Do Hedgehogs Make Good Pets?

You might have seen that people often prefer having a pet in their house. Most of the common pets are dogs, cats or birds. Nowadays many are considering getting a hedgehog as a pet. Well this is because hedgehogs are very cute, attractive and cuddly.

Similarly they are not dangerous like quills. And rather they are soft and smooth. Nevertheless you cannot ignore the fact that a hedgehog is considered a wild animal. And so you should know about their habits before taking them up as a pet.

Well petting would be quite difficult as it is not some common animal like cat and dog. You cannot easily get much information on keeping them as pets. Pet hedgehogs are attractive but they also require a lot of care. The problem is that people just barge into a pet shop without considering the breeder. This leads to a bad experience with a hedgehog.

That’s why we have outlined some of the areas that you need to work on for having hedgehogs as a pet. We have researched some facts that you should know before getting a hedgehog. This would make it easy for you to take care of the hedgehog.

Hedgehogs as pets

You might wonder if a hedgehog makes a good pet? That’s why we are here to give you a little insight into the topic. Read along and you`ll get the hang of it.

•             Hedgehogs Spit Balls

When you are going to pet a hedgehog you should be off with the spitballs of hedgehogs. So what are the spitballs? Whenever hedgehogs come into contact with some new object that they’ve never encountered the hedgehog will lick the object to create a spitball.

Afterward it will cover its whole body with this saliva to accommodate a new scent. This scene is often found disgusting any many people. And a lot of them overreact after watching it. But no need to worry as it is a common thing for a hedgehog to do so.

•             Prickly Hedgehogs

Now you might have seen that hedgehogs are similar to porcupines especially when it comes to the back. However there is a wide difference between the two. Porcupines can release their quills in case of any threat while the hedgehogs strengthen their back to protect themselves.

Now think that you bring a hedgehog home and he is nervous about the new place as well as you. If you don’t handle it carefully it will be a problem for you. And you might even end up getting hurt.  So you need to look for their prickly nature and handle them with love and ease.

•             Fondness of Night

If you are serious about getting this pet and you wish to enjoy with hedgehogs then be ready to stay awake late at night. You might be thinking why is it so? Hedgehogs sleep during the whole day and they like to roll around at night. For getting friendly with your pet you would need to stay awake at night to understand its mood and concerns. If not then I believe that you might not be suitable for having a hedgehog as a pet.

•             They are Hogs

Try not to cage your hedgehogs as they love eating. This is how their body structure is functioning properly. You might observe that they are quite active. So as soon as they eat just leave them to move freely.

If they are held in a cage then a large amount of fat produced in their body leads to obesity. This often leads to pressure on limbs and they cannot even roll anymore. This will make them less attractive and you might end up feeling bizarre.  So leave your hedgehogs moving around to see their activeness.

•             Rolling Body

It is quite natural for hedgehogs to roll their bodies so that the spines can secure them as soon as they are threatened. Once they have curled their body you cannot just uncurl them as the strength of their muscles is off the charts. So when you get a hedgehog do not try to hold them in a tight grip. This throws them off their mood and you can get your hands hurt if they roll their body.

•             They are not soundless.

Another famous observation about hedgehogs is that many people believe they are quiet. However the reality is contrary to this observation. Most of the pet holders cannot realize when they are making a sound.

It depends upon their mood and surroundings. They make sounds while exploring the environment and when they are nervous. They even whistle to remove the stress away. Therefore you can be wrong but this cute little pet is not.

•             Risky Diseases

Hedgehogs are prone to multiple diseases that are contagious for human beings. They have a common disease that is found in their stool known as Salmonella. The ringworm in people can take place because of fungus in their quills. So make sure that the hedgehog you took is free from all sources of diseases.

In extreme cases hedgehogs’ quills fall if they have a persistent disease that makes them look bad. So being an owner you need to assure that you clean the place where they live. As well as clean the hedgehog regularly.

•             Influence of Heat and Cold

Every pet has its own way of reacting to extreme heat or cold. In the case of hedgehogs if the temperature is cold they hibernate because the food supply is limited in winters. Therefore they reduce metabolism by hibernating themselves.

Contrary to these in areas where the temperature is quite high the hedgehogs avoid moving around more than usual. As too much movement leads to overheating of the body. In the case of pet hedgehogs the food supply is constant. As well as the temperature remains normal so no need to worry.

•             Bonding and Friendliness

Hedgehogs are often said to be rude and less friendly. However the owners who have them as their pets are quite friendly with them. You have to spend some time understanding your pet. And then even if you come close to your pet he will be happy. Most hedgehogs are nervous but they are cute and soft. This makes them adorable pets.

Things you need to know for petting a Hedgehog

Petting a hedgehog is undoubtedly different from other pets. You should be well aware of some of the factors that matter in such a case. Hedgehogs have gained some popularity over the years. This is because they are cute and soft. They often have some cute habits and they have made people fall in love with them. So if you are thinking about getting a hedgehog as a pet you should know things you have to do.

•             Allow them to live where you are living.

Hedgehogs are very cute little animals that are as good to you as you are to them. The relationship between you and your pet hedgehog is going to be a transactional one. The more you make it close to you and allow it to move into the living area freely the more they are friendly. Hedgehogs usually panic whenever they see a new person or area. Therefore it is very important to make them feel safe at all times.

•             Practice before handling them

You might not just be able to get along with your pet on the very first day. This is probably going to take some time before your pets get accustomed to you. As you are well aware that hedgehogs have quills that make them attractive but dangerous too. Many people complain that as soon as they hold their pet in their hands the pet gets rude and takes the rolling form.

You wouldn’t want that right? So whenever you get a hedgehog as a pet just make sure to start slow. Start with giving some food and a tidy house to your pet. This would make him comfortable. Try practicing coming close to the pet and firmly hold it in your hand. It won’t be easy at the start but the more you practice the more it gets better.

•             Try to Learn the Mood

Please don’t even try to pet your hedgehog as you did with your dog or cat. They are quite easy to understand and even a kid knows how to read their pet’s mood. The hedgehogs are somewhat different from your common pets as it takes some time to read their mood. You have to look for their actions or the sounds that they make. This would tell whether they are happy or sad.

Try to see the actions they make when they are happy. Make sure to remember the noise they made depending upon the situation. This will help you understand their mood, as hedgehogs have their unique set of voices for every mood. Many people believe that hedgehogs are soundless. However the situation is quite the opposite.

•             Food Supply

Many people love hedgehogs but don’t take them as pets because they are worried about the food. The probable reason is that their food is not commonly available in the market. Many are not aware of how much food they should give to their pet. If hedgehogs eat extra food they become fat. This can lead to excess body weight.

It is quite important to know how much food should be given and which one. To be honest it is quite a simpler task than you can imagine. Simple cat food is enough for your pet as it is full of nutrition. Besides snacks like vegetables would be good. Hedgehogs love eating food and you will love the way they eat. However make sure that the supply of food is suitable to their need.

•             Maintaining Hygiene

Unlike cats and dogs which are more prone to dirt and stuff this pet is quite different. Hedgehogs are cute little pets that do not cover much space. They do not like dirt at all. Hedgehogs are by nature very clean animals and they prefer a surrounding that is tidy as well. Many people are well aware that hedgehogs might carry salmonella which is contagious.

To avoid the outbreak of any such disease make sure that you should take care of hygiene. Try to wash your pet daily and the area where it lives. This ensures that there is no source of any disease. Wash your hands after holding your pet or cleaning him. There is a high probability that there won’t be any problem afterwards.

Activities of Hedgehogs

For having hedgehogs as a pet you should be well aware of their activities. This pet is nocturnal which makes you not always available to the pet. Obviously at night you would be sleeping while your pet is onto something. You have to make sure that there is some activity that your pet can perform during the night.

Some people don’t leave any kind of activity for their pet which leads to hedgehogs getting fat. And in the end they complain that it is not a good pet. Leave them some good activity that should keep them engaged over the night. You can give your hedgehogs some of the following activities.

•             Spinning Wheel

The spinning wheel is without a doubt one of the oldest activities for small pets. In the case of hedgehogs this activity is still beneficial. Hedgehogs have low body structure so they can undergo regular exercise. It is important for them to stay active. However keep in mind that the spinning wheels make noise so no need to place them in your room. It would be better if the wheel were placed in the house of your pet.

•             Puzzle Leading to Food

Another technique to keep your pet engaged in some activity is to form a puzzle that leads to the pet’s food. It will take some time to form a puzzle that could control a hedgehog as this pet is fast moving. A puzzle leading to food can make your pet eat food in time and the necessary activity required for its body. 

•             Healthcare of Hedgehog

Taking care of your pet is your responsibility in the end. Your pet is never able to express that it needs to go and visit a doctor. Hedgehogs are like small babies that cannot express if they want to see a doctor or not. However it has been observed that hedgehogs are prone to diseases and sometimes get cardiac arrests.

To make sure that the hedgehog is free from diseases take it for routine checkup to the vet. This would keep your pet healthy and safe. As well as you will also be safe.

Common Problems of Hedgehogs

Some unusual anomalies occur with this pet. Many people consider not having a pet hedgehog as hedgehogs are quite moody. It is not easy to save yourself from this pet biting you. If you are thinking of getting a hedgehog as a pet you need to know some of the common problems of this pet.

•             Physical Discomfort

Hedgehogs usually react with a bite when there is some sort of physical pain that they are going through or you are inflicting upon them. For instance if you hold it with a tight grip they might react to it with a bite. Another case occurs when they are themselves in any pain which is not visible. This throws off their mood which makes it discomforting for them.

You might also observe an anomaly in the activity or mood of this pet if you are nail trimming. Most of the pets react to it badly. This scares them because of which they bite or hurt you in self-defense. Sometimes hedgehogs are not comfortable with the home you have provided. This leads to a bad mood. So try to be as firm as you can. 

•             Stress

Hedgehog being under stress is quite a common situation for them. There might be no reason and you would see that your pet is under stress. Under stress this pet bites or does unusual activities that you might not like. This is derived from the environment you would provide to the pet. In an intense and loud environment the pet might freak out and do some unusual action.

Similarly you cannot also just leave the pet on the spinning wheel for a day. As soon as it is tired the hedgehog might get under stress. Just play at a normal pace with your pet and do not overdo it. As it will make your pet do unusual activities. The same is the case if you fail to provide proper food on time. Just keep your pet at ease and let it enjoy all by itself.

Methods of Taking Care of your Hedgehog

Well if you are going to buy a hedgehog as a pet you should be well aware of how you have to take care of it. This also answers our main question of whether hedgehog should be taken as a pet or not. As small and cute as they are they also need some special care and love. Therefore here are some of the methods through which you can take care of hedgehogs.

First let’s talk about the hedgehog’s house and the necessary items that you need to ensure are present. You can fulfill some things by taking care.

•             Eating bowls

One thing that you need to look after is the bowl of your pet. Hedgehogs are quite meticulous in this scenario as they need separate bowls for food and water. Make sure that the bowls you allocate for them should have sufficient weight as your pet would cling to the bowl. Therefore if the bowl is light it would flip creating a problem for you as well as your pet.

•             Sleeping Place

Like us our pets are also concerned about their living area. Think about your pet like a baby who is fond of getting a good sleeping area. A small sleeping hut is enough for your hedgehog. But make sure that it does not have any pint areas or any sort of thing that would discomfort your pet. A soft material that could keep your pet warm and cozy would be better.

•             Big Box

You might be wondering what the purpose of a big box is. Well we understand what you are thinking and the questions that are arising in your mind. All things of your pet should be placed inside a big transparent box. It has multiple benefits. One is that you can separate the pet within your living area while it will stay in front of your eyes. Secondly all of the items would be separated from the living area.

Moreover your pet would be less prone to damage as it would not move all-around your house. This would also keep you comfortable. As there is a minimum risk of diseases and your pet’s safety is ensured at best.

•             Temperature Control

One thing you might take into account is the temperature of the room where you will hold this pet. Try not to make a mistake in this regard. The reason is that the hedgehogs are highly affected by the temperature. They are unable to bear the extreme cold nor can they bear extreme hot temperatures. Therefore the room where you will keep your pet should have air conditioning and a proper heating system.

This small pet cannot express the best-suited temperature but you can guess it through the pet’s activity. You can check the activeness of the hedgehog or you can check the sounds that your pet is making. These signals are ways through which hedgehogs express their mood.

•             Change Bedding after Three Weeks

Most of the cases where hedgehogs are found ill or carrying contagious diseases occur when the owners cannot keep their pets clean. This includes their bedding as a prime concern. The bedding of this pet needs to be replaced after some time to make sure that the pet is safe and there is no production of any bacteria that could lead to harmful diseases.

•             Cleaning of your Pet

Now, this is something that you cannot ignore even for once. Many people have other pets so they are less worried about their cleaning. However hedgehogs require regular cleaning to make sure they do not get ill. Take a toothbrush for them through which you can clean its quills and lower part of the body properly. Both these areas need to be properly cleaned to avoid sticking any fungi or bacteria.

Similarly trimming the nails of this pet is also important. Most of the dirt and rife are found in their nails therefore you have to trim their nails properly. The best way is to lay your pet down on its back and trim the nails in time.

How to Make your Hedgehog Friendly

There are multiple things that you can do to make sure that your pet gets friendly with you. If you work on these areas I am sure that you would feel the difference yourself. So have a look at some of the factors.

•             Try Not To Move Away

The first time you will hold this pet it will do some irrational activity. It can either become a ball to make you feel the quills or it can bite your hand. Try not to pull it away or move away from it at this moment. As soon as the pet observes that you are not resisting they will stop biting you.

•             Sound Surrounding

There is a proverb that we have always heard and that is that ‘the first impression is the last one’. Same is the case with your pet. Try to avoid family members from surrounding it the first time you are going to bring it home. This freaks them out more than you can imagine. There should not be any sort of excessive sound that would make it uncomfortable. Simply place it in his house for a while and avoid any sound or crowd of your family members. Once it is settled then there is no such problem.

•             Increase Interaction Time

Another thing to do is increase your time with your pet. The more you are close to it and loving it the more it is going to get accustomed to you. The relationship requires more time initially. Your hedgehog needs a friendly and loving partner and you have to make sure it gets one. Once your hedgehog is comfortable it would feel friendlier than ever.

Conclusion

The question of whether hedgehogs make a good pet does not exist. It depends upon your routine as hedgehogs are nocturnal. Moreover you have to see the mood of your pet and the care you can provide it. A hedgehog can be a wonderful pet if you tend to give it some time.