When you look beyond the prickly exterior, you will love to adopt the adorable hedgehog as a pet. Their quills are not as prickly as the porcupine's. They have fury face and underbelly. Hedgehogs can be kept singly or in groups. One should remember to keep only one male hedgehog in a group or else fights may occur.
When you bring home a hedgehog, place him in a clean and dry enclosure. It is advisable to give him absolute privacy for at least a day or two. It will probably be a week before he feels at home. Baby hedgehogs tend to sleep a lot. Thus, do not be alarmed, if your hoglet sleeps most of the time.
Hedgehogs can be kept inside aquariums which are about 20 gallons or more in size. They are good swimmers and climbers; they can even climb over walls of their cages. Their skills of escaping are as good as the Great Houdini's.
It should be well-lit, but do not place the enclosure in direct sunlight. It should contain food and water bowls, exercisers, toys, treats and litter box. Keep the enclosure away from other pets and young children.
Do not use cedar shavings or aromatic softwood shavings. Because they contain volatile oil which can cause irritation to the hedgehog's respiratory tract, skin and feet. Hedgehogs enjoy burrowing, so make sure to use a soft bedding spread at least two inches over the floor of the enclosure.
The place where a hedgehog is housed should be kept in a warm and well-lit area. It should be kept away from draft and direct sunlight. The ideal temperature of the room should be around 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is lower, it may send the animal into hibernation.
High temperature causes stress to the animal and it can sometimes be fatal. When a hedgehog is housed inside an aquarium, check the temperature inside the glass tub, as it can be different from the room temperature.
Hedgehogs can be trained to use litter box. The litter box should have low sides, 2" deep and should be 6" x 9" in size. Non-clumping cat litter clay can be used to fill up the litter box.
Hedgehogs love to exercise. Place a plastic wheel inside the enclosure for them to play with. Do not use the metal wheels as their feet may get tangled in the metal spokes.
It is illegal to keep hedgehog as a pet in many states of the US, including the state of California. It is advisable to check with the Department of Fish and Game, or the Department of Wildlife, the legalities before bringing home a hedgehog.
Hedgehogs will be buzzing with activity all day. They will never seek your companionship like dogs do. Do not give up on them as pets, if they don't turn out the way you expected. It is necessary to build a rapport and understanding with your pet.
It is the owner's responsibility to provide these cute ball of bristles with proper care, suitable living conditions and ample love. With this in mind, you'll definitely develop a long-lasting and fulfilling relationship with your pet.