Do you happen to live in a place where poisonous snakes and scorpions abound? Alternatively, do you have a garden swarmed by garden pests? Then you should own a hedgehog!
A hedgehog wrestles and eats snakes and scorpions. Hedgehogs are immune to both types of venom they produce, and they (literally) eat snakes for breakfast.
Being classified as insectivorous, hedgehogs love to eat mollusks (snails and worms) that’s why they are sometimes referred to as the “gardener’s friend”. If you are interested in owning a hedgehog, here are some useful information that you need to know before owning one.
Is Hedgehog The Right Pet for You?
The Hedgehog is a USDA controlled pet, meaning that they have to come from a reputable registered breeder that receives inspections through the Department of Agriculture for animal health and welfare.
Hedgehogs are classified as an exotic pet, which simply means that they are foreign to the United States. This can potentially increase the cost for you as the buyer, since they aren’t going to be found in traditional big-name pet stores.
What makes hedgehogs the ideal pets?
Hedgehogs are classified as exotic pets but it does not mean that it is not an ideal pet for you to have. Below are some of the reasons why these prickly pines can be ideal pets for you.
- They do not make too much noise. They are ideal pets for apartments. Just make sure that their exercise wheels do not make much noise.
- Hedgies do not need long walks like dogs.
- They are solitary and do not need another companion.
- They do not cause allergies. They are sometimes called hypoallergenic pets.
- They do not chew or gnaw like hamsters.
- With enough practice and if your pet hedgie has become acquainted with you, it can become very cuddly pets.
- They’re full of personality! Hedgehogs will start out in a new place timid and shy, (watch for those spikes when they curl up in a ball!) but once they’re at ease in their new home, they will seek your attention and entertain you with their antics.
How Much is a Hedgehog and Other One-Time Expenses?
Buying a hedgehog from breeders will involve several steps and requirements before getting your pet. Below are the approximate expenses that will be part of hedgehog price.
A hoglet (a term for baby hedgehogs) costs around as low as $70 to as high as $350 depending on the source, breed, age, etc. But expect the pet hedgehog price to range a little higher, starting at $160 when bought from established breeding farms around the country.
They are not typically regarded as household pets and as such, they are hard to find and are expensive.
- Reservation Fee
It is required to pay reservation fees if you are buying from breeding farms. The reservation fee ranges from $50 to $75. This fee is non-refundable but deductible from the actual cost.
Others charge 25% minimum non-refundable reservation fee based on the actual hoglet selling price.
- Paypal and Credit Cards
Additional $3 will be charged a buyer as protection fee if payment is made thru Paypal. The $3 charge will not be refundable and not deductible to the actual selling price.
Know the additional charges your credit card company may charge when you use your card.
- Cage and Accessories
If you opt to buy the cage from the breeder, the price from Top Notch Hedgehogs and Morning Star Hedgehogs would range from $75 to $200. This price range will depend on the set-up of your cage and the accessories that go with it.
A standard cage set-up would include the cage, a playing wheel, a hideout (because hedgies are nocturnal and solitary), water feeding bottle, food dish, carrier, nail trimmers, and a month’s supply of food blend.
If you choose to buy your own cage and set it up by yourself, the cost may range from $34.89 to $219.99 depending on the brand and style.
- Cage Beddings – priced at $5.99 to $21.83
- Exercise Wheel – around $5.39 to $9.49
- Igloo and Tunnels – priced at about $3.99 to $39.99
- LED Lamp Heater – about $19.99 to $23.99
- Cage Thermometer – about $5.99
As a warning, do not buy cedar-based beddings since it’s toxic to hedgehogs. It can cause respiratory and allergic issues as well as liver problems. It’s safer to stick to Pine or Aspen if you’re set on wood shavings in the enclosure instead of recycled bedding. Also, in the event that you decide to set-up an enclosure at a corner in your home for your pinecone, the ideal size is 6 feet X 6 feet. You can also invest in a multi-level vertical cage.
What are Included When You Buy a Hedgehog from Breeding Farms?
Breeders provide for other services and add-ons when you buy a hoglet from their farm. It is part of the payments you made for your pet. Here is a list of what to expect when you buy hedgehogs from farms.
- 6-month to1-year Congenital Health Disease Warranty
- USDA Paperwork and Receipts
- Starter Food
- Care Manual
- Lifetime assistance in caring for your hedgehog
- Sometimes, if you’re lucky, they will have a money-back guarantee for animals that get sick or die suddenly. Unfortunately, some breeders will not replace an animal after a certain amount of time passes in your care. There should be a window of time that they will refund the purchase minus the reservation fee, so make sure to ask your breeder what their policies are for special cases just in case.
Maintenance Costs of Owning a Hedgehog
So, you’ve finally decided to own a pog. First things first, you must have a place to keep your pog safe and secure.
As mentioned, hedgehogs are solitary pets. They like to be alone so make sure that the cage that you will keep them in will be just the right size.
Aside from the cage and other accessories, the most important part of the care for your pinecone is its well-being. Listed are the things that you will need for its upkeep.
- Food – about $6.99 to $24.29
- Veterinary Check-Ups – about $54 per visit at Center for Bird and Exotic Animal Medicine. For PetSmart it will be Banfield Pet Hospital. Price at Banfield will depend on the area you are in.
For Petco, veterinary services are available in any Petco stores near you.
- Nail Clippers – about $4.99 to $6.99
- Habitat Cleaners and Dust Bath – can be bought from $4.89 to $17.99
- Treats – $2.99 to $9.99
- Outdoor Playpen – $52.99 to $102.99
Everything You Need to Know About Owning a Prickly Pine
Hedgies are not your typical household pet. Thus it is important for you to know how you must take care of your hodgepodge. Here are some tips:
- Legal Concerns
Since hedgehogs are considered exotic and owning one must be approved by the USDA, make sure that it is legal to own a hedgehog in your area.
Owning a hedgehog as a pet is illegal in the states of Alabama, Vermont, Arizona, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Maine, New Jersey and Oregon.
There are also different policies governing the owning of hedgehogs as pets in some other area, therefore, it is better to know the regulations in your locality.
- Hedgehog Health
When you choose to buy a hedgehog, it is good to look for signs of good health. Hedgehogs that are curious, bright-eyed, have a moist and clean nose, have regular breathing patterns, and their gait creates a distinct clatter; point to a healthy pinecone.
As quirky little pincushions, hedgehogs really don’t have many odd points (see what I did there?) but don’t be alarmed if your hoggie stops in the middle of play to foam at the mouth and licking the foam onto his spine. Anointing is completely normal for hedgehogs and helps them deal with new or unusual smells.
No one knows for sure (except the hedgehogs, of course) but some believe that anointing builds a hoggie’s resistance to toxins. It’s also been suggested that anointing allows them to deal with stress or to clean off a smell they don’t enjoy (like strong smelling hand lotion or perfume) but rest assured, the foamy licking is completely normal.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal so they eat and play at nighttime. Waking a sleeping hedgehog at daytime will most likely result in a very grumpy pincushion. If you’re a light sleeper and wake up easily, I would avoid having the enclosure in your bedroom-hedgehog activities can sometimes include scratching, burrowing, scampering, exploring, and chewing, which isn’t always quiet.
There are many breeds of hedgehogs in the wild but the most common domesticated breed is the African Pygmy.
This breed usually has a lifespan of ten years if well taken care of. That’s a long time of bonding with your pog!
Hedgehogs are prone to fatty liver disease, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. The best way to prevent these diseases from developing in your pet is a good diet, proper and constant exercise and lots of TLC.
Their diet should be low fat, protein-rich foods. Leave out foods that are rich in fat and sugar.
- Homemade Toys
You may also make some homemade toys for your hedgie. To make them happier and healthy, toilet paper tubes will be a good toy for them. Shredded paper towel and tissue will make for better beddings and litter for them.
African Pygmies do not have enough fats stored in their body that’s why they should be prevented from going into hibernation.
Hibernation happens when the temperature is lower than 75 F or higher than 80 F.
- Children and Hedgehogs
Hedgehogs prickly as they are must be handled with care and caution. Children must be guided by an adult in handling a pinecone.
These prickly pears must be handled gently or else you or your child might get hurt. There is no substitute for learning how to scoop and cuddle your hedgehog properly. It takes practice and patience to master this “art”.
Factors That Can Affect the Cost To Get A Hedgehog
- Availability – since hedgehogs are bred in captivity, the breeders’ current stable of hedgies may affect the price of hedgehogs in a certain area.
- Where Purchased – hedgies bought from breeding farms are more expensive than those bought from online ads. Although online sellers do not provide after sales guarantee.
- Age – the older the hedgehog, the cheaper it becomes.
- Body Markings – special and distinct markings make the hedgehog’s value higher
- Breeding Farm – the price of a pinecone will depend on the breeding farm and the state where the breeding farm is located.
Already Decided On Buying? Here Are Some Tips
Hedgehog Regulations – selling hedgehogs have very strict regulations controlled by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It is better to read these regulations before buying your first hoglet.
Breeding Farms – if you want to know the nearest hedgehog-breeding farm in your area, you may check out the lists provided by Hedgehog Breeders USA and Hedgehog United.
Since a full-grown adult pinecone is hard to sell, breeding farms make hoglets available one month after it is born or when breeders deem them ready for a new home.
Adoption – there are hedgehogs usually put up for adoption. Breeding farms usually charge $50 to $150 as an adoption fee. These are commonly given to experienced hedgehog owners to ensure that the hogs are adopted by responsible exotic pet keepers.
If you are a novice hedgehog pet owner, you cannot yet adopt hedgehogs from farms.
More Information about Hedgehogs
- A hedgehog does not emit an odor and does not have foul smell, thus you do not need odor eliminators in its cage.
- Hedgies love to play on the wheel at night. Do choose a wheel that is not noisy if you do not want to be sleepless at night.
- Your pinecone also eats almost all vegetables, fruits and cat kibbles but remember chocolates, grapes and raisins are never suitable for them to eat.
- Hoglets and hedgehogs alike are prone to disease if their urine and feces are stuck in their feet. Do wipe them regularly.
- Hedgehogs should be kept in a cage with controlled temperature. Temperature from 75 degrees to 85 degrees Fahrenheit should be maintained in their cages.
- A Hedgehog doesn’t need vaccinations.
Caring for your hedgehog may seem to be complicated. In reality, hedgies are considered low-maintenance pets and ideal for small living spaces.
Own a hedgehog now and experience the “prickly” love and satisfaction it will provide you and our family.