So you are thinking about getting yourself a pet Hedgehog. You’ve heard they’re good beginner pets, but do they make good pets? I did some research, and here is what I found out!
Hedgehogs are amazing and affectionate pets. They can be great house pets if you take the time to socialize them and learn about their basic body language. However, you must know that Hedgehogs require more care than people typically expect, so it’s important to be prepared before bringing home a new Hedgehog.
If you are up for the challenges of becoming a Hedgehog caretaker, go for it! Hedgehogs are awesome pets.
However, if you don’t think you’ll be able to handle a Hedgehog at its worst, it might be better to wait a couple of years to give yourself the chance to prepare a home for a new Hedgehog.
The Pros Of Owning A Pet Hedgehog
Being a Hedgehog lover, I truly believe these little creatures can be great house pets.
Hedgehogs are full of personality and have a way of bringing joy to your days. There are so many people who would be great Hedgehog caretakers, but what about you? Do you think you’re a good match for a Hedgehog?
1. Hedgehogs Can Use A Litter Box
Hedgehogs poop a lot. They poop endless number of times throughout the day. However, it is pretty easy to clean up when they are litter trained.
If you get yourself a Hedgehog, you can surely teach them to use a litter box.
In general, domesticated Hedgehogs prefer to be clean and keep their water in one place. By putting a litter box where they chose to make their bathroom, you can teach your Hedgehog to use it.
You don’t have to worry about your Hedgehog peeing and pooping all over your house. You may find it difficult to litter train a Hedgehog who has not been spayed or neutered though.
Unaltered Hedgehogs will spray urine and scatter poop as a way to claim their territory.
2. Hedgehogs Are Relatively Small
Hedgehogs are considered as pocket pets.
Unlike other pets, like dogs or cats, they do not occupy a large portion of your house. This basically means that you do not have to dedicate a huge portion of your house to your Hedgehog.
Hedgehogs can be kept in a fairly small space, when compared to most other house pets.
3. Hedgehogs Do Not Usually Smell
You must have heard that Hedgehogs are smelly and messy pets. However, this is a myth.
Most of the time, Hedgehogs will not smell up anyone’s house and you won’t have to worry about covering up their odor.
Hedgehogs are meticulously clean animals. They don’t have a discernible body odor, and even their poop doesn’t have a strong smell.
The only part of Hedgehogs that tends to have a strong smell is their urine, which has a high ammonia content. However, as long as you keep your Hedgehog’s enclosure clean and scoop out their litter box every day, you shouldn’t have to worry about having a smelly house.
4. Hedgehogs Have A Short Lifespan
On an average, Hedgehogs have a lifespan of 4-5 years. The age can vary based on the Hedgehog’s breed and living conditions.
Indoor Hedgehogs tend to have a longer life expectancy than outdoor Hedgehogs. However, they rarely live after 5 years.
This means that Hedgehogs are pets that will not stay with you for a long time. You will not have to force yourself into any long-term commitment.
5. Hedgehogs Can Be Trained
Hedgehog are very intelligent and can be trained to do tricks. This is a lot of fun and a great way to bond with a pet Hedgehog.
You can train your Hedgehog to come to you when you call them or even jump through agility courses.
Hedgehogs are really amazing creatures, and it’s so interesting to work with them and see how their little brains work.
It can be a little difficult at times to teach them tricks, but if you’re up to the challenge, Hedgehogs can be a great pet for you.
6. Hedgehogs Love To Be Pet
If you’ve ever wanted a pet you could sit with for hours, Hedgehog are for you. They love to be pet and massaged.
Give them scritches on the top of their head or behind their ears and they will melt into the floor. If you stop petting them, most Hedgehogs will nudge your hand to ask you to keep going because they like it so much.
Some Hedgehog will even squeak to show that they are relaxed and content.
If you adopt a young Hedgehog, you might not notice this behavior until they get older. Young Hedgehogs tend to be fidgety and full of energy.
They don’t settle down for extended periods of time. However,as they get older, Hedgehogs will inevitably calm down and enjoy a good massage while spending time with you
7. Hedgehogs Are Usually Gentle
As prey animals, Hedgehogs are almost always very gentle creatures. They may be very shy at first, but once a Hedgehog is comfortable around people, they will be happy to come up to you for treats or petting.
Hedgehogs aren’t going to jump up on you like a dog, and they are not aren’t going to lash out at you like a cat when they get annoyed.
Hedgehogs are very gentle pets and enjoy spending time with you and being pet.
However, Hedgehogs can show aggressive behavior if they are afraid and feel cornered, but it’s not their first instinct.
The Cons Of Owning A Pet Hedgehog
Sometimes pet Hedgehogs are a little more trouble than you bargained for.
They may be adorable, social bundles of joy, but these little Hedgehogs have a knack for getting into trouble.
Although Hedgehogs are not the most difficult pet to take care of, but they do have a number of drawbacks that you will need to be prepared for.
As you go through this list, really consider if you are up to the commitment of having a pet Hedgehog, even when they are being little devils.
1. Hedgehogs Do Not Make Great Pets For Children
Hedgehogs are not good pets for young children. They have a skittish nature and can be aggressive toward children who want to cuddle with their pet.
Hedgehogs are also more difficult to care for than people expect. Instead it’s better to have a Hedgehog as a family pet. Children can be helpers while they learn to respect the small animal’s boundaries.
Hedgehogs are actually very high maintenance pets. They require a lot of attention and space, and have very specific dietary needs.
A Hedgehog will require as much upkeep as a dog does, and most children are not ready for that kind of responsibility.
1. Escape Artists (Is Your Home Safe For A Hedgehog?)
Hedgehogs are escape artists and will leave no chance to run away. A small opening in their cage, and they are gone. Being prey animals, it is in their instincts to run away from things.
Also, Hedgehogs are pretty good at hiding. So, you might have a difficult time finding a lost Hedgehog.
While on the loose, a Hedgehog might end up hurting itself or find itself in danger. Therefore, if you plan to get yourself a Hedgehog, you must Hedgehog-proof your home first.
2. Cost Adds Up Pretty Quickly (Might Prove To Be Expensive In The Long Run)
Although most people consider Hedgehogs to be low-budgeted pets, this is just partially true. The fact that Hedgehogs do not cost much is true. The first few steps just cost a couple of hundred bucks. However, the cost of regular maintenance, food, and health checkups piles up pretty quickly.
Hedgehogs should be provided with fresh fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. There are times (off-season) when vegetables and fruits are extremely expensive,. However, owners are left with no other alternatives than to buy those at higher prices.
Also, you must be aware of the fact that Hedgehogs can be medically treated by exotic vets only. These vet visits might pinch your pocket a lot. Therefore, make sure that you are ready for the same.
3. Regular Exercise & Interaction (They Easily Get Bored)
Although Hedgehogs make entertaining and loving pets, they need plenty of exercise and interaction. Lack of physical stimulation can lead to several health problems in them.
Hedgehogs even get sick due to a lack of physical and mental stimulation. For instance, a bored Hedgehog might damage his teeth by chewing on the bars of his cage. Lack of exercise can make the Hedgehog obese in no time. Obesity, in turn, leads to several other health problems such as diarrhea and diabetes.
Also, if you do not socialize with your Hedgehog from the start, they will become destructive and aggressive with passing days. Therefore, you must try to spend at least an hour each day with your Hedgehog. You need to select the favorable activities and need to understand what your Hedgehog likes and enjoys the most.
Besides interacting with them, provide them with plenty of toys in their cage. Hedgehog wheel and chew toys are a must for them. These toys enrich our Hedgehogs’ lives besides keeping them engaged.
4. Allergic To Hedgehogs (You Might Have A Difficult Time)
It may sound weird to you, but some people could be allergic to Hedgehogs. Therefore, you must make sure that none of your family members are allergic to pets or fur.
Their fur is one of the main reasons for the allergy. Some people are allergic to Hedgehog’s droppings or urine. The cage accessories can also be a matter of concern for some individuals. The bedding material which you use for your Hedgehog might not suit you.
If you are not sure whether you or other members of your family are allergic to Hedgehogs, spend time at your friend’s house who owns a Hedgehog to find out.
5. Hedgehog Vet Care Can Be Expensive
One of the significant problems that most Hedgehog parents go through in their initial days is finding an exotic Hedgehog vet in their areas. Finding a vet for a Hedgehog can prove to be a difficult task for you. Unlike dogs or cats, Hedgehogs cannot be examined by a regular veterinarian.
Also, the exotic vet visits pinch the pocket a lot. So, make sure that you are ready for the same. The bill amount can range anywhere between a 50$ to 500$ per visit, depending on the severity of your Hedgehog’s health problem.
Before getting yourself a Hedgehog, it is essential to find out everything about the exotic vet in your area. Keep note of the visiting hours and address of the vet’s clinic.
6. Hedgehogs Are Fragile
Hedgehogs are much more easily hurt than cats or dogs.
Hedgehogs have a delicate bone structure. They can get injured if they are squeezed too hard or held in the wrong way.
You always have to be very careful when handling a Hedgehog to make sure you don’t hurt them.