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Old 02-10-2012, 04:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Hedgehog for a College House

Hello, everybody! I'm new to the site and new to owning small rodents, and honestly have never even seen a hedgehog in real life. However, since a group of my friends and I have been talking about living together in a house next year, we've been wanting to adopt a pet. We've been thinking about it for a while and frankly we think hedgehogs are the cutest little things and would love to have one. I'm just a little nervous that a hedgehog wouldn't deal well with an environment that would have eight people inhabiting it and wanting to play with the hedgehog on a regular basis.

I've been reading the behavior sub-forum and it seems that how social and loving a hedgehog is simply depends on the hedgehog's personality so it seems like it would be kind of a hit-or-miss type of situation. However, it does seem like breeders have a fairly good idea about which baby hedgehogs are more or less social or happy about being picked up and pet. And honestly, I have no doubt that we would all love and care for the hedgehog regardless of how it felt about being picked up and whatnot.

I'm just wondering if you think a hedgehog could be happy in this kind of environment or if it would be better to pick out a different kind of small rodent - specifically one with a less fickle temperament and one that was more commonly domesticated (such as a mouse or gerbil.)

I have taken into consideration that a hedgehog is a long term commitment and will needed to be taken care of once the house is disbanded, but arrangements have already been made to ensure the hedgehog will have a happy home with someone it is familiar with.
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Old 02-10-2012, 04:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedgehog for a College House

Hedgehogs can be pretty shy, but as long as everyone takes into consideration their nature and adjusts their behavior accordingly, I don't see why you couldn't get one, as long as the expenses can all be afforded and the right environment can be provided - namely a big enough cage and a heating set up. Like you said, behavior and how social they are does depend on the hedgehog, and you can't always go by the baby's personality. Sometimes they change after quilling, and sometimes they'll change for a bit after coming home to a new place. If you guys do go ahead and decide to get one, I'd try to go semi-slow with introducing new people. Stick with one or two main people to handle the hedgehog for the first couple weeks, so you don't overwhelm him/her with too many new people. You can continue adding people as time goes on and depending on the hedgie does. Also keep in mind that right after you bring him/her home, they'll go through quilling and may get grumpier during that time. That's stressful for them as well, so you just have to watch their behavior and take your cues from them with what they are and aren't comfortable with.

I'd suggest doing some more reading on here, for housing, nutrition, etc. so you guys know what else you're getting into with a hedgehog and what you'll need to supply. If you guys do decide a hedgehog wouldn't be best, rats might be a good option. They're sociable little animals, and do best in pairs or groups, so you could get a few and be able to have more people handling them at a time without fighting over whose turn it is.
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Old 02-10-2012, 04:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedgehog for a College House

Good to hear. I'm trying to do as much research as possible, especially since I think I'm going to end up being the main care-taker. I don't think money will be a problem as far as food, toys, and equipment are concerned. The thing that I'm most worried about is if it gets sick, will we be able to afford multiple visits to the vet, plus any medication it might need?

Would you recommend that I get one over the summer so that I can have time to socialize it before I get to school? Or would the move (being in one home for a number of months, then a three hour car ride, and suddenly a new home and much more people) be too traumatic for the little thing?
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Old 02-10-2012, 05:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedgehog for a College House

Yeah, vet bills are usually the most expensive part if something happens and tests or medication is needed. Especially with hedgehogs, since most tests require the hedgie being put under, which costs extra. The best thing to do for that is to save up an emergency vet fund, with $300-500, if possible. I was silly and didn't do this myself, but I was lucky enough to have my dad to back me up on the last couple of vet bills I had with my Lily, and a credit card to use (which I'm still paying off the last vet visit on, this month).

I think it'd be a good idea to get one over the summer, if you'll have the money for it by then. Then at least the hedgie is bonded to you and knows you well before being exposed to all the new people. Car rides are something that depends on the hedgie as well, some get car sick while some aren't affected at all. 3 hours isn't too bad for a one-way (considering you'll be at school for awhile) trip, though, so it should be fine. With the new home, just make sure when you do move, that the bedding you have in his/her cage has been used in her cage at your house for the last couple days before you move to school - then it'll smell like her and that may help with the environment change. Having you there will be something else familiar and it will help as well if you can keep her in your room rather than in a more open area around all the noise and activity. Lots of new people won't be a problem as long as you take your cues from him/her and go as slowly as she needs. Mealies and other treats (especially once you've had him/her a couple months and know the favorite treats) can be a great help in getting them to realize all these new people are good and not scary. Some hedgehogs end up one-person hogs, some are more friendly. Some don't mind noise whatsoever, some would rather hide and sleep around a lot of people. If you do get one, you'll just have to wait and see what you get and work with their personality.
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Old 02-10-2012, 05:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedgehog for a College House

Thank you for the advice! I was so worried that it would be completely impractical for a hog to be in that kind of environment, but this has helped ease my worries.
I'll have to try to find a breeder back home or convince my mom to do a hedgehog fetching road trip. XD
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Old 02-10-2012, 05:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedgehog for a College House

Quote:
Originally Posted by xRemusx
Hello, everybody! I'm new to the site and new to owning small rodents, and honestly have never even seen a hedgehog in real life.
Lilysmommy's advice is pretty sound. This isn't really relevant to your questions, but I wanted to point out that hedgehogs are not rodents. Among other things, this means that they don't have continuously growing teeth, and so don't tend to gnaw on stuff the way rodents usually do.
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Old 02-10-2012, 05:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedgehog for a College House

Quote:
I'm just wondering if you think a hedgehog could be happy in this kind of environment or if it would be better to pick out a different kind of small rodent
I just wanted to mention...hedgehogs are not rodents. lol. Also you have to consider things such as heat requirements and the fact that it will be sleeping all day, and will require total darkness and quiet at night.
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Old 02-10-2012, 05:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedgehog for a College House

I have a hedgehog in my college house and my roommates thought Marvin was so adorable. Unfortunately the novelty wore off for them. I would say if you're getting a pet to share with your roommates be prepared to take sole responsibility for daily care, handling and any expenses. Not that it will happen with your roommates but a lot changes in college and your hedgie will be along for the ride with you. I would also suggest if you want to do a little test run in owning a pet as a group adopting an adult rat pair. Rats are very social and smart. They tend to like whoever will play with them or feed them and don't have the bonding requirements of a hedgie. Finding a vet for rats is also very easy considering rats have been studied a ton.

I hope this helps some. I love Marvin to pieces and he's the perfect pet for me, not my roommates. I also love my ratty boys, Greyson and Crosby because they love everyone and chatter at anyone that stops to say hi to them.
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Old 02-10-2012, 05:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedgehog for a College House

Haha... oops, sorry! I guess there's a good reason I'm not a biology major.

Thanks, Chelsea. I think that if we end up forgoing the hedgehog idea, we'll get a pair of rats. They're my second choice, anyway. ^_^
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Old 02-10-2012, 06:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedgehog for a College House

IMO I think a hedgehog wouldn't do well in a college dorm with so many people. As mentioned before at night they need complete darkness and their night can start at 6pm depending when you set his or her timer to, but I wouldn't have lights off any later then 9:30. Plus it can be loud in a dorm. And some dorms dont allow space heaters or Che set ups.
If anything guinea pigs are a good choice. Some people are nervous by rat tails. And guinea pigs can be very social. I'd get another of I had the room and expenses
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