So, you think you want a Hedgehog? They make a fabulous pet, and may be exactly what you want and need for a critter companion! First, though, let’s find out some fun facts about Hedgies and what makes them so interesting.
One of the first things to know about Hoglets is that they are naturally shy. Even if your baby Hedgie was raised by loving humans, he or she may take a while to warm up to the idea of cuddles. The key with your Hedgehog will always be patience! Treats of mealworms, boiled egg, apple bits or slices, banana and berries will go a long way to encourage your Hedgie to boldly face the world!
Hedgehogs aren’t nearly as quiet as you may think! Especially as your Hoglet gets to know you and feels comfortable around you, they may make a wide variety of sounds. I’ve heard chirps, squeaks, grunts, whistles, purrs, clicks, pops, sneezes, wheezes and sniffles!
Here’s another bit of Hedgie trivia: The International Hedgehog Association recognizes more than 90 different colors! What color Hedgoie do you have or want?
Stuffed toys are great for your Hoglet’s mental health, especially the ones that are small enough for them to drag around. Some Hedgies like to take their stuffies on safari, and carry them all around their habitat. Others prefer their “pets” to stay in bed and keep them warm while they’re sleeping.
Some Hedgehogs like to steal socks, strings or shoelaces (even if you’re wearing them)! If you let your pet have the run of the room, be very careful for both your sakes, and keep close track of where your Hog is. Try to figure out what mischief they’re planning next – this could be a fun game with an interested partner or group!
Some Hedgies will use a litter pan like a cat! Some won’t though, no matter how hard you try to train them.
Another interesting fact: If you decide multiple Hedgies are the answer to your pet needs, you may only safely keep females together for any length of time! Males kept together, even brothers from the same litter, will eventually fight.
Many people assume that Hedgehogs are related to porcupines, but this isn’t true. Porcupines are a rodent with quills (which are hollow). Hedgies are insectivores with spines (which are solid). Also, porkies can lose their quills without being harmed, while a Hedgies’ spines are tightly attached.
Most domestic Hedgehogs are of mixed parentage! Multiple African Hedgehog breeds have been used as breeding stock, so your domestic Hedgie may be descended from several different species. This could be part of the reason that there are so many different colors to choose from.
Another thing to keep in mind is that many Hedgehogs will change color as they get older, so if you’re set on a particular color, make sure you get to see their parents and older siblings, if possible!
When you’re doing your Hedgie acquisition research, make sure that you find a reputable veterinarian who’s studied exotic species like Hedgies. Your regular dog and cat vet may not be equipped to handle a Hedgehogs’ particular medical needs if an emergency should arise. It’s ALWAYS best to have a vet lined up BEFORE you get any pet!
I’d also recommend My Hedgehog Journal (bit.ly/Hedgehog13) as a way to research and decide if your kids are ready for a Hedgie as a pet. Even the best critter-loving kid has a rough day now and then, so working through the Journal will give you both time to make sure that you’re ready for the responsibility! It’s got Hedgehog facts, trivia and animal quotes to get your child actively thinking about the daily tasks associated with pet care. There’s room in the back for veterinarian information and feeding schedules for vacation time, too.
Good luck with your new spiky friend, and keep me posted!
With Grace and Gratitude,