Hedgehogs are spiny mammals that are native to parts of Europe as well as Asia, Africa, and New Zealand. They are not native to North America, therefore it is illegal to own hedgehogs as pets in many states. If you are interested in raising these interesting animals, you should first find hedgehog information related to your area. But while you are learning about rules and regulations regarding these animals, here is some more hedgehog information you should know.
The backs of hedgehogs are covered with hollow hairs called spines. They are not barbed and do not come out easily unless the animal is sick or under stress. Nor do the spines get in the way when hedgehogs roll into tight balls. They sometimes do this to warn away other aggressive animals in the wild. The spines will not pierce human skin, so it is possible to hold and pet a domesticated hedgehog.
Hedgehog information related to domesticated animals is a little different than that pertaining to the wild varieties. While wild hedgehogs are mainly nocturnal, domesticated animals are more active during the day. This makes them particularly suited to life as a pet. Domesticated hedgehogs do not hibernate, so they are active all year around. While wild hedgehogs eat mainly insects, pet hedgehogs can thrive on cat or ferret food.
Occasionally supplementing that food with insects is a good idea and a welcome treat.
These little mammals are great at pest control, which is welcome information for anyone with a garden. Let loose to roam the garden, a hedgehog can quickly clear it of bugs. But care should be taken that pets do not ingest any type of insecticide. This can make them sick or even kill them. This is true of hedgehogs that are kept indoors all the time. They willingly eat ants or cockroaches, but no insecticides should be used indoors if they are allowed to roam freely.
Hedgehog information should be sought regarding diseases in these animals before one considers adopting one. Many human diseases can infect these little mammals. These include cancers, liver diseases, and heart ailments. Of course, those are not contagious diseases. But fungal skin infections are contagious and hedgehogs can transmit them to their human family members…and vice-versa.
Pet hedgehogs are usually small-less than nine inches in length. They live from three to eight years, which is not as long as most dogs and cats. Their small size makes them easy to carry and they don’t usually mind being handled.
More hedgehog information can be found at local pet stores or through veterinarians. There is a wealth of information about hedgehogs on the internet as well. Generally speaking, these small mammals make wonderful household pets, especially in homes where dogs or cats may not be allowed.