Hedgehogs As Pets

Is Not Always The Wisest Choice

By: - Pets - May 7, 2011
hedgehogs as pets

They may look cute and cuddly, but their prickly nature should cause you to think twice before adopting hedgehogs as pets. 

Baby hedgehogs are born with quills, also known as spines, which are short and soft.

However, in almost no time, those quills become harder, sharper and longer. They will curl up when the animal goes to sleep and the quills become their protective barrier – a barrier so effective that it can prevent a snake bite.

This is not necessarily a creature you would want to pet even though the quills do not grow on their faces, bellies and legs.

Although the little guys, who come in a number of species, were domesticated as early as Roman times, the popular trend to domestication began only about three decades ago.

But there can be legal impediments to having hedgehogs as pets despite the cute appearance of baby hedgehogs.

Since not all states and localities permit the ownership of hedgehogs, it is best to check with local authorities before bringing one into your home.

Restrictions were apparently put into place since some species have been identified as potential carriers of foot and mouth disease.

A Low Maintenance Pet

If you have a hedgehog in your home, you must remain aware that they need a temperature above 70° Fahrenheit in order to prevent them from going into hibernation.

And, just as with humans, exercise is essential for them to maintain a proper weight.

While they do not require exercise apparel, they are often pictured running in a wheel. This must be chosen with care so as not to provide a dangerous exercise environment. Their vision is not the best and they can easily break a bone. 

A proper diet is essential to their well-being.

In the wild, hedgehogs feed on insects, small mice, lizards and frogs. However, it is obviously impractical to keep this dietary selection available in a home setting.

Keeping a domesticated hedgehog healthy requires a high-protein, low-fat diet. An occasional treat of insects will prove to be a hedgehog’s culinary highlight and they will love such kindness

There are a number of health-related issues you should know.

Don’t be shocked by “green poop,” which can be caused by stress or dairy products. There is also the highly disturbing “Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome,” which can be identified by a wobble when the hedgehog stands and walks.

Hedgehogs are nocturnal creatures and they might interfere with an owner’s normal sleep patterns. They have been known to make some weird and disturbing sounds.

Before making a commitment to the idea of hedgehogs as pets, you should know that baby hedgehogs have a life expectancy of 10 years. The normal life span is seven years.

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