Are you planning on having hedgehogs as pets? Read on.
First and foremost, you should really think if you are capable of having a pet. Having one comes with a lot of responsibility. It is like having a child which cannot live on its own, needs feeding and bathing and everything a living thing entails. Getting a pet on a whim or just for the sake of having one is irresponsible and cruel. So think carefully if you really want a pet before getting one.
Hedgehogs are mammals which have hollow keratin quills as their top hair and are five to eight inches long. They are characterized as being nocturnal and are omnivores, eats both animal and plants, in their native habitat. They are usually a solitary sort and communicate through what sounds like squeals and grunts. Hedgehogs conventionally have lifespans of about 4-7 years.
Are you still with me? Okay. First, make sure you find a reputable pet dealer with a lot of experience with hedgehogs. When getting one, try to handle it first. Hedgehogs are not a violent sort but they can get mean and grumpy oftentimes. So pick one which is already tamed.
Before acquiring one, make sure you prepare its house first. A properly ventilated cage with a floor area of about 1 ½ feet X 2 feet minimum should be observed, as they are very active and likes moving around. Use wood shavings as bedding material. Also put in a small bowl to place food in and a water bottle or bowl where they can drink from. It is also important to install a place where they can hide in or sleep in, like a small cave or an upturned bowl, which serves as their safe zones, because being nocturnal by nature; they rest and like to spend time in the dark. You can also put in a small wheel with a flat base for them to exercise in.
Feeding them is simple. Domesticated hedgehogs are usually fed with high protein cat food. You can buy two kinds of cat food and mix them together, it will last them a long time. You can also give them a wide variety of human food which is readily available, from vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, squash and peas to meat items such as cooked chicken, pork and tuna. If ever a hedgehog does not eat these items, give them proper time to familiarize themselves with the food.
Caring for the hedgehogs require bathing on an as needed basis. Be sure to check their nails of any chipping from running on their exercise wheel. Also be reminded of cleaning their food and water bowl everyday as well changing their bedding weekly, or sooner, if the need arises. Don’t be surprised if ever your hedgehogs shed their quills. It is like babies losing their baby teeth in place of another set of teeth. The hedgehog usually shed their quills four times in their life, with the first around 4 weeks, then 6 weeks, 9 weeks and finally at 12 weeks old. You should make him as comfortable as you can during these times.
As with other pets, you should regularly spend time playing with them. Always handling them increases their familiarity with you and also strengthens the bond between the two of you. So are you really ready to get a hedgehog?