How To Take Care Of A Pet Hedgehog? Things You Have To Know Before You Really Have One (2021)


Keeping hedgehogs as pets may seem like a strange hobby to the uninitiated, but anyone who has spent any time around these animals is keenly aware of what great pets they make. There is, however, a number of things you should know before taking one of these animals into your home. As is the case with keeping any kind of a pet, there needs to be a commitment on your part to see that your hedgehog leads a comfortable and healthy life.

There are only a couple of species of hedgehogs that readily consent to becoming pets. Two of the African species in particular seem to enjoy the opportunity for human companionship. These are not high maintenance animals, and they are fairly easy to keep well-fed, but they do require your attention and they will reward you in return.

Hedgehogs That Make Good Pets – And Those That Don’t

Not all hedgehogs make good pets. If you take into account all of the hedgehogs that exist in the world today, the majority of them would make terrible pets. There are presently 14 known species of hedgehogs in the world. Three of these species, known as the desert species, are native to North Africa and the Middle East. None make good pets, and one in particular, the Ethiopian hedgehog, also known as the Egyptian hedgehog, has a nasty disposition. There are four long-eared species, three of which are found in China and the other in the Middle East. Besides their long ears, these four species also have long legs for a hedgehog. None of the four are suitable as pets. The three species of European hedgehogs are all fairly large and are normally over a foot long when fully grown. While the species found in Western Europe, Scandinavia, and the British Isles can become somewhat tame, or at least seem to be comfortable around people, they cannot always be handled easily enough to be kept as pets.

This leaves the four species of African hedgehogs, three of which can make good pets. The fourth species, the African pygmy hedgehog, makes a great pet. The African pygmy hedgehog, which is normally native to southern Africa, can actually be found throughout the continent. Virtually all of the hedgehogs sold in pet stores or by breeders are African Pygmies, although you will also occasionally see a White-Bellied Hedgehog who is native to Central Africa on the market.

The first thing you will notice when you see one of these African pygmy adults is that you can now have a pet you can comfortably hold in your hand. When you see one curled up in a tight ball, holding it in your hand would seem to be the last thing you might want to do, and there are indeed times when a pair of gloves will come in handy. When any hedgehog is happy and relaxed, however, and its quills are down, the animal actually feels soft when you pet it, and a tame hedgehog does enjoy being stroked. If it should become startled while you are stroking it, it can change into a prickly ball in about a tenth of a second.

Hedgehogs Can Be Highly Entertaining

Hedgehogs might not be the most brilliant of animals, but they can be taught to do certain things and they do have their distinct personalities. What that means is that it can be fun for you to watch them having fun. Hedgehogs that have been running around on the floor for exercise have been known to climb up onto one of their owner’s shoes, waiting to be picked up and returned to the cage. Hedgehogs seem to enjoy working their way through mazes. They do have poor eyesight, and will occasionally bump into things head on, but once they know a path, they’ll stick to it. They also seem to enjoy running in and out of tunnels.

Unlike a mouse, which usually stays close to a wall when running through a room, a hedgehog will often take off in any direction, making abrupt 90-degree turns for no particular reason as it travels about.

There’s one more way your hedgehog can be a source of entertainment to you, and to others. Once you feel you’ve become a hedgehog expert, which may not take all that long, take your pet to a school, a youth organization, or anywhere you might find people who may never have owned or even seen one of these little animals. If your hedgehog has been well socialized, others can have the thrill of holding it their hand and gently stroking it while it explores its new surroundings.

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