Cats, dogs and hamsters are not the most popular pet choices these days. Hedgehogs make awesome pets too. Although these cuties are spiky, they are incredibly friendly and loyal. Owning a hedgehog is lots of fun, albeit you have to learn how to take care of them – it is a rocket science for someone.
Hedgehogs are amazing and unusual creatures. If their owner creates normal living and feeding conditions for them, he will receive a lot of good emotions in return. These animals are very sociable and rarely aggressive. Before getting a hedgehog, check out the following facts about these adorable little creatures.
1.Hedgehog has 5000 to 7000 quills
First thing to know before bringing a hedgehog home is that this animal has 5000 to 7000 quills. Like kids lose their baby teeth and get new ones, hedgehogs lose their baby quills. The process is painful, so if you get a baby hedgehog, find a vet who provides a high standard of care for these animals.
The muscles along the hedgehog’s back can raise and lower the quills whenever a hedge feels threatened. Considering this one of the most useful things to know before bringing a hedgehog home, managing a hedgehog can be difficult for the owner, and you may need to keep your friend in a small towel until he relaxes.
2.Hedgehogs are omnivores
Another one of the most interesting things to know before bringing a hedgehog home is that in nutrition, they are unpretentious. They love fruits, berries, and herbs. At home, you can also feed your hedgehog with raw eggs, chicken, ground beef, vegetables, kefir, and fermented baked milk. Also, be sure to give grated carrots and pieces of fruit. Hedgehogs will be happy to eat finely grated crackers moistened with delicious fruit juice or water. Also, remember, feeding them on everything you have in the kitchen is a bad idea.
Food can be laid out directly on the floor, but it is better to put water outside in a special rodent container, as hedgehogs are very mobile and can knock over a bowl of water.
3.Hedgehogs love the night
If you are a night owl, a hedgehog is your ideal pet. Just like hamsters, hedgies are very active during the night and typically spend their days sleeping. This is one of the most useful things you must remember before bringing a hedgehog home, as you should be prepared for the nighttime activity of the rodent.
Therefore, it is not recommended to wake them up during the day since it may affect their health. Some people can’t get used to the noise, while others don’t notice it. In any case, by buying a prickly comrade, you get a new friend.
4.They have an excellent sense of hearing and smelling
Another thing you should know before bringing a hedgehog home is about their excellent sense of hearing and smelling. For example, hedgehogs recognize their owners for their voice and scent. As soon as you get a hedgie, it is crucial to get them used to your scent and voice. This is because hedgehogs have poor eyesight.
5.They are not afraid of loneliness
Cats are independent, right? But they still crave your attention. Hedgehogs, on the contrary, are okay with being alone. By nature, hedgehogs are solitary, do not live in families, and leave the female immediately after mating.
However, it is best to spend at least a few hours a night with them so that they do not forget you.
6.Hibernation is not for all hedgehogs
Before bringing a hedgehog home, you need to find out how hedgehogs of this breed hibernate at home. Wild hedgehogs hibernate at the end of autumn when the first frosts begin.
At home, the temperature is constant and positive so the animals can remain active throughout the year. In order for a domestic hedgehog to hibernate, it is necessary to put the cage in a cool place. Then, the cage should be transferred to a warm place to bring the hedgehog out of hibernation. During hibernation, the hedgehog slows down metabolism, pulse, and body temperature drops.
In addition, there are 17 different species of hedgehog, and each has its own needs. Regarding hibernation, consulting a vet is a must because, for some species, hibernation means death, while for others, it is vital.
7. The average lifespan is 5 years
In the wild, hedgehogs live no more than 5 years, but at home – all 10-15. As a rule, it greatly depends on the detention conditions and variety. Healthy hedgehogs live around 7 years.
Domestic hedgehogs often suffer from diseases like Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome and cancer. It is probably because of poor care. People bring a hedgehog home but have no idea how to care for them. Do not be one of them. Do your research before having this exotic pet.
8.They make perfect companions
Hedgehogs love to cuddle up on their owner’s chest, read a book with them, play in the garden, burrow in the clothes, and even chase their owners. They make loyal companions. But if you are a highly sensitive person that has trouble dealing with a pet’s death, hedgehogs might not be for you. They have a very short lifespan.
9. Hedgehogs are shy creatures
Another thing you should take into consideration before bringing a hedgehog home is that they are so shy. Introducing a new tenant to pets (if any) should be gradual. Small animals are afraid of loud sounds; even harsh noises outside the window can scare them. After a couple of days, the “thorn” will get used to it and perceive external noise as usual.
10.Hedgehog care tips
In order for the pet to feel good, the conditions of stay in the apartment should be as close as possible to wild ones.
Hedgehogs are best placed in a cage, preferably a metal or wooden one with a pull-out tray. Straw or sawdust can be laid in the cage, and bowls with food and water should also be there. Do not use plastic bowls because the hedgehog can chew them and get poisoned.
In addition, so that the domestic animal does not gain weight, you can put a running wheel in its cage, but different from that of rodents. The wheel’s surface must be solid so that the small feet cannot get stuck.
Each pet has its advantages and disadvantages. Before owning a hedgehog, do your own research. These are definitely not all the facts about them.
Hedgehogs are illegal in many countries and states including Arizona, Pennsylvania, California, Georgia, Hawaii, and NYC. Plus, they are very expensive. But overall, they are fantastic pets that you will not regret owning.
Below, we have compiled a list of the most interesting questions about things to know before bringing a hedgehog