KingMtnTreasures

KingMtnTreasures
USDA Licensed Breeder of African Pygmy Hedgehogs

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

For Love Of The Hedgehog

A hedgehog is a spiney, insectavoiries mammal, not related to the porcupine. There are 16 species of hedgehogs found through parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, and New Zealand. They are not native to New Zealand but were introduced. There are no hedgehogs native to the United States. The domestic hedgehog can be kept as an exotic pet in all states but 7; Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, and Pennsylvania. The most common domesticated species is the African Pygmy Hedgehog. It is much smaller than the European hedgehog. Domestic hedgehogs come in a variety of color, and can have patterns such as pinto.
 Adorable Spike.
Hedgehogs should be kept in a well ventilated cage with a solid bottom. I prefer the cages that are for guinea pigs because they have a plastic bottom, not wire, and the bottoms are deep. Hedgehogs like to bury, so their pine chips needs to be thick. Never use cedar shavings as they can be toxic. If the cage has ramps, they need to be solid plastic too. They will get their feet caught in wire cages and accessories. The cage needs to be kept in a comfortable temperature of 65-80 degrees F. A good water bottle will provide water, and a small weighted (to help prevent dumping) bowl for feeding. One of the things I love about these little guys is that they can be litter trained. All you need is a small ferret litter box filled with non-clumping, unscented, dust-free cat litter. I feed my hedgehogs high protein, quality cat food and give meal worms for treats.
Lucy after her bath.
Handling can be a little tricky with hedgehogs, especially a grumpy one. They will roll into a ball with the intentions of not coming out, and pop, hiss trying to scare you off. When this happens, I just scoop them up into a Cozy Sak, and let them sit in my lap. This is a great way to bond, just letting them sit with me while I watch TV or read. They get use to my scent plus realize I'm not a threat, then they will unroll. My son's hedgehog, Spike, has always been easy to handle and tolerates just about anything. If fact he's so docile, we take him to the nursing home for visits. He's always willing to let others pet him. Now my hedgehog, Lucy, was a different story. I didn't think she was ever going to get use to us and let us play with her. But with much persistence, she has become a lap hedgehog, just sitting for hours enjoying our company.
Lucy enjoying a meal worm.
I fell in love with hedgehogs about 10 years ago. We seen some for sale at a flea market in Alabama. I am particular about having knowledge of an animal before purchasing, so when I got home I did some researching. I'm thankful I did too because we lived in Georgia and they were and still are illegal there. About this time last year, I started looking for my son, Aaron, a birthday present. His bearded dragon had died recently and he is an animal lover like myself, so I started researching different pets. Aaron has a lot of allergies, so I had to be finicky about my choice. I knew he would be happy with any one I chose. I finally narrowed it down to a hedgehog or ferret. I had been around ferrets before and wasn't particular thrilled about their odor. The more I found out about hedgehogs, the more I knew what pet he would get. As his birthday approached, I started to panic because most breeders had waiting list. I finally found a breeder who had 1 male that was 8wks old, so we drove 4 hours (that's 1 way) to pick up our little spikey bundle. I fell in love with Spike and decided that I wanted one too. I called the breeder we got Spike from and he was going to have another litter ready in March, so I got on the waiting list. I ended up with a female, my little fat Lucy. Our relationship was  tough at first, but now she is my little lap buddy.
Lucy stretched out in Aaron's lap.
I would now like to introduce you to my two new babies. Yes, I said 2. I couldn't choose, so I got both. These sisters were born September 1st.
This little cutie is Angel. She is an albino with pink eyes. She is a little moody. I will have to be persistent with her and spend lots of quality TV time.
This one I named Annabelle. I got the name from a children's book about a hedgehog. She is a little sweetie, but you doesn't do mornings.

If your considering one of these adorable creatures please read all the information you can find. Not all animals are perfect for everyone. Hedgehog Central is my favorite site with a wealth of information.

5 comments:

  1. Awwwwww I LOVE hedgehogs! I'll have one one day!

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  2. Oh my gosh - that is the CUTEST little guy ever! How can you stand all that cuteness???

    Happy Tuesday - Brandi
    Blogging Buddies Team

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  3. What a sweet NON fur family this is! SO adorable. And I'm so glad you did your homework before buying!

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  4. They are so cute with their little twitching noses and fuzzy face...you just want to squeeze them.

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Thanks for reading my post. I enjoy hearing your thoughts. Tisha