number of hedgehog you plan to keep?

These tiny creatures are pretty territorial, which means keeping more than one in a cage could spell disaster! You’ll need one cage for each hedgehog, and that cage needs to have at least two to three square feet of floor space.

3. Can you clean your pet’s litter and cage every day?

Hedgehogs like a clean environment (don’t you?), and rely on routine. They get VERY grumpy if their home is filthy. Be prepared to make a commitment to keeping your pet’s environment as clean and regulated as you would your own, and the two of you will get along just fine.

Pet hedgehogs can make a wonderful, fascinating, and playful addition to any household. If, after reading these tips, you decide a hedgehog is for you, you’re in for many great years of camaraderie and entertainment from your pet. If you’ve decided to take the hedgehog journey, congratulations! You’re in for a marvelous time!

5 Comments on "Is a Pet Hedgehog Right for You?"

  1. Karin Alexakis | 28/02/2009 at 1:00 am |

    Congratulations on your blog and article! It’s necessary to be well informed about the specific needs of an animal before buying one and your article is a great help for taking the right decision.
    I agree with almost all you said. Except that hedgies are considered over here as animals that need a lot of space (2m² minimum in Switzerland, otherwise you don’t get a permission to keep one) with a natural interieur (rodent litter etc) and hiding places. The food should be based on insects. Moreover, according to my own experiences, some males and almost all females are very sociable among each other. All my females live in groups, sleeping cuddled against each other. (It probably depends on the size of the habitation.)
    Best wishes for you and your hedgehogs!

  2. Thanks very much for your comments Karin. I’m sure you’re right about the living space. And that’s very interesting information about Switzerland’s regulations. How do they check that? Have they got “Hedgehog Living Room Inspectors”? 🙂

  3. Karin Alexakis | 07/05/2009 at 12:50 am |

    Hello Spike,

    in Switzerland, you have to demand a permission to keep or to breed hedgehogs at the Federal Veterinary Office (Office VĂ©tĂ©rinaire FĂ©dĂ©rale, Eidgenössisches Veterinäramt). They come to your place for a check or demand at least photographs, mesures and descriptions of your terrarium. They also offer seminaries about specific pet care. I think it’s a good way for preventing pets from being mistreated by ignorance.

  4. Hi Karin and welcome back 🙂

    That sounds like a very sensible policy to be honest. I’ve learned since starting this blog that people, in the UK for instance, seem to be keeping a huge number of exotic pets in the homes. I’m sure that in most cases they are well intentioned but I think some are quite ignorant of some of the zoonotic diseases these animals can bring to their families and the welfare of the pets themselves.

    Some form of inspection system would help solve the problem but that would cost money and I think that pets are very low down on most governments’ list of priorities at the moment.

    I’ll be putting an article about zoonotic diseases up on this site very soon.

  5. Great post! Have nice day ! 🙂 lgcrj

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