I have been wanting to introduce you to my spike baby for a while. Hannibal is an African Pygmy Hedgehog that my husband brought home for my birthday. After doing research online about how to take care of hedgehogs when we first got him and comparing it to my experience with Hannibal I realized that most people that write articles about them leave out a lot, and that is the stuff I will share today.
First, Hedgehogs are nocturnal. It is pretty well known but in case you did not know they sleep all day. From my experience with Hannie, he sleeps from about 7:00am until 8:00pm and does wake up to eat for a few minutes around noon.
Second, they love to run. Sonic is a pretty accurate representation because all night is just constant running on the wheel. If you are a light sleeper I recommend putting their cage in the living room or a room far from your bedroom because the wheel can get pretty noisy. Also, Do not get a cheap wheel. We got a cute wheel from a pet store and he constantly ran the wheel off of its stand. The one we have now is specifically made for hedgehogs and is working so much better.
Third, hedgehogs poop so much. This sounds like a weird thing to mention but, they only eat about a tablespoon of food per day but they constantly poop and it is huge. Some of it looks like there is no way it came out of his tiny cute body. They also do not stop running to go and make a huge mess of the wheel. My tip for that is to clean out their cage once or twice a week and to let them run around in water to get it off of their feet because it cakes on them.
Those are the main weird things that I have noticed but here are some little tips.
- They need to be warm so get a heating pad and keep the room they are in around 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Use an aquarium. It is easier to clean and they won’t be able to escape (tiny Houdinis).
- Use fleece instead of traditional bedding so you can just stick it in the laundry and its not as gross.
- They love to dig so get fabric scraps and tunnels for them to play in.
- You need to play with them EVERY day for at least 30 minutes so they don’t get sad.
- They go through periods called quilling where they lose their baby quills and their skin is irritated. Hannibal is finishing this right now and he has been very grumpy for the last few weeks. Do not be surprised by bald spots.
- Their skin is dry and they are very sensitive to water and can easily drown. Only give a full bath once a month and put coconut oil on them to moisturize.
- They do not see very well and rely on scent a lot. Make sure your hands do not smell like food or you will get bit.
I don’t want this to discourage you from having a hedgehog as a pet because they really are the best and very loving. This seems like a lot but when you get in the habit it really isn’t. All of this work and weird stuff that these amazing creatures do is worth it.
If you already have one let me know if I missed something or if you have had different experiences.
Thank you so much for reading
See you Tuesday