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Old 09-04-2009, 10:14 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Are hedgehogs really that difficult?

I was considering getting one because I've wanted one for about 3 years but now I could actually get one if I wanted to. So, I've been reading care sheets and it seemed like everything was not too complicated and yesterday I posted on another forum asking what other people (who had hedgehogs) thought about them.

One person replied and said all of this stuff about how they are extremely difficult to take care of, that they have to have a certain humidity (and I never read anything about that...I know they have to be at a certain temperature, but I saw nothing about humidity in all of the care sheets I read) They then proceeded to tell me that they spent 20 hrs a week "on their hedgehogs." And yes, I understand that any animal will require you to take time out of your day specifically for them, but I just don't understand how it could be that much! That's enough to be a part time job!!

So, I came here to get advice from more people...are hedgehogs really that difficult?? Was I uninformed or am I reading the wrong care sheets?
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Old 09-04-2009, 10:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
Hooked on Hogs
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Default Re: Are hedgehogs really that difficult?

They aren't difficult but because of their temperature requirements and the texture of their poop that gets smushed all over the wheel, there is more care needed than other small pets.

The temperature is a biggy and many people find it to be overwhelming but once you get a good heating system in place, there is nothing more to it. Cleaning a poopy wheel daily is usually a necessity and cleaning poopy feet is often necessary. They also need nail trims which for some can be a challenge.

They don't need a certain humidity other than very dry air will dry out their skin, just like us.

Sure, I spend 20+ hours a week cleaning and feeding my hedgehogs but then at any given time I have anywhere from 16 - 38 adults plus babies.
* * * Nancy * * *

Retired from breeding

Rescue contact for both the Hedgehog Welfare Society and the IHA
Rescued over 70 (and counting) hedgehogs needing a new home
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Old 09-04-2009, 10:23 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are hedgehogs really that difficult?

Well, once you set everything up right and buy the right items, no they are not difficult in my opinion. Dogs need more attention, I think. Here is a little to do list so it might help you decide if it's too much work.

Check temperature of cage
Take hedgie out and check him over for injuries, etc

Evening (before he gets up):
Clean out litter pan and wheel
Fresh food and water
Vacuum debris from liners
Check temperature of cage
PLAY! Or snuggle

Every couple days:
Change out the liners and wipe the pan and bars of the cage
Clean out his tube that connects his loft to the main part of cage
Poopy feet bath at this time, or a full bath if he needs it (I only do the full bath every couple of weeks, but I do it when I do a cage wipe down and liner change)
Nail trim if needed

Weigh him
Wash the liners that have accumulated through the week

Am I forgetting anything here? Hehe. I don't think so, but I'll add to this if I remember something later. So once you have done the research and get the proper items for the set up, no they are not really high maintenance. But they aren't maintenance free, either. And as far as I know they do not need a specific humidity. Hope this helps!
Winston, the destroyer of souls (and liners).
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Old 09-04-2009, 10:30 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are hedgehogs really that difficult?

Do you know i thought exactly the same as you. Me and my boyfriend decided we wanted a pet hedgie about 2 months ago so i spent nearly 2 months researching and some sites just plain put you off. They scare you don't they. Just because they all hit you with these ideas and they all tell you whats wrong but dont tell you whats right. I was a little nervous and put off as well. We got our hedgie a week ago and he's been extremely good and easy to take care of. As Nancy said above you just have to make sure the temp is right thats the main thing. Everything else just falls into place when looking after them like any other pet.

I have 3 littles dogs (who are a handful) a rabbit and a hedgie, the hedgie is no problem at all. They do need to be handled every day so they are used to you, but id say 20 hours a week is quite alot to spend on 1 pet, when most people have kids/other pets aswel.

IMO i'd definately recommend getting one, i havent looked back once since getting him, and because you've wanted one for so long you clearly will look after it and have put alot of thought into the lil hedgies arrival.
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Old 09-04-2009, 10:34 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are hedgehogs really that difficult?

Are they difficult, not really. I spend at least two hours daily with mine for attention/play time (often more) and maybe another 20 minutes each day for wheel cleaning, cage cleaning, weighing & food prep for 3 hedgehogs. I spend probably a little more time with attention/play than some do.

The hardest part about hedgehogs is their temperature requirement, especially this time of year. It can be very frustrating as the day temperatures are up around 74, and at night we are dropping to 34. Be prepared for higher heating bills and to have to turn the furnace on much earlier than you ever had to before.

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Old 09-04-2009, 11:41 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are hedgehogs really that difficult?

I'd like to add though that (it seems) everyone here is posting about healthy hedgies. A healthy hedgie, once set up is very easy to take care of & I think most people hit that on the head.

However as with all pets, hedgies can get sick and you need to be ready for that responsability. I can't speak directly to that though I'm sure other people can. As with any pet, sick pets can cost a lot of money and you need to be ready to take on that responsability if the need arises.

A friend of mine has a kitten who gets into everything - opening the jewlery box & eating earings, ripping the window screen out and falling out the window/out of trees, getting into fights with neighbours pets. Most recently he managed to open her tool box and she found him licking his lips surrounded by a bunch of nails. There is a good chance he may have eaten one of them. She's spent over $1000 in the past month already on vet bills and if he ate a nail, she's going to be spending even more. Her comment, "I never knew cats could be like this!"

I'm not trying to scare you off getting a hedgie. They are great animals, suprisingly full of personality once you get to know yours, and when set up are easy to care for. I strongly however feel that every pet owner needs to be ready, willing & able to care for an animal in the case of emergency & medical bills before taking on the responsability. It's only fair to the pet. If a medical situation becomes too much then you need to find someone else who can care for the pet (sorry, this is a bit of a rant against my friend & the cat possibly eatting nails as well).
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Old 09-04-2009, 12:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are hedgehogs really that difficult?

Yes Silvercat is correct, vet bills are definately one to watch, especially with the smaller animals, our rabbit has cost us more than any of our dogs have ever cost us, although we did not have the rabbit from a baby therefore we had the vet bills from the first owners mis-treatment of her. But people don't tend to think about how much little animals do cost at the vets.

Do you have pet insurance in America? I'm getting my hedgie insured, so if he does develop a long term illness the insurance will pay for it all. Likewise with my doggies insurance. Thats definately something to look into if you don't think you can afford the vet bills, or you have alot of pets.
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Old 09-04-2009, 12:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are hedgehogs really that difficult?

The example of the cat is a bit extreme silvercat but I understand why you would be frustrated with your friend/ the whole situation.

I agree with the thought though. Hedgehogs can get sick and if they do they may require syringe feeding, and/or syringing meds multiple times a day. They may require an even higher temperature than they do normally and their cage may need to be cleaned more often. I've been luck and have never had to deal with a sick hedgehog but I've read the stories on here about people dealing with everything from surprise litters, injuries from falling, burns, and digestive upsets.

Another thing to consider is who will look after the hedgehog if you go on vaccation. I thought that I had friends and family that would be willing to pet sit for me when I got Quigley. When it came time to find someone to look after him for a week there were surprisingly limited options.

Finally there is no guarantee what your hedgehog's temperament will be. You will have to be prepared to love and care for, a snuggler, an explorer, a sea urchin, or a biter.

RIP Quigley, I miss you my little grumpus.
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Old 09-04-2009, 01:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are hedgehogs really that difficult?

The vacation thing is a good point, they can't go a day without care. If you buy from a breeder they will sometimes be able to offer vacation sitting. Most reputable breeders are very concious of hedgehog needs and would rather help out than have an unhappy hedgie! My breeder will vacation watch for free, but I also have close friends who would love to help (but I would be a bit more worried than the "professional" option).

It seems like everyone is bringing up the worst case scenarios here, so please keep that in mind! Chances are if you research and set-up properly before you bring your little guy or girl home you will find having a hedgehog interesting, fun, and not that much work
Winston, the destroyer of souls (and liners).
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Old 09-04-2009, 01:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Are hedgehogs really that difficult?

I am a new hedgie owner, my little Latte is only 6 weeks old and like 2 days and iv had her since she was 6 weeks.
She is actually very easy to care for so far, cleaning, feeding,watering, and playing!!
its really not that bad, and when you are cleaning, think of it as fun not a chore
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