Are hedgehogs good pets for children?
It depends on the child and the hedgehog. While pictures of hedgies are always cute, the actual quills, in person, can be intimidating, and often times children end up not wanting to handle their hedgie because the quills make them nervous (and yes, they can hurt!). Be sure you and your child have actually met a hedgehog before making the decision to buy one for them. I am happy to schedule a time to meet with you if you would like to meet our hedgehogs. I would not suggest a hedgehog to be in the sole care of a child, even a responsible one– they can be a wonderful family pet, and a child can enjoy them, but it is the parent or guardian who must accept legal and ethical responsibility for the care and well-being of the hedgehog in question. Some hedgehogs are also less inclined to human interaction– I would suggest carefully selecting a calm, quiet baby and raising him around the entire household for the best result. If you have children, let me know, and I can point you towards the best match for your family. We have placed hedgies in many homes where they are loved by children, and they can make fantastic owners, but be sure to be realistic about your child. While the idea of a pet is always enchanting to a child, the reality is not always as exciting. What happens when the novelty has worn off for your child? Are you prepared to love and care for the hedgehog regardless of your child’s interest? If the answer is no, then I do no suggest purchasing a live pet for your child. Also, keep in mind that if your child does lose interest, you cannot simply "re-sell" a Storybook hedgehog-- that animal must be returned to me. If you yourself don't want a hedgehog as a pet, do not buy one for your child.
Do hedgehogs make sounds?
They can make little “chuff” or “huff” sounds when they are angry, irritated, or feel threatened, “sing” when they’re courting, and very rarely can purr when they are totally at ease. Some of my hedgehogs will occasionally chirp when they is happy to see me, and I have also heard a hedgehog scream, when injured or extremely scared, but lets hope none of you ever have to hear that!
Are hedgehogs stinky?
They do not have any distinctive odor (they are not like rats or ferrets). I’ve found my hedgies to be basically scentless. However, like every other animal on the planet, if you do not clean their wheel and cage, it will smell like feces– but that would be the owner’s fault, not the hedgie’s.
Can I bathe my hedgehog?
You can use an extra gentle kitten shampoo or Aveeno oatmeal bath and a tooth-brush as a "bath scrubbie". They do not need regular baths-- just "as needed". Do not put them in water deep enough to swim-- fill the bottom of the sink or bathtub with luke-warm water just enough for them to walk through. Use a cup to gently pour water over their back, do not let them dunk their head under the water or pour water over their face. Hedgehogs can drown very quickly if they breathe in water, and water inhalation can also cause upper respiratory infections.
Do hedgehogs need vaccinations or shots like dogs and cats?
Nope! You should take them to the vet at least once a year, just as a check up, though, and have a “hedge-fund” set aside for possible emergency vet bills should anything unexpected arise.
Do hedgehogs chew like rodents?
They do not. Hedgehogs are not rodents-- they do not have continually growing teeth that need to be ground down (like rabbits or rats). Therefore, they do not compulsively chew.
What is the lifespan of a hedgehog?
Hedgehogs live on average around 4-6 years. Anywhere between 3-8 years old is not unheard of, however.
Does my hedgehog need a friend? Will it get lonely?
Hedgehogs are very solitary animals, so they don't mind being alone one bit. However, in some cases, two females that are compatible can be housed together. Their cage must be adequately sized for two hedgehogs and two of everything must be offered. You should also have a back-up cage on hand in case fighting begins and you must separate them. Female and male hedgehogs should NEVER be housed together, as it will result in babies and if both parents are still caged together, the death of those babies. I do not sell two of opposite genders to the same home, no exceptions. Males should never have a cage mate-- two boys paired together will fight, often to the point of death.
Can a hedgehogs quills stick into me like a porcupine?
No. Porcupine spines can be detached and have barbed ends– they are meant to stick into you. Hedgehog quills are short, modified hairs. They may shed the occasional quill, but they will not ever try to “shoot quills” at or into you.