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How to Take Care of Hedgehogs (101 Guide for Beginners)

How to Take Care of Hedgehogs (101 Guide for Beginners)

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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. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Hedgehogs are cute animals that many people love to keep as pets. You might be interested in owning one due to how adorable they are.

Or perhaps you have a kid in your life who would love to be a proud hedgehog owner. It’s good to take a step back before buying a pet that you’re not that familiar with.

You want to make sure that you understand the care requirements before committing to pet ownership. How do you take care of hedgehogs?

Keep reading to learn all of the basics about caring for hedgehogs. You’ll also get the answers to many common questions that people have about these little pets.

Can Hedgehogs Be Pets?

It’s certainly possible for hedgehogs to be pets. However, you should know that hedgehogs aren’t legal pets in all areas.

In most parts of the United States, it’s perfectly legal to own a pet hedgehog. However, some states, such as California, have banned pet hedgehogs.

They’ve been banned in some states due to being potential carriers of foot and mouth disease. Also, they’re seen as an invasive species that might disrupt local environments if they run away from home.

This doesn’t mean that hedgehogs can’t be good pets. Many people have a great experience caring for hedgehogs.

You just need to make sure that it’s legal to own them in your area. Even if it’s legal in your state, it’s important to ensure that the city you live in doesn’t have any special rules related to hedgehogs.

Some cities require you to get a permit to have a pet hedgehog. Others will have no restrictions at all.

So you just need to look things up to be on the safe side. Hedgehogs can be fun little pets to own, but you do need to be ready for the responsibility of caring for them.

Are Hedgehogs Easy to Take Care Of?

You’ll find that hedgehogs are fairly easy to take care of, but they do have some special needs. Hedgehog care is complicated enough that you shouldn’t allow a young child to care for this pet.

It’s best for an adult or an older kid or teenager who is responsible to care for a hedgehog. If you do plan to get a hedgehog for a younger member of your family, it’s important to help them with it and teach them about how to care for the pet.

You can use the information that you’re reading about here to learn everything you need to know. For now, you should know that hedgehogs are relatively low-maintenance pets.

There is some special care involved, and this makes it a bit more complicated than caring for some other pets. Also, handling these pets can be somewhat difficult due to the fact that they have sharp spines.

So it’s not the easiest pet to care for and bond with. You need to be committed to the process.

For the hedgehog to become comfortable with you, you’ll need to handle it daily and give it proper care. This might be a bit too much for many kids, but it’s something an adult can handle with ease so long as they’re committed to learning how to do things right.

Are Hedgehogs High Maintenance?

Hedgehogs can be considered low-maintenance pets. You do need to spend some time with the hedgehog each day, but that’s not going to be a big chore.

Most of what you need to do to keep the hedgehog safe will be simple. You need to feed the pet, provide it with an appropriate environment, and play with it.

You’ll also spend a certain amount of time each week cleaning the hedgehog’s cage, toys, water bottle, bowl, and other things. This process might take thirty minutes or so each week, but it’s an easy thing to do.

For most, hedgehogs will be simple pets to own. Once you get into the groove of caring for this pet, it’ll become an easy routine.

What Do Hedgehogs Need?

As you’d expect, hedgehogs will need some type of cage that they can live in. You need to buy an escape-proof cage from the pet store that will be safe for your new pet.

You want the cage to be large so the hedgehog will have plenty of room to move around. It’s best for the cage floor to be solid since the hedgehog’s feet might get stuck if the floor is wire mesh.

These pets need all sorts of things for their cage. They need bedding, toys, a water bottle, a food bowl, and small litter boxes.

Technically, litter boxes are optional, but it’s nice that you can train these pets to use small litter boxes. It makes keeping the cage clean a bit simpler.

When picking out a bowl for the cage, make sure that it’s a heavy bowl that the hedgehog won’t be able to tip over. Most hedgehog owners use water bottles that you can attach directly to the cage, but you can also buy a water bowl for your pet.

These pets also need to have a good hiding spot in their cages. You want to give your hedgehog a tiny “hut” where it can sleep and hide when it feels the need to do so.

This hut can be a simple cardboard box with a hole in it that has been turned upside down. Some people also buy little huts from pet stores specifically for hedgehogs.

There must be all sorts of toys in the cage to keep the hedgehog active. You should have ramps in the cage as well as tunnels, balls, and chew toys.

You might need a heater for your hedgehog as well. They need the temperature to stay between 70 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 degrees Fahrenheit to stay safe.

Do Hedgehogs Need Bedding?

Yes, bedding is necessary for hedgehogs. You’ll line the bottom of the cage with newspaper.

Shredded paper or newspaper can work as bedding material for these pets. It’s also possible to use Aspen shavings.

Aspen shavings will be a better bedding material than newspapers. This is because it won’t get nasty when it gets wet.

So it’s likely worth investing in Aspen shavings so you can give your hedgehog the best experience. You can get this bedding from local pet stores.

Do Hedgehogs Need Chew Toys?

It’s highly recommended to give your hedgehog access to chew toys. This will ensure that the pet will stay occupied.

These pets love having various types of toys. You can get many different chew toys that are appropriate for hedgehogs at your local pet store when you’re ready to get the hedgehog.

Does a Hedgehog Need a Heat Lamp?

It’s likely that a hedgehog will need a heat lamp or some type of heater if your home gets cooler than 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You don’t want to let the hedgehog get too cold since it could get sick.

Avoid putting your hedgehog’s cage near a window, vent, or drafty door. You don’t want the temperature to fluctuate and make the hedgehog ill.

You might be able to get away with not using a heater if your home is temperature controlled. Most people are going to keep their homes warm enough for hedgehogs, but it’s possible that things might get a bit chilly in certain parts of the house during the winter.

Getting a heat lamp or a heating pad will be for the best. Most experts say that using a heating lamp is the safest option as long as you position it far enough from the cage.

Do Hedgehogs Need Shots?

No, hedgehogs do not require any sort of shots or vaccinations. However, an exotic veterinarian will likely suggest that you get your hedgehog spayed or neutered.

This can help to keep the hedgehog healthy. It’s safer to have your hedgehog spayed or neutered, but it’s technically optional.

How to Handle Hedgehogs

Handling hedgehogs can be a bit complicated because of their spines. They can poke you if you’re not careful.

You need to pick them up the right way or things will go bad. First, you should know that a new hedgehog will need time to open up to you.

Give the pet a few days to get used to its cage and its new environment. It’ll gradually open up to you as you gain its trust.

When it trusts you enough to allow you to hold it, you want to approach the pet from underneath with two cupped hands. The idea is to hold the hedgehog in your palms and keep your hands flat.

This will allow the hedgehog’s feet to rest on your palms. While handling the pet, it’s best to speak softly and do things slowly.

You should approach the pet slowly as well so you don’t startle it. If the hedgehog gets scared it’ll wind up curling up into a ball.

Over time, the hedgehog will learn to enjoy interacting with you. It’ll enjoy being petted and held if you take the time to earn its trust.

The process can be sped up a bit by putting a small blanket with your scent on it in the cage. It also helps to give the pet little treats.

Feeding Hedgehogs

Feeding hedgehogs is another crucial part of caring for them. You want to feed them the right foods while also avoiding overfeeding them.

Typically, you’ll feed hedgehogs foods such as kibble, insects, veggies, and possibly eggs. Hedgehogs can eat cooked eggs so long as you don’t season them in any way, but this doesn’t have to be a regular meal for your pet.

Daily, you’ll be feeding a pet hedgehog kibble that you buy from the store. The kibble is specially formulated for hedgehogs so it will give them the right nutrients.

They also love to eat protein-rich foods such as insects. The most common insects that people buy to feed to hedgehogs are mealworms.

Various types of veggies can be good to give to hedgehogs, but you need to avoid starchy veggies. Starchy veggies are bad for hedgehogs.

Fruits can be given to hedgehogs as snacks. They love eating banana and apple slices, but this will only be an occasional thing.

Never give hedgehogs dried fruit. They’ll love to eat dried fruit, but it’s not good for them.

A hedgehog only needs to eat between 70 and 100 calories per day. So you want to measure out the food properly.

Don’t overfeed your pet since this will lead to it getting overweight. Obese hedgehogs will experience so many health problems and you don’t want your pet to experience that.

These pets should be fed during the evening because they’re nocturnal. Your hedgehog will wake up when the sun sets so you can feed it a bit after you eat your dinner for the day if you keep a typical schedule.

Final Thoughts

Now you know what you need to know about basic hedgehog care. After learning about the information above, do you want to purchase a pet hedgehog more?

They can be great pets and you might wind up loving the experience of caring for a hedgehog. Just make sure that you buy a good cage and get all of the necessary accessories before bringing a pet hedgehog home.

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