Hedgehogs are becoming increasingly popular as pets due to their adorable appearance and unique personalities. However, before deciding to bring one into your home, it’s important to consider a few things to ensure that you can provide the best possible care for your new pet. This post discusses some important factors to consider when buying a hedgehog.
1 – Hedgehog Breeders vs. Pet Stores
The first thing to consider when buying a hedgehog is where you will be getting it from. While pet stores may be convenient, it’s best to purchase your hedgehog from a reputable breeder. A reputable breeder will have taken proper care of the hedgehog’s health, and you’ll be able to ask them any questions you have about the pet’s care. On the other hand, pet stores often obtain their animals from mass breeders or mills, where the animals may not have received proper care or attention.
2 – Hedgehog Species
There are several different species of hedgehogs, and each has its own unique personality and requirements. Some of the most common species kept as pets are African Pygmy hedgehogs, Four-toed hedgehogs, and Long-eared hedgehogs. African Pygmy hedgehogs are the most popular pet hedgehog species, but they can be aggressive if not properly socialized. Four-toed hedgehogs are generally more docile, while Long-eared hedgehogs require a larger enclosure due to their size.
3 – Health Check
When buying a hedgehog, it’s important to make sure that it’s healthy. Look for a hedgehog that is alert and active, with bright eyes and a clean nose. Check for any signs of illness, such as discharge from the eyes or nose, lethargy, or weight loss. If possible, ask for a health certificate from the breeder or veterinarian to ensure that the hedgehog is in good health.
4 – Enclosure and Environment
Hedgehogs require a clean, safe, and comfortable environment to thrive. Their enclosure should be at least 2 feet by 3 feet, with plenty of hiding places, toys, and a solid surface for exercise. Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, so it’s important to provide them with a quiet, dark area to sleep during the day. The enclosure should also be kept at a temperature between 72-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
5 – Diet and Nutrition
Hedgehogs are omnivores, which means they require both meat and vegetables in their diet. A good quality hedgehog food should be the main component of their diet, with occasional treats of fruits, vegetables, and insects. Avoid feeding your hedgehog foods that are high in fat, sugar, or salt, as these can cause health problems.
6 – Exercise and Playtime
Hedgehogs are active animals that require daily exercise and playtime. Provide them with toys and puzzles to keep them mentally stimulated, and take them out of their enclosure for at least 30 minutes each day to explore and play. Hedgehogs also benefit from supervised outdoor time in a secure, enclosed area.
7 – Veterinary Care
Finally, it’s important to ensure that you have access to veterinary care for your hedgehog. Hedgehogs can develop health problems, such as dental issues and respiratory infections, so it’s important to have a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about hedgehogs and can provide proper care. Before purchasing a hedgehog, make sure you have a veterinarian lined up who can provide regular check-ups and emergency care if necessary.
Hedgehogs make awesome pets! However, before purchasing one, make sure to consider factors such as where you will be getting the hedgehog from, its species and health status, its enclosure and environment.