There are few pets as unique and intriguing as the hedgehog. These spiny mammals come in various colors and have endearingly quickish habits. They’re also relatively low-maintenance compared to some other pets.
Provided you follow a few simple rules, your hedgehog can live happily in your home with minimal amounts of attention. However, maintaining a happy, healthy pet requires responsible ownership from you. Here are four things you need to know about caring for your pet hedgehog.
1. They are Very Sensitive
Hedgehogs are extremely sensitive animals. They tend to be more sensitive than other pets, such as cats and dogs because they are not as well equipped to deal with the outside world. Hedgehogs are “picky eaters” and will reject food that is different from what they had before.
They are also very picky about the temperature of their enclosure. Hedgehogs are very sensitive to temperature changes and will become agitated and uncomfortable if the temperature changes too rapidly. Hedgehogs should be kept in a temperature-controlled environment.
2. They Respect Their Nocturnal Schedule
Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, which means they are awake at night and asleep during the day. Hedgehogs usually sleep about 16 hours a day or longer if they are hibernating. You can expect your hedgehog to be asleep from sunset to sunrise. Although you can wake them up during the day, it’s best not to disturb them when they sleep.
Their eyes are very sensitive to light, and they won’t be able to see very well if their eyes are exposed to bright light during the day. Exposure to too much light during the day can affect your hedgehog’s vision.
3. They Can Carry Diseases
Hedgehogs are very susceptible to zoonotic diseases. They can carry various diseases and infections, some of which can be very serious or even fatal. Some hedgehogs’ most common diseases include Salmonella bacteria in their stool.
Hedgehogs are also prone to getting ear mites if they have not been treated with an anti-mite drug before entering your care. Ear mites can cause many problems for your hedgehog and even cause them to die. It’s always important to clean and treat any animals coming into your home with an anti-mite medication, especially hedgehogs.
4. They Can Have a Strange Personality
Hedgehogs are very defensive creatures. They are territorial and will fight anyone coming near them. Their strange defense mechanism includes rolling up into a ball and hissing at the intruder.
Hedgehogs are also very vocal animals. They are very noisy and will hiss and squeal at any new intruder near them. The good thing is that if they only do this to a certain point, they will start to show their true personality and become quite friendly.
They are very curious and will investigate new items in their cage. They will do this by sticking their nose into the item and sniffing it. This can be a little scary for some people, but if you are patient with your hedgehog and let them explore, they will eventually get used to it.