Obtaining Your Pet Hedgehog
We suggest to buy your hedgehog from an experienced breeder. Don’t be fooled though. Experience doesn’t mean cheaper prices or better marketing. You have to ask a lot of questions, visit where the hedgehogs are housed and ask to see papers and warranties. Don’t be shy to ask for references and to check out his or her herd.
In pet stores, you will rarely get a pedigree or any important information about their medical history. Usually, the prices are very high and they will pressure you to buy everything that your hedgehog might not even need.
If you are interested in buying a hedgehog, you can have a look at our breeders. They are experienced and follow our very important guidelines.
Choosing your hedgehog
Usually people prefer having a baby hedgehog and it’s easy to understand why. Small and cute, baby hedgehogs always get a lot of attention. Should you base your choice on beauty or size? We don’t think so. They are many important things to look for when choosing a hedgehog. Here is some pointers :
|Eyes||They must be clear, wide open and free of any secretions.|
|Nose||It has to be clean, moist but not wet or runny.|
|Ears||They should be clean and have no sign of dry skin around them. Have a look inside the ears to make sure they’re clear.|
|Skin||Move the quills. You shouldn’t find any flakes or dry skin.|
|Fur||It must be soft and cover the entire belly.|
|Legs||Make sure the nails are trimmed and there is no injury.|
|Quills||Spines should cover the entire back and you shouldn’t see any quill lose.|
Ask the breeder or seller to put the hedgehog on a flat surface. The hedgehog should be able to walk in a straight line without losing his balance.
His behavior is also a very important factor. Depending on what you are looking for, you should be able to have a good look at his personality by taking him in your hands and talking to him.
A lot of people ask if the gender makes a difference in the behavior. We say not at all! It’s simply a myth.
An adult is also a great pet. If the previous owner was taking good care of his hedgehog, you will get a beautifully behaved animal. A lot of them are already litter trained and are used to taking a bath and having their nails clipped. It can be a great advantage!
As you can see on this picture, the male is very easy to tell apart. He is the one with the “belly button” in the middle of his belly. You guessed that the belly button is in fact his penis.
The female doesn’t have a belly button and her genitals are next to her anus.
How to get ready for your hedgehog
The big day is finally here! Your hedgehog is coming home soon and you have to make sure everything is ready for him. You play an important part on his adaptation skills.
The first thing to do is to place the cage at the right place. Make sure you are satisfied because moving the cage around is not a good thing to do. It has to be at the right temperature and it should be quiet and peaceful for the first days. Your hedgehog doesn’t need to feel additional stress.
Make sure that the food bowl is full and the water is fresh. Don’t forget to put his cover and a house if you have one.
Give him the space he needs in the first week. He needs to get used to his new environment and all the sounds around him.
Sharing his home with other Pets
Do you have many animals? It’s not a problem at all ! Hedgehogs usually don’t get bothered too much when the other animals understand they can get hurt by the quills. A curious cat or dog will learn to approach him slowly with time and will keep a good distance if they are afraid to get hurt.
Rodents like guinea pigs and hamsters can be easily introduced to hedgehogs. They can even share an exercise pen if you keep an eye on them. They can play together but they can’t live in the same cage.
The important thing is to supervise. Never leave your pets unattended while all together. An accident can happen in a second. Don’t let it happen.
*Maybe give your pets names that are somewhat different so that when you call them they can distinguish them better.
Learning to Handle Your Hedgehog
Even though the quills can be annoying for your hands, don’t be tempted to put on gloves. Without your familiar odor, your hedgehog could become aggressive.
Slide your hands slowly under his belly. (as you can see on the picture) That way, you will avoid being hurt by the quills. Keep your hands relaxed and your fingers open. When your hands will be under his belly, you can lift him up with much care and attention. Be careful though! A hedgehog can be a very fast animal.
Oh that famous ball! If your hedgehog puts himself in a ball, you can still take him. It is not as comfortable for you but you can always find a better position when he gets out of his ball.
If you are using wood shavings, slide your hands close to your hedgehog while keeping shavings in your hands. It’s a good protection against the prickly quills.
If he puts himself in a ball, don’t try to open it or stretch his body. You will end up hurting him. Make circular movements on top of his back to relax his muscles. He should lift his head up and feel more comfortable.
Give him the time he needs to move and show him that he can trust you. If you recently adopted your hedgehog, it would be a good idea not to put any perfume or at least always put the same one to get him used to your smell.
Find the technique you are most comfortable with and keep it. If you feel discomfort on your hands after handling your hedgehog, don’t worry. It’s not too painful and it will go away.
Self-Anointing is Nothing to Fear
Self-anointing scares a lot of owners. What is that white foam coming out of his mouth? Why does he cover himself with it? It’s a natural reflex for the hedgehog to cover his quills with that foam when he thinks he is in danger. It is said to help reduce the hedgehog’s natural odor and shield him better from predators.
If your hedgehog does self-anoint, don’t get worried. It is not dangerous and completely normal. When you have introduced a new food or even a freshly cleaned cover, your hedgehog may feel the need to self-anoint.
It’s actually quite funny to see them work so hard to cover their quills.
The hedgehog is the perfect animal to own when you have allergies. You rarely see people allergic to this animal. When they usually feel side effects, doctors always ask them to change the bedding before selling their hedgehog. Wood shavings are full of dust and can be dangerous for people with respiratory problems.
About Their Quills
Hedgehogs are known for their quills. Did you know that a spine is full of air chambers? Very strong and still very light at the same time, they are much larger at the root and become narrower at the tip.
Recognized for their defense mechanism, hedgehogs can control their quills by contracting their muscles on each side of it’s back. Who ever gets too close will get hurt!
He will also use his quills as a trampoline when he falls. He can fall from high up without hurting himself. His quills will soften the fall when he gets into a perfect ball.
Source: canadianhedgehogassociation.com (404 link error)