Hedgehogs are unique pets that are very closely related to moles and shrews. They have very poor eyesight, so they rely heavily on their nose to get around. They come in an assortment of different colors and sizes. You can expect a mature hedgehog (8 months) to grow up to 2 pounds, and about the size of both hands. They can live to be 4-6 years old or even up to 8!
Hedgehogs posses what are called "quills" on their backs. While they are pokey, they do not cause any harm to you, and they do not retract like those of a porcupine.
They are nocturnal animals, so expect them to be up late at night running around and being at their most active.
Correct diet is essential to a happy and healthy hedgehog!
They require a protein rich diet, between 30-35 percent is recommended. Chicken or beef based cat food is the best choice since it contains little to no extra fillers such as wheat based products, which can be unhealthy and harmful to hedgehogs.
We also suggest a supplement to their meals from time to time such as mealworms or dubia roaches (live or dried.)
Hedgehogs are strictly carnivores so stay away from any fruits and vegetables.
They should only eat and drink out of bowls, do not use bottles, they can cause serious harm to hedgehogs!
Aspen bedding is the best choice. Stay away from any wood related product that is super compressed and dusty, it can cause respiratory issues and physical wounds for hedgehogs due to their burrowing tendencies. Always use bedding with no fillers or dyes and be sure to freeze any new purchased bedding for at least 24 hours (48 hours preferably) to ensure no contamination to your hedgehog. Bedding is very important to hedgehogs so be sure you're choosing the correct bedding!
Cage should be a minimum of 28 inches in length (should not be any smaller than a small rabbit cage.)
It should include the following:
Medium to large hide or small blanket to hide and sleep
Food and water bowls full at all times
12' wheel (we suggest silent wheels which can be purchased from most pet stores or amazon.)
heat lamp or pad (during winter time ONLY!)
Cages should be suitable and safe for your hedgehog, do not use toys or leave any in the cage. This can be a choking hazard and can cause harm to your hedgehog.
Bathing should be kept at a minimum. Hedgehogs do not have any scent glands so you don't have to worry about a stinky little fellow. Baths should not exceed more than once a month.
Baths should be done in a small, clean sink. Fill the sink with LUKEWARM water, just below the belly of you hedgehog. apply the water by the cups of your hands all over your hedgehog, be sure to be careful of their face. Apply baby shampoo and lather underneath their belly, onto their quills, and around their ears and face gently. Use a toothbrush to get a deeper clean in the quills.
After bath time, your hedgehog should be thoroughly dried before going back to their newly cleaned cage.
Hedgehogs are one of the most introverted pets, they require day to day affection. They tend to grow very close and attached to those that they trust. They're an excellent cuddle buddy and love to run around and play. They are still exotic animals so they will require regular care and affection to maintain their friendly demeanor. All babies will be socialized and friendly upon adoption, but it is up to their new owner to continue to bond with their new hedgehog.
These little guys are often similarly compared to a guinea pig, hamster, ferret or rabbit in terms of daily care and interaction. With the right family and plenty of attention, hedgehogs can become very social and playful. They may be shy at first, but in the right hands they will fall in love with time!