A hedgehog is a small and spiny mammal that belongs to the subfamily Erinaceinae in the eulipotyphla family Erinaceidae. These creatures are from the forest, deserts, suburban gardens, scrublands of Europe, New Zealand, Asia, and Africa. There are plenty of species of hedgehog in five genera found through the said places. These animals do not exist in the natives of America and Australia.
Unlike other animals, they can sleep up to 18 hours because they are known as nocturnal. They have a resemblance to porcupines but are proven not related to each other. Despite their similarities, they still have differences that make them unique and identified.
Quick Facts: Hedgehogs
According to San Diego Zoo, these creatures can build their own homes through burrowing and nesting. They can burrow up to 20 inches or 50 cm deep. They accomplished their nest made from leaves, vegetation, and branches. There are times when they tend to continue to burrowing what other animals have left behind.
|Lifespan||2 – 5 years|
|Weight||0.3 – 1.2 kg|
|Gestation Period||30 – 40 days|
|Length||14 – 30 cm|
|Real-life Speed||4 mph – burst|
In the wild, hedgehogs live around 2-5 years. These wild creatures live shorter than the domesticated ones because they encounter predators that end most of the hedgehog’s life. Their exposure to disease and injury is another reason why they tend to survive shortly. For pet hedgehogs, their average lifespan is around 3-7 years. Some report says these animals can live up to 10 years, but this case is rare.
Many factors influence the lifespan of these adorable pets. It could be in their environment or through their genes. Somehow, you have an impact too as an owner. Knowing that you have a pet, you must remember that it is your responsibility to provide them a happy and healthy lifestyle. So, you have to understand their needs and spend more time discovering their likes and dislikes.
Hedgehogs range in size from 4 to 12 inches or about 10 to 30 centimeters. When uncurled, the adult ranges in length from 24-35 centimeters or 9.5 to 14 inches.
Typically, they can fit in an adult’s hand. That is how small they are. Their fun-sized is another reason why they are appealing to the eyes of many. These cute pets are like tiny walking balls, and everyone in the house would be delighted to see them. Most pet owners would describe them as the source of happiness and a stress reliever. Even though they are small, they can bring enormous joy to everyone.
Average Cost Of Buying A Hedgehog
How much does a pet hedgehog cost? The average cost of getting this spiky pet is around $100 to $300. The cost depe nds on their age, color, and temperament. Breeders will be likely to charge more than a pet store. Before you go to the nearest petshop, you have to surf the net first for your convenience. Many local animal shelters and rescue groups have hedgehogs. Their price range is lower compared to the private rescue.
The salt and pepper or cinnamon hedgehogs cost USD 100-200. Pinto hedgehogs are in a mid-price range of USD 150-250. The most expensive hedgehogs tend to be blonde, black, or white that costs USD 200-300.
It is highly advisable to get your pet hedgehog from a trusted breeder with a good track record. They guaranteed a low risk of health issues, and the process is legal. Hedgehogs, unlike other breeders, cost a little bit expensive. However, you can end up paying sudden and surprising expenses due to health problems.
For those who are asking if their maintenance is pricy, Yes, it is. These cute pets need spacious housing, accessories around the cage, veterinarian visits, nutritious foods, extra toys, favorite treats, and bedding. They are all quite expensive than the typical maintenance of other pets. But if you have a companion as cute as them, you don’t have to think twice about giving them their needs. Taking care of them is like carrying your child, and you would do anything to keep them comfortable.
Hedgehogs are this cute little pet that would love to spend time with you during nighttime. They are docile and nocturnal. Unfortunately, they are not for those who can easily fall asleep, who like to spend a night out, and for children who wish to have someone who can play with them. They are active mostly at night, and these adorable creatures are for someone who loves to stay all night long.
Sometimes these pets refused human interaction and clinginess because they are independent and can do well alone. But that doesn’t mean they are not pets for keeps. They only need some time to familiarize humans, and when they do, you can hand tamed them at times, handle them gently, and have a little chitchat.
When you try to pick it up for the first time, they may curl into a spiky ball. Sometimes, it indicates fear, threat, and shyness. When that happens, do not try to uncurl them. These creatures are fragile, and probably you might hurt them. Just stay patient and wait for them to unroll themselves. If they feel comfortable and safe around you, they will start to be active and explore on their own in your hand. The spines will flatten out. But, be careful. Though they may look endearing, they can bite you. The quill in their back is their self-defense.
Some find it weird, but hedgehogs have self-anointing habits. Whenever they smell an unusual scent, they begin to back up, contort body, froth at the mouth, and spread its saliva all over its back. It is typical for hedgehogs. Experts think it is their way to release their stress.
Hedgehog’s weight considerably depends on their age, sex, and season. Healthy wild adult hedgehogs weigh around 500g or 1 lb. and 1 kg or 2.2 lb. In captivity, they can reach about 2.5 kg or 5lbs. The female weighs lower than the male body weight in June and July. It is because when they reduced their foraging, they spend their time finding their mates.
As they mature, their weight slowly increases to over 300g or 11 oz. They begin to weigh as close to 800 g or 28 oz after a year. The good news for healthy hedgehog weight is they can still curl into a ball without having a hard time. But once their sides cave inwards, it can be a sign of unhealthy weight for their current body type.
The peak weights for both males and females attained in late autumn before the onset of hibernation. A study claims that an adult weight is a stable year to year, and young ones are continually changing as they mature.
You can easily recognize hedgehogs through their spines that have hollow hairs made stiff with keratin. These cute animals are small brown or blond mammals, with pale tips to the spines and cone-shaped faces. They have short legs, and their bodies are covered with quills like porcupine. Hedgehogs and porcupines have a similar appearance but don’t be confused as they are not related to one another. According to Animal Planet, the hedgehog quills cannot be detached easily from their bodies. However, when they reach the maturity stage, their spines start to fall out and be replaced with adult spines. The good thing about their quills is that it is not poisonous nor barbed.
The nails on the front feet are required trimmed to avoid injury from curling into the foot and damaging the footpad. Both males and females have short, stubby tails and hidden under their quills. These creatures have soft, white fur on their face and bellies.
The colors of the hedgehogs are one of their assets. Although you typically see brown ones, they have different colors depending on their species. Algerian hedgehog has a dark face, while Atelerix species have white or light-colored faces. However, as they matured and get older, their coloration may vary. The right age to determine their color is approximately one year.
According to The International Hedgehog Association and the Hedgehog Central Web site, there are more than 90 different colors of hedgehogs, but only a few are recognized. The colors include quill coloration, as well as their white varieties and snowflake. Their spines can also range in colors black and turn to pale peach color or in a banded or solid white.
You can determine their true colors through their skin, quill, leg, face, and nose. Some simplify the colors by few categories like cinnacot that is tan or light brown variations, Standard color black to brown, Black-eyes white with almost 90% white quills, Snowflakes with 10-89% white quills, and pintos any color with patches of white quills.
How Big Do Hedgehogs Get?
Were you wondering how big these cute little creatures can get? They start very small and go through rapid growth when weaned after two months. When they reach their 10 to 11 months, they can achieve their full adult size. They can grow to an adult size of 5 to 9 inches. They can weigh around ½ and one ¼ pound.
Wild hedgehog can grow to an adult size of 10 to 14 inches. They weigh around ¾ of a pound and 2 ½ pounds but, still, it depends on the species. Their development continues in the same period as domesticated hedgehogs. However, they tend to be on a higher end of the scale for about 11 months, while these domesticated ones are more likely on the lower end of the scale, particularly around ten months.
Why Are Hedgehogs Great Pets?
Hedgehogs are indeed one of a kind. Unlike other pets, they don’t need much attention. They are solitary animals. So, they won’t get mad or sad if you do not have time to play with them. However, they can bond with you since they are considered one of the unique household pets. You can enjoy spending and having quality time with them outside their cage, and at the same time can be perfectly-fine while you are busy. They are smart enough to understand the situation, especially when they live in a calm nature.
These cute pocket pets are active and entertaining, especially when they are playing with their toys. They effortlessly give a whole new level of entertainment by their simplicity. They don’t prefer getting attention from their owner but require lots of care. As an owner, you have to train yourself regularly to check their needs, particularly monitoring their diet. But since they are nocturnal animals, you need to feed and care for them during nighttime.
The good thing about having this little guy is they are hypoallergenic. They only produce very little dander that causes animal allergies. However, they rarely have this reaction. If people have an allergic reaction to these pets, it came from infected small pricks of their quills with other allergens.
Looking for this pet? Ask yourself first, “am I the right owner for a hedgehog?” If yes, check if it is legal in your country. If you reside in Nebraska, Georgia, California, New York City, Hawaii, Omaha, and Washington, D.C, this creature is not for you as it is illegal in these states and cities. It is also prohibited to transport these hedgehogs outside Africa.
Final Thoughts: Hedgehogs As Pets
Generally, pet hedgehogs are anti-social. They are not a typical companion you can bond and play with at any time of the day. If they like to be alone, give them space and time to concentrate on what they want to do. Usually, you can see them playing with their toys. If they don’t like to interact that much, you must provide a spacious cage with toys that they can play with during nighttime. It is still possible to bond with them, but you have to considerations that they are sensitive and shy, so you need to be gentle around them.
It is essential to respect their nocturnal schedule. Never force these pets to be hyper during day time. Keep the lights dim as they have poor eyesight. Their only active senses are the sense of smell and hearing. When everyone is in the middle of their sleep, these little pets become so hyper. They run miles on their wheel. Because of that, you need to ensure their safety as they are not the graceful creatures you will ever meet. Provide a concrete surface they can run on too.
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Hezekiah is a pet lover since birth, according to his parents. He started writing for the Pets Checklist in 2020. He is fond of playing with and taking pictures of different friendly animals around his neighborhood. He loves to read and write articles about pets, science, and music.