When deciding what pet to get your children, as a parent, you have concerns on whether or not this pet is suitable for your children. Hedgehogs, who are cute, but also spikey, make you wonder, “Are hedgehogs a good pet for my children?”, “Will my children know how to take care of it?”, and lots of other questions that need to be answered.
Do Hedgehogs Make Good Pets For Young Children?
Lots of children are rough when it comes to dealing with pets. They don’t intend to be, but young children aren’t aware of their strength and how it can hurt the animal they are dealing with. Hedgehog injuries caused by little hands are common.
Hedgehogs need to be dealt with gently, and if they aren’t dealt with properly, they won’t hesitate to use their defenses.
When hedgehogs feel threatened or are in danger they will roll up into a ball and lift their quills, this will hurt your child.
Hedgehogs aren’t the best pet for children under the age of 5. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a hedgehog as a family pet for older children 5-10. As long as there is adult supervision whenever the hedgehog is out of the cage, and rule your children will follow. There is no reason not to get a pet hedgehog.
***NOTE***: If you do get your children a hedgehog, an adult must be the primary caretaker. DO NOT give a young child the complete responsibility of taking care (i.e feeding, cleaning…etc.) of a hedgehog.
How Children Should Be Able To Interact With Hedgehogs
For safety, children’s hands should be washed before and after handling a hedgehog.
An important rule you should lay down for your children in that only you or a responsible adult is allowed to open the cage.
A young child should not be allowed to hold a hedgehog, BUT it is OK to set the hedgehog down on a child’s lap so s/he can stroke and pet it gently. This should be done until your child is able to gently pick the hedgehog up him or herself.
Young children must know they are not allowed to feed the hedgehog anything without your permission.
Hedgehogs shouldn’t be allowed to roam freely out of the cage, since small feet, just like large feet, can crush the hedgehog. When the hedgehog is roaming out of the cage, under supervision, small children’s toys shouldn’t be laying around. Also, young children should be told not to give the hedgehog any of their toys to play with, unless given permission to do so.
For both your children’s safety and the hedgehog’s don’t leave your children unattended with a hedgehog until they are capable of taking care of it themselves.
Does your child have a hedgehog? What rules did you put down for them? Is there any advice you have for other parents considering getting their children a hedgehog? Tell us by leaving a comment below!