Your new hedgehog, Sidney, is the newest member of your family. You wanted a pet which was unique but entertaining, and Sidney fits both those qualifications. He’s easy to take care of, not aggressive, quiet and active. Although, most of his activity is nocturnal which is perfect since you’re home in the evening and at night.
Hedgehogs do have quills which are sharp hollow hairs and Sidney will use them as a defense mechanism if he feels threatened. But when you pick up Sidney, scoop him up under his belly. You will feel fur instead of quills. Once you have him in your hand, place your other hand over him gently to support and protect his back.
He will curl up into a little ball with all the quills extended if he feels threatened. If you remain calm, then he’ll relax and come out of his ball position. He’ll begin to explore you sniffing and connecting you with your scent. Don’t wear gloves when handling Sidney because he won’t get used to your scent and be comfortable around you. Sidney may enjoy being handled or not, it all depends on his personality.
A hedgehog isn’t like a dog or cat. Sidney won’t come and greet you when you get home. But Sidney could be very affectionate, enjoy sitting in your lap with you stroking his quills in the direction they grow. He also will enjoy eating treats from your hand. Plan on spending at least an hour a day to keep him used to you and tame.
Habitat, food and cleaning the cage
Sidney might be little, only six to nine inches when fully grown. The average lifespan for a hedgehog is between four to six years, but if properly taken care of, can live up to ten years. Sidney is a solitary little mammal and needs to live alone. He’ll need a cage which is at least four ft. long and two ft. wide. Multi-level cages are even better. Make sure the enclosure has a solid floor, so it’s more comfortable on his feet.
Sidney will need bedding made from either recycled paper or pulp, avoid wood shavings. He’ll need a small animal litter box with litter made from recycled paper and a hidden area where Sidney will feel safe.
Sidney’s water bottle should have a stopper or, if he doesn’t like a water bottle, you can use a heavy bowl. Attachable bowls need to be attached to the cage to place wet and dry food into.
For food, Sidney will eat dog or cat foods which are made from chicken or meat and high in protein. You can add fruits and veggies such as peas, corn, carrots, beans, and apples. For treats, Sidney might enjoy crickets, mealworms, dog and cat treats which are moist and cooked food like eggs, hamburger, and chicken.
Remove daily any food, waste and clean the food and water bowls. Replace the bedding once a week and clean the bottom of Sidney’s cage with warm soapy water. Make sure everything is dry before placing back into the cage.
Keeping Sidney happy and healthy is as simple as the proper food, a clean cage, and adequate care.