Animal Chat

Hedgehogs as Pets


Adorable and cute are usually associated with fuzzy, fluffy little animals. However, fluffy little puppies and kittens do not have the lock up on cute and adorable. How about cute and spiky?


African hedgehogs are growing in popularity as pets. They are extraordinarily cute and they are unique as pets. Accurate information and proper care will make having a hedgehog as a pet a better experience for both the hedgehog and the owner.


The important thing to remember about having a hedgehog as a pet it that it is a wild animal. Some hedgehogs, despite extensive handling will resist contact with people. This is especially true of the males. So be aware from the beginning that you are bringing a tiny wild animal into your home.


Hedgehogs have a life span of about 3-5 years and have been known to survive in captivity for up to ten years. They are solitary, nocturnal animals and their habitat should reflect this. There enclosure should be in a quiet, preferably dim area. The enclosure should have smooth sides as opposed to wire. There need to be a hiding place and a shallow pan for bathing. Climate control is very important as hedgehogs are susceptible to chilling.


When selecting your hedgehog, look for a lean body free of lumps and bumps. Clear bright eyes, nails of appropriate length and a full coat of quills are all indicators of a healthy animal.


It is interesting to note that the dietary requirements of hedgehogs is not fully understood. Hedgehogs are not picky eaters and in the wild forage for a wide variety of foods. Please call us for information on feeding your hedgehogs. A mix of a commercial insectivore diet and a premium low fat cat food mixed with some vegetables. It is beneficial to hide the food around your hedgehog's habitat so that he has to work to find the food. This will help keep him trim. Discuss quantities of food with our office. It is very easy to overfeed a hedgehog.


Hedgehogs benefit from veterinary care. Quill mites and other skin conditions are a common problem in hedgehogs. Obesity is a problem and you should weigh your hedgehog monthly. Discussing dietary needs with your veterinarian will help keep your hedgehog trim and healthy. Hedgehogs can have serious dental issues and also eye problems. Older hedgehogs can suffer from a variety of tumors.


Regular veterinary care is of real benefit to these adorable, spiky little animals. They will live longer, healthier lives if veterinary care is included in their lives from the start.