If you are like me and grew up in the 90's playing "Sonic the Hedgehog" on your Sega Genesis then you've probably considered getting a hedgehog at some point in your life. But, you've probably only had a pet hamster at best. Let's face it, nobody owns a hamster for long before getting bored with it, and there's nothing worse than taking care of a pet your sick of. Hedgehogs, however, won't bore you so easily. Not only are they fun to play with, they are fun to show off to your friends and family. So why waste your time with 2nd rate generic small pets?
Hedgehogs are originally native to Europe and Africa. They are nocturnal and enjoy a omnivores diet (primarily insects) which has made them a favorite form of pest control among gardeners. Their primary defence mechanism is their 5000-6000 quills that cover their entire back. If threatened, the hedgehog will roll up in a ball defer would be predators. Hedgehogs can run up to 4.5 miles an hour and are able to swim short distances. They have a lifespan of 4-7 years. The gestation period is 34-58 days usually producing a litter of 3-6 newborns.
Is it legal to own a Hedgehog?
Yes, for the most part. They are legal in all parts of Canada and the US except:
California, Georgia, Nebraska, New York City, and Fairfax County, West Virginia.
As for the UK, they legal. Although, wild hedgehogs have been declared endangered, in which it is illegal to own or kill a wild hedgehog.
What kind of pet does a hedgehog make?
Hedgehogs make great clean low maintenance pets, they can also be trained to use a litter box and can go completely cageless like a cat or does. Which, makes them the perfect pet for a small apartment. They love to play and are active at night, as they are nocturnal. Since they are exotic animals they require you to pay them plenty of attention and play with them at night. This will help instill a bond that will cause the usually shy and defensive creature to open up into a playful and loving hedgehog. The only real problem new owners find is that they sometimes bite due to new situations/people but other than that it is a rare occurrence.
How do I care for a hedgehog?
It's generally a good idea to first litter train your hedgehog as soon as possible, instructions can be found here. Buy the litter box ment for ferrets. For the cage its easier to use a clear rubber-made bin (with holes) than a conventional cage because they are easier to clean. Be sure to let them out at night if you can supervise them. For a diet there is commercial hedgehog food out there but they would prefer some meaty dog food as well as fruits and vegetables. For treats feed them crickets or mealworms at least a few times each week. They also prefer their mealtime to be at night.
Where can I get one?
Hedgehogs have recently gained enough popularity that you can now purchase them at many local pet stores. But, if your pet store doesn't carry them you can always purchase that through a breeder over the internet. When purchasing a hedgehog you can be looking to spend anywhere from $150 - $300 USD.