African Pygmy Hedgehogs
If you are considering buying an African Pygmy Hedgehog as a pet, please read our advice first. They do not make good pets and we are finding increasing numbers of people contacting us to take them in as they cannot cope with looking after them. Worse than that is when people abandon them into the wild thinking they will survive - THEY WILL NOT!
Pygmy hedgehogs are exotic mammals and need specialist care. They may appear cute and there are lots of pictures and websites explaining what good pets they are, but this is not always the case.
Here are a few things to consider before buying:
Hedgehogs are solitary animals and so must be kept on their own. If placed in a cage with another, they may fight to the death and this should NEVER be done.
Hedgehogs can naturally travel up to 5 miles a night and so you will need to allow plenty of exercise time. The hedgehog will need to be able to explore and forage each night and will need a larger hog proof area, seperate to their cage, in which to do this. NEVER keep the hog in a cage alone.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals and so you will not see them during the day. NEVER force an animal out of its cage during the day to see it or play with it. This is not their natural activity and the hog will become angry and upset. The hedgehog will come out at night only and will need to be placed in its hog proof 'run' area to exercise.
Hedgehogs may look cute, but they are extremely smelly and messy animals. They naturally poo as they are moving around and so be prepared to clean up their mess both in their cage and their larger run area. For this reason, a carpeted area would not be suitable for a run as their urine and faeces would soak into it. Their cage will also need to be cleaned out thoroughly on a daily basis as they make an incredibly large amount of mess each night for their size.
Their cage will need to be big enough for them to happily exist in and allow them to achieve their 5 miles of exercise a night. This may be in the form of a wheel. The MINIMUM size for a cage would be 40 inches x 15 inches - any smaller than this would be cruel.
Please also consider the noise a hedgehog makes. They do not like being handled as most wild animals do not. They may hiss and huff at you when you go near them and can be very noisy at night when foraging around, sometimes keeping their owners awake.
Pygmy hedgehogs need specialist care and a lot of vets do not have the experience to treat them. They also live on a specialist diet which can be quite expensive. These hedgehogs are NOT used to the wild and if they are released into the wild when an owner gets bored of them, they WILL die.
Unfortunately we are receiving more and more calls from owners who are fed up of the mess and smell these animals make and who did not realise they would be asleep throughout the day. Please consider our advice very carefully if you are considering buying a hedgehog as a pet and contact us if you need any more advice.