African Pygmy Hedgehogs
Personality and Intelligence
Our best comparison of hedgehog intelligence is to that of a hamster.
Hedgehogs do not typically come when called or actively seek out human interaction.
Hedgehogs may learn certain behaviors through positive reinforcement or conditioning but only at a very basic level.
We strongly believe that hedgehog personality is shaped and molded through owner interaction.
Proper handling and consideration of the hedgehog’s needs is critical to successful socialization and bonding as well as enjoyable pet ownership for both you and your pet.
It is common for people to notice a personality “change” in their hedgehog once it reaches its new home. This is generally due to the stressors of changing its environment and having a new person take care of it. You will need to be patient, and keep working with your new pet.
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 hedgies 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.
Hedgehogs do best in 70˚- 80˚ F temperature ranges. We have found the optimal temperature for our herd is 75˚.
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.
The amount of maintenance required is determined in part to the cleanliness of the hedgehog and your perception of “work” as an owner.
Hedgehogs themselves require very little from their caregivers. Fresh food and water and regular cage cleaning are the basic requirements.
They don’t need to be walked and most seldom need bathed.
Hedgehogs are quiet by nature, and the most noise they make is their wheeling activity and possible cage rearranging or water bottle banging.
A regularly maintained cage and hedgehog that is fed a good diet typically does not smell.
Most hedgehogs are neat about their elimination habits and some will regularly use a litter pan.
There are a few, rare hedgehogs that will try to defy every sense of cleanliness and make a complete mess of their cage.
Unfortunately, there is no way to look at a hedgehog and determine which ones will use a litter pan and which ones will smear feces about their enclosure.
One must be careful not to take the hedgehog’s easy care for granted. A hedgehog that is not closely monitored can become neglected if a problem is not addressed in a timely manner.
Most hedgehogs clean themselves through a process of licking, scratching, and shaking.
Some hedgehogs do require bathing if they accumulate feces on their feet or quills.
In the wild African Pygmy hedgehogs are insectivores, but they are quite opportunistic and are known to feed on carrion (other dead animals),
birds’ eggs, and any lizards, snakes or other small animals that should happen to catch.
In the past, cat foods were the only food available for captive hedgehogs. Advances have been made in the knowledge and understanding of hedgehog nutrition.
Many commercial hedgehog foods are available, but they are not all equal in nutritional value or ingredient quality. Unfortunately, some foods marketed as hedgehogs are quite inappropriate as a staple diet.
Cat food is often used in place of hedgehog food, but again: Care must be taken to make sure it is nutritionally sound.
Facts About Hedgehogs
The name for a baby hedgehog is a hoglet. ...
Hedgies have poor eyesight, but excellent senses of smell and hearing. ...
Hedgehogs got their name through their foraging habits. ...
Each hedgie has around 5,000 spines — each of which lasts about a year. ...
Hedgehogs are known as the gardener's friend.
There are 17 different species of hedgehog.
The most common domesticated hedgehog is the African pygmy hedgehog.
European hedgehogs hibernate throughout winter.
It is illegal to own a hedgehog in Pennsylvania,California, Georgia, Hawaii, and Douglas County, Nebraska.
Hedgehogs are not affected by adder venom.
The first hedgehog was domesticated in 4 B.C.
They're well-represented in literature.
Hedgehogs are lactose intolerant.
A group of Hedgehogs is called an "ARRAY."
In 2006, McDonald's in the U.K. changed the McFlurry to a hedgehog-friendly design after too many were getting their heads stuck in the lids.
A hedgehog can run over six feet per second.
A Hedgehogs typical lifespan is 3-5 years
Their Gestation is 30-40 Days
Hedgehogs are most closely related to gymnures and other insectivores, including moles, shrews, tenrecs and solenodons.