Are Hedgehogs a good choice as a pet?

Are Hedgehogs a good choice as a pet?

The African Pygmy Hedgehog seems to be very popular these days...

But is it a good choice as a house pet for your family?

There is quite a bit going around about these cute little critters, so we decided to look into the question of their suitability as pets.

They are reported to be Ecologically Friendly as long as they are domestically bred. Also, keeping them as pets appears to be a healthy relationship between animal and human (it's not cruel to keep them in your home).

There are a few things to be aware of though since they are harder to befriend and come with a few more hazards than more conventional small pets. 

Hedgehogs are extremely shy!

When you see those adorable photos like the one above, where they are all curled up, they are most likely in their defense mode and if they become frightened their quills become rigid.  You can get pricked! The good news is that their quills are not barbed, and don't detach easily like a Porcupine's.

If you decide to bring a Hedgehog into your home it's important for you to be prepared to take it slow, and allow plenty of time for their trust in you to develop.

Also, keep in mind that they are nocturnal animals, so play time will be limited!

We found more tips on raising Hedgehogs in this article at the Spruce.

Yes, those are some pretty sharp little teeth, but you're more likely to sustain a prick than a bite!

African Pygmy Hedgehog

There are also health risks to consider. 

Hedgehogs can harbor Salmonella without symptoms (always wash your hands after handling a Hedgehog, and don't kiss them)!

It's rare, but they've also been diagnosed with foot and mouth disease and internal parasites. Both are hazardous to humans!

You can find more about the risks at the EcoHealth Alliance

As with any pet choice, it's important to research the pros and cons to learn if the pet is a good choice for your family! If you do decide on a Hedgehog as a pet, Santa Rosa Veterinary Hospital is ready to assist with an initial assessment and lifelong care for your new pet!

Keep informed on Pet Topics like this, and more!

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