Here we can see, “How to Care for a African Pygmy Hedgehogt as a Pet”
Hedgehogs have smooth spines on their coats that resemble brush bristles. These species are more approachable and less harmful as pets than inflexible porcupine quills, which are sharp.
The African pygmy hedgehog, also known as the four-toed hedgehog, is the smallest of the hedgehog species and is sometimes offered as a pet. These creatures come in a variety of colours and patterns, such as salt and pepper, snowflake, and cinnamon. Hedgehogs are excellent pets since they are quiet, active, and interesting, but they demand a lot of attention. They require a large, tidy habitat as well as high-quality hedgehog food. Furthermore, because they are nocturnal animals, you will need to feed and care for them in the nighttime.
African Pygmy Hedgehog Behavior and Temperament
African pygmy hedgehogs are a suitable pet for someone who works 9 to 5. They require moderate care and are usually active at night. They are lonely and silent creatures who do not require human interaction or the company of other creatures. They require some time to adjust to humans, but with constant, careful treatment and interaction, they can be tamed. Hedgehogs are not known to bite and rely on their spines for protection.
Hedgehogs have an unusual “self-anointing” habit that can be startling to see for the first time. Hedgehogs froth at the mouth and spread their saliva all over their backs when they are exposed to a new aroma or food. Nobody knows why hedgehogs do this, and some hedgehogs do it more than others. But it’s nothing to be concerned about. According to experts, it could be a form of stress relief or a type of protection.
African pygmy hedgehogs measure 6 to 8 inches in length and weigh around a pound on average. In two to eight months, they reach maturity.
Hedgehogs prefer to be kept alone, and if kept with other hedgehogs, they may fight. They require space to explore, even on their own. A minimum of 2 feet wide and 4 feet long enclosure is required, though more is always ideal. Choose housing, such as an aquarium, that has a smooth floor and walls. To allow for air movement and security, make sure it has a tight-fitting mesh lid. A wire-walled enclosure is also an option, but the wire spacing should be one inch or less to prevent the hedgehog from squeezing through. Use caution when using an enclosure with wire floors, as this may cause injury to their feet.
The hedgehog’s home should be in a calm, dimly lighted, and warm environment (around 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit). Include a box or other hiding place for the hedgehog to rest and feel protected. Hedgehogs enjoy playing with toys, such as little balls, and tunnels are a favourite of theirs. Hedgehogs, unlike some tiny animals, do not use litter pans, so expect a lot of cleaning.
Specific Substrate Requirements
Aspen shavings and recycled paper alternatives, as well as kiln-dried pine, are popular bedding choices. Small mammals can be poisoned by the aroma of cedar shavings. Instead of loose bedding, some African pygmy hedgehog owners line their cages with indoor-outdoor carpeting or fleece cloth. These alternatives are more environmentally friendly because they can be washed and reused. If you go for carpeting or fabric, make sure to trim any stray threads that could tangle your hedgehog, and have a spare piece on hand for simple cleaning and replacement.
What Do African Pygmy Hedgehogs Eat & Drink?
Hedgehogs are mostly insect-eating mammals in the wild. Pet hedgehogs used to be fed high-quality cat food that was supplemented with mealworms, crickets, and other delicacies. Nowadays, the pet industry supplies high-quality hedgehog food with all of the nutrition your prickly companion needs. If you’re going to feed it cat food, make sure it’s grain-free.
Because hedgehogs are nocturnal creatures, it’s best to feed them at night when they’re most active. Use a small bowl with low sides for its commercial diet. Remove any leftover food from the previous day and replace it with a new day’s worth of food in the bowl. Provide roughly 1 teaspoon of chopped fruits and vegetables every day in a separate small bowl in addition to the staple diet. It’s better to do this early in the evening so that you may remove leftovers before the fresh food spoils. Consult your veterinarian for suggestions on what fruits and vegetables to give.
You can also feed insects such as mealworms and crickets a few times a week. Hedgehogs like to chase after live insects because it makes them feel like they are eating in the wild and keeps their minds active.
Water might be provided in a water bottle or a small dish. Some hedgehogs may require both until they have become accustomed to using the bottle. Whatever you select, make sure to replace your hedgehog’s water every day (or more frequently if it becomes unclean) and check the bottle tip on a regular basis.
Typical Health Issues
The following are some of the most prevalent health issues that plague hedgehogs:
- Obesity (usually from an incorrect diet)
- Dental disease
- Heart disease
- Eye injuries
- Mange and skin infections (typically from unsanitary conditions)
- Wobbly hedgehog syndrome (a progressive condition that causes paralysis)
Training Your African Pygmy Hedgehog
Hand-taming is the most popular method of training hedgehogs. When you try to pick up this perceptive creature, it may coil into a prickly ball. Allow your hedgehog to unroll itself and begin exploring on its own time by cradling the ball in your hand. When your hedgehog learns that you are not a threat, it will become more active and flatten its spines.
African pygmies like physical activity and require it to avoid obesity and other health problems. They travel huge distances in the wild on a daily basis. To keep your hedgehog busy, provide an exercise wheel. Instead of bars, which can cause harm, the wheel should be open-sided and have a solid surface. It should have a diameter of at least 10 inches to provide your hedgehog with lots of room to move about in.
In most cases, a hedgehog will groom itself. It may, however, require nail trimming on a regular basis as it is unlikely to wear down its nails as quickly in captivity as it would in the wild. Many owners can cut their hedgehog’s nails on their own after a vet tells them how. During this procedure, it’s critical to keep your hedgehog quiet and immobile.
Costs of Maintenance
Hedgehog necessities such as a good diet and fresh bedding should be purchased on a regular basis. Treats and toys are examples of additional charges that you may incur. Remember to account for the expense of a yearly veterinary exam as well as emergency vet visits. Depending on the type of food and bedding you choose, you may expect to pay between $20 and $40 each month on average.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Having an African Pygmy Hedgehog as a Pet
Hedgehogs are not particularly cuddly creatures, and they are most active at night. So they’re probably not the best choice for someone looking for a daytime companion. They are, however, peaceful animals who do not require a lot of attention and do not take up a lot of space. They can also be fascinating and amusing companions.
Small Exotic Pets that are Similar to the African Pygmy Hedgehog
If you’re looking for a hedgehog to keep as a pet, go to:
- Prairie dogs
- Short-tailed opossum
Otherwise, look into other exotic animals as potential pets.
Adopting or Buying an African Pygmy Hedgehog
Instead of purchasing your spiny buddy from a pet store where you have no idea where it came from, seek out a reputable breeder or rescue organisation. Hedgehog rescue groups can be found in numerous regions. You might also contact a local exotic animal veterinarian to ask if they know anyone looking for a pet. The average cost is $100 to $300, but this might vary greatly. Hedgehogs that are young and hand-tamed, as well as those with desirable colouring, command higher prices.
There is no difference between buying a hedgehog from a breeder and adopting one, though a breeder may be able to provide you with a younger animal. A skilled breeder will look for sound temperament in their young hedgehogs and handle them on a frequent basis. Their hedgehogs should have healthy skin, quills, and hair, as well as bright eyes and clear nostrils.
Flaky skin, missing spines, or fluid around the eyes or nose should all be avoided. Also, check to make sure the hedgehog is in good health—not too thin, nor too heavy—and that there are no signs of diarrhoea. A veterinarian can direct you to a reputable breeder. Simply house your hedgehogs separately to avoid accidently becoming a breeder.
Do hedgehogs make good pets for kids?
Because hedgehogs enjoy a calm environment and are nocturnal, they are unlikely to make suitable pets for young children. They might, however, appreciate connecting with older youngsters who are calm.
Do hedgehogs like to be held?
Hedgehogs aren’t fond of being cuddled, although they can learn to trust humans and accept being handled.
Are hedgehogs hard to take care of?
Hedgehogs require just moderate upkeep, primarily in terms of keeping their environment clean. Their feeding, on the other hand, is very simple, and they don’t require a lot of attention.
Are African pygmy hedgehogs high maintenance?
They’re low-maintenance, as we mentioned previously! Many owners feed their hedgehogs dry and moist cat food because it contains the essential nutritional characteristics they require. It’s also easier to come by than hedgehog food at your local pet store.
Is it cruel to keep a pygmy hedgehog?
Because certain hedgehogs transmit the very dangerous foot-and-mouth disease, several areas have outlawed the practise of raising them. Their sharp spines can cut into skin and cause infections. They can also spread salmonella bacteria and viral and fungal diseases.
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