Hedgehogs are becoming the newest pet! These cute, prickly, and exotic creatures are becoming all the rave in households. So what do you need to know when considering a hedgehog as a pet?
Types of Hedgehogs
There are four common domesticated species when it comes to these furry friends.
Species: Atelerix albiventris – hybrids of the white-bellied hedgehog or four-toed hedgehog and the North African hedgehog.
Species: A. algirus – The European hedgehog, known for its smaller size is often referred to as the African pygmy hedgehog.
Species: Hemiechinus auritus – Long-eared hedgehogs have also become more prevalent in the domestic market.
Species: H. collaris – Another variation of long-eared Indian hedgehogs.
Temperaments and Handling Guide
Hedgehogs are super cute, but also come with some basic handling guides when it comes to temperament.
There are four basic signs that indicate your hedgehog’s nervousness level when first picked up. These signs can also be used during prolonged handling or if your hedgehog is not well socialized.
- The first line of defense is to put up their spines. This defense mechanism causes the spines to crisscross and cover their face.
- If they continue to feel nervous or threatened, they will roll up in a tight ball with spines out.
- The third phase of defense is to hiss or make a rattling sound while still perked and rolled into a ball.
- Finally if you are holding the hedgehog too tightly, or if it still feels threatened, it may body “jump” causing the spines to prick you.
Hedgehogs have various personalities, similar to different dog breeds. Hedgehogs are creatures of the night, so if you are not a night owl, then you won’t get as much “me time” with your new pet.
Hedgehogs, as their name implies, are “hogs,” meaning that they love to eat. Hedgehogs are actually quite vocal and love to make cute little squeaky sounds and to sniff their surroundings, much like a curious puppy.
Hedgehogs are known to bond very well with their owners, similar to the dog’s “man’s best friend” mentality.
Hedgehogs can be a wonderful pet; however there are key elements you must be aware of, as with any pet, when considering your next companion. Doing a little research, finding out their dietary needs, climate control, and potential health risks are all part of choosing which pet works for you.