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Written by: Lindsey Drury
Hedgehogs: They're Balls of Fun…Literally
When considering adopting a new friend, many may immediately think of the common
cat and dog. If rodents become an interest, then hamsters, guinea pigs, and mice are often the
next animals that come to mind. Keep in mind though, there are many other exotic creatures
that, although less common, can make just as wonderful a member of your family. Today, let's
consider the hedgehog.
Do hedgehogs make good pets?
It is not overly common to know people who own hedgehogs, so it may be difficult to
gauge whether they would be a good fit for your lifestyle and preferences. One important aspect
to remember about hedgehogs is that they are nocturnal. If you're not the type to be home in
the evenings, or if you often go to bed early, then perhaps a hedgehog is not the best choice for
your life as they will always be asleep when you are awake.
Hedgehogs are very solitary, and like to live alone. Although friendly and inquisitive,
hedgehogs are very quiet. For some, this is a wonderful quality in a pet! For others, they may
want more of an outgoing personality in their rodent like that of a ferret or hamster.
Finally, hedgehogs scare easily. When this happens, they curl up into a ball and extend
their quills. Small children may easily scare a hedgehog if they get too excited, which could
result in injury for both the child and the pet. It is important that children are old enough to
understand to be gentle with the new hedgehog.
This little guy is hiding out!
Written by: Lindsey Drury
What should I feed my hedgehog?
Hedgehogs, as well as most rodents, should be feed differently than what you may be
used to with your cat or dog. Instead of one kind of food that they get every day, hedgehogs
should enjoy a variety of foods. A diet high in protein is ideal for a hedgehog, but like all
animals, over-feeding can cause weight gain, so portion control is important.
Some of the different foods you should feed your hedgehog include dry food as well as
wet food (primarily made of meat) as the main diet, and small amounts of fruits, veggies, and
treats. Make sure you try different fruits and vegetables to find out your pets' favourites! If you
feel up to it, feel free to give your pet a mealworm or a cricket as an occasional treat. Fun fact:
Hedgehogs, like dogs, will eat almost anything! This means you can share little bits of your own
food as treats on occasion, just not too many!
How should I set up my hedgehog's habitat?
Foods to avoid: Chocolate,
grapes, and dairy products.
When deciding what to purchase for your pet's cage and accessories, do not just buy what
is cheapest! Remember, this will be your pet's home for most of its life.
A large wire cage is best, but make
sure the bottom is solid and covered in a
soft bedding (there are many options to
choose from for this). Next, you'll need two
food bowls-- one for the wet food, and one
for the dry. You'll also need a typical water
bottle such as the kind often seen on the
sides of hamster cages. If your hedgehog
doesn't like to use the bottle then a heavy
bowl also works fine!
In order to ensure your pet's
happiness and comfort, you'll want to
purchase them some sort of hiding space
for when they're scared or anxious, as well
as toys for them to play with. Hedgehogs
enjoy playing with balls and should have a
large exercise wheel, especially if they're
Little Autumn Fletcher shows off her tummy!
spending most of their time in the cage.
That said, it's advised that the hedgehog is
let outside of the cage to explore and run around, so a playpen can be purchased in order to keep
them safe while doing so.
Finally, hedgehogs can be trained to use litter boxes! If this is something you're
interested in, then purchasing a small litter box and some hedgehog friendly litter (not cat
litter), is recommended to be placed in the corner of the space.
Written by: Lindsey Drury
Sources
Hedgehogs. (n.d.). Retrieve from: http://hedgehogcare.org/
Content Contributor: Dr. Sandy Drury