Having a hedgehog as a pet can be a very exciting and enjoyable experience. They’re adorable, cuddly (even with the quills), and one-of-a-kind! As a result, hedgehogs are becoming more common as pets, and kids have been delighted. If you’re looking for something different to have as your pet, a hedgehog is the best choice.
However, unlike every other pet, there are a few factors you should always consider before going out and purchasing your very own hedgehog.
Are Hedgehogs Really Good Pets For Kids?
Many people overlook the essential step of learning about this creature and deciding whether a pet hedgehog is right for their kids and family because of its friendly nature and growing popularity.
This leads to the lack of hedgehog care and maintenance, purchases from unreliable breeders, and other problems.
That’s why I’ve compiled a list of whatever you need to know to determine whether or not a hedgehog as a pet is ideal for you. You will know everything you need to know about hedgehogs and make a suitable decision accordingly.
The 6 Common Factors Before Adopting Hedgehog
These are 6 most important things to consider before adopt/buy a hedgehog.
Cost of Maintenance
The most commonly domesticated hedgehog is the African pygmy hedgehog. Hedgehogs are available for a variety of prices based on where you reside. Hedgehogs are low-cost to keep as pets in general.
The majority of the expense would be upfront in buying the hedgehog and living arrangement, similar to getting a hamster as a pet for kids.
Veterinary treatment is not a major consideration unless you need help with your hedgehog’s health. Cages may be basic one-level or complex multi-level mechanisms.
Hedgehogs prefer to be kept warm, so consider steering clear from metal cages with metal bottoms.
Here is a breakdown of expenses along with the materials you’ll need.
- A well-ventilated cage
- Cage lining material (Fleece is best recommended)
- Wood or paper chippings for the sleeping area (It’s alright to skip this if your pet hedgehog prefers the fleece)
- A plastic spinning wheel
- Some food and water dishes
- Pet food and treats
Care and Maintenance
You’ll want to make sure your hedgehog has a big, escape-proof cage before they arrive. To prevent your hedgehog from being trapped, the cage floor should be solid rather than wire. In their cozy corner, they’ll have some sort of bedding (Fleece can be used).
Hedgehog-proofing your home is also a good idea. They enjoy running around and may need additional room outside of their habitat to do so. Ensure there are no small things lying on the floor of your house for your hedgehog to swallow or areas where he or she might get stuck.
Constantly keep an eye on your hedgehog when they are out of their cage. They like digging and burrowing in some areas. This makes them impossible to locate after they’ve been misplaced.
Food and Exercise
Hedgehogs are prone to being overweight. This makes it very crucial for them to get plenty of exercise and eat a well-balanced diet. Using a spinning wheel will allow them to run as much as they want during the night (this is because they are naturally nocturnal animals).
When welcoming your hedgehog to their new home, allow them to settle in on their own and give them a few days to adjust themselves to the new environment.
The dietary meal of a pet hedgehog consists of pellet supplements designed specifically for hedgehogs. Insects and small quantities of fruits and vegetables are often added to this diet. Nuts, peas, carrots, and apples are among them. Hedgehogs consume bird’s eggs, lizards, fungi, and berries in the wild.
They love catching live prey as well. Hence, it is important for you to allow your pet to use their instincts by giving them a small number of live insects occasionally.
Cleanliness and Hygiene
Hedgehogs are messy animals, and their cages must be washed often. It’s easy to spot clean every day and then deep cleaned once a week.
Salmonella bacteria can be found in a hedgehog’s excrement. These bacteria can further invade their bodies, habitats, toys, and anything else they come into contact with, even though they appear to be healthy. As a result, they pose a threat to those who are already susceptible.
Hedgehogs can bear harmful bacteria that are dangerous to people with compromised immune systems. It is necessary for both the hedgehog and the homeowner to keep the hedgehog cage cleaned.
Companionships and Interactions
In the wild, hedgehogs are independent, so they don’t normally need hedgehog companions. They, like all species, have distinctive qualities and personalities and can be unique.
Hedgehogs do not attack or bite, but their quills are extremely sharp, making them a potentially dangerous pet for a small child. And while hedgehog quills aren’t very harmful, they do trigger a long crying session!
The average lifespan of a domestic African Pygmy hedgehog is unknown, but it appears to be between two and six years. Some sources claim that pet hedgehogs will live up to eight years.
To make this easier for you, let’s weigh out the pros and cons, shall we?
List of Pros and Cons of Owning a Pet Hedgehog For Young Owners
- Hedgehogs may be domesticated and raised to be affectionate and social.
- They enjoy playing and are entertaining to watch.
- Hedgehogs are low-maintenance yet fulfilling pets.
- They’re also reasonably priced.
- Hedgehogs instill accountability in children.
- They don’t take up much space.
- Since hedgehogs are nocturnal, they will provide your child with a buddy in their room at night if they become bored.
- Hedgehogs have pointed quills that are very prickly. For young pet owners, this may be a concern.
- To feel at ease and to connect with their pet owners, they need regular interactions.
- Hedgehogs can transmit diseases to humans, such as salmonella.
- Extremes of heat and cold have an impact on activity, so it’s important to keep a constant warm atmosphere.
Are hedgehogs ideal pets for your kids? The answer is yes. Just like every other domestic pet, the hedgehog also has its own pros and cons. If they are treated with care and maintained properly, hedgehogs can be cute and caring pets.
So, if you’re thinking about getting one, keep in mind that they need time, commitment, and affection in order to survive and be engaging.