If soft fur or colorful feathers are too ordinary for you, get a cute, spiky hedgehog instead. Unlike a cat or a canary, a hedgehog is unique from the way it looks to the way it challenges you when it gets cranky. But like any other strange pet, learn everything you can about hedgehogs before giving the green light. After all, the animal does have sharp quills and quirky attitude that other hedgehog owners found a little too strange sometimes.
Does a Hedgehog Make a Good Pet
To begin, you can’t potty train a hedgehog. So cleaning their cage and regular bathing is needed to remove dirt (sometimes feces) stuck in their quills. Some breeders don’t associate their hedgehoglets to humans, too – these hedgehogs often proved to be handful as an adult. Therefore, be careful buying your hedgehog from online pet supplies. Other than these, a hedgehog is the cutest goofball pet you could own.
The Pygmy hedgehog (the most popular hedgehog species as pet) for example, is very photogenic. They’re very curious animals, too – they can explore the whole house if you’ll let them. However, they’re nocturnal, so be prepared to stay up a little late in the evening to watch them in their most active state.
What Does a Hedgehog Eat
In the wild, hedgehogs eat mostly insects, slugs, snails, worms, and occasional ripe fruit that fell to the ground. So your pet hedgehog is most happy if you feed it live insects you can get from online pet supplies to stock. You can give them mealworm, crickets, beetles, earthworms as their main diet. But if live insects is difficult to obtain (or you find them particularly horrendous), don’t worry. Hedgehogs readily eat dry cat or ferret food that’s high in protein and very low in fat. Remember also to buy chitin powder supplement from online pet supplies because hedgehogs have particular need for chitin in their diet.
How to House a Hedgehog
Housing hedgehogs need careful planning to prevent injury to the tiny mammal. Wire cage would not work because your pet’s tiny feet and quills could slip through causing serious injury. Hedgehogs are excellent climbers so the perfect cage should be acrylic or glass tank container. Keep the temperature between 72 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit because hedgehogs need warm environment to thrive well. Remember to shop for bottle waterers from online pet supplies, too, to make water always available to your pincushion pet.
How to Handle a Hedgehog
Although not as sharp as the porcupine’s, but a hedgehog’s quills are sharp, nonetheless. But by mastering the art of handling hedgehogs, you can still pick them up – probably not with your bare hands though. Wear gloves or use a towel to shield your hands from your pet’s quills in case it gets cranky. Corner the animal and gently scoop it up by placing your palms in either side and cradling it securely on your hand. Resist the temptation of touching the soft belly if you don’t want your fingers caught among quills as your hedgehog rolls into a ball. Hedgehogs don’t like their belly tickled!
How to Tame a Hedgehog
Hedgehogs have poor eyesight; they rely on their sniffers to recognize what’s around them. So your laundry could help in taming your hedgehog. Wear your least favorite shirt during the day, and place it in your new hedgehog’s cage for the night. Your new hedgehog should be familiar with your scent in the morning. To help your hedgehog recognize you quickly, don’t wear strong cologne or wash your hands with strong-scented soaps before you handle your pet. And don’t frighten your hedgehog with loud noise or sudden movements because they are very timid creatures. You would be too if you’re as small as a hedgehog.
Is It Legal to Own a Hedgehog
Before you get worked up about the prospect of having your first strange pet, know your local laws and ordinances first. If you live in California, Georgia, Hawaii, Nebraska, and New York for example, there’s no way you can own a hedgehog. The same is true if you live in Australia. You may own the less endangered Pygmy hedgehog if you live in other places, but it’s best to call your local Wildlife Rescue Center to check the rules in your place.