Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Should I get a hedgehog?

My only problem would be the fact that I'm going away to college in a year and a half. Suggestions? They sound very manageable and cute.
Unless your college allows animals in the dorm, I suggest holding off on aquiring a hedgehog until you have the time committment for one. Also, check the legality of owning a hedgehog. There are still several states where hedgehogs are illegal!!

I have to disagree with the above poster when he said they are easier to maintain and require less care than most small mammals. I say the opposite! They have specific heat requirements (70-75F range year round, my hedgie room is kept warmer because I have hedgies that need higher temps to avoid hibernation). They need daily handling - my 8 hedgies get out every night for a couple of hours. The cage size will vary but the larger the better and it needs to be well ventilated so that rules out a tank. They need a wheel. Substrate will vary from aspen shavings to liners (what I use).
I feed a mix of holistic dry cat foods as a staple and it is supplemented each night with veggies,fruits,lean meats, insects.
Daily spot cleaning and wheel scrubbing will keep odor manageable with a thorough weekly cleaning.
Hedgies will need baths on occasion and their nails trimmed on a regular basis.
You also need to think about vet care in case your hedgie gets sick. This is not cheap and I recommend finding a vet that has hedgehog experience (as in they currently have clients with hedgehogs, not "I've seen them before") Common vet problems are mites, tumors, cancer,dental problems. I've had all of the above a few times over. Everytime I take a hedgehog into my vet, I spend at least $50 for a wellness exam and I've spent close to $500 in one visit with a hedgehog that was diagnosed with cancer.

These are just some things to think about BEFORE getting one. They have an average lifespan of 4-6 years if cared for properly. What do you plan on doing with the hedgehog once you go to college?? I do hedgehog rescue for the Hedgehog Welfare Society and we will take in a lot of hedgies because students go to college,lose interest, etc. I'm not saying that you shouldn't get a hedgehog, but please take the things I've mentioned into consideration. Being a hedgehog guardian has been one of the most rewarding experiences. But purchasing or adopting an animal is a committment that should be taken seriously
I hear they're hard to extract from your nether regions...just a thought...
Hedgehogs are neat little pets and require alot less maintenance then most pets however in order to make them friendly you might want to spend atleast 1/2 hour a day with them and be sure they always have fresh water and their cage is kept clean. If you can spend time with them and ensure their food water and environment are clean I'd say get one.Remember their quills are sharp so the are not good to cuddle up with but, the are interesting pets. I miss mine.

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