Pet hedgehogs are quite new to our ears. It’s certainly not that common as having dogs or cats as pets in the household. It’s also possible that you don’t even have the slightest idea on what a hedgehog actually is. But you don’t have to worry anymore as we give you a comprehensive guide about all the things you need to know about pet hedgehogs. But at the same time, this is much more geared towards those who are already considering getting one as a pet.
Also, the other significant subject matter in this post is looking for a hypoallergenic pet that will not trigger your allergic reactions. It’s really hard if you have allergic tendencies because you certainly have a lot of restrictions in your life. Now, if you love animals, you will certainly feel those limitations more. Some animals will really literally get the best out of you, so you have no choice to avoid them. On the other hand, you have to research a lot about the animals which you can have as a companion in the house. Fortunately, hedgehogs do exist.
What is a Hedgehog?
A Hedgehog is one of the spiny mammals of the subfamily Erinaceinae of the animal kingdom. It’s a small animal with a cone-shaped face as well as short legs and bodies that are covered with porcupine-like quills. Just a side note though, these two animals aren’t even related at all. Moreover, a hedgehog’s quills which can amount up to 6,000, are made of keratin. For this reason, these quills can’t be easily removed from a hedgehog’s body.
Additionally, it stands at about four to 12 inches as well as weighs from around five to 56 ounces. It’s also much known to roll into a ball once it senses a threat in its surroundings. Consequently, its quills will stand up while covering its body as its defense mechanism. Furthermore, it got its name because of its foraging method of rooting through hedges and then giving off pig-like grunts along the process.
Where Do Hedgehogs Come From?
These animals can be found in Europe, Asia, Africa, as well as New Zealand. At the same time, they can thrive in different environments whether it be a forest, scrubland, desert, and many other more. In terms of their exact habitat, they live in burrows as well as nests that they build on their own. Also, these can be up to 20 inches deep.
What Do Hedgehogs Eat?
They are omnivorous animals, so they feed on insects, snails, mushrooms, grass roots, berries, melons, and many other more. For pet hedgehogs, avoid giving foods and drinks such as milk, raisins, citrus fruits, nuts, seeds, and chocolate which have a big chance of upsetting your pet’s stomach. On the other hand, make sure that the following are always included in their diet to maintain their overall health. Also, remember to be always creative in all the food that you are serving your pet. In turn, your pet will indeed have a good appetite and mood. If it has a good mood, then you will be in a good mood too, right?
- Dry Hedgehog or Cat Food
First of all, know that dry food must be the main diet of your pet hedgehog. There are many commercialized hedgehog foods out there in the market. If in case you can’t able to get or fond one, try other alternatives such as meat or cat food. Just make sure that whatever you are feeding your pet, it should be high in protein.
- Moist Food
Pet hedgehogs should have a varied diet for its health. Of course, you shouldn’t feed it only with dry foods all the time! Put in some moist ones too. Again, you can find numerous commercialized options in the market.
- Fruits and Vegetables
Your pet needs essential nutrients from fruits and vegetables. On the other hand, remember that these should be served in small quantity only, so your hedgehog won’t be overwhelmed.
This is a no-brainer. Your hedgehog will love you more if you are generous with treats. Good snacks can be chicken, salmon, tuna, mealworms, waxworms, crickets, lean steak, cottage cheese, yogurt, and eggs.
A stoppered water bottle should be in your pet’s cage and it should always be refilled.
Hedgehogs as Pets
Hedgehogs are really wild animals, but as time passed by, their domestication has then been normal. Remember to consult a veterinarian first or a certified breeder before really getting one because there are certain species of this animal that are much better as pets than the others. Of course, you need advice from people who know stuff because getting a pet is indeed a big responsibility on your part. Also another important thing is to make sure that it’s legal in your state to have pet hedgehogs because there are places which actually forbid it.
There are a total of 14 hedgehog species, but only some are good for domestication. Three of them are very common to pet lovers: African Pygmy Hedgehog, Egyptian long-eared hedgehog, and Indian long-eared hedgehog.
- African Pygmy Hedgehog
This is the smallest of all the hedgehog species. It’s also called as the four-toed hedgehog. Moreover, its body can reach for about five to eight inches long as well as weigh from around ½ to 1 ½ pounds. Additionally, their life expectancy is about three to six years.
- Egyptian long-eared hedgehog
This one isn’t typically domesticated, so having this as a pet hedgehog may not be a good idea for newbie owners. This small animal with long ears can reach for about seven to ten inches long. At the same time, it’s distinguished from the other hedgehogs by its light brown banded quills with white tips.
- Indian long-eared hedgehog
This is a small hedgehog that can weigh from around 200-500 grams.
Is a Hedgehog Hypoallergenic?
According to Science Daily, the term “hypoallergenic” pertains to the characteristic of provoking fewer allergic reactions in allergy sufferers. For this reason, you have to bear in mind that an animal being hypoallergenic doesn’t totally mean that it won’t trigger your allergies. On the other hand, it actually means that these animals just have a little less tendency to induce those reactions compared to others who aren’t hypoallergenic.
With that being loud and clear as the sun, let’s now move on to the important question: Are hedgehogs hypoallergenic? The short and simple answer is yes, they are. Hedgehogs produce just a little amount of dander which is actually the thing that cause animal allergies. At the same time, and also just like what was mentioned above, their quills don’t detach from their body easily. So it’s really unlikely to be in full and direct contact with a hedgehog’s dander.
Housing Your Hedgehog
If you finally decide to get a hedgehog as a pet, you have to know how to provide a good habitat for it. Pet hedgehogs are sensitive and cute that is why they deserve nothing but the best. For its cage, you need to tick off every important factor such as the following:
Always remind yourself that hedgehogs are originally wild animals. For this reason, they will need a big cage in your house so that they can move and roam around big time. The minimum cage size is said to be 1 foot by 2 feet, but always opt for more.
Without a doubt, hedgehogs are always all around. Because of this, make sure that the floor of their cage is solid. With regards to this, there must be no wires or anything sharp on the floor that may cause an injury or something related to that.
Of course, good ventilation is a must in your pet hedgehog’s habitat. The natural odors that has accumulated there must be let out. With this in mind, wire cages are indeed a good idea.
- Ease of Cleaning
When buying a cage for your pet hedgehog, think about the design’s convenience for cleaning.
Since you are reading this blog post, it’s safe to assume that you are a person with some sort of an allergy but wants to own a pet. Then you find that hedgehogs are one of those hypoallergenic animals which can be okay for you. Now, you are really close to getting one. But stop right there for a minute!
Once again, hypoallergenic means that it’s less likely to trigger allergic reactions, but it still can. So the best thing you can do first is to visit a hedgehog breeder. Through this, you will absolutely know if you have certain reactions to the said animal. If you do, then you can save yourself from pain, literally and figuratively. But in the case that you don’t, then congratulations! You are already one step closer to being a pet owner.
Just a side note: there are many cases of people who thought that they were allergic to their hedgehogs but soon realized that what they were really allergic to was the cage’s bedding. So this is a reminder that you shouldn’t freak out that much if, out of nowhere, you are suddenly having rashes in your hands after holding your pet which is also something new to happen to you. Chances are that you aren’t having allergic reactions to your hedgehog itself. If it’s indeed the bedding, opt for fleece or corduroy fabric. At the same time, you can also bathe your hedgehog in lukewarm water for once a month to be able to maintain good hygiene around both of you.
Other Fun Facts About Pet Hedgehogs
These are the various little things about pet hedgehogs that will certainly intensify the animal’s cute image that you have in your mind:
- Pet hedgehogs don’t smell at all!
- Pet hedgehogs are so low-maintenance. They can be fed for only once a day and their cage can be cleaned for only once a week and still, everything about it is still good and going smoothly.
- Hedgehogs form spit balls when encountering something foreign. They will certainly lick or bite this foreign object and then create a spit ball in its mouth containing the new scent. It then throws its head back as it spits its saliva to camouflage itself with the new scent. This way, it believes that it will be hidden from any predator looming around or just any form of threat in general.
- Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals. For this reason, expect them to be dead sleeping at daytime while living life to the fullest at night by roaming around its cage as well as playing on its wheels.
- Hedgehogs give out weird but cute sounds which depend on what is actually happening. You can hear them puff or hiss and that means that they are upset. Also, they will make screaming noises and that most likely means that they are in pain. On the other hand, you can hear them whistle or purr and that means a high possibility that it’s happy.
FINAL WORDS ON PET HEDGEHOGS
If you really want to have a pet but you have allergies, fret no more. You can still have one by ust thinking creatively. And since you already finished reading this post, it just means that you just did. Indeed, opting for a hypoallergenic pet is a brilliant way of having a pet that is suitable to your condition. At the same time, since you are going for a hedgehog which isn’t a traditional pet animal, you are just stepping up the game more.
Pet hedgehogs are pets that you can enjoy spending time with as well as showering love to without worrying of triggering your allergies. You are definitely safe with these, especially if you already sought the guidance of the experts and/or other persons of authority mentioned in this post. Lastly, remember that nothing can stand in your dream to be able to share your life with a lovely pet of your own someday.