You Love Hedgehogs and Feel Like Having One. But, Do You Think It Could Be a Good Idea?
Now that you are considering buying a hedgehog, it’s a good idea to find out if your lifestyle matches. These small, spiky creatures are appealing to many animal enthusiasts. Before considering one as a potential pet, one must clearly understand their minimum needs and characteristics.
Understand What Hedgehogs Are
Hedgehogs are mysterious little mammals known for their particular look and “endearing” personalities.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal, so they are most active during the night. They are seen as solitary animals, roaming alone for food and shelter. While they adapt to humans, they may not be as loving or social as traditional pets like dogs or cats.
Are Hedgehogs Legal to Own in Your Area?
Though pet hedgehogs are legal in most of the U.S., they are illegal to own in some states, such as Arizona, Hawaii, New York City, and Washington DC.
In addition to the above, they are illegal in some countries of the European Union and the UK. We recommend checking this list of countries to learn more about the restrictions and reasons.
If a hedgehog is not legal where you live, you should not even consider getting one, as they can be confiscated, and you will be fined.
Do You Have Young Children?
Hedgehogs can be suitable for children as young as five; however, they must be under adult supervision.
It is up to parents to decide whether they are comfortable with their kids handling a hedgehog. The central fact to consider is that hedgehogs can have a bit of a nervous temperament, and kids may create a tense environment.
If they are handled roughly or your children are loud, they can become scared and raise their quills. While they are not sharp, they can be uncomfortable for sensitive hands.
Are You Looking for a Daytime Pet?
As mentioned, hedgehogs are nocturnal and awake in the evening and night. They do not typically like to be woken up during daytime hours when they are naturally in their sleep cycle.
For children with relatively early bedtimes, hedgehogs may not be the best option as they will have a small window of time to interact.
Ultimately, a hedgehog is usually a grown-up pet than for kids.
Will You Be Home Evenings and Nights?
This goes along with the last question – since hedgehogs are nocturnal, they must be cared for during evening hours.
If you work night shifts and there is no one in your household to care for them, it may not be your best choice.
Do You Have the Space at Home for a Pet?
Hedgehogs are small critters, so technically, they do not need much space. Despite this, their natural habitat has no limits, so making them have a suitable area as their territory is vital.
As a minimum, the cage you buy should be at least 2 feet by 2 feet. The good thing is that cages are not expensive, and after all, they need an excellent place to rest or play, so don’t be greedy.
They also should not be placed directly near other pet animals like hamsters or dogs because they are susceptible to their smells.
Are You Willing to Be Patient?
Hedgehogs are shy and sensitive, and they will take a couple of weeks to feel comfortable in their new home after you adopt them – be patient!
It’s essential to avoid rushing things out with them as it adjusts over time, and note that it may seem grumpy when you first try to take them out of the cage for social time.
Do You Have Time to Feed and Play with Them Daily?
Hedgehogs are required to be fed once per night, which requires you to put fresh food in their dish.
Many hedgies love exploring outside their cage and snuggling with their owners; even the more “loner” ones should be socialized daily.
According to West Coast Hedgehogs, you should ideally allow for 30 minutes with your hedgehog per day.
This time can let them explore out of the new habitat supervised, or as simple as letting them sleep in a blanket on your lap while watching a TV show or reading.
Is Your House Temperature Around 73-78 °F (22-27°C)?
Hedgehogs are also very sensitive to the cold and can hibernate if the temperature is below 73°F (22 °C.)
It would help if you did not let your hedgie attempt to go into hibernation, as this can be deadly out of their natural habitat.
It’s essential to keep the room temperature within 73 to 78°F.
If you dislike keeping your home warm, note that you can get a small, inexpensive space heater to keep the hedgehog’s area warm.
Are You Willing to Handle the Hedgehog’s Quills?
While hedgehog’s quills are not so sharp as to pierce the skin, they could be harsh and unpleasant for some people to touch.
Make sure you don’t mind handling the pointy quills before getting one. Visiting an accredited breeder and seeing how you feel after holding one with your bare hands may be a good idea.
Are You Looking for More Than One?
Hedgehogs are very solitary animals and, to be safe, should typically not be paired with another hedgehog in the same cage.
Males are often very territorial and aggressive around other males, and putting a male and female together can result in a potentially dangerous pregnancy.
If you’re looking for multiple playmates, hedgehogs may not be the best option.
Are You Able to Afford Their Needs?
Purchasing a hedgehog is unlike buying common domesticated pets such as cats. They are more dependent on the owners.
We think it is not our place to give you a raw price for them. This question concerns the elements you must source to provide the best environment possible.
Check our Preparing a Hedgehog Cage and Habitat Guide to find a list of the minimum items needed for a comfortable life.