New to the herd
Kute Kwills is located in the UK, so most information here is based on UK guidelines , much will apply wherever you are, but different countries will deem different things as "acceptable"
Is a hedgehog the right pet for you? Here at Kute Kwills we are hog mad, but not everybody is suited to deal with what comes along with our prickly pals.Below I have listed some of the multiple things you should consider BEFORE purchasing a quill baby.
AN IMPORTANT NOTE, Pygmy hedgehogs CAN NOT SURVIVE in wild conditions, to abandon or release a pygmy hedgehog outside, is to condemn it to death.
One of the most frequently cited reasons for animals being placed in rescue is, “It wasn’t what I expected.”. This section is to help you know what to expect in a pet hedgehog.
You will have to provide a high quality food and pay attention to special dietary needs.
You will need to clean their habitats daily with complete scrubbing done weekly. Not all hedgehogs will litter train perfectly.
Hedgehogs need to stay warm – 23-25° C /72-78° F environmental temperature is a must.
You WILL get poked. Even the best hedgehogs have off days.
You will need to trim the hedgehog’s toenails even if they don’t want you to.
The hedgehog will self-anoint (spread foamy spit on their self).
A hedgehog who is not friendly to begin with will require a lot of patience and respect to re-socialize.
The hedgehog requires a bucket wheel and a place to sleep.
If you do not handle the hedgehog frequently, they will not stay as friendly.
A hedgehog may bite, though it is unlikely and usually down to owner error when they do. Anything with teeth can bite.
Not all veterinarians are familiar with hedgehogs, so it may be difficult and expensive to secure good veterinary care.
Hedgehogs are solitary and CANT live in the same enclosure with other hedgehogs.
Your hedgehog may never seek you out for companionship. Some hedgies do, but some do not.
The hedgehog may like you better than other people. Some hedgehogs adjust well to change, while others prefer the familiar.
Your hedgehog is nocturnal and will prefer to be awake at night. They can make a lot of noise as they eat, drink and explore.
If your hedgehog is a baby, it will go through a phase called “quilling,” where a baby hedgehog is very grumpy and loses baby quills.It is similar to human babies going through teething.
Some questions to ask yourself:
1. Daily bonding time is absolutely necessary. Can you commit to at least half an hour of handling and/or interacting with your hedgehog -- outside of cage maintenance -- every single day?
2. Do you have the space and finances for a proper habitat? A proper cage/enclosure should be a minimum of 3ft x 2ft x 2ft, the bigger the better.with a lid and have a means of both monitoring the temperature and maintaining a consistent temperature within the acceptable range of 23-25° C /72-78° F. It should also contain fleece or hedgehog safe substrate bedding, a hedgehog-safe wheel, and at least one hide along with other enrichment items.
3. Can you commit to daily cage maintenance? On a daily basis, food and water need to be exchanged for fresh food & water, the wheel must be cleaned, and the cage must be spot cleaned. On a weekly basis, the cage should be disinfected, bedding should be completely changed, etc.
4. Are you responsible enough to monitor your hedgehog's health? Hedgehogs are very good at hiding it when something is amiss. For that reason, catching issues often relies on your ability to notice subtle changes. You must be able to monitor your hedgehog's food and water consumption, observe slight physical and behavioral changes, etc, and you must be able to keep records of your observations in the even they're needed to help diagnose a medical condition.
5. Are you okay with having a pet that does not seem to like you? Hedgehogs are not cuddly, enthusiastic animals by nature. They aren't dogs and cats. They're solitary prey animals, and building a relationship with them can take months. Even then, it may seem to be a relationship based more on tolerance than genuine affection.
6. Are you willing to feed a high quality diet? How about insects? The staple of a hedgehog's diet is high quality cat food. Some people balk at having to pay higher prices and go out of their way to get that food since it's not generally found on the shelves at box stores known for low prices. Hedgehogs also need insects. They won't die without them, but having them benefits their health. Owners need to be willing to keep and feed mealworms (live or canned), crickets (live or canned), etc.
7. Are you willing to maintain a vet fund, do you have a back up plan for financing veterinary care, and do you have access to a vet with hedgehog experience? Hedgehogs are prone to various ailments -- some of which can be very expensive to treat.