One pet that has been enjoying a boost in popularity recently is the hedgehog. These prickly little guys are absolutely adorable, and make really fun pets! Of course, Hedgie does have some specific needs, so you’ll need to do some research before adopting him. A New Albany, IN vet discusses hedgehog care below.
Hedgehogs are insectivores by nature. Feed your pint-sized pal a good hedgehog food, which you can mix with low-fat cat food. For treats, you can offer things like crickets, mealworms, and earthworms; boiled eggs; and vet-approved fruits and veggies. Hedgehogs have sensitive stomachs, so go slowly when introducing anything new. Avoid offering seeds, nuts, chocolate, raw meat or veggies, dried fruits or veggies, bread, garlic, onions, honey, tomatoes, or junk food. Ask your vet for more information.
Your tiny buddy will need a comfy home. You can use a large terrarium, a Guinea pig cage, or, if you have the room, a kiddie pool. Just choose something with good ventilation and a solid bottom. You’ll need to add a suitable substrate, such as shredded paper. Hedgie will also need some accessories, such as solid exercise wheels, igloos, and, of course, lots of toys. (Tip: when buying your pet’s playthings, choose brightly-colored ones.)
Hedgehogs should be kept in a spot that isn’t cold or drafty, and isn’t in direct sunlight. Hedgie’s room should stay at a comfortable temperature, somewhere between 70 and 80F.
Hedgie will need his claws clipped. Although hedgehogs are typically pretty clean, you can bathe the little guy. Use warm water and baby shampoo or unscented hand soap.
You’ll need to bring your prickly friend to the vet regularly for exams. Some of the issues we often see in hedgehogs include cancer, dental problems, and digestive issues. Obesity is also not uncommon. Ask your vet for more information.
Hedgehogs tend to be quite timid. Your quilled pal may be scared of you at first, and may curl up into a little ball when picked up. When this happens, just hold Hedgie until he relaxes. Talking to your adorable buddy, playing with him, offering treats, and just taking good care of him will help him feel safe. Just be patient: it may take time for him to warm up to you.
Do you have questions about hedgehog care? Contact us, your New Albany, IN animal clinic!