How To Take Care Of A Hedgehog?
A hedgehog is probably the only exotic animal which has caught the attention of everyone around the globe. Its adorable little raccoon-like face along with a calming and humorous nature has won the hearts of many out there.
But the tricky part comes along when you attempt to pet a hedgehog as this job is not that easy as it seems.
How High Maintenance Are Hedgehogs?
The very first thing to keep in mind is that since hedgehogs are exotic animals, they require specialized vets who are very expensive. As they are prone to sickness, they'll be needing checkups almost once or twice every week, but they can't be taken to the regular vets.
So it is immensely important to make a budget for the regular visits to the vet before considering getting a pet hedgehog. The ‘solitary animal’ would be another title to define a hedgehog as they are quite anti-social which means they don't get along with the others of its kind.
It is a must that they are housed alone for their comfort; otherwise, if another hedgehog is being considered to put under one cage, chaos will be imminent. The animals will battle it out till death.
Procedure To Take Care
Speaking of cages, it is a necessity to keep a hedgehog in a large cage of a minimum of 4 square feet. Bin cages are mostly preferred as it is very affordable and also keeps the inside of the cage warm.
Warning About Wired Cage
A wired cage can be a bit risky as you’ll have to keep in mind whether the hedgehog is a climber or not. Because these animals are also accident-prone and if you see one trying to climb up, and since their arms and legs are very fragile, it could lead to an injury.
Providing warmth is probably the most essential in the aspect of taking proper supervision of this quill-filled animal as they cannot hibernate properly in your home. So if kept in a cold environment, it will cause a swift demise of a hedgehog.
Somewhere between 72-80 Fahrenheit degrees is the required temperature for a hedgehog to be comfortable.
Keeping a thermometer in the cage can be very helpful when it comes to supervision, as you’ll have to maintain the temperature comfortable enough for the hedgehog. For emergency, hand warmers or carriers can also be utilized.
Next comes all the necessary supplies for the cage. The most important one is the bedding of the cage. For that use either a fleece or shredded paper as they are very commonly found. Avoid all the wood chips as they can cause severe respiratory problems or even hurt a hedgehog.
As they are nocturnal animals, it will cause nightmares for any owner who falls asleep early; a wheel is the best source of entertainment for this creature. Hedgehogs are very messy and always seem to run everywhere so providing a bucket wheel is highly recommended.
A comfort wheel causes a lot of noise which can be very disrupting for the owner as the hedgehogs don’t sleep at night.
Safety is what these creatures always tend to look for. So provide it with a cozy and quiet place, and sleeping huts can be of great use as loud noises from TV's, or any machinery can cause distress or irritation, which can also lead to the animal not exercising or eating causing significant difficulties.
Food, Exercise and Water
Exercise, feed and give an adequate amount of water. These three things are very crucial for taking care of a hedgehog. A wheel doesn't only provide fun for the hedgehog; it's also a tool for daily exercising.
For feeding, live insects are a good option. While some hedgehogs refuse live insects, they should at least be offered to them as part of their diet since it is incredibly natural and beneficial to their diet. Proper nutrition is a crucial thing for a hedgehog.
Dried insects can create constipation for these little animals; however, dried cat food, fruits, and mealworms are everyday stuff for them.
Bowls for having food and water has to be fairly heavy. They always seem to get up on the top of a container to eat or drink. Herein, having a weighty bowl will avert it from flipping over and causing them to get hurt.
For grooming of your hedgehog nail clippers, toothbrushes, shampoos and body washes are merely essential. As previously mentioned in this article, they are messy animals, so another thing that's pretty much a big necessity is a litter box.
Do’s and Don’ts
Make sure to slim your hedgehog’s tacks and provide them baths consistently. To sleek their nails, clutch them from the back and softly hold one of its paws.
After it is comfortable, use nail cutters to cut the slope of the nail, making sure not to cut the firm part. Regular trimmings decrease the growth of the quick (the soft tender flesh below the growing part of a fingernail or toenail) which reduces chances of wounding your hedgehog.
When cleaning them, fill a bathtub or a small bucket with warm water. Use a compact cup to damp your hedgehog, but evade getting water in your its ears to avoid ear infection.
Place a toothpaste sized dot of hedgehog-friendly body wash on the toothbrush and clean in the same way as the quills. Rinse carefully and make sure to not leave any suds behind as these can infuriate them and dry the skin.
Cloak the hedgehog in a towel and hold it to warm up until it gets back to the normal dry state.
Lastly, always make sure to handle them regularly. Taking good care of the hedgehog consistently will make it more interactive and social around you.
They'll feel more relaxed, and at times, they might use you like a tissue paper to clean themselves up, make sure you don't overreact and stop holding them otherwise they might take you as a threat and start to bite or use their quills to defend themselves.
To bring this article into an end, hedgehogs are pretty complex animals and require an immense amount of care and nurturing. The good side is that they are minimal and pretty lenient to take care of. They are very enjoyable to play with, and once they get along with you, they tend to be friendly.
But the drawback is monetary. A simple random checkup of a hedgehog requires a lot of money, then comes the expenses of necessary supplies required for them. Overall, taking care of a hedgehog is not an easy task; it requires patience and consistency; also, quite a lot of money.