10 reasons to get a hedgehog

1. You think hedgehogs are cute.

2. You are a night owl. Hedgehogs are nocturnal. While you can teach hedgehogs to wake up during the day to romp and play, it is best to mostly stick to their natural nocturnal schedule and play with them in the evening.

3. You like tactile experiences. Hedgehogs have fur on their belly but the place you will most often pet your hedgehog is on their back where their quills are. When hedgehogs are relaxed and their quills are laid flat, they feel textured —like a beard only thicker and rougher. You will sometimes be poked.

4. You are more of an introvert than an extrovert. Sometimes I think hedgehogs chose to be nocturnal because they are such introverts. Your hedgehog needs plenty of time alone. They get that overnight. They also need plenty of time just hanging out with their primary owner. However, you and your hedgehog must be prepared to be social if you go out and about together. Hedgehogs attract a lot of attention from strangers. Read Huff, Huff Away: Socializing your Hedgehog.

5. You like a challenge. Hedgehogs are not naturally affectionate. You need to teach your hedgehog you can be trusted and this journey comes with dealing with your hedgehog’s sometimes apparent rejection of you. Hedgehogs need to be loved through their scared huffs and puffs.

6. You like to snuggle. Hedgehogs mostly like to burrow in “snuggle sacks” while they are out of their cage. Hedgehogs also like to explore around the house and outside but you will notice they tend to wander to any dark corner they can find. They are digging, burrowing creatures. They like to nap and burrow in blankets and their owner’s clothes. You can put them in your pocket.

7. You enjoy learning. Taking care of an exotic pet is a learning curve. You’ll need to do lots of reading on what hedgehogs need for their care and find a veterinarian who is able to care for hedgehogs if your hedgehog has any medical issues.

8. You can handle a mess. Hedgehogs can be litter box trained. However, it is rarely 100 percent. Hedgehogs can poop on their owners while they are out and about or around their cage. They often poop while they are on their exercise wheel. They also poop a lot. This mess needs to be cleaned. Often.

9. You don’t have a big pet budget. While hedgehog babies can cost a couple hundred dollars, the cost to care for a hedgehog is relatively low compared to larger pets. Pet hedgehogs generally eat cat food, mealworms and fruit. They don’t eat a lot. (I’m not sure where all that poop comes from!) Their litter boxes are small and one large bag of litter can last a long time.

10. You can let go. Pet hedgehogs have a lifespan of about four years. You should be prepared to have lots of fun and pour love on your hedgehog during that time knowing that your memories can expand beyond the time you had with your hedgehog.

If your heart skips at most of these 10 reasons to get a hedgehog, you might just be a hedgehog owner.  If you felt stressed or overwhelmed reading them, it might be better to live vicariously through a hedgehog on Instagram or a stone hedgehog in your garden. That’s totally cool, too.

 

Sara Marie Moore is a journalist and happy hedgehog owner. She had her first hedgehog in fourth grade long before the current hedgehog craze. 

 

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