Hedgehogs

Are there any other dopers out there with pet hedgehogs? I’ve seen some criticism of their quality as a pet, but mine is such a sweet little thing. She bit a little before she got accustomed to me, but that’s long past and she loves to cuddle in my lap or crawl onto my shoulder and snuffle in my ear.

What sorts of treats do you guys feed yours? Mine adores snap peas and mealworms but has shunned various other vegetable treat offerings.

(And yes, I know they can carry salmonella so I should be treating her like raw chicken but I have a dog too, and getting ambushed and licked in the face by her for a decade hasn’t killed me yet so I figure neither will the hedgehog.)

I had one for a short time (maybe 6 months?) but he was an unsocialized adult when I rescued him, and he never did stop spitting/hissing at me. Not my favorite pet, by and large. I found him to be rather smelly, also.

He was a cute bugger, though!

How do you not get poked by the spines? I know they’re not like a porcupine, with quills and whatnot, but they can still hurt, right?

I had one for about a year several years ago. He was cute, but really not the best pet. He slept most of the day and rustled around at night. I took him out of his pen quite a bit to socialize him, but he still would puff up most of the time when I went in to reach for him.

His favorite treat was definitely mealworms. And yes, he was absolutely adorable!

Aww, I’m sorry to hear that you never were able to tame him. And you found yours smelly? One of the things I like about mine is that she’s not very smelly at all.

They can hurt, yeah. If the hedgehog is upset and the quills are up you’ll be sorry for poking them, but when they’re relaxed the quills go flat and they’re really quite pettable.

Ah, well, I’m a bit of a night owl myself so it didn’t bother me much to have her rustling around until I could get used to it. And she’s started to be up during the day more; I tend to wake up to see her running away on her wheel.

They’ve got the softest fur on the bottom, don’t they? And when I give mine treats she’ll sometimes try to lick the taste off my hands afterwards. Insta-melt :stuck_out_tongue:

I had Denali, my female pygmy hedgie, for six years. I got her when she was about 8 weeks old. She was mostly boring as a pet since she was nocturnal, but tame enough to get out and play with now and then. She only bit me once. I had been handling carrots and she thought my finger smelled tasty.

For treats she liked yogurt, hard boiled eggs, and pancakes heavy on the syrup. Once I made the mistake of giving her a raspberry. She self annointed with it and I had a magenta hedgehog for a day or two.

Most nights she tried to dig her way to China. She’d never run on a wheel. Sometimes she would escape from her box (she lived in a giant Rubbermaid bin full of aspen shavings) and do things like chew up my sandals, unwind my Joan Osborne casette, and hide behind the refrigerator. The dog and cat learned quickly not to touch the hedgie, so I could let her wander (supervised) for exercise. The dog kept trying to herd her. It’s hard to herd something that curls in a ball and refuses to move.

I used her as a visual aid for a toxicology class. My report was on the remarkable toxicological resistance of hedgehogs. I got an A. The class was busier watching the hedgie than listening to my report. My neighbor in college was from Kenya. He was shocked to see that I kept a “garden pest” as a pet, let alone touch it!

When she was six, she slowed down a lot. She went off her food and lost weight, and her snuffling grew weaker. I had her put down because I couldn’t stand to see her suffering. She was a nifty little critter.

I nominate this as the funniest (and maybe most adorable) mental image posted today. :smiley: Thanks.

Aww, Denali sounds like she was a good girl. Mine likes trying to dig to China in her litter box too; it’s really cute. And as messy as it must have been, the mental image of her self-annointing with a raspberry is priceless.

She hasn’t escaped (yet), thankfully. She tried to climb up the wall of the cage a few times, but that stopped once she had a wheel to occupy herself with, and the most destructive things she’s managed were pooping on things and the occasional mauling of my clothing with tiny hedgie teeth.

The only problem I’ve had with her so far is with the dog. It’s very intrigued by the snuffly ball I carry around sometimes, and I don’t trust her to investigate without hurting either the hedgehog or herself.

It must have been heartbreaking to say goodbye to her. Mine’s still fairly young, only six or seven months old, so I’m hoping to still have years of snuffles and occasionally stepping on loose quills to come…

Oh, and they’re crappy pictures but this is her:

http://s323.photobucket.com/albums/nn442/akaadji/?action=view&current=Set086-1.jpg

There’s nothing else interesting in the album, sorry. Just random pictures and some screencaps.

I was astounded to come across a hedgehog in our garden as I was on my way to do my laundry late one night. It was just hanging out, sitting on the pavement. Cute! And seemingly imperturbable.

It didn’t occur to me they could be pets. How hard are they to take care of? Are they on the level of pointy hamsters or more time-intensive?

Aww, that sounds adorable. The European ones are bigger than the pet African pygmy type, right?

They aren’t too labour-intensive, I don’t find. You do need some means of keeping them warm, usually, because they try to hibernate if it’s too cold and unlike wild ones the pet breed will die if it’s neglected after attempting. Never owned a hamster, honestly, so I can’t say, but they can be somewhat litter-trained (mine uses hers fairly regularly but not all the time) and if you don’t mind having to wash a bunch of stuff every week, change out the bedding and litter, make sure there’s food and water and scoop the litter box, then it really isn’t too bad.

As has been demonstared by other posts in the thread as well as what I’ve seen mentioned on other non-hedgehog sites, they aren’t for everyone and I appear to have lucked out with a fairly affectionate and social one. I’m not sure whether I would be so enthralled if she had continued to huff, bite, and generally show great displeasure at being handled, but luckily once she was accustomed to me (and it may be unrelated, but I took her from a smoking home to a non-smoking home and afterwards she stopped displaying almost all upset/uncomfortable behaviour) she became content to be cuddled and handled, if still slightly huffy at times when she’s obviously soooo comfy and gets disturbed.

Heh- a friend of mine in Sussex had a worry with her cat food disappearing. Was a hedgehog- she adopted him and he got on well with the cats.

My mother has had two. The first, Flower, was pretty grouchy, although she was friendlier to my mom. Flower spent so much time being either angry or afraid that I rarely saw her face - it was always buried in the middle of a spiny little ball.

Her current hedgehog, Urchin, is a lot calmer than Flower ever was, although I still don’t love holding him. I keep waiting for him to freak out and ball up like Flower did. He is very relaxed in my mom’s hands, and if she’s holding him, all his quills are down. When he’s exploring, he nibbles very gently on your fingertips, which is actually kind of sweet. The way Urchin chatters (not the angry hissing thing) is very endearing, and he and my parents’ cat chatter back and forth to one another.

While they’re undoubtedly cute, I’m glad they’re my mom’s pets and not mine. They’re certainly pretty quiet and low maintenance. In fact, when we visit my parents’ house, I rarely remember they even have a hedgehog. I think I just prefer pets that interact with me a little more, and are cuddlier. Plus, they just seem really easy to startle. Not to mention, they’re very poky when they’re ticked off, and I get a rash wherever their quills touch my skin.

Neither one of my mom’s hedgehogs has ever been smelly. The only real struggle she’s had with them is keeping the cage warm enough in the winter. She uses a space heater in the room.

I do find the anointing behaviour fascinating. We once had Flower out on the grass in the backyard and she painted herself green. Do European hedgehogs exhibit that behaviour as well, or is that exclusively a Pygmy thing?

Heehee, I love hearing cute stories like that.

That’s fair enough; not everyone wants a pet that has more quills than fur. It seems that people definitely have their opinion of hedgehogs shaped by the first one they encounter, which makes sense because they aren’t exactly as popular as dogs or cats. Much smaller sample size means it’s hard to just put one example off as unusually aggressive.

And I agree, annointing is odd; mine has yet to do it with anything strange and dye herself, but it’s really neat that they can reach so far with their tiny heads and oval bodies. I can’t say with certainty, but I think it’s an innate hedgehog behaviour?

Interesting info, thanks!

The hedgehog I discovered was pretty much croquet-ball size :slight_smile: I assume it was a small European one.

I’ve never had a hedgehog (they’re illegal in California), but when I worked at an animal rescue place we had two or three. The poor things were dehydrated, so we injected them with saline? I think, so they had this bump on the back. They’re awfully cute. I never had a problem with them, but I wasn’t really socializing with them either. They smelled, slightly, but that might have been the food.

Aww, the poor dears…were they okay in the end, or did they get put down for being illegal to keep? :frowning:

If anyone is interested, here is a picture of the cats and the hedgehog.

:stuck_out_tongue: The kitties are giving that hedgehog quite the look, aren’t they? And the big ol’ hedgie’s just going about his business as usual…

It’s like the cats are thinking … “that’s one ugly cat! What has he done to his fur…”