We all make mistakes when it comes to caring for our pet Hedgehogs.
Sometimes we don’t do enough research before we bring one home, and sometimes we fall victim to all the pet store marketing that leads us astray from the products that Hedgehogs need to stay happy and healthy.
If you have made these mistakes, don’t feel too bad.
We’ve all been there (including me) and started making bad decisions based on false marketing and an inaccurate perception of Hedgehogs as pets.
Instead of feeling guilty about all the mistakes I have made in the past, I choose to learn from my mistakes and help people like you have the resources you need to make changes and take better care of your beloved pet Hedgehog.
1. Providing Your Hedgehog With The Wrong Diet
Hedgehogs have an extremely sensitive digestive system. Therefore, you cannot just give them a big bowl of Hedgehog food as you might do for a cat or a dog.
Your Hedgehog will not be able to thrive with such food. Also, such a food habit is a way of obesity in Hedgehogs.
Hedgehogs require a balanced diet to live a healthy life. The staple portion of your Hedgehog’s diet should be kibble, followed by insects/worms.
2. Picking Your Hedgehog Too Often
Many owners believe that Hedgehogs are usually cuddly, However, this is far from the truth. Hedgehogs hate to be held.
You will notice that your pet’s best defense mechanism is its ability to run away as fast as possible. When held, Hedgehogs lose the ability to escape when they sense danger. They are completely trapped in your arms causing them to be scared and panicked.
If you pick up and hold your Hedgehog every time you interact with them, then they will start to associate you with that sense of fear. They’ll become afraid of you and run away any time you come near.
Instead of picking up your Hedgehog all the time, it’s best to interact with them on their level. Sit on the floor and allow your Hedgehog to approach you.
3. Letting Your Hedgehog Play Outside Too Often
Sometimes, the outdoors is full of dangers for Hedgehogs, leading to stress, anxiety, and illness.
Outside, Hedgehogs will also have to deal with many other disease-spreading parasites. Ticks, mosquitoes, fleas, flies, and other insects can more easily spread diseases and illnesses to Hedgehogs who don’t have the protection of a home.
Therefore, it is much better to keep your Hedgehog in an indoor enclosure and make it part of the family.
4. Not Spending Enough Time With Your Hedgehog
You must not think of your Hedgehog as a caged animal that can be left alone for most of the day. To stay happy and avoid depression, Hedgehogs require daily interaction and socialization.
You to try letting your Hedgehog spend time with you while reading. Just try to give your Hedgehog as much time out of their enclosure as you can to spend interacting with each other.
This makes your Hedgehog a much more integral part of the family and will ensure that they get the socialization and exercise they need daily.
5. Not Hedgehog Proofing Your House
Hedgehogs can be extremely troublemakers. They will chew on anything they get their teeth on.
Therefore, if you let your rome the house unsupervised, they are sure to destroy something that will be difficult or expensive to replace.
To prevent such destructive behavior, it is important to Hedgehog-proof your home. The first thing to do is cover any exposed wires with split loom wire tubing.
Otherwise, your Hedgehog will snip through those wires with strong incisor teeth.
The other major areas you need to think about are your baseboards and your carpet. Not all Hedgehogs will go for these areas, but many do.
6. Feeding Your Hedgehogs With Unhealthy Pellet Mixes
The eye-catching marketing of many Hedgehog food mixes tries to make you believe that they are a good choice for your pet when the reality is that these colorful pellet mixes are very unhealthy.
These can all contribute to an unhealthy Hedgehog digestive system, causing weight gain and illnesses, such as GI stasis.
Instead, you want to give your pet just those plain, boring, brown pellets.
7. Not Getting Your Hedgehog Spayed Or Neutered
Pet Hedgehogs need to be spayed or neutered once they reach maturity. It’s one of the added expenses of adopting a young Hedgehog, but it’s crucial to your pet’s health and keeping peace in the household.
Spaying and neutering also help with many Hedgehog behavioral issues that arise once they reach maturity.
Many Hedgehogs will become increasingly territorial and aggressive. If they haven’t been neutered, they’ll be more likely to spray urine around the house and attack other people who invade their space.
8. Giving Your Hedgehog Daily Baths
You should not bathe your Hedgehogs daily.
If they live in a sanitary environment, Hedgehogs do an excellent job keeping themselves clean, and baths can potentially cause several health issues.
Do not make a strict bathing routine for your Hedgehogs. You will see that your pet will get stressed and fall sick if you bathe them frequently.
Besides bathing them once every month, please do not wash them. Also, do not make the mistake of soaking an ill Hedgehog. Excessive soaking might further result in serious health problems such as cold or, even worse, a respiratory infection.
Therefore, make sure you do as needed, and even if you need to bathe them, be prepared with everything required and learn how to give them one before going ahead.
9. Giving Your Hedgehogs Too Many Treats
You must not treat your Hedgehogs with sugary food.
You must not be fooled by pet store marketing. Most of those colorful bags of mixed treats are incredibly bad for Hedgehogs.
10. Keeping Your Hedgehog In A Small Cage
Hedgehogs need enough space to lead a healthy and happy life. Hedgehogs need an enclosure that is at least 3-4 times the full length of the Hedgehog.
The first and most important step involves selecting the best enclosure for your little one. The enclosure you pick should be safe and comfortable for your Hedgehog.
Choose an enclosure that is durable, leak-proof, easy to clean, and access. Also, make sure that it does not have sharp corners, your Hedgehog may hurt itself. Select the ones with round corners.
11. Not Using Both, A Water Bottle And A Bowl
I would advise you to provide your Hedgehog with both the water bottle and the bowl during the cold days.
Even if the bottle gets frozen, your little one will have another option. But, you must be careful with the bowls as well.
If your Hedgehog tips off the bowl, the entire bedding would get soaked with water. If this happens, your pet might get cold pretty quickly.
Besides this, the problem, as many Hedgehog owners know, is that Hedgehogs will often flip over their food and water bowls during the day.
To prevent your Hedgehog from flipping over their water bowl, try getting heavy ceramic bowls that your Hedgehog won’t be able to lift.
12. Getting Your Hedgehog A Small Litter Box
Litter boxes marketed toward Hedgehogs are usually too small and awkwardly shaped to make Hedgehogs want to use them.
These are the litter boxes shaped to fit into the corner of a Hedgehog cage. They are better suited for smaller types of pets, such as rats.
Hedgehogs, however, need something bigger. They need to be able to completely sit within the litter box and turn around without a problem. This will encourage better litter box behavior and allow your Hedgehog to be more comfortable while they go.
13. Not Keeping An Eye On Their Health
Your Hedgehog will not let you know when they’re not feeling well, so we have to keep a close eye on their behavior to get them help when they get sick.
This means keeping a daily watch on your Hedgehog’s appetite and how much they are pooping. If your Hedgehog is ever not eating or pooping for more than 10-12 hours, you should treat it as an emergency situation and get your Hedgehog to the vet.
It also means keeping an eye on your Hedgehog’s normal energy levels. This way you’ll be able to understand when they’re behaving a little off so you can get them checked out. Learn more about what signs to look out for so you can tell when your Hedgehog is sick and get them help when they need it.
14. Not Giving Your Hedgehog Enough Time To Exercise
Hedgehogs are built to run. To stay healthy and engaged in their environment they need time and space to race around and get some exercise.
This means having multiple hours a day outside their enclosure to explore a bigger exercise area (or a room in the house).
The longer amount of time you can give your Hedgehog to exercise, the better. If you only let your Hedgehog out for an hour a day, they will probably only be getting exercise for about half of that time or less.
It’s also important to think about the time of day you let your Hedgehog out for exercise. Hedgehogs are typically more active in the morning, and the evening, so they’ll be more likely to get a lot of fun exercise during these times of the day.
15. Taking Your Hedgehog To The wrong Kind Of Vet
A Hedgehog’s anatomy is very different compared to that of cats and dogs. Therefore, Hedgehogs need to visit vets that specialize in small exotic pets.
This, in turn, means that your choice of a vet can be extremely limited and depend on who you can find in the area around you.
Sometimes, you may also have to travel a long distance to find someone qualified to take care of a pet Hedgehog.
To find an appropriate vet in your area, you will need to search for a Small Mammal Veterinarian or an Exotic Animal Veterinarian.
You can perform a google search to look for an exotic animal veterinarian near you.
Also, check the website or call the office to make sure they have experience with Hedgehogs and are qualified to take care of your companion.
You can also contact other veterinary clinics in your area and ask who they recommend for a Hedgehog’s healthcare.