Hedgehogs have become a popular pet over the last few years. These cute and tiny creatures require some maintenance, but can also be a laid-back pet to have around your home. Hedgehogs have curious personalities, and they provide entertainment and comfort to their owners and can even communicate with them. If you are thinking of getting a hedgehog as a pet, here is some important information to consider as you embark on your new pet journey.
Benefits of Having a Hedgehog as a Pet
Hedgehogs can make an ideal companion for someone who is looking for a low-maintenance yet entertaining house pet. Typically, hedgehogs only need to see the vet once a year for a check-up, which helps save you time and money on vet visits. They can also provide a lot of entertainment as they are extremely curious about the environment around them.
Hedgehogs enjoy having small toys in their cage to play with at different times. These curious creatures may also enjoy roaming your house and climbing on the furniture. Just make sure to keep an eye on them if you let them out of the cage so they don’t get lost!
Choosing the Right Species of Hedgehog
Did you know there are 17 different species of hedgehogs in the world? With so many different options for species, you may be wondering which choice is best for keeping a hedgehog as a house pet.
The most common species for pets for hedgehogs is the African pygmy hedgehog. When you see pictures of hedgehogs as pets, you are likely viewing an African pygmy hedgehog. While there are 17 different options, the African pygmy tends to be the primary choice for pet owners. This cute and cuddly hedgehog is smaller in size, making it easier to find housing in your home. It tends to have a calmer nature than some of the other hedgehogs and becomes friendly over time.
Hedgehog Feeding & Obesity Concerns
When it comes to hedgehog care, it’s essential to address concerns about obesity. While hedgehogs are insectivores and do enjoy mealworms and crickets, it’s important to understand that these should be provided as treats in moderation. A recommended guideline is to offer 1-2 insects per day to prevent overfeeding. The primary diet of a captive hedgehog should consist of a high-quality, low-fat, and high-protein hedgehog formulated diet. One reputable brand that meets these criteria is Mazuri.
Feeding hedgehogs with cat food, which was once a common practice, is now considered outdated. We recommend removing cat food from their diet and focusing on a balanced and nutritionally complete hedgehog formulated diet for their overall well-being. By following these dietary guidelines, hedgehog owners can help prevent obesity and promote the health and vitality of their adorable prickly companions.
Location and Size of Habitat
When deciding where to put your hedgehog’s cage, keep in mind that the ideal temperature range is between 70-80 degrees for your new pet. This means it is important to keep their cage away from windows or direct sun so that they don’t become either too cold or too hot.
Keep in mind that hedgehogs have excellent climbing skills so you want to make sure their cage is tall enough to prevent them from escaping. A minimum-size cage should be at least two by three feet in size. However, hedgehogs like to have space to run around so a bigger cage is a better option. Many hedgehog owners invest in large glass aquariums as the habitat of choice for their hedgehogs.
Be Aware of a Hedgehog’s Sleep Habits
Adding a spiky new pet to your household is a fun and exciting endeavor. With any new animal, it is helpful to learn as much as possible about your new critter companion. Hedgehogs make great pets for numerous reasons but there are certain things to keep in mind that may impact where you locate the hedgehog in your house.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals which means they will spend most of their time awake while you are sleeping. This is an important fact to consider as you decide where to locate their cage. If you put the cage in your bedroom, there is a chance they may keep you awake at night. Also keep in mind that they are waking up as the sun sets, so you will be giving them their breakfast while you are eating your dinner!
Hedgehogs Make Different Noises to Communicate
While a dog barks and a cat meows to communicate, hedgehogs also have their own noises to communicate with their owners. Many pet owners want to be able to hold their hedgehog but wonder if it is safe with their quills. The answer is that it depends on their mood. It takes some time for a hedgehog to adapt to its new environment in your home. Before you begin trying to pick it up, take some time to let it adjust to its new home. If their quills are flat, that means that your hedgehog is calm and ready to be held.
Once you have allowed your new pet some time to adjust, learn what noises they make when they are calm vs. stressed. Observe them during different activities and interactions to help learn their mannerisms. Many hedgehogs will hiss and snort if they are uncomfortable or grumpy. If they are making those noises, it is best to leave them alone for the time being.
Final Reminders About Your New Pet Hedgehog
Remember that as you prepare to welcome your new pet into your home, hedgehogs need time to adjust to their new environment. Don’t forget to clean their cage at least once a week so that they have a clean place to live. Remember that if you try different foods and snacks for their diet, make sure to ask your vet if they are safe for your hedgehog to eat. Hedgehogs can become a special companion, so enjoy getting to know and love your curious and fun new pet.
If you are considering a pet hedgehog near Broomfield, CO, contact Broomfield Veterinary Hospital. We are experts at hedgehog care in the Broomfield, CO area. Call us today at 303-466-1764, or Request an Appointment Online!