Hedgehogs are adorable creatures and no one can deny that. But what’s so special about them? Here you can find 5 fair reasons to get a hedgehog pet.
It appears that more and more people are looking for pet hedgehogs to adopt. I’m not sure whether to recommend such a deed, but anyway, this article is supposed to help you make up your mind. So let’s enter the hedgehog void…
Who they are
The hedgehog got its name as a consequence of its peculiar foraging habits. They root through hedges and other undergrowth in search of their favourite food. As it moves through the hedges it emits pig-like grunts. Thus the name – hedgehog. His favorite food consists of small creatures such as beetles, caterpillars, insects, worms, centipedes, snails, mice, frogs, and snakes. They possess a resistance to snake venom that allows them to find worms and snakes a delicacy.
What they do
They sleep all day long. Just like cats, or bats, they are nocturnal, coming out at night and spending the day sleeping in a nest under bushes or thick shrubs. How convenient!
Nevertheless, they are commonly referred to as ‘the gardeners friend’ due to the high number of insects and other garden pests it eats. In other words, encouraging a hedgehog into your garden has incredible advantages for both you and your prickly visitor. It is not uncommon for an adult hedgehog to eat almost half its own body weight every day. So no more pests for you!
What about its quills?
A hedgehog that is calm and in a good mood will lay back it’s quills making their surface very smooth, and even a hedgehog that is being watchful is no worse than petting a hard hairbrush. But extra care has to be taken during these times when they feel threatened by various reasons and ball up.
Hedgehogs are actually born with their spines under the surface of a protective skin that shields the mother while giving birth. Within the first 24 hours the quills, which are modified hollow hairs, break through this protective skin and provide a limited defense for the tiny mammals. Quilling (it normally starts around the eighth week up to as late as six months) refers to the time when a young hedgehog starts to shed their baby quills and replace them with their adult quills.
They have about 5000 spines. Each one lasts about a year and then drops out for a replacement to grow. For an indoor hedgehog this is a more delicate situation, as is not much comfort if you find one of them on your carpet with a bare foot.
How about getting your own?
- Well, they are easy to care for, that’s for sure. You don’t need to brush them, or wash them, maybe just get them an occasional nail trim. And keep their living space clean.
- Don’t expect them to purr or shake their non-existent tail once they see you. They get used to playing schedules and appear to greet you once you’ve kept your word. Their being relaxed in your presence is the most important affection sign you’ll ever get.
- They have different personalities. If you have children, consider choosing a less daunted one, in order to avoid its balling up every time it hears the little toddlers scream.
- They also have a strange habit when stimulated by a strong smell or taste to self-anoint – this means they cover their prickles in foamy saliva. It is uncertain why it does this. However this should be an interesting thing to watch.
- There are 15 known species of hedgehog. European hedgehogs hibernate throughout winter. Moreover it is important to remember that hedgehogs have partial protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act and cannot be trapped without permission.