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Owning A Hedgehog-what you need to know

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
This was posted by someone on another forum. Since you all like my hedgehog so much and seem to want to know more I though you would like to read this:

Hey everyone...I'm trying to work on the Hedgie Info portion of my website. I've just finished the first section of it on Hedgehog Ownership. I wanted to post it here for you to read and give me feedback. Please let me know if I've left anything out (especially let me know if I've got the illegal states right). Thanks!

Hedgehog Ownership

There is nothing in the world that is quite as enjoyable as owning pets. In general, they are smaller and quieter than children, they don?t talk back when they don?t like what you make them do, they don?t argue with you like a husband or boyfriend is prone to doing, and they don?t eat much. The rewards of pet ownership are great. They offer you a completely non-judgmental listening ear, an eagerness for affection, and unconditional love.

The responsibility associated with keeping pets, however, is no greater and no less than the responsibility of caring for a child or significant other. The animal you choose as a pet cannot speak up when they are hungry, thirsty, tired, bored, dirty, sick, hot, cold, or hurt. You make the choices when it comes to their care, and they have to live with it. You must make the emergency decisions when their lives hang in the balance. How prepared will you be to make those all important choices when even the most informed decision is only an educated guess (as much as you?d like to, you can?t read your pet?s mind)?

Hedgehogs, as an ?exotic? and still emerging popular pet, require a dedication that more common pets (such as dogs and cats) do not. Finding a vet to care for them can be tricky. Some states and counties do not even allow people to keep them as pets. Finding nutritionally sound food is not as easy as walking into a large chain pet store and grabbing a bag of hedgehog food. These are just a few examples of the special care a hedgehog needs.

Keeping hedgehogs in your home requires an attention to detail that many people are just not prepared for. If you are considering bringing a hedgehog into your home to become a part of your family, here are a few things you need to consider first:

1. Is it legal?

Currently, there are seven states in which it is illegal to own a hedgehog. (Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Pennsylvania, and Vermont) There are also several states that have certain areas (city and/or county) where hedgehog ownership is illegal. Before purchasing a hedgehog, be sure to contact your local Fish and Game office to confirm whether or not hedgehogs are permitted where you live.

2. Do you have a qualified vet?

Do not assume that just any veterinarian will see a hedgehog. In actual fact, most vets do not. All hedgehogs new to your home need to have a well pet check within the first couple of days after their arrival. Call around to several clinics and ask other hedgie owners in your area for their recommendations. When you do locate a vet that is willing to treat your new bundle of quills, ask how much experience the vet has with hedgehogs. It is always a good idea to have a back up vet as well. Be prepared for your vet visit to cost you well over a hundred dollars. And remember, if for any reason you are not satisfied with the care your pet receives at the vet, it?s time to find a new one.

3. Is there a breeder nearby or are you prepared to ship?

Most experienced hedgie owners would not encourage you to purchase a hedgehog from a pet store. In most cases, hedgehogs from pet stores do not come with a pedigree and there is no guarantee that it is free from congenital diseases. In order to sell hedgehogs in the United States you must be USDA licensed (this licensing law has recently been changed but still applies to all pet stores and most breeders). Finding a good breeder is your best bet when it comes to getting a hedgehog that is healthy and well socialized. However, getting a hedgie to your home from the breeder is often difficult. If there are no local breeders and you are not willing to drive long distance to pick your baby up, flying is the only option. The costs for shipping are often higher than the cost of purchasing the actual animal.

4. How much are you willing to spend?

This is possibly one of the most important things when you start thinking about bringing a hedgehog into your life. Even though they are small, they still require a good amount of available funding. Purchasing your hedgehog and supplying an appropriate home for it is probably going to run you around $200 (this is not including shipping if necessary). However, there are many things that will add to the initial cost. We?ve already discussed the first vet visit and that it can run over $100. While hedgehogs do not eat much, they do require high quality food that can run you another $30 or more every few months. And remember, accidents can and do happen. A trip to the emergency vet can cost $1000 or more.

5. Have you done your research?

Do you know what foods to feed your new pet? How warm they should be? When they sleep and when they play? How much human interaction do they need and want? Do you know how to set up a habitat for them and what is safe to put in it? What kind of toys do they need? Could you be allergic? If your hedgehog is supposed to be a child?s pet, do they understand how to handle them? Are they mature enough to take care of them or do they need a lot of adult supervision? Do you know how to sex a hedgie? How long do they live? Do you know how many hedgehogs you can keep in one cage? What are signs of illness in a hedgehog and for that matter, what kind of illnesses are they prone to? There are a lot of things you need to know even before you purchase your new pet so make sure to do as much research as possible.

If you can answer yes to these five questions, you are well on your way to becoming a responsible hedgehog owner. Just remember, if you carefully consider all these things and don?t rush into a commitment that you may not be prepared for, you will probably thoroughly enjoy the addition of a new quilled family member.

I hope this is helpful to all you wanna be hedgie people out there. For more info about hedgehogs go to www.chins-n-quills.com
post #2 of 9
Very cool!!

We don't have hedgehogs in this country, but if we did I think I would be sure to have one!!

Keep posting piccies for us of your gorgeous Snowball!
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Definitely will!!!!!
post #4 of 9
i was just wonderin' what kind of hedghogs you have over there?are they natural to usa or are they european or north european?

we have hedgys in the uk but unfortunately they are on the decline,roads and things too dangerous.

a lot of people think of them as vermin and run them over deliberately if they see them in the road.i saw someone do that once.so i smashed his car window.

i hope your hedgy lives a long and happy car free life
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Mine is called and African Pygmy Hedgehog. I don't know if there are many other kinds breed here.
post #6 of 9
Whay kind of health problems do they have? How long do they usually live?
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
This is my first hedgie, but I know that they average life span is 4-5 years. They can get WHS wobbly hedgehog syndrome. I don't know much about that decease, but I it is long and sad. I know they can get other heath problems, but can't remeber what they are.
post #8 of 9
We had some extra money one time, and decided to go searching for a hedgie. I did so much research as to what they need, how to care for them, even found a vet...

But out of like a million pet stores, we found only ONE hedgehog, and they told us that he was very mean, and wouldnt want un-experienced owners to handle him. So we were sad. That's when we got Mushi...our other kitty. Although we wanted a hedgie so bad.

They must not be too common around here. I didnt know anyone that's ever had one, but DH wanted one so badly, he dreamt about it. lol
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Did you try looking for a breeder? It's not really good to buy them from pet stores, though people do. I couldn't find one in a pet stores either. So I went online and found a breeder 3 hours away from me.
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