The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.
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As pet owners, we’re always on the lookout for ways to take care of our pets and provide them with a comfortable life.
It’s usually easy to figure out what you need to do to keep your pet happy when it comes to the usual pets such as cats or dogs, for example.
However, the same can’t be said about a pet hedgehog as there are quite a few things that you need to consider to get your hedgehog to like you as its owner.
That being said, in this article, we’re going to discuss how to get a hedgehog to like you as well as how you can properly take care of your pet hedgehog.
As cute as hedgehogs may seem, taking care of them can be challenging, especially if you’re a first-time owner.
We’ve compiled a list of the most important factors to take into consideration before you decide to get a pet hedgehog.
As hedgehogs are tropical animals, keeping them in a warm environment is very important.
If you live in a cold region of the world, preparing them a warm place with regular heating should be your top priority.
75-86 degrees Celsius would be the ideal temperature to maintain in their space.
At the start, you’ll notice that your hedgehog tends to shy away and hide at times. Since it’s not used to you yet, you will need to provide it with a comfortable cage to live in.
Adding a small covered section where it can hide away when it needs to is a must. As hedgehogs are shy animals and will sometimes—just like humans—need their own space.
A wheel can also be added to help your little friend exercise or play whenever you’re away or sleeping.
Since hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, you can expect to hear some noise at night coming from their cage.
You’ll find them either running on their wheel or just grunting and hissing to themselves.
If you’re the type to wake up easily, it’s recommended to place your hedgehog in another room to avoid being awakened by it.
If there aren’t any other rooms you can keep your hedgehog in, then, unfortunately, it might not be the best pet option for you.
Before adopting a pet hedgehog, you need to make sure that it is legal to keep one. This is usually not an issue in most places, but there are some exceptions.
You’ll need to check if there are any laws or rules regarding owning a hedgehog where you are. The same could also be said if you’re renting a house or if you’re in an apartment building.
Some places might allow specific pets such as cats but deny other types of animals. So even if it’s legal in your city to own a pet hedgehog, it might not be the case for your home.
So before going forward with your adoption, ask your landlord if hedgehogs are allowed or not to avoid any future conflicts from arising.
Hedgehogs are known to carry diseases, with salmonella being the most common one.
To avoid the risk of being infected, make sure to always clean your hedgehog and wash your hands after carrying them. Cleaning their cage and toys regularly is also a must.
Despite everything, hedgehogs are rather clean animals. But you’ll still need to give them baths every once in a while.
Hedgehogs enjoy water so you won’t have too much trouble getting it in a tub. However, they do slip easily so make sure to provide a non-slip mat for it to stand on.
Try to control the water’s temperature to be not too cold and not too hot. Just warm enough to be comfortable for your hedgehog to get in.
If your hedgehog’s nails are too long, you can try trimming them after the bath as the warm water would help soften them up.
Before getting a hedgehog, you need to learn about the food you can feed it and the food you need to avoid.
Hedgehogs are not picky eaters, so you’ll find multiple options to choose from. However, try to avoid dairy products as hedgehogs can’t handle them.
Focus on high protein meals such as cooked meat and vegetables.
You can also feed your hedgehog canned cat and dog food as they contain all the needed protein and nutrition.
And if available, mealworms are also a good option to add to your hedgehog’s diet.
Now that you know how to prepare a good living environment for your new friend, you’re finally ready to start your journey on getting closer to your hedgehog!
As we have mentioned before, hedgehogs are rather shy animals. Getting close to them will seem quite challenging at the start. But once you’ve succeeded, it’s very rewarding!
In the beginning, your hedgehog will probably curl and hide away whenever you approach it. It can be discouraging, but you shouldn’t give up.
The more you approach it, the more it’ll get used to you.
Keeping them snuggled up on your lap for a couple of hours is the first step to take. You can do that while watching TV or reading a book. Just be sure to spend time with it every day so that it gets accustomed to your presence.
You can also carry it around while you’re doing work around the house. If you don’t have anything to carry it in, you can wear a hoodie backward and carry it around in it. This way, even though you’re not directly holding it, the hedgehog is still close to you and your scent.
Speaking of scent…
Hedgehogs have a great sense of smell as they tend to recognize their owner by their scent.
So to help it get used to you faster, avoid using too much perfume while around your pet to let it recognize your scent.
Adding a scarf or blanket that has your smell in their cage can also help get them accustomed to your scent.
Avoid using new perfumes or strong fragrances when you’re in its company as they may cause some discomfort.
It’s important to keep watch and notice any change in your hedgehog’s personality or behavior.
For example, if you notice it huffing or hissing more frequently when a certain smell or sound is around, make sure to get rid of whatever is causing your hedgehog distress.
Noticing when it’s pleased or displeased is important to keep your hedgehog in a stress-free environment.
This is to help it get used to its new home and you quicker and to realize that there aren’t any threats around.
As hedgehogs are nocturnal, you’ll mostly have to arrange your playtime to be around evening time.
Here are a few ways you can play with your hedgehog:
Once it’s gotten used to you a bit, you can place it down on the floor and sit opposite of it. Offer your hand and allow it some time to follow your scent and come to you.
You can also bring a small ball for it to push around. Make sure it’s not too heavy or big so it doesn’t burden your hedgehog.
You can play with it by pushing the ball gently around and passing it back to your hedgehog if it rolls too far away.
Hedgehogs can also enjoy solo play sessions, so you can provide them with various things to keep them busy.
As we mentioned before, an exercise wheel is a must-have for hedgehogs. Building a small maze for it to run around can also be a great option to include.
The answer is yes. If you’re in a family household with a new pet hedgehog, you can make your hedgehog bond with all of your family members by giving it time to get used to all your scents.
Another thing you can try is letting your hedgehog associate every one of you with something different.
For example, other than getting used to your scent, it can recognize one of you as the person who feeds it.
The other can be recognized as the one that gives it treats. And there’s also the one that lets it out of the cage to play, and so on.
Assigning different roles between each member of the family might make it easier on your pet hedgehog to recognize you all faster, as well as realize that it’s a safe place and none of you is a threat.
The answer will differ from one hedgehog to another. Some might take a few weeks, others months, and some can even take years!
Young hedgehogs tend to get used to their new owners quicker than older hedgehogs. The reason is that older hedgehogs are wary of people and the change of surroundings.
In the end, as long as you shower your hedgehog with love and make sure to spend time bonding with it, it’ll eventually start to like you.
Finding out that your hedgehog has begun warming up to you will be fairly easy.
Since, as we mentioned before, they’re shy in nature, they’d rather spend time alone than be around us or other hedgehogs.
So when you start to notice it poking its head out in search of you or anticipating your arrival, that’s when you know that your little friend has finally started to like you.
Your hedgehog will also start sprawling on the floor whenever you’re around instead of its usual, curled posture. This is a big indication of its love and trust towards you.
You’ll also notice it approaching you more and sometimes you’ll even find it snuggling closer to give you a few nose kisses.
The amount of time it’ll be hissing and huffing will also decrease compared to before.
Hedgehogs, just like any other living creature, can feel love and affection.
They can sense different emotions, just like humans, and they can also act affectionately towards their owners. There are times when they’ll notice if you’re stressed or sad and they will try to cheer you up.
So, as long as you have a strong bond with your hedgehog, and even though it’s a solitary animal, your little friend won’t be shy to show you how much it really loves you.
Every hedgehog has a different personality from the other, so the answer may as well differ. However, all hedgehogs won’t appreciate petting if they’re not used to you.
Your hedgehog must have already bonded with you for you to start petting it. This is to make sure your hedgehog doesn’t get scared or consider you a threat.
To pet your hedgehog, you need to make sure it sees your hand. Place it at a lower eye level for it to sniff, and like any other animal, slowly pet it from the front to the back.
Make sure to only attempt petting it if you’re already carrying it in your hand or on your lap. Don’t try to pet it if it’s inside its cage to avoid disturbing and scaring it.
If you notice that your hedgehog is huffing or hissing while you’re petting it, that means it’s not comfortable being petted yet. Try to give it some time before trying again.
Sometimes, you might notice that your hedgehog is a little stressed or sad. In cases like this, you can help cheer it up with a simple belly rub!
Hedgehogs enjoy belly rubs just as much as any other pet. You might even find it asking for some massages without you approaching it.
At these times, you’ll find your little friend sprawling on the floor on its back. This is a sign that it wants you to spoil it.
Unlike its prickly back, a hedgehog’s stomach is covered with soft-to-the-touch fur. So you won’t need to worry about it being spiky as you pamper your pet.
As we’ve mentioned, hedgehogs are solitary creatures. Meaning that they prefer to stay alone most of the time. Even out in the wild, you’ll rarely ever see them together or in a group.
The only case of them seeking each other out is when it is mating season. Otherwise, they rather each keep to their own.
The same can be said about your pet hedgehog. Even though it can appreciate your company, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll appreciate another hedgehog’s company too.
On the contrary, keeping two hedgehogs together may lead to them fighting each other. In addition to that, it’ll cause them a lot of stress.
So if you plan to get another pet hedgehog, it’s advised to keep the two separated with minimal to no interactions.
You can raise a hedgehog if you have another pet, like a cat or dog, for example. However, just like how it took time to get used to you, the hedgehog will also need some time to get used to your other pets.
Before introducing your pets to each other, you need to make sure your hedgehog is already comfortable with you. This is so you can hold it in your hand for the first meeting to give it some sense of security.
If you notice your hedgehog hissing or curling up, in other words, refusing to interact with your other pets, then this most likely means that it’s getting stressed from this situation. It would be better to return it to its cage and try again later, but make sure to let it out of its cage every day.
Hedgehogs are active animals and keeping them locked in their cage all the time might cause them stress. They’ll need to be let out to run and explore their surroundings regularly.
It will take some time but your hedgehog will eventually get used to your other pets’ presence, just like it did to yours.
But keep in mind to only allow interactions between your pets if you’re there to supervise them.
In this article, we’ve talked about how to get a hedgehog to like you and what you should do to care for your new, spiky friend.
We’ve also discussed what you need to consider before getting a hedgehog and if you can raise multiple hedgehogs together.
Now that we’ve tackled all the important points, you can now enjoy your time with your new tiny family member, and hopefully, you’ll be able to have tons of fun together!