Children and your Pet Hedgehog

Kids and hedgehogs

Photo by michelleness via Flickr

Bringing a pet hedgehog into a home where young kids are present is something that should be cause for concern for any responsible owner. However, hedgehogs do make great pets and children take delight in them. It will all depend on the children in question and how their parents educate them.

African Pygmy Hedgehogs are small creatures and can easily be injured by rough handling. Undoubtedly there are very few children out there who would purposely harm any animal, but often kids don’t know their own strength so injuries caused by small hands are common.

That said, pet hedgehogs are not completely defenceless and they do have their quills to protect themselves. If child handles one roughly your hedgehog will use its quills to protect itself and then it is the child who is likely to get hurt rather than the hedgehog.

It is a good idea to wait until your child is about 9 or 10 before you bring a hedgehog into your home. Whatever the age of your children you will need to establish a few ground rules and know that they will be obeyed. It goes without saying that the rules are for your kids and not the hedgehog. Your hedgehog will go on behaving much as it has done for the past 15 million years or so and react by instinct alone. This is something you should also bear in mind if your child is injured by your hedgehog.

The most important thing your child needs to understand is that only you or another responsible adult are allowed to open the cage. Until your child is old enough, only you or another adult should pick the hedgehog up.  You should get your child to sit down and put the hedgehog in your child’s lap so that he or she can stroke and caress it gently. You should do this until the child is old enough to be able to gently pick up the hedgehog him or herself.

Young kids must know that they are not allowed to feed the hedgehog anything unless you have given your permission first. Your hedgehog shouldn’t be allowed to roam freely in your house either as small feet are just as capable of crushing the life out of one as large adult feet. When the hedgehog is out of its cage and roaming, children should make sure their small toys are not lying around and they shouldn’t give a hedgehog one of their toys to play with unless you have given your permission first.

Please do not leave any child unattended with your hedgehog until they are capable of actually taking care of it themselves. You obviously don’t want your hedgehog or child to get hurt and the only way to avoid this happening is with supervision and a few unbreakable rules.

If you found this article useful or have any criticism to make please leave a comment below.

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17 Responses to "Children and your Pet Hedgehog"

  1. kelly says:

    i was wondering if i should get a hedgehog im 11 should i and what is your advice

  2. Spike says:

    Hi Kelly. Thanks for dropping by. Well really your parents are the ones who should be asking that question. If they’ve read all the information available here, and in other places on the web, about what owning a pet hedgehog entails and have decided it’s the right pet for you then the simple answer is yes. :)

  3. Kara says:

    Im 13, and I think I want a hedgehog. Do you have any suggestions on what other websites are good on their information about hedgehogs, and how to take care of them?

  4. Spike says:

    Hi Kara,
    I think you’re in the US so http://www.hedgehogcentral.com would be a good place to check out.

    You and find a fair bit of information here too ;)

    Hope that helps

  5. Jo says:

    Another really good place to look is Hedgehogworld.com! :)

  6. Ashley Almendinger says:

    Hi I’m Ashley, I’m 19 and I was wondering would a hedgehog be a good pet? I’ve had bunnies, gerbils and hamsters. I currently own cats and dogs and I waswondering if it would be a good idea. It would not be out in the open but I was wondering is the care for the animal the same as any of the others i have owned?

  7. precious says:

    hi my name is precious and im 9 and these r my pets 2 turtles fish 1 frog and a dog , my mom does not want anything bigger than rosie my dog and my dog is a chinese crested powder puff and she is only 7 pounds and wont get bigger than that and so im am going to get one but need to make shere that it wont get to big

  8. 2lip123456789 says:

    How do you pick-up hedghogs?Do you have to feed them those lotus bug things?

    thank you

  9. Elijah says:

    HI. I have 2 hedgehogs and they are male and female. they have known each other since birth and are in the same cage. They don’t fight at all.

  10. lauren says:

    hi spike i want to get a hedgehog im 11 almost 12 and i want to know if im ready to get one and i also was wondering about their diet if you could respond it would be a great help.

  11. sarah says:

    My daughter is going to be 3.. if she didn’t handle him mostly just helped take care of him do you think it would still be okay to get one as a family pet?

  12. Samantha says:

    hi, i want a hedge hog but i live in Merced California are they legal here ?

  13. lela says:

    hi im 12 and i really want a hedgie my sister is 5 and brother is 7 months old ive wrote down everything in a book so i could no what and when and how with my hedgie intill i reamember but the hedgie will be out of reach for the kids but can they get used to seeing a cat or dog?

  14. Louise says:

    Hi

    I am THINKING about getting a hedgie as a pet, however I’m not sure!

    I have a dog who might be just a little too curious about this “new friend”!

    I found your site to be quite interesting and I learned a bucket load of facts about hedgies as pets! I have bookmarked your site, so IF I get a hedgie I will need to find a name!

    Thanks for your time and info
    Louise

  15. Ashley says:

    Hi I’m 10 and was wondering if a hedgehog would be a good pet I have a younger brother and sister but they take really good care of things I have learned a lot about hedgehogs from this site. Thank you

  16. ibby says:

    My little sister got a hedgehog when she was 12, she is 13 now and has never taken very good care of it so it is extremely unfriendly. I am on the long road to getting it to be nice. he’s so cute and I want him to be happy/ I just don’t know where to start. I am just starting, but I hold him in a t-shirt to help. but he hisses a lot. So kids, if you get a hedgehog, take care of it pet it and be gentle so he stays nice.

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