Tips For Owning A Hedgehog (Explained)

✅ Fact Checked
Updated on January 16, 2023
Michael Colt, Bachelor Computer Science Degree & Computer Engineering.
Written by
Michael Colt, Bachelor Veterinary Medicine & Animal Science.
Ella Williams
Fact Checked by
Ella Williams
Dr. Michael Colt is a highly qualified veterinarian and animal scientist. He has extensive knowledge and experience in the care and treatment of animals, and a deep understanding of the latest scientific research in the field. Dr. Colt is dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of animals, and is committed to providing the highest level of care to his patients. Holds a Bachelors Degree in Veterinary Medicine from Middle Tennessee State University.

⭐ Fun Fact ⭐
Hedgehogs are unique little creatures and they have some pretty amazing abilities and characteristics that make them fascinating pets. Here’s a fun fact:

Hedgehogs can run up to 4.5 mph and can roll into a tight ball to protect themselves from predators!

That’s right, hedgehogs are known for their incredible speed and their ability to defend themselves by curling up into a tight ball with their sharp quills facing outwards. It’s truly amazing to watch a hedgehog in action, especially when it’s trying to escape a potential danger. So, next time you see a hedgehog, be sure to admire its remarkable agility and defense mechanism.

Are you considering adding a hedgehog to your family? These charming and fascinating creatures make great pets, but they also require a lot of care and attention. To ensure that your hedgehog has a happy and healthy life, it’s important to understand their unique needs and how to properly care for them. Whether you’re a seasoned pet owner or new to hedgehogs, these tips will help you provide the best possible home for your new pet. In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about choosing a hedgehog, housing and environment, feeding, healthcare and grooming, and exercise and socialization. So, if you’re ready to become a hedgehog owner, let’s get started!

1 Choosing a Hedgehog

Choosing a hedgehog is a big decision and requires careful consideration. Here are a few key factors to keep in mind when selecting a hedgehog:

Factors to Consider When Selecting a Hedgehog

Before bringing a hedgehog into your home, it’s important to consider a few key factors, including the amount of time you’re able to dedicate to care for your pet, your budget for food, housing, and veterinary care, and any potential allergies among family members. Make sure you’re prepared to provide a suitable cage, bedding, food, and toys, as well as regular grooming and veterinary care.

Finding a Reputable Breeder

Once you’ve decided that a hedgehog is the right pet for you, it’s important to find a reputable breeder. Look for a breeder who has experience with hedgehogs, is knowledgeable about their care, and has a good reputation in the community. You can ask for recommendations from friends or from local pet stores. Be wary of pet stores that offer hedgehogs for sale, as they may have been obtained from mass breeding facilities and may not have received proper care and socialization. When you visit a breeder, be sure to ask about their breeding practices, the health of their hedgehogs, and their care regimen.

Understanding Breed Types and Personalities

Hedgehogs come in different breeds, each with its own unique personality and characteristics. Some breeds are more social and affectionate, while others are more solitary and shy. Before choosing a hedgehog, it’s important to research different breeds to determine which one is right for you. Keep in mind that hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, so they’re most active at night, and they may become agitated if they’re disturbed during the day. Additionally, hedgehogs have sharp quills that can be painful if they’re handled improperly, so it’s important to handle them carefully and with proper training.

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So ultimately, when choosing a hedgehog, it’s important to consider a few key factors, including your ability to provide proper care, the reputation of the breeder, and the breed type and personality. By doing your research and carefully selecting a hedgehog that is right for you, you’ll be able to provide a happy and healthy home for your new pet.

2 Housing and Environment

When it comes to providing the right environment for your hedgehog, it’s crucial to consider certain factors in order to ensure their well-being and happiness. A suitable cage, proper bedding, hiding places, and toys, along with the right temperature and humidity, can make a world of difference for your hedgehog.

Suitable Cage Options
When it comes to choosing a cage, size is the most important factor to consider. A cage that is too small can result in a cramped and stressful environment for your hedgehog, leading to behavioral and health issues. As a rule of thumb, the cage should be at least 2 feet long, 1.5 feet wide and 1 foot tall. Also, choose a cage with a wire mesh bottom, which will provide good ventilation and prevent your hedgehog from becoming overheated.

Providing Proper Bedding, Hiding Places, and Toys
Your hedgehog will need a soft bedding material to nest in and keep warm, like aspen shavings or recycled paper. It’s also important to provide hiding places for your hedgehog, like a small igloo or a cardboard box, where they can retreat to for privacy and safety. In addition to hiding places, you should also provide toys and other items for your hedgehog to play with and explore.

Temperature and Humidity Requirements
Hedgehogs are sensitive to temperature and humidity, and their environment must be kept within a certain range to ensure their health and well-being. Ideal temperature range for hedgehogs is between 75-80°F, and the humidity level should be around 50%. It’s important to monitor these levels and make adjustments as necessary to keep your hedgehog’s environment at a stable and comfortable level.

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By providing a suitable cage, proper bedding, hiding places, and toys, and keeping the temperature and humidity at the right levels, you can create a happy and healthy environment for your hedgehog. These small steps can go a long way in ensuring your hedgehog’s well-being and happiness.

3 Feeding Your Hedgehog

When it comes to feeding your hedgehog, it’s important to understand their nutritional needs and provide a diet that is balanced and varied. A hedgehog’s diet should consist of high-quality, commercial hedgehog food, which is specifically formulated to meet their nutritional requirements. However, it’s also important to supplement their diet with fruits and vegetables to provide additional vitamins and minerals.

Nutritional needs and diet options: Hedgehogs require a diet that is high in protein and fat, with a relatively low amount of carbohydrates. Commercial hedgehog food should be the primary source of nutrition, but it’s important to choose a brand that is of high quality and provides a well-balanced diet. Some hedgehog owners choose to feed their pets a mix of both dry and wet food, while others feed them only dry food. The choice is yours, but it’s important to ensure that your hedgehog is getting all the nutrients they need.

Avoiding foods toxic to hedgehogs: Some foods can be toxic to hedgehogs and should be avoided. Foods that are high in sugar, such as sweets and sugary snacks, should be avoided. Foods that are high in fat, such as fatty meats and dairy products, should also be avoided as they can cause health problems for your pet. In addition, hedgehogs should not be fed avocado, chocolate, or alcohol, as these can be toxic and can cause serious health problems.

Supplementing with fruits and vegetables: Supplementing your hedgehog’s diet with small amounts of fruits and vegetables is a great way to provide additional vitamins and minerals. Some great options include blueberries, carrots, and apples. However, it’s important to only offer small amounts of these foods as they are high in sugar and can upset your hedgehog’s digestive system if they consume too much. Additionally, it’s important to ensure that the fruits and vegetables are fresh and washed thoroughly before offering them to your hedgehog.

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Overall, it’s important to provide your hedgehog with a balanced and varied diet that meets their nutritional needs. By doing so, you will help ensure that your pet stays healthy and happy for years to come.

4 Healthcare and Grooming

Regular check-ups with a veterinarian

Taking your hedgehog to the veterinarian for regular check-ups is crucial to maintain their good health. A trusted and experienced vet will be able to spot any health problems early on and provide the necessary treatment. It’s recommended to take your hedgehog to the vet at least once a year for a routine physical examination and any necessary vaccines.

During these check-ups, the vet will check your hedgehog’s weight, listen to their heart and lungs, examine their eyes, ears, and mouth, and check for any signs of infection, parasites, or other health problems. If any issues are detected, the vet will provide a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.

Importance of keeping hedgehog’s quills clean and dry

Hedgehogs have a unique defense mechanism in the form of their quills, which are important to keep clean and dry. A damp and dirty environment can lead to infections and skin problems for your hedgehog. Make sure to clean your hedgehog’s cage regularly and provide a dry, clean bedding area.

In addition to regular cage cleaning, it’s important to give your hedgehog regular baths to keep their quills clean and free of debris. You can use a gentle, pet-specific shampoo to bathe your hedgehog. Be sure to avoid getting soap or water in their eyes, ears, or nose, and dry them thoroughly after their bath.

Signs of illness and when to seek veterinary care

As hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, it can be difficult to tell if they are feeling unwell. However, there are some signs you can look out for that may indicate your hedgehog is sick. Some common signs of illness include:

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– Decreased appetite or not eating at all
– Weight loss
– Diarrhea or constipation
– Changes in behavior, such as being more lethargic or less active than usual
– Changes in quill appearance, such as quills that look matted or dull
– Sneezing, coughing, or wheezing

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to take your hedgehog to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment of any health problems can significantly improve your hedgehog’s chances of recovery.

As such, providing proper healthcare and grooming for your hedgehog is essential to keep them healthy and happy. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian, keeping their quills clean and dry, and being aware of the signs of illness are all key to maintaining your hedgehog’s health.

5 Exercise and Socialization

Exercise and Socialization is a critical aspect of hedgehog care. Regular physical activity and social interaction not only improve a hedgehog’s physical health but also have a significant impact on its mental well-being.

The importance of daily exercise and playtime can’t be overstated. Hedgehogs are active creatures and need ample opportunities to exercise their bodies and minds. Playtime allows them to engage in natural behaviors such as running, climbing, and exploring. This not only helps maintain their physical health but also reduces boredom and stress. Providing your hedgehog with a spacious cage and toys will provide opportunities for physical activity. Encouraging interaction with toys during playtime also stimulates their minds.

Providing opportunities for hedgehogs to explore and interact is an essential part of keeping them healthy and happy. Offer them different environments to explore, like hiding places, tubes, and ramps, which they can use to play, hide and climb. This will stimulate their minds and provide opportunities for physical activity.

Introducing hedgehogs to other hedgehogs and pets should be done with caution and only under the supervision of a veterinarian. Hedgehogs are solitary animals and can become stressed when housed with other hedgehogs or pets. However, some hedgehogs can coexist with other hedgehogs or pets if introduced slowly and properly. If done correctly, this interaction can provide mental stimulation and reduce stress levels.

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It is important to remember that hedgehogs have unique exercise and socialization needs. Providing them with regular opportunities to exercise and interact is crucial to their overall health and happiness. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian, monitoring their behavior and ensuring they receive proper care, will help keep your hedgehog happy, healthy, and active.


Is owning a hedgehog hard?

No, owning a hedgehog is not necessarily hard, but it does require research and planning to ensure they are given the best possible care. Hedgehogs are unique pets with specific needs, and as an owner, it’s important to understand their dietary, housing, exercise, and healthcare requirements. With the proper knowledge and commitment to their well-being, hedgehogs can make delightful and low-maintenance pets.

What do I need to know before I get a hedgehog?

Before you get a hedgehog, it’s important to understand their unique needs and requirements for a happy and healthy life. Some important factors to consider include:

Housing: Hedgehogs require a spacious and secure cage with proper temperature regulation and ventilation.

Diet: Provide a balanced diet of commercial hedgehog food and occasional protein-rich insects, such as mealworms.

Healthcare: Regular visits to a veterinarian familiar with hedgehogs is essential to maintain their overall health and well-being.

Exercise: Hedgehogs are active animals and require daily exercise and playtime outside their cage.

Socialization: Providing opportunities for hedgehogs to explore and interact with their environment and other hedgehogs can enhance their physical and mental well-being.

By taking the time to properly research and understand these requirements, you can ensure a happy and healthy life for your pet hedgehog.

Do hedgehogs like to be held?

It depends. While some hedgehogs may enjoy being held, others may become stressed or frightened. It’s important to understand the individual personality and comfort level of your hedgehog to determine if they enjoy being held. It’s recommended to start slowly and give them time to get used to your presence, and observe their body language for any signs of distress such as puffing up their spines or making an “hissing” sound. Once they become comfortable with you, holding them for short periods of time can be a bonding experience for both you and your pet hedgehog.
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Do hedgehogs like to cuddle?

No, hedgehogs do not naturally enjoy being cuddled. They are solitary animals and are not used to being handled by humans. However, with proper socialization and training, they can become more comfortable with handling. It’s important to remember that hedgehogs are unique creatures with their own personalities, and while some may be more accepting of handling than others, it’s important to respect their boundaries and avoid forcing them into uncomfortable situations. To promote a positive relationship with your hedgehog, offer plenty of positive reinforcement, such as treats, during handling sessions. Additionally, take your time in allowing your hedgehog to get comfortable with you and avoid handling them for extended periods of time to prevent stress and potential health issues.

7 Conclusion

In conclusion, owning a hedgehog can be an amazing experience if you’re properly prepared for it. By doing your research and planning ahead, you can make sure that your pet hedgehog has all of the care and support it needs to live a happy and healthy life. Remember, hedgehogs have unique needs when it comes to housing, diet, healthcare, exercise, and socialization, and it’s your responsibility as an owner to make sure they get what they need. So, put in the time and effort to give your hedgehog the best possible life, and you’ll be rewarded with a loyal and loving companion for years to come.
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