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Hedge Hogs as pets?

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I had one once, before kids (well, I was pg with B). Maintenance is probably the same as any small creature kept in a cage. It was a fun pet, though not particularly cuddly. He would curl up any time we tried to touch him. We enjoyed watching him snuffle around. Sadly, he managed to squeeze under the kitchen cabinets one of the times he had free roaming-around time. We couldn't find him for a whole day, and when he did reappear he was very sick. We took him to the vet and ended up with a $100 bill and a dead hedgehog. :( Most likely, the previous apartment tenants put rat poison out. :glare: So, our story has a sad ending.


I highly recommend getting a book on hedgehog care and reading it before getting one. I tried to link the one I had on Amazon, but found several in my search, and I'm not sure which one I have. I imagine any of them would be useful. :)

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I used to breed hedgehogs and I had some that were very friendly and liked to be held and others that didn't. You can hold them, even if they are curled in a ball. Just hold lightly! :tongue_smilie:


They are nocturnal and can keep you awake at night snuffling around. Mine ate Nutro kitten food - which was what the vets recommended back then - this was like 12 years ago - so there might be something better for them now.


They were definitely FUN and easy to care for. Perfect for a kid in my opinion.

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Thank you!


I had read they were nocturnal...but, are they awake enough during the day that there can be some interaction...holding, letting them roam around a secured location, etc.?


My children got to see and touch one up close at a pet store a few months ago...and, my 9yo DD would just love to have one. The owner of the cute critter said they were the best pets! Of course, I know that anyone who loves their pet says that! Smiles!


We have gerbils and an English Budgie...but, she wants something unique to call just her own.



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We had a pet hedgie for nearly two years (or something close to that, I've lost track of time) - this was a little over a year ago.


HE was awesome. Super sweet. As snuggly as a prickly creature can be (once we picked him up, his quills went down). We had him since he was a baby and had to handle him FREQUENTLY in order to keep this level of sweetness.


He bit my daughter twice when he was younger, but didn't as he aged. It's best to not handle food before handling him, because their noses are super sensitive and he might think your hand is a tasty treat.


When they prick you, your hands will sting. Usually a good hand-washing with lots of soap takes care of the sting.


They love mealworms as a snack, but don't overfeed the mealworms or he will quickly become a fat hedgie, which can lead to a whole chain of problematic events. Do not buy the "super worms" meal worms - stick to the small ones.


We fed him a mixture of two very high-quality cat foods. I can't remember the names at the moment. There is a hedgehog yahoo group out there with a TON of up-to-date information. If my memory is correct, we fed him a food with a high protein content (but I could be mistaken, definitely double-check up on that). The "hedgehog food" out there is NOT a good food.


He liked to sleep most of the day, but we could get him out during the day and he would play (once he was an adult. He slept a lot as a baby/juvenile). Note that I use the term "play" very loosely . Hedgehogs really don't "do" a whole lot. Here he is as a juvenile when e had him out for playtime, for instance:


(that's his food bowl he's napping in. When he was young, we fed him treats when he was out of his cage to play, so he would associate coming out of his cage with yummy mealworms).


He ran on his wheel nearly the entire night. The wheel was quiet, but he would run, hop off, run around his cage, hop back on the wheel... over and over and over again. We didn't keep him in a bedroom because of the noise he created at night.


With all that sweetness, though, there were two major factors that ultimately led to my finding him another home.


1) That confounded wheel. You have to have a solid wheel (so their little toes and feet don't slip through the wires). While they run, they poo. A lot. A whole lot. And, in the morning, you are greeted by a wheel with smashed-down, run-upon leavings. It was just NOT the thing I wanted to deal with first thing in the morning. At. All. Without being too gross (sorry), the stuff was packed down and dried on. It wasn't a simple "spray off the wheel every morning" that I'd read about online. It was a JOB!!!!


I also read multiple times that their poo doesn't "stink." Well... I'd beg to differ. It didn't "stink," maybe, but it SMELLED.


2) We used liners in his cage. He figured out that he preferred to burrow under the liners (as opposed to crawling into one of his hedgie bags or his plastic cave that we kept filled with fleece scraps). So, he would go to the bathroom BELOW the liners as well as above. It was a nightmare to clean and eventually made me resentful of having him. The gross factor won out and we re-homed him.


We still miss him. I'd been told, by the breeder and by reading online, that hedgies can be potty trained (to only go in certain areas). I don't believe it.



Oh - and they like toilet paper rolls as toys. Cut them in half, so they're shorter, and they'll roll it around with their nose, stick their head in, etc. Just don't leave him unattended with it in case his head gets stuck. :)

Edited by orangearrow
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My boyfriend brought me home a pregnant hedgehog as a Mother's Day gift one year and that's how I got started with breeding. Apparently they are not easy to breed but she gave birth to that litter and the rest is history. Her name was Easter and she was 4 when I got her and she lived to be 8. When I sold them all off I kept only her becasue she was super friendly and loved to be held. And maybe it is just me but some are more prickly than others - she never put her spines up all the way and huffed like the others.


All of mine used a litter box - in the cage of course. But it was a multi-purpose tool - they love to dig in it.


I used to shred up newspaper for their bedding because we had them in wire cages and couldn't use shavings - now they have shredded paper for bedding which is nice. Of course - newspaper is free... And we used that organic cat litter stuff - it wasn't litter but pellets of some kind. They loved it.


Really, the pet store guy is right - they are the perfect pet. Just reading this makes me want one again! :001_smile: They really don't smell much at all - not like a hamster does (or a duck in the house for that matter - thank God she's old enough to move to the barn) and they are really low maintenance.


I say get one! :D

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