Domesticated hedgehogs Main article: Domesticated hedgehog
Hedgehog being heldThe most common pet species of hedgehog are hybrids of the White-bellied Hedgehog or Four-toed Hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris) and the North African Hedgehog (A. algirus). It is smaller than the West European Hedgehog, and thus is sometimes called the African Pygmy Hedgehog. Other species kept as pets are the Long-eared Hedgehog (Hemiechinus auritus) and the Indian Long-eared Hedgehog (H. collaris).
All three species prefer a warm climate (above 72°F/22°C) and do not hibernate. They eat an insectivore diet. Commonly, this is replaced with cat food and ferret food and is supplemented by insects and other small animals. Dog and cat food is bad for hedgehogs and often causes liver damage among other things. Today, many pet stores sell hedgehog mixes that are specifically formulated for hedgehogs. Crickets, mealworms, and pinkies (baby mice) are also favored treats. It is illegal to own a hedgehog as a pet in some U.S. states and some Canadian municipalities, and breeding licenses are required. No such restrictions exist in most European countries.
The purchase of domesticated hedgehogs has seen a considerable increase in the last few years due to their apparently innocent and playful looks. Hedgehogs are difficult to maintain as pets due to their low resistance to climate and temperature changes, and their inability to adapt to enclosed environments
***Edited By: irishacres on 1/24/2007 11:14:00 AM*** Reason: add
Are they difficult to take care of, are the cuddley like cats? How long do they usually live? What do they eat? How can you tell your getting a good hedgehog? I guess anything you feel is important for me to know so I can make a good decision on whether or not to get one.
I've tried to research them but I've been finding breeders mostly.
The normal lifespan in captivity can be anywhere from 3 to 8, possibly 10 years, if properly cared for. This depends upon the species.
"How can you tell your getting a good hedgehog?" There are books available at pet stores and libraries or you can research online. You may want to contact the local vets and see if they can connect you with other hedgehog owners in the area.
The North American Hedgehog Association (NAHA) would be a good contact point, to get you in touch with breeders of hedgehogs. There are various size, colors and patterns of hedgehogs available. Color, size and pattern are your choice. Be sure to check with local ordinances to determine that hedgehogs are legal in your area, they are still illegal in some states.
"What do they eat?"
I fed mine a higher quality cat food and supplemented it with canned cat and dog food, hard boiled eggs, cottage cheese. They will eat a little fruit also, but be sure to change the food daily, so bacteria does not start growing. You might want to try a grape, a slice of apple, raisins or raw sweet potato. Feed the fruits sparingly and of course, not all at once. Mine seemed to prefer raisins.
Seems to me, the book recommended live food too, crickets, wax worms or meal worms. All are obtainable at your local pet store or bait shop. I didn't feed ours the live food diet.
Depending upon what area you live, your pet store may stock a nutritional diet for hedgehogs.
For a cage, I kept mine in a cat carrier, which I cleaned daily. It was easier to keep the wood chips contained in the cat carrier. I bought the big bags of cedar shavings at walmart, love that smell.
Some hedgehogs will housebreak to a low kitty litter pan, mine wasn't though. All she did was roll around in the clean litter.
They are more of a night time creature, so expect the hog to be active at night and sleep away much of the day. That will help determine a location for the cage too.
"are the cuddley like cats?"
Hedgehogs will usually curl up into a spiny ball when first picked up, but with frequent, gentle handling, you should be able to eventually coax them out of the ball shape. The spines can be quite sharp.
They may relax enough to fall asleep on your lap, but no, they are not cuddley like cats. They have spines and depending upon your skin, you may need to wear gloves when handling your hog. Don't let them fall, they have short legs and cannot survive a fall.
I would suggest a water bottle, much like those used for a guinea pig. Don't use water dishes, they will tip and are too easy to be soiled.
"Are they difficult to take care of"
Not anymore difficult than any other caged pet. The key is to keep them clean and dry. They do like to have something to hide inside of to sleep. We had a plastic pipe, such as used in building a house that was cut to about 8 - 10 inches long. She could go and hide in there.
They do like to explore, but be sure you supervise their play time on the floor. They can easily slip under cabinets and dressers and no amount of coaxing will bring them back out, normally.
Some pet shops have exercise wheels for hedgehogs now, they weren't available when I had my hog.
Their toenails need to be cut, just like a cat or dog. It will probably take 2 people to cut their nails or bring it into the groomer or vet and learn how to do it correctly, so as not to harm or traumitize the animal.
I hit enter, but have revised the post to answer a few more of your questions.
***Edited By: Basset_Lover on 1/24/2007 12:24:38 PM*** Reason: :P
Wow I didn't know there was a Hedgehod Association. That's great to know, i would hate to buy a badly breed hedgehog. I guess I should check with my vet to make sure they have someone that could doctor it up if it gets sick.
i just remember my daughter's preschool class had a hedgehog. he only slept during the day, was active at night. so they didn't get to observe much. the funny part was they voted on a name for him and chose "Spikey Edward."
Good god, they seem like a lot of work, more then what I thought. I may really really need to think about this now. I had no idea they needed their nails clipped. I hate clipping my dogs nails in fear I'll hurt them let alone a spiney ball :)
Now he says he also wants a descented skunk. I may just have to put my foot down there.
We have them all over here in sweden :) I took care of a baby one whose mother was hit by a car right in front of me.. They are accually really sweet. But I left it to a wildlife caretaker so it could return to the wild later, I didn't wvwn know you could have them as pets.
***Edited By: aleczandra on 1/25/2007 5:30:48 AM*** Reason: add
Their legal here in WV, my husband looked that up. I thought the same thing too.
I really want one but man they sound like more work then I thought.
Then I'm thinking I'm going on vacation this year for a week and I can board my dogs and cats but what about the hedgehog? If I do get one I'm thinking right now is the best time. I'm sure my nieghbor would take care of him or her but still I don't think my dogs are as much trouble and they are always getting into trouble :)
No, they are illegal in a few random places. In Ontario Windsor for one has them deemed illegal, Ontario as a province does not.
I had a friend in high school with one. As a few people said, they are nocturnal, so it liked to make noise all night.. They bond to one person. If any member of your family has long hair, you need to be very very diligent in the area you let your hedgehog run around. it can get wrapped around their little legs, and you may not notice till it's a serious problem. Ex roomie's dad was a vet... Apparently he'd seen that more than once and had to amputate one little one's leg because the circulation was too far gone when the girl brought it in.
Some places to have a skunk is legal, to have it de scented is not.. so it's a fine line of what exactly do you do if you would like to live with it.
I'd think with any animal non cat or dog you'd have to hire someone to come to your house to take care of it. Which is why I'm looking at adding a puppy, and nothing else. Complicates my life too much that I can't just pack that animal up and take it with me places to, least in the same manner.
an insectivore diet. Commonly, this is replaced with cat food and ferret food and is supplemented by insects and other small animals. Dog and cat food is bad for hedgehogs and often causes liver damage among other things. Today, many pet stores sell hedgehog mixes that are specifically formulated for hedgehogs. Crickets, mealworms, and pinkies (baby mice) are also favored treats. It is illegal to own a hedgehog as a pet in some U.S. states and some Canadian municipalities, and breeding licenses are required. No such restrictions exist in most European countries.
***Edited By: shinyblackpit on 1/19/2012 10:30:34 PM*** Reason: removed link
I had one back when I ws in high school. His name was Elmo. lol was going with opposites back then. He wasn't properly socialized when I got him so he was very hard to pick up. I had to drop a washcloth over him in order to pick him up. He always balled up and poked my hands. My mother made me get rid of him because she was allergic to him. I loved him even though I couldn't pick him up easily. He liked walking through his bathwater though!
I'd like another one someday, but I want one that is calm and doesn't ball up when it sees you. Socialized ones won't do that.