Is It Cruel To Keep a Hedgehog as a Pet? (Real Facts)


As an animal lover, you must have seen pictures and videos of hedgehogs being pampered by their owners, and, naturally, you would want to experience how it feels to keep them as pets. However, before purchasing one, it is crucial to know how best to care for them and which hedgehog species you can legally own.

So, is it cruel to keep a hedgehog as a pet? There is no harm in deciding to keep a pet hedgehog, as long as you love and care for it as you would any other pet. Many people decide to keep African Pygmy hedgehogs as pets, and they need more care and maintenance than other pets. It is also vital to consider wildlife laws in your area, as it is illegal to keep some species of wild hedgehog in most countries.

You need more information about these incredible creatures before you keep one as a pet; therefore, we give you reliable facts to get you started. We will tell you whether it is ok to have them as pets and how best to go about it. Read on as we explore the world of the pet hedgehog.

Is It Ok To Keep a Hedgehog as a Pet?

Keeping a hedgehog is gradually becoming a trend among many animal lovers, thanks to the several pictures and videos showing how cute they are. Even as the popularity increases, one primary concern is whether it’s ok to keep these animals as pets.

So, is it Ok to keep a hedgehog as a pet? While it’s ok to keep a hedgehog as a pet in some states, other states have laws that bar the capture, purchase, or keeping of wild hedgehogs. The latter is under protection by wildlife legislation; hence, keeping them contravenes the law. Otherwise, it’s not cruel to own pet hedgehogs, as long as you keep them safe and care for them.

On the other hand, there are some things you need to consider before you domesticate them since the creature carries with it some hazards compared to the normal pets we have in our homes.

Pets hedgehogs like the African Pygmy became first domesticated in the 1980s, and, since then, they have gradually become popular. Even in recent years, thanks to social media, their popularity continues to grow on a daily basis. With their cute faces and tiny bodies, new pet owners are jumping into the hedgehog-owning craze. This species is friendly, primarily if you breed it domestically; thus, it will be easy for any pet owner to establish a close connection with them.

However, not every human is humane; some owners may be cruel to them. Some hedgehogs end up underfed or abandoned by their keepers. In most cases, the owners don’t have enough information on how to take care of them. In other cases, the owners abandon them as soon as they find them tasking to keep. Thus, keeping hedgehogs is ok as long as the owner knows how to take care of them.

Notably, it’s not ok to keep some hedgehog species since some states bar you from owning one unless you have a legal permit. Most states prohibit the capture or domestication of the European hedgehog. They are a protected species; therefore, you cannot remove them from the wild unless they need medical attention.

Do Hedgehogs Like Being Pets?

The motive behind keeping a pet is to get the reward from caring for your companion. However, it is only meaningful when the animal makes a great pet. Unlike the common domesticated animals we know, the hedgehog is quite different.

So, do hedgehogs like being pets? It depends on the hedgehog’s personality. While some are skeptical and see others as potential threats, others are quite friendly and establish trust quickly. Note that the creature is typically a wild creature, and it would take some time for them to be comfortable under a human’s care. Hence, it is wise to know your pets a little more before you tell whether they like being pets or not.

The hedgehogs’ natural habitat is the wild. Moreover, they love being in isolation and prefer not to mingle with other hedgehogs, let alone humans. Thus, you may find them resisting human handling; this case is typical with older hedgehogs, unlike the younger ones. On the contrary, when you frequently pet the young ones, the chances are that they will become fond of you and end up being exceptionally affectionate.

The creatures may be solitary, but they don’t like being cooped up in a cage all day long. They are very active when in the wild, which may carry on even in captivity. Most owners notice this and set up wheels in their enclosures. It’s also common to find them running around; hence, encountering other pets in the house is inevitable. Therefore, it is better to cage them alone to limit contact with other pets and hedgehogs, which could turn violent.

Factors To Consider Before Getting a Pet Hedgehog

A hedgehog is different from the domestic pets you are likely to find in a household. Since these creatures are still affiliated with the wild, caring for them isn’t a walk in the park. You need to know some facts about them before you decide to pet them.

First, hedgehogs are quite timid and sensitive. They will curl up whenever you pick them up, which is a defense mechanism. Since they are not fond of handling, they may perceive you as a threat at first. Expect them to be anxious whenever they feel an imminent threat.

As a result, their spikes will tighten, making them difficult to pet as they may prick you. However, unlike the porcupine, the quills will not detach from their bodies. Also, you should note that hedgehogs are solitary animals and prefer staying alone in their cages.

Unless you are used to handling them, you may find some of their natural behaviors repelling. For instance, they tend to apply their saliva to their bodies, an act that new owners find repulsive. Secondly. They are nocturnal creatures. Thus, they are mostly active at night. Therefore, you will hear noises during the larger part of the night.

The hedgehogs need special and regular care and maintenance. They need bathing, nail trimming, proper feeding, and temperature regulation. If their temperature drops significantly, they may try to hibernate, which is detrimental to their health. Most hedgehogs who hibernate like this do not recover from the process. Therefore, it would be wise to keep their temperature at approximately 24 degrees.

You also need to know that your pets can carry and transfer diseases to humans, which is why most countries have outlawed the owning of pet hedgehogs. They harbor infections such as salmonella and foot and mouth disease. As a result, vets recommend not being too close to your pet and washing your hands after handling them.

It Is Not Cruel To Keep a Hedgehog as a Pet

The hedgehog is adorable, and, understandably, you would want to keep it as a pet. However, it is essential to look beyond the surface before you decide to keep one. Because hedgehogs are not your everyday pets, caring for them is tasking, and they are not very cuddly.

Most importantly, before you decide to adopt one, you first need to consider the good and the bad; this way, you and your entire family can determine whether the decision is a good idea.

Bal Kang

Hi I'm Bal together with my daughter Jinnee, we've created this website about African Pygmy Hedgehogs. We've learnt a lot looking after our hedgehog Hynee and share our knowledge, tips and tricks.

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