Hedgehogs are growing in popularity as family pets. Before buying or adopting one of these little creatures, it’s smart to research to get to know more about the requirements for taking care of a hedgehog. They offer challenges that a traditional pet does not. Here are a few points to know before you bring home a hedgehog.
Make Sure to Do Your Research
It is essential to do your research about hedgehogs before you purchase one as a pet. Many social media accounts feature cute photos of this animal, but it would help if you don’t assume that every hedgehog behaves this way. Before you get one as a pet, you need to set realistic expectations for how your hedgehog will behave.
Choose a Reputable Breeder
You want to make sure that your new hedgehog is in good health. A reputable breeder’s first concern will be to place a hedgehog in a safe and happy environment. They care about the animal’s safety. If you have questions about the health of the pet, a good breeder should be able to provide all medical documentation that the animal is healthy. A breeder will also answer your questions about caring and feeding your hedgehog.
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Hedgehogs Have Individual Personalities
Just like a dog or cat, every hedgehog is different. Some pets love to have human attention all the time. Some hedgehogs may seem reserved and not want to be held. You shouldn’t feel bad if your hedgehog isn’t thrilled about cuddles. During the first few days in your home, your new hedgehog will require space and time to warm up to you.
They Can Help Calm Troubled Children
Hedgehogs can help to teach children how to be responsible. These tiny animals may be able to benefit a person or child with disabilities. Some of these children may feel calmer when they interact with the pet. Pet care can build confidence as a child begins to bond with their hedgehog.
Learn the Temperament of the Hedgehog
Hedgehogs are often nervous and shy. They are different from cats and dogs. It takes some time to teach them tricks or even get affection from them. Keep in mind that these animals are nocturnal and like to sleep throughout the day. It will take some time for you to understand your hedgehog’s personality and individual quirks.
They Have Spines and Can Be Prickly
Hedgehogs are covered in spines. If you don’t know how to handle them, those spines can hurt. A hedgehog’s spines are its natural defense mechanism to protect it from predators. If they are upset or scared, the spines will pop up on their backs. They may be scared the first time that you try to handle them, which is why you want to purchase from a reputable breeder. A breeder will handle the hedgehog often to get them accustomed to human interaction.
Have Patience With Your New Hedgehog
It can take a little time for your hedgehog to get used to you, requiring weeks to months for the new pet to feel comfortable. You have a different scent that is not recognizable to the hedgehog. Some hedgehogs will want to be left alone or even hide from you. The critical point is to start slowly introducing yourself to the new pet as you do not want to rush things. It is best to work with the hedgehog for a few minutes every day. You need to start small and build up it’s handling over time. This can help the animal adjust to its new surroundings.
You Need to Make a Time Commitment
Any pet requires you to take the time to keep it happy and healthy. You should always remember that a hedgehog runs on a different schedule. They are most active during the night. You may need to change your schedule to give them time for bonding and human interaction. Pet ownership also means that you must set time aside to clean the cage and feed the animal. This is definitely a pet that you cannot leave in the cage and ignore.
Hedgehogs Have Special Requirements
There are certain bedding materials that can be harmful to your new hedgehog. You should avoid using sawdust, cedar shavings, straw, soil or gravel to line the bottom of the cage. Some owners use a fleece lining for their new hedgehog’s home.
Another mistake many new owners make is placing the hedgehog in a glass aquarium-type tank. Hedgehogs feel more at home in a cage where they can climb. A plastic tub with plenty of space is a good place to keep a hedgehog. Even though they are small animals, you should give them about the same amount of space as a guinea pig.
Hedgehogs love to have places where they can hide. You should think about adding empty toilet paper rolls or PVC pipes for them. They even like wheels in their space where they can run. Some owners set up a playpen for their pet to get their daily exercise. Hedgehogs can get cold very easily, so an external heater is needed for extra warmth. Like any pet, you need to have bowls for food and water.
It Can Cost Some Money to Get Started
All pets require some startup costs. It is essential to have everything set up before you bring home your new friend. You will need to buy bedding, food, treats, and toys to get started. Their diet is different from other pets too. These animals need to eat plenty of protein in the form of insects, eggs, baby mice and fruit. You should never feed hedgehogs any food that is considered a grain. Hedgehogs also need regular veterinarian visits as well.
Hedgehogs are different from the traditional dog or cat, but they make fantastic family pets. With a little patience and love, you can have a pet to enjoy for years to come.
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