The African pygmy hedgehog is the most often type of hedgehog to be domesticated and kept as a pet by many consumers. It is a hybrid of two African species. A Hedgehog kept as a pet requires dedication and patience. This may be more than some people are willing to provide. Providing the correct environment and diet will help to ensure that your hedgehog provides you and your family with a great deal of enjoyment.
What do hedgehogs eat?
Hedgehogs primarily enjoy eating various types of insects however they are willing to taste and try other types of food. All hedgehog owners should ensure that their pet does not become overweight. Avoid feeding your hedgehog too much food. While they are primarily insectivores they will also sometimes eat fruit, vegetables, eggs and even meat. Hedgehog owners sometimes use high-quality cat kibble to provide a staple diet which also includes a variety of vitamins and minerals. The kibble you choose should have no more than 15% fat and somewhere around 30 to 35% protein.
Kibble can be supplemented with a variety of foods such as chopped cooked skinless chicken, fruit and vegetables, mashed peas or even sweet potatoes or applesauce. A chopped hard-boiled egg could also be served. Mealworms, Crickets and wax worms can also be used as an added treat to the hedgehogs diet.
Avoid feeding wild insects to your pet since they may contain insecticides and disease that could affect your pet. Never feed a hedgehog nuts, seeds dried fruit, raw meat, uncooked vegetables, hard foods, avocado, grapes, dairy products, alcohol, bread, celery, onion, junk food, and anything that could be considered acidic or very sweet like honey.
Can you keep a hedgehog as a pet legally in your area?
The hedgehog is considered an exotic pet. Many countries consider it illegal to keep a hedgehog while others may require a special permit. Make sure that you know what the legal requirements are before you bring your pet hedgehog home.
Is your hedgehog healthy?
Before purchasing a hedgehog to bring home as a pet, make sure your pet is in fact healthy. It should have clear eyes, clean quills, healthy looking skin, no scabs or injuries, be alert, droppings are firm and no evidence of diarrhea and a moderate weight.
Adapting your pet to its new home
It may take as long as a month for your pet to adapt to its new home. You can help it become comfortable in its new home by holding your hedgehog every day to let it get used to you. You may want to give it a treat by hand to help it get used to your smell.
You will also need a large cage that is fully enclosed. Wood shavings are best for the bottom of the cage. Avoid cedar since cedar can cause cancer in your hedgehog. The cage should also have an area where the hedgehog can hide during the day. The most active time is early evening which is when you should provide food for them. The litter pan should be cleaned every day. You can use non-clumping kitty litter, or just a paper towel.