Disclaimer: The information presented below is for general informational & educational purposes only. Always consult with animal professionals in case of specific concerns.
Hedgehogs are making a hit among the animal lover community.
They are irresistibly adorable with their palm-sized body and tiny feet.
It’s no wonder so many people are considering buying this little spiny mammal.
However, a pet can come with a lot of extra responsibilities, so do hedgehogs make good pets?
Before you jump into any rushed decision, look at this article and find out all the necessary information to see if hedgehogs are the right pet for you.
Do Hedgehogs Make Good Pets?
The general answer is yes; as long as you are willing to be a good owner and devote time to cater to their daily needs.
They are ideal for people who prefer a calm and timid pet.
Despite their shy nature, hedgehogs can still give you just as much love and happiness as any other pet.
There are also several other plus points to this lovely animal.
Easy To Care For
Like most domesticated animals, hedgehogs require proper housing, daily meals, interactions with their owner, and other fundamental needs.
However, they are pretty low-maintenance and don’t need constant attention, so you can still be a “responsible parent” even if you are busy.
Communicative & Easy To Understand
Once you befriend them, you’ll notice that they are surprisingly communicative.
They can be nervous at first, but your pet will become more vocal when sensing more comfort.
Hedgehogs are not a creature of few words, their diverse language might surprise you, from grunting, snorting, hissing to even purring if they are happy.
You can easily tell what they want from the different noises and strengthen the bond between the two of you.
Don’t Cause Common Pet Allergies
As dander and fur are not commonly found in hedgehogs, they produce very few allergens, making them the perfect choice for those who have allergies.
It also helps that, unlike dogs or cats, they are only around 6 – 8 inches in size, so they can’t crowd your space with an overwhelming amount of dead skin and dust that could trigger an allergic reaction.
Risks When Adopting Hedgehogs
Before you decide to purchase a hedgehog, you need to know other parts of this animal’s characteristics that might trouble you.
They Are Nocturnal Animals
Falling under the nocturnal umbrella, there’s a very good chance their schedule won’t synchronize with yours.
They tend to be awake and run around in their cage at night while sleeping for most of the day.
As a result, their routine usually starts around the same time as your evenings or even late nights.
Due to this reason, your quality time together will primarily be around the time before you go to bed.
Since they will be awake throughout the night, you must ensure their enclosure is far away so the noises don’t wake you up, especially if you’re a light sleeper.
Should you prefer a tranquil space when sleeping, hedgehogs might not be the ideal companion.
They Require Careful Handling
Hedgehogs’ signature physical feature is their sharp quills, which stick out from their back when they feel threatened or nervous.
Unfortunately, this makes them incredibly prickly and could hurt you, especially since they can get quite jumpy.
With powerful back muscles, when they turn into a ball of spikes, you can’t uncurl them by hand without hurting either of you.
The only solution is to be very careful and patient and gently hold them with a towel or gloves.
They Could Carry Certain Diseases
This is the most common risk when it comes to owning any pet.
Domesticated hedgehogs don’t require vaccination because they aren’t known to carry rabies.
However, there are other illnesses you should look out for, most commonly salmonella, ringworms, funguses, and various other infections.
The best way to avoid this is to be thorough and hygienic.
For the pet, make sure you give them regular medical check-ups to spot and treat the symptoms early on.
The owner needs to wash their hands frequently, especially after cleaning the animal waste or holding their hedgehogs.
Try to avoid kissing or letting them near your food as well.
How To Take Care Of Hedgehogs
Food & Water
An ideal hedgehog diet would include food that is high in protein and low in fat.
It consists of two types – main food and snack food.
You can find hedgehog food at the pet store.
Many also like to substitute it with grain-free cat food as it is more common and carries the same level of nutrients, if not higher.
The snack food choices, on the other hand, are endless.
In the wild, hedgehogs survive mostly on insects, so you can give them mealworms, crickets, and centipedes.
They love munching on hard and crunchy food, so keep that in mind when picking out vegetables and fruits.
However, since they are prone to overeating, one teaspoon of chopped veggies should be enough.
Hedgehog food should be contained in small bowls because they over-eat easily.
As for water, bottles or water dishes should suffice.
Sometimes you need to use both and see which one they prefer.
Remember to change it daily and check if the bottle tip is functional.
Common Health Issues
As mentioned above, hedgehogs enjoy eating, even when they are not hungry or just simply bored.
This could lead to obesity and several potential illnesses.
An inadequate diet could also cause them to be both overweight and malnutrition, so make sure you regulate their diet.
It also helps to keep a flat-bottom wheel for exercise.
You should neuter your pet as soon as possible to prevent reproductive problems.
Other common illnesses include eye injuries, skin infections, heart diseases, etc.
An incurable and fortunately rare one is related to the neuro, called wobbly hedgehog syndrome, which leads to paralysis.
Running counter to their cute appearance is their solitary nature, which somehow provokes a fight.
Therefore, it’s best if they are kept individually.
The recommended cage size is 2ft wide and 4ft long, and even better when it is bigger.
They are most comfortable with smooth walls and floors, so if you must use wire, make sure everything is spacious and padded.
Atmosphere-wise, these pets prefer a dimly lit, calm, and warm place.
Prepare a box or other secluded areas, and they can hide and sleep peacefully.
Once a week, take everything out and give it a thorough washdown.
Hedgehogs don’t use litter pans, so you’ll need to clean out their feces daily.
Training & Grooming
Don’t forget to buy an open-sided wheel so your hedgehogs can stay active and avoid obesity.
At least 10 inches in diameter is required since these animals love to have running space.
Hedgehogs are self-reliant when it comes to grooming.
However, you can trim their nails periodically either by going to a vet or learning to do it yourself.
Just make sure you have developed a bond with your pet enough to keep them calm during the process.
Tips For Getting A Pet Hedgehog
If you want to welcome a new hedgehog, make sure it’s from a reliable and reputable breeder.
The average pricings vary between $100 and $300, depending on various factors.
There are also hedgehog or exotic animal rescue groups you can check out if you want to adopt instead.
No matter where you get your pet from, ask your source thorough questions about their overall conditions.
A healthy hedgehog should have a sound temperament with bright eyes, clear nostrils, proportionate weight, and smooth fur.
Obvious symptoms to look out for are flaky skin, missing spines, bodily discharge, and diarrhea.
Do Hedgehogs Make Good Pets For Kids?
Generally speaking, we would say no and recommend other more sociable pets.
Hedgehogs thrive in a calm and relaxed environment while having certain characteristics that are not always suitable for children.
For example, they are nocturnal, not overly affectionate, and come with quills that could cause injuries if not careful.
Do Hedgehogs Get Along With Other Pets?
Despite their solitary nature, hedgehogs can still co-exist with other pets.
They might touch their nose with the other creature or roll into a ball to defend themselves at first.
It’s best for pet owners to familiarize themselves slowly and carefully observe these animals’ interactions over time.
Are Hedgehogs Legal As Pets Everywhere?
Hedgehogs are legal in most US states and European countries.
However, some places might require a proper permit for owning one or deem it completely illegal.
Do your research and see the regulations surrounding this matter in your area before you purchase.
Owning a pet requires time and commitment, but it will be unbelievably rewarding, both for you and your little companion.
Hedgehogs can make excellent pets, but only if they mesh well with your needs and you can handle the responsibility of raising one.
As you read this article, hopefully, you have found the answer to your question of ‘do hedgehogs make good pets‘ and decide for yourself.
Hi, my name is John, and I’m an animal lover. I’ve been fascinated with the animal kingdom since I was 5 years old, and my passion keeps growing bigger as I age. And this blog is where I share my researches and passion with animal lovers all around the world.