Whether it be a video of one floating in a sink, or a picture of one raising it’s arm up and cheering you on, you’ve come to be familiar to those prickly little pets that are taking over the internet.
What are they? Hedgehogs of course.
Do you want one? Of course! Look at it’s little face!
But before you head to your local pet store in search of these cute little balls of prickles, here are some things you may want to know. (Cute hedgehog pics included!)
Meet Theodore, also referred to as Theo (and @theodore_thehedgehog on instagram.) This little dude is my 6 month old African Pygmy hedgehog, who absolutely loves any type of melon and meal worms. He’s a cute little guy who loves to chill on my shoulder and fall asleep in pillow cases. Before owning him, I did a lot of research… I mean a lot. I would stay up until 3am reading hedgehog information and taking notes on what to do and what not to do. I even turned down the opportunity to get a hedgehog because I was worried that I wasn’t prepared enough and because of that, the researching got more and more frequent. A day after my 17th birthday party, my mom decided to bring me out and surprise me with this little dude. I was the happiest gal alive, I can tell you that.
It’s been a few months since I got him which means it has been a few months of getting to know him and learning things that I never learned from reading hedgehog threads and through yahoo answers. Here are a few things to know about these cute little balls of spikes:
- They are nocturnal. That means that they are awake during the night and asleep during the day. That being said, I think hedgehogs wouldn’t be great pets for super young children because of the barrier that would be created between the hedgehog and the kid due to bedtimes. If you are more of a night owl, you’ll enjoy these little pals more because you get to actually see them run around on their wheels and play like crazy. Holding a hedgehog during the day is totally an option, but they won’t be as active as they would be if they were handled at night. Also, if you are a light sleeper, I’d recommend putting the hedgehog in another room at night because if you have a squeaky wheel and an active hedgehog… You can put that together.
- They have different personalities. No two hedgehogs share the same personality. Theodore used to be quite grumpy when I first got him, but since then he has opened up a bit and it more open to being held, pet and even just laying with me when I watch TV. When choosing a hedgehog, remember to choose one that likes to be held and likes you. Keep in mind that the hedgie might be grumpy for the first few days, as the change in location and smells does have a toll on them. If you do have a grumpy hedgehog, try having 20 minutes of time for them. Whether it be playing with them, hand feeding them meal worms, or just sitting with them when you watch TV, the time that you put in to hang out with them does definitely pay off.
- Quilling. This is when the baby hedgehog sheds it’s old quills and grows out new ones. Theodore absolutely hated interaction when he was quilling. That’s probably because having quills fall out then growing in new ones is pretty darn painful. To be honest, having a hedgehog quilling is painful for you too. Their quills somehow end up everywhere. Next thing you know, you have 3 quills stuck in your foot. Let’s just say, it’s definitely worse than stepping on a Lego piece.
- They’re totally open to trying different foods. Hedgehogs can eat a bunch of things as snacks. As previously mentioned, Theodore loves any type of melon, and he also loves boiled eggs and bananas. I’ve tried feeding him peppers, cilantro and strawberries, but he doesn’t care for them much. Hedgehogs can eat a range of things but before feeding your hedgie one, please make sure it is appropriate for them to eat! Things that are too acidic or contain dairy should not be fed to hedgehogs. It doesn’t hurt to google before you feed them.
- They don’t really like rolling up, against popular belief. When I first got Theodore, I would try and get him to ball up like the hedgehogs in all the pictures. He’s definitely against it, because he hates balling up in general. After reading numerous threads, I realized that Theo wasn’t the only hedgehog who hated balling up, as there are numerous posts about hedgehogs who ‘don’t want ball up like the hedgehogs in the pictures.’ The only time Theodore will ball up in my hands is when I’m giving him a bath.
- Bath time is so undeniably fun. Theodore is still trying to get used to the idea of taking monthly baths. He does’t float on his back like most hedgehogs do because I assume that he panics and just wants to swim around. I respect that. You do you, Theodore. For baths, I use Johnson’s baby shampoo and use a soft toothbrush to lightly brush it into his quills. Never go against the quills! He swims around in warm water before I shampoo him. He swims while I wash off the shampoo too. During bath time, Theodore likes to be picked up a few times and curled into a ball. He just kind of stares at me and holds my finger between his tiny little paws. Maybe that his way of saying, ‘thank you for watching me, human friend. I like you.’
- Cutting their nails is so hard. I used to struggle with cutting Theodore’s nails. He hated nail cutting time too. I tried watching numerous YouTube videos, reading numerous threads, yet to no success. Recently though, I’ve been able to cut his nails while he’s eating. He get’s distracted by the food in front of him and doesn’t realize I’m trimming his razor sharp claws. You can also get the vet to cut your hedgies nails. Please be cautious when cutting your hedgehog’s nails because if you cut too far, it will bleed, and it’s probably really painful for the hedgehog.
Anyway, there are a few things to know about hedgehogs. If you’re planning on getting one, good luck and do your research! If you just read this because you love hedgehogs, I hope this was an enjoyable read. Maybe I’ll end up doing more posts like this because I would’ve appreciated things like this when I was researching hedgehogs.