Last Updated on March 6, 2015.
Positive Aspects of Hedgehog Ownership
- The typical pet hedgehog weighs between 6 ounces and 2 pounds and requires approximately the same amount of space as a guinea pig.
- Hedgehogs don’t bark or squawk and won’t disturb their neighbors. You might hear your hedgehog running on a squeaky wheel or rearranging its cage furniture, but for the most part, hedgehogs are very quiet pets.
- Most hedgehogs only require weekly cage cleaning but some hedgehogs are messier and may require spot cleaning throughout the week.
- A healthy hedgehog on a good diet does not have a distinct body odor like a ferret or male mouse.
- Hedgehogs do not have dander like cats, dogs, or other animals, so they are a better pet option for people who have allergies.
- Hedgehogs are NOT rodents, and they do not have a propensity to chew, gnaw on, or destroy their surroundings.
- Hedgies do not require routine shots, vaccinations, or veterinary testing but annual vet-checks are highly recommended.
- Hedgehogs are not aggressive by nature. Their spines are used as defense only when they are scared, nervous, or feel they have reason to protect themselves.
- People that are looking for an exotic pet are attracted to hedgehogs because of their uniqueness, but hedgehogs have the advantage that they have been captive bred for many generations.
- Hedgehogs are cute, curious and they can be cuddly!
Negative Aspects of Owning a Hedgehog
- Hedgehogs are prickly!! Your hedgehog will poke you. When you first begin learning to handle your hedgehog it may seem as if you are handling a critter cactus.
- The average hedgehog is naturally shy, nervous, and does not come when called, display outward affection, or perform tricks (even though there are some exceptions).
- They are nocturnal in nature and may appear to do nothing except “stay balled up all day.”
- Pet hedgehogs do best if handled every day, and they make take a long time to become accustomed to their new owners and environment.
- You may need to work through the grouchy quilling stage, and a grouchy hedgehog may always be grouchy.
- Hedgehogs do have teeth and have the potential to bite. Biting is typically not done out of aggression but as a way of communication. Proper understanding of hedgehog behavior will help decrease the risk and/or frequency of biting.
- Only females can safely cohabitate.
- Veterinary visits for a sick pet may be quite costly, and most hedgehogs will need at least one mite treatment during its lifetime.
- Hedgies cannot be left alone during the weekend.
- Hedgehogs do best in 75˚- 85˚ Fahrenheit temperature ranges. We have found the optimal temperature for our herd is 80˚ Fahrenheit. You must be prepared to provide additional heat sources if your house is maintained at cooler temperatures in the winter.
- Hedgehogs may have unpleasant eliminative or self-anointing habits.
- Some states, counties, and towns have exotic animal ownership restrictions. Hedgehogs are considered exotic animals and may fall under the bans.