Author Topic: Questions about Hedghogs  (Read 7306 times)

Offline Dakota

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Questions about Hedghogs
« on: December 16, 2005, 08:59:56 PM »
I don't know anything about hedgehogs and would like to learn more.

Are they like rats and do better in pairs or do they prefer to be solitary?

What family do they belong to?  Rodent or Lagamorph, or something else?

Are they herbivores or omnivores?  Is there commercial hedgehog food available in stores or is it special order?  What other stuff do they eat?

Why do people always say they are grouchy?  Are they easily handled?

How big do they get and how big of cage should be provided?

Anything else you might want to add?
« Last Edit: December 16, 2005, 09:11:34 PM by Dakota »
2 cats: Timmy & Borealis
2 rats: Bayley & Hunter
1 rabbit: Rocky (bestest bunny ever!)
1 turtle: Fillmore

Offline dzmeadows

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Re: Questions about Hedghogs
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2005, 09:58:13 PM »
1.) 99% of hedgehogs do just fine singly. Males should not be kept together, and neither should males be kept with females. Many females do well with a roommate, but it is smarter to keep them alone than it is to buy a second female with the specific intention to have them live together. What this often gets you is two cages because the girls didn't get along. :-P
2.)Other. :) They aren't rodents at all, rather insectivores. Not many critters in this family, their relatives are typically considered to be moles and shrews.
3.) They are actually insectivores, which would be basically considered a carnivore. There is commercial hedgehog food available in many pet stores, but in my not so humble opinion, they SUCK! You are better off feeding your hedgehog a good quality cat food, or even better, a mixture of cat foods than feeding them hh food. Matter of fact, one well known and commonly found brand of hedgehog food that starts with Vita and should end with Crap has been linked to the death of a couple hedgehogs who died from severe malnutrition issues.
4.) Because the hedgehogs that most people encounter are typically from pet stores, and pet store hedgehogs frequently ARE grouchy. Some breeders breed carefully for temperament, and then socialize the babies from the earliest safe time, and typically the hedgehogs from these situations are not very grumpy. A grumpy hedgehog is not very easy to handle, they are covered in pointy quills that can be very uncomfortable if your hedgehog is balled up and huffing and clicking in your hands. A friendly hedgehog is not at all hard to handle, they tend to lay their quills down smooth so you aren't coming in contact with the points.
5.)Typical hedgehog size is from 1-2 lbs, about the size of a young guinea pig. As with most animals, the bigger the cage space the better. 4-6 square foot of space is a good range, with the size being based on flat surface, not on multiple levels. Some hedgehogs will make use of the upper levels, but hedgehogs aren't too good at realizing it isn't a good idea to do cannonballs off the top level if they want down, so levels aren't typically preferred.
6.) Um.... I do better when asked specific questions. ;)
Becca

Offline Hedgehaven

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Re: Questions about Hedghogs
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2005, 10:15:11 PM »
Female hedgehogs can be kept in pairs or groups, but they don't mind living alone. Males must live alone 99.9% of the time. They cannot even cohabitate with a female full time. They are very solitary.

Hedgehogs are in the Order insectivora and the Family Erinaceidae and Genus Atelerix or Erinaceus, depending on which hedgehog we're talking about. Pet hedgehogs are Atelerix albiventris, or White Bellied Hedgehogs. They've been crossed with Atelerix algirus, the Algerian Hedgehog, to produce the pets we have in the US and Canada.

There are one or two good commercial foods. Most people feed a mix of natural high quality cat kibbles, fresh fruits, veggies and plain cooked meat.

Hedgehogs need to be taken on their own terms. To some that may mean they are grouchy. To me, they are cute quillballs of personality. Some are more handlable than others.

They can be anywhere from 200 grams to 1000 grams in size with the average ending up between 300 and 600 grams. A 4-6 square foot cage with a solid floor should be provided. Unless there is ample free range time, a solid surface wheel should be in the cage.

Wow. Anything else? There are VOLUMES I'd love to add. :) Is there enough bandwidth?

Hedgehogs are very easy to care for but have very specific needs. They have a narrow temperature comfort range. They cannot get cold or chilled. They must be kept over 72 degrees (although there are a few exceptional hedgehogs who don't mind 68-70 degrees) or they will hibernate. They don't have the brown body fat of the European hedgehog and cannot be allowed to hibernate or they'll die.

they are nocturnal but adapt well to other schedules. They can go from zero to under the couch in 1.2 seconds. They snuffle and hiss and pop and peep and click and snork and chuckle and make all kinds of noises.

They lose baby quills between 8 and 12 weeks and again at six months and again at a year and become grumpy little quillballs during that time. They change color as they age. They like to play with toys and run around with tp tubes on their heads. They don't have rodent feet and can't walk on bars.

They don't smell but make HUGE poops for such small animals. And they can poop in the oddest places.

Offline Dakota

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Re: Questions about Hedghogs
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2005, 12:58:38 PM »
Thanks guys, I appreciate all the help.  I've been doing some reading on my own and I read that they eat bugs...so I don't think hedgehogs are the pet for me...*yuck*.  Thanks anyway, though :)
2 cats: Timmy & Borealis
2 rats: Bayley & Hunter
1 rabbit: Rocky (bestest bunny ever!)
1 turtle: Fillmore

Offline Hedgehaven

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Re: Questions about Hedghogs
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2005, 07:51:06 PM »
Bugs are not an essential part of the hedgehog diet. In captivity, the bugs that we have access too are too high in fat and are best reserved as snacks. The Flash and Thelma Memorial Hedgehog Rescue in Divide, CO never feeds bugs.

Personally, I do but I understand bugophobia. FYI, bugs come canned and freeze dried if it's just live bugs that bother you.

Offline Dakota

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Re: Questions about Hedghogs
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2005, 09:21:16 PM »
Cool, thanks Hedgehaven...I'll keep that in mind :)
2 cats: Timmy & Borealis
2 rats: Bayley & Hunter
1 rabbit: Rocky (bestest bunny ever!)
1 turtle: Fillmore

Offline DSGirl4774

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Re: Questions about Hedghogs
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2006, 11:38:03 PM »
I was kind of wondering about hedgehogs to. Sorry to kind of take over the thread a little bit but when you are taking care of them is it like taking care of a rabbit or....  What size cage or whatever do they need  and how often do you need to clean the cage? I heard that they smell ALOT....is that true? Do hedgies make good pets?  I need to do alot of research on hedgies because I am thinking about getting one as a new pet. Any help will be appreciated. And once again sorry about kind of taking over the thread.

*EDITED to change some things
« Last Edit: January 12, 2006, 12:03:46 AM by DSGirl4774 »
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Offline dzmeadows

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Re: Questions about Hedghogs
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2006, 12:02:21 AM »
Asking questions is definately a great way to start. :)
I don't really think that hedgehogs are exactly like ANY other small mammal. They are primarily nocturnal, so they are ready to get up about the time that most people are ready to start heading to bed. They are insectivores, and I believe the only insectivores commonly kept as pets.
Cage space should be... um... as big as you can handle. I would say 3-4 square feet is a decent basic, 6-8 is marvelous. 6 square feet is a 3 foot x 2 foot cage, so really not THAT huge. You need to make sure that the cage space is flat, hedgheogs typically don't do so well on multiple level cages.
One of my favorite sites to send people to for hedgehog information is www.hedgehogworld.com It has lots of articles by several different breeders and owners (including myself) on most aspects of hedgehog care, and more articles are frequently being added.
Becca

Offline Dakota

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Re: Questions about Hedghogs
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2006, 05:53:11 PM »
The cage I was thinking about using is an extra large SuperPet My First Home, which is 40 in by 17 in, would that be appropriate for a hedgie?
2 cats: Timmy & Borealis
2 rats: Bayley & Hunter
1 rabbit: Rocky (bestest bunny ever!)
1 turtle: Fillmore

Offline dzmeadows

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Re: Questions about Hedghogs
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2006, 06:31:46 PM »
Yep! Those are great. I have a couple of those here. I don't use them all the time, because I mostly use cages that I custom built to suit my mood, but they are still very nice.
Becca

Offline babygoth

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Re: Questions about Hedghogs
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2006, 10:43:24 PM »
http://www.hedgehogworld.com

I keep my hedgehog in a rubbermaid box because it was cheaper than a wire cage, easier to clean, and Guinevere likes it all the same.  Although I think it holds the smell. lol  I feed her various foods atm since she's staying with a friend of mine who has lost her hedgehog food while moving.  heh  She LOVES ProPlan kitty food.
Hedgehogs aren't social like rats so you don't have to worry about getting them a friend because I don't believe they particularly care if they have someone to be lazy with  :BlueDumboSmile:

Offline NutKitty

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Re: Questions about Hedghogs
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2006, 04:59:18 PM »
I'm thinking of converting my old martin's cage into a hedgie home.  I'm not sure yet though, since it has four levels.  What do you guys think?

Well, two main levels, with two little half levels?  This is the same cage, except that mine has an extra one at the top, like the bottom of this one has:



I think it'd make a great home since they'd have so much room...  I could put carefresh at the bottom for digging in, and the uppers could all have fabric.  I'd have to make it level though, no holes for them to walk on.

I got two females reserved that I'd like to house together, so if they didn't get along I could make this cage into two seperate ones - or I could even take out the extra little levels altogether - or lower them.  A lot of options!   ;D

Offline menagerie

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Re: Questions about Hedghogs
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2006, 05:19:45 PM »
Hedgehogs have a tendency to walk off ledges. So the half shelves wouldn't really work.
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Offline DazzleMe

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Re: Questions about Hedghogs
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2006, 05:24:28 PM »
Exactly. If you were going to use this cage with the half ledge and ladders then you'd have to modify them with 'railing' so that the hedgie doesn't walk off. Definitely a hassle, but it might be doable. 

I remember when I had two rats and a hedgehog I would use the top level for the hedgie and the bottom level for the rats. I made it so that neither animal could interact/hurt the other. It worked out wonderfully :)

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Offline NutKitty

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Re: Questions about Hedghogs
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2006, 05:35:16 PM »
Yes, I know...  I've owned hedgies before - that's why I said I didn't know about using the cage coz of the levels.  They are definately clumsy!  :)

Hmmm...  I guess I'd need railing for the main ramp in the middle between the levels though, is that what you meant? 

I have to take the cage apart anyway for our trip, so adding anything won't be a huge hassle.   ;D