If you think a hedgehog would be a great new addition to your family, take a minute to get more information on this amazing little animal.
1. Hedgehogs are not native to the United States and are actually illegal to own in certain states and cities. They are not porcupines, and they are actually more closely related to shrews. Their quills are well-attached and do not come off or have barbs like the porcupine. The most common type of pet hedgehog in the United States is the African Pygmy Hedgehog.
2. A group of hedgehogs is called a "Prickle" . A baby hedgehog is called a "Hoglet" and is born with its spines already present. The spines are covered by a membrane at birth to protect the mother. This membrane dries after birth and flakes off, revealing the spines.
3. The diet is omnivorous (meat and vegetable). They feed on snails, insects, amphibians, reptiles, dead matter, bird eggs, melons, roots and mushrooms. They need a wide variety of these foods and also need foraging activities to encourage exercise and reduce boredom. Diets that are low in nutrition and high in fat, lead to obesity and can predispose them to other health issues. It is important to consider the cost and convenience of the diet before bringing your hedgehog home from the store.
4. Common diseases of hedgehogs are Scabies(mange) and ringworm, both of which are contagious to humans.
5. The lifespan of hedgehogs is approximately 7 years. This is not a short-term commitment. Please consider this before purchasing.
6. Some other fun facts about hedgehogs is that they are highly immune to the effects of snake venom. They also perform a ritual call anointing. They do this when they taste something new or different and it involves making a lot of saliva and froth which they spread over the surface of their spines. The reason they perform anointing is unknown.
7. These small creatures can be easily harassed or killed by dogs in the household, so a sturdy enclosure is required for their husbandry. They are also mostly awake at night (nocturnal) which may make them more difficult to have in your home depending upon the household.