How To Care For Pet Hedgehogs? 2023 FAQ Guide

Read this tutorial for all novices to learn the fundamentals of hedgehog care, including where hedgehogs originate from, their physical characteristics, how to choose a hedgehog, where to get them, and a great deal more information.

What is a hedgehog?

The African Pygmy Hedgehog is a nocturnal mammal that is quite small. It is easily identifiable by its white belly and spines that cover its entire back. He belongs to the Eutheria subclass because, unlike kangaroos, he does not produce eggs or carry its young in a pouch. Instead, he is an insectivore, which means that in order to maintain his health, he must consume a diet consisting of insects.

The hedgehog is unaffected by being alone and actually likes to live this way because of its calm demeanor.

What is the difference between a hedgehog & a porcupine?


Snoutround, large and shortlong, narrow
Furvery thick on the top of the head, on the legs & backthin around the face, on the legs & none on the back
In the wildloves to climb in treesprefer to hide at ground level
Spinescan be as long as 5 inchesreach half an inch in length
Defenseuses his tail to scare his enemies awayputs himself in a ball and stays motionless

What is the origin of African white-bellied hedgehog?

The Algerian Hedgehog and the White-bellied Hedgehog are the two parent breeds that are combined to create the African White-bellied Hedgehog. They originated in Africa and can be found in Somalia and Tanzania, two countries with dense vegetation, where they are still found today. Around the world, there are 14 distinctive breeds of hedgehogs, which can be broken down into the following groups:

  • The European Hedgehog
  • The African White-bellied Hedgehog
  • The Long-Eared Hedgehog
  • The Desert HedgehogHedgehogs appeared in North America at the end of the 80’s when an American couple brought one back from their trip to Nigeria.  Since hedgehogs were considered a pest, natives were more than happy to supply them.  Hedgehogs were valued at more than $5000.00 for a pair.  

Physical Appearance

  • Length : from 12 to 22 centimetres
  • Weight : from 300 to 600 grams
  • Spines : 7000 beautiful long spines

How long do pet hedgehogs live?

It is not uncommon for a hedgehog to reach the age of seven when kept in captivity. Your hedgehog has a better chance of living a long and healthy life if it has a healthy diet and gets frequent exercise.

Is it legal to own a hedgehog?

In Canada, you are permitted to own an African White-bellied Hedgehog. However, in certain areas of the United States, possession of one is against the law. (such as the city of New York, for example)

Before making a choice, you should talk things over with an animal doctor or an attorney.

Where to buy your hedgehog ?

We recommend that you get your hedgehog from a breeder that has prior expertise. However, you shouldn’t let that fool you. There is no correlation between experience and lower prices or improved marketing. You are required to inquire quite a lot of queries, go to the location where the hedgehogs are kept, and inquire about paperwork and guarantees. Do not be afraid to inquire for references, and be sure to research the individual’s herd.

When you buy an animal from a pet store, you will almost never receive a pedigree or any other significant information regarding its medical history. The costs are typically quite exorbitant, and they will put a lot of pressure on you to get everything, even though your hedgehog might not even require any of it.

You can use an internet search to find breeders in your nation if you are interested in purchasing a hedgehog.

How to choose your hedgehog?

In most cases, people would rather have a newborn hedgehog, and it is simple to see why this is the case. Due to their small size and endearing appearance, people are always quite interested in infant hedgehogs. Should you choose based on how beautiful something is or how big it is? We don’t have that view. When shopping for a hedgehog, there are a lot of critical things to keep an eye out for. Here are some pointers: 

Eyes They must be clear, wide open, and free of any secretions.
Nose It has to be clean, moist but not wet or runny.
Ears They should be clean and have no sign of dry skin around them. Have a look inside the ears to make sure they’re clear.
Skin Move the quills.  You shouldn’t find any flakes or dry skin.
Fur It must be soft and cover the entire belly.
Legs Make sure the nails are trimmed and there is no injury.
Quills Spines should cover the entire back and you shouldn’t see any quill loss.

Instruct the breeder or the person selling the hedgehog to place the animal on a level surface. It is expected that the hedgehog will be able to maintain his equilibrium while walking in a straight line.

Additionally, a very crucial component is his manner of conduct. If you take him in your hands and talk to him, you should be able to get a good glance of his personality, depending on what it is that you are trying to determine about him.

There are a lot of people that wonder if there is a difference in conduct based on gender. We say not at all! It’s nothing but an urban legend.

An adult can also make a wonderful pet. If the previous owner was showing his hedgehog plenty of love and attention, you should have no trouble getting a well-mannered pet out of him. A good number of them already know how to use the litter box, and they are accustomed to having their nails clipped and being bathed. It has the potential to be a significant benefit!

How to identify the gender of your hedgehog?

This photo clearly demonstrates that it is not difficult at all to identify the man. He is the one that has a hole in the middle of his stomach that looks like a button. You made the correct assumption that his penis is hiding in his belly button.

There is no belly button on the female, and her genitalia are located right next to her anus.

How to get ready for your hedgehog?

The momentous occasion has at long last arrived! It won’t be long before your hedgehog returns, and you need to get everything in its habitat ready for his arrival. You play a significant role in his ability to adapt to new situations.

The first thing that must be done is to position the cage in the appropriate location. Make sure you are happy with everything before you move the cage around, as this is not a recommended action. During the first several days, there should be complete silence and composure, and the temperature ought to be just right. It is not necessary for your hedgehog to experience any more anxiety.

Make sure that the water is clean and that the food dish is completely full. Remember to place his cover and a house in the game if you have one available.

In the first week, you should give him the space he requires. It will take some time for him to become accustomed to his new surroundings and the many sounds that are present.

Can hedgehogs live with other animals or pets?

Do you have numerous animals? It shouldn’t be any trouble at all! When other animals are aware that they could be injured by the quills, hedgehogs are often not bothered an excessive amount by them. If they are fearful of being wounded, an inquisitive cat or dog will learn through time to approach him gently and will remain a safe distance if they are intrigued about him.

Hedgehogs can be socialized with a variety of rodents, including guinea pigs, hamsters, and more. If you keep a close check on them, they may even be able to share an exercise pen. They are allowed to spend time together in the same enclosure, but they cannot dwell there.

The most crucial thing is to exercise proper supervision. Never allow your pets to be unsupervised while everyone else is in the room. Accidents can take place in the blink of an eye. Don’t let that happen.

How to pick up & handle a hedgehog?

Do not give in to the temptation of putting on gloves, even though the quills may make your hands uncomfortable. Your hedgehog can turn out to be hostile if it doesn’t smell your familiar scent.

Move your hands under his tummy in a deliberate manner. By doing so, (as can be seen in the accompanying image), you will prevent yourself from being harmed by the quills. Maintain a comfortable grip with your hands and spread your fingers. You’ll be able to carefully lift him once your hands are under his belly, so pay close attention to what you’re doing. However, take precautions! A hedgehog has the potential to be an extremely quick animal.

Oh, the illustrious sphere! Even if your hedgehog rolls himself up into a ball, you are free to carry him with you. You are not going to be as comfortable in this position, but as soon as he gets out of his ball, you will be able to find something more favorable.

Slide your hands closer to your hedgehog while maintaining the wood shavings in your hands if you are going to be using wood shavings. It offers effective protection against the sharp quills.

Do not attempt to open the ball he has rolled himself into or lengthen his body if he has rolled himself into a ball. You are going to make things worse for him. To relax the muscles in his back, make a series of circular motions on top of his back. He needs to straighten his posture and get some relief from his discomfort.

Allow him the time he needs to get things moving, and demonstrate to him that he can put his trust in you. If you have just just taken in your hedgehog as a pet, it is recommended that you do not wear any perfume or that you wear the same scent consistently so that he can become accustomed to your scent.

Determine the method with which you are most at ease and stick with that one. Do not be concerned if you find that holding your hedgehog causes your hands to experience discomfort, since this is normal. It doesn’t hurt too badly, and it’ll go gone eventually.

Why do hedgehogs self anointing?

Self-anointing is something that makes many owners uncomfortable. What exactly is the foam that seems to be flowing out of his mouth? What is the motivation for him covering himself in it? When the hedgehog senses that he is in danger, he will instinctively cover his quills with that foam. It is a natural response for him. It is believed that it can help decrease the natural odor of the hedgehog and better protect him from potential predators.

If your hedgehog does self-anoint, don’t get anxious. It is perfectly safe and has no adverse effects at all. Your hedgehog may feel the need to self-anoint whenever you introduce a new food or even whenever you give it a cover that has been recently cleaned.

Seeing them exert so much effort in order to conceal their quills is actually pretty comical.


Can humans be allergic to hedgehogs?

If you suffer from allergies, the hedgehog is the most suitable pet for you to keep. Rarely will you come across someone who is allergic to this animal. Before they may sell their hedgehog, the physicians will always ask them to change the bedding when they begin to feel the effects of the medication. People who already have respiratory issues should avoid breathing in the dust that is included in wood shavings.

Why do hedgehogs have quills?

Quills are a distinguishing feature of hedgehogs. Did you know that the vertebrae in your back each has their own air chamber? They are incredibly sturdy while still being rather lightweight, and they are significantly wider at the base and get thinner as they move toward the tip.

Hedgehogs are famous for their unique defense mechanism, which consists of quills that can be controlled by the animal by squeezing the muscles on each side of its back. Whoever gets too close will get injured!

When he is knocked to the ground, he will also use his quills as a makeshift trampoline. He is able to survive a fall from a significant height without suffering any injuries. When he rolls into the proper ball, his quills will cushion the impact of the fall.

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