Cute and spiky, hedgehogs have become increasingly popular pets. The entertaining animals are fun to have around but require a lot of care that is unique from other pets you may have had before.
Hedgehogs are wild animals, and the best way to care for a pet hedgehog is by recreating its environment in the wild.
If you’re considering a pet hedgehog, here are a few questions to consider.
Are Hedgehogs Good Pets?
When housed and fed appropriately, hedgehogs can be the cutest companions. But they are not meant for everyone. Here are some hedgehog facts to keep in mind when bringing your new pet home.
Hedgehogs are prickly
They are covered in sharp spikes as a defense mechanism against predators, which can make them hard to handle. If your new hedgehog is nervous, you may need to hold it a towel or wear gloves until it relaxes.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal
While each hedgehog is different, most will sleep during the day and wake up around your dinnertime. This is important to keep in mind when considering a pet hedgehog, as the best time to interact with them will be before you go to bed or if you wake up early.
Hedgehogs are solitary creatures
They will most likely have difficulty warming up to you at first. Give your new hedgehog a few “hands-off” days to allow it to settle into its enclosure. Then being socializing slowly and gradually. Keep in mind: hedgehogs bite when startled!
It is also important to note that having hedgehogs as pets is not legal in some places – including California, Georgia, Hawaii, and New York City – so be sure to check local laws before getting your new pet.
How Much are Hedgehogs?
African pygmy hedgehogs are the most common hedgehog as pets, and cost between $75 and $250.
A rarer type of hedgehog, such as an albino hedgehog, can cost between $275 and $300
How Long Do Hedgehogs Live?
The average hedgehog lifespan is four to six years, but your pet hedgehog can live up to ten years!
Where Do Hedgehogs Live in the Wild?
There are 17 different hedgehog species – and wild hedgehogs can be found in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and Central Asia, according to WorldAtlas.
What Are a Hedgehog’s Diet and Living Needs?
Diet: A proper diet is an essential part of hedgehog care. According to the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, hedgehogs eat a wide variety of bugs and plants that can be challenging to recreate in captivity.
In addition to high-quality hedgehog food can include pet wellness drops and natural supplements . The best treats for your spiky friend include:
- Fresh green beans
- Cooked squash
Though solitary, hedgehogs are very athletic. They enjoy climbing, swimming, and running. Your hedgehog enclosure will need an exercise wheel and plenty of space for movement. The area should be at least 2 feet x 3 feet and have smooth walls so that it can’t crawl out.
Because hedgehogs come from tropical climates, it’s best to keep their enclosures between 75 and 85 degrees. Adding an external heat source will keep your hedgehog cozy.
Hedgehogs can be great companions, but their nocturnal and solitary nature means they might not be the best choice for everyone.
If you decide a hedgehog is the right pet for you, the best way to care for it is by recreating its natural environment with plenty of warm space to frolic and insects to eat!