When you are looking forward to purchasing a pet hedgehog, it may seem to be similar to purchasing a purebred Siamese cat, since these animals come in a number of different color varieties, including the familiar salt and pepper design. When keeping hedgehogs as pets, their color is not always of primary importance, but it can be of utmost importance if you are a breeder.
Breeder’s Descriptions Of Hedgehogs
- If you want a hedgehog that is completely white, or mostly so, yet is not an albino, you want to ask for a snowflake hedgehog. Some breeders will only call their hedgehogs ‘snowflakes’ if the quills are completely white, while others give them the same name if the quills are mostly white. The bellies and legs of most hedgehogs are either white or gray in color.
- Cinnamon hedgehogs have cream-colored quills featuring brownish-red bands. These hedgehogs are sometimes referred to as champagne or apricot hedgehogs. If one has a mask on its face, as many hedgehogs do, it is called a fawn hedgehog.
- The mocha hedgehog, as you might expect, has coffee or chocolate and cream-colored quills. Mocha hedgehogs almost always have a dark mask.
- A cream hedgehog has quills that are either off-white or ivory in color. The cream hedgehog has eyes that are darker than the pink eyes of an albino, but the eyes still have more red in them than you’ll see with most other types.
- If a hedgehog has a mask and dark legs and its quills are somewhere between white and pale gray, the animal you’re looking at would be called a smoke point or a silverpoint hedgehog.
- Some hedgehogs defy a description based on color alone, but they have definite patterns in their quills. These hedgehogs are sometimes grouped together and referred to as pinto hedgehogs.
When Owning A Hedge May Not Be Legal
It is no longer legal to import African hedgehogs into the United States. Enough of them have been domestically bred that there is not any shortage of them. The hedgehog is still classified as an exotic animal, however; a classification that is quite appropriate. Some states do not allow their citizens to own hedgehogs, and some require that you have a permit if you want to keep one as a pet.
If your local pet store sells hedgehogs, or if there are one or more hedgehog breeders in the state you live in, keeping one as a pet is likely legal. Purchasing hedgehogs from an out-of-state breeder can be a challenge, even if it is legal to own one where you live. Most reputable breeders will not ship these animals; you have to travel to the breeder to pick them up. In any event, it would be best to contact the breeder ahead of time. Some breeders will not sell hedgehogs to someone if they think that person might not give it a good home.
Interesting ‘Hedgehog Facts’ That Are Not True At All
No hedgehog should be used as a croquet ball, despite what you may have learned from reading Alice in Wonderland. When tightly curled up and hissing, a hedgehog may seem solid enough to serve that purpose, but that of course, is not the case.
There are those that are convinced that hedgehogs are rabies carriers because they are known to foam at the mouth on occasion. It just so happens that one of the stranger habits these creatures have is to foam profusely from the mouth and then cover themselves with the foam. This peculiar habit is called self-anointing and is usually accompanied by the flehmen response, which consists of the hedgehog holding its nose high in the air. This activity is believed to be triggered by odors or scents that are unfamiliar to the hedgehog.
Another fallacy is the belief that hedgehogs will sometimes roll on something that they think will be edible and then use their spines to carry their meal back to their nest. No one appears to ever have seen hedgehogs actually do this. Wild hedgehogs have, however, been known to roll in rotting fruit as part of their self-anointing ritual.
Hedgehogs have been feared and hated in some countries, particularly during the Middle Ages, beloved in others, and eaten as food in still others. In the United States at the present, beloved would be the most accurate way of describing people’s feelings towards the animal, and why keeping hedgehogs as pets has been popular for so long.
Once you’ve seen a few images of African pygmy hedgehogs, both as babies and as adults, the thought of not having one for a pet could be hard to resist. A pet hedgehog can quickly make its way into your home, and into your heart.
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