Hedgehogs are simply adorable and very hard to say no to but there are pros and cons to having a hedgehog as a pet and you should consider both sides of the coin before you commit to getting a hedgehog. Being prepared for bringing any new pet into the home will insure a successful relationship between you and your pet.
Understanding what you are getting into when you choose a pet also helps you to prepare yourself mentally for the challenges that lie ahead. Considering when a hedgehog is right for you and your living situation can be as easy as taking a look at the pros and the cons and weighing in whether one sid outweighs the other for you.
Pros of Hedgehogs As Pets
The pros of owning a hedgehog are plentiful. They are great pets if you live in a smaller space because they are small and are primarily cage animals.
1. Low Time Requirements Are a Plus
They do not need a lot of interaction so if you work or go to school full time it is fine if they are left on their own for long periods through out the day. You do not have to walk a hedgehog like you do a dog!
2. Easy to Exercise
Just having an exercise wheel around is enough exercise for your hedgehog. They are pretty quiet animals so if you have neighbors that like peace and quiet they sure beat a barking dog. They are relatively easy to care for and do not require a lot of specialized attention.
Cons of Hedgehogs As Pets
The cons of owning a hedgehog can be exactly what makes them attractive to own. They do not need a lot of interaction with humans which can be a plus if you are busy BUT they can also not handle a lot of interaction with humans.
1. Too Much Noise is a No No
They get stressed easy so if you have a busy noisy household this is probably not the best pet for you. They should not be handled by small children because they are fragile and can get hurt if they are dropped.
2. Poop Everywhere
They do not have to be walked but they do have to be let out of their cage to forage around which is one of their natural instincts but when you do let them out they do poop where they feel like it so you will be picking up their poop.
3. Quilling Can Be a Pain
They also go through many stages of quilling where new quills come in and it can be uncomfortable for them and no picnic for you to handle them. New quills are sharper than old quills so you may want to invest in a pair of heavy gloves if you choose to get a hedgehog.
4. Trouble Getting Healthcare
They do need health care like any other animal so you will need to find a vet that specializes in exotic animals. It can be hard to find a vet that can see a hedgehog so you may have to travel to find one.
If you want your pet to interact with you regularly, than the hedgehog is not that pet. They like alone time. They are not social creatures as a matter of fact you can not even cage them together or let them live near each other especially if they are males or they will fight to the death.
They may have a smell to them, so if you are nose sensitive you should consider that there will be some odor. You can keep the odor down by cleaning up the cage diligently
You Have To Decide
Ultimately the choice is yours but you do want to be sure that you choose a pet that not only fits your lifestyle but that will fit nicely in your household. Hedgehogs are ideal pets for apartment living but they are not ideal pets for apartment living with really little children. If you are set on getting a hedgehog than be sure that you get all the equipment that you will need first to insure an easy transition for both you and the hedgehog.
You will need an enclosure, some sort of substrate for the enclosure like wood chips. An exercise wheel. A food source, a water bowl and some patience. You have to handle the hedgie at least for one hour a day to keep them tame.
Hedgehogs are exotic mammals. They are not your average domestic animal. They need to be able to live in an enclosure that is large enough for them to move around. They need to have a proper diet (fish and milk are two big no no’s) and they need interaction if they are going to stay tame and let you handle them.
Before you get any pet it is important to do the research and be prepared to meet the needs of the animal.