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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone!

I’ve been looking into getting a hedgie for a few years now, and I think 2022 might finally be the year I welcome my first hedgehog.

Of course I’ve done all the research on food, caging, toys, grooming, bonding, wheels, etc yet I still have a few questions that I feel only hedgehog owners can answer. So, onto those!

How much does it cost to keep a hedgehog monthly/yearly? Not counting start up cost, just the ongoing expenses of a normal year.

Lifespan is a big one. I was initially very excited to find a small animal with an average lifespan of 4-6 years. However, average lifespan seems to differ on every site, some stating 2-3 years. So what is the actual life expectancy!?

I’m not really expecting anything from my future hog, as individuals are so crazy different it seems impossible to know what to expect. If I end up with a hog that hates my guts and never moves past that, that’s ok. If I end up with a friendly lil buddy who doesn’t mind sleeping in my lap while I read, that’s good too. Is it wrong for me to not have expectations? I'm excited, of course, I’m just not...expecting him/her to be a certain way.

I think that’s all for now!
 

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My costs are only a couple of bags of cat food every month or two. I feed organic cat food, so it's about forty dollars for both kinds I feed him. But the supply does last a long time. Also, treats are another small expense, but it really depends on what I get.
I think the reason people have varying ideas about the lifespan of a hedgehog is because they are very, very prone to cancer and tumors. A healthy hedgehog can live 6-7 years, but since cancer is so common, some only live from 4-5 years, or even just 2-3 years. So there isn't really a solid answer. You kind of just have to hope for the best but acknowledge that the worst is possible.
Edit: For some reason I completely forgot that I have to buy live insects. Probably because that's one thing my parents buy for me and my sister, as she has pets that also need live bugs.
 

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Costs are going to vary depending on what diet you choose for your hedgehog. Some people only feed dry cat food, so they’re able to keep costs to a minimal - however, this isn’t exactly the most ideal or healthy diet to keep a hedgehog on. Cat food should be part of their diet, but should not be their entire diet. They also need insects but again, prices are going to vary again with this depending on how often (I firmly believe insects should be a daily inclusion of their diet, of at least 5 bugs of different types). Some folk also feed hedgehogs on a mix of dry food, wet food, and bugs - others do raw, so on so fourth. So the diet aspect is very broad. For me, I spend €10 a week on my hedgehogs food: this covers bugs, and the fact that I also feed a mostly wet cat food & raw dog food diet with kibble being supplementary (it’s kinder on their kidneys and teeth, and this is my preference based on my research & experience - everyone is different). I would say if feed bugs daily, you can expect to spend at least around €5 per week on diet.

Bedding costs again are gonna differ depending on what’s you use; if you use fleece and just use a litter in their litter box your costs will be lower than someone who uses litter/loose bedding throughout the entire enclosure. I use fleece and use paper pellets for the litter tray. I spend about €15 a month on litter.

As far as lifespan; hedgehogs are prone to a lot of health problems unfortunately. A hedgehog doesn’t die at 2-3 years old from old age, but they do frequently die around 2-3 years old from a variety of health issues. Cancer is arguably the top killer of pets hogs. I lost my previous girl when she was only 2. If you’re lucky, and your hog doesn’t experience any health problems, then around 4-6 years old is the otherwise average lifespan.

That’s something that you must be prepared with owning a hedgehog, though - vet bills. These can end it costing hundreds and even thousands relatively quickly. This is something I always say to new owners; if you are not prepared for very expensive vet bills, then a hedgehog will not be the pet for you. So definitely something to consider! You also need to source a vet that’s comfortable with treating them, as this is a problem people encounter too - having the money to go the vet is useless without the actual vet! Hedgehogs are so prone to issues that I would honestly class vet bills as a normal year unfortunately.
 

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Have to agree. Be prepared to deal with cancer. They get all types and it can be quite expensive to deal with. It is extremely common. They can get it at all ages, the youngest I've dealt with it was in a 1 year 1 week old. I've seen it in 2 year olds, but most often it shows up around 3. The average age at death has been between 3-4 from my own hedgehogs. With a few rare ones living to close to 5.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you so much everyone!

Cancer is scary for me. I don’t know if I could handle my hedgie getting cancer. (Financially, yes, emotionally,I don’t know) It’s something I’ll have to think hard about. :)

I’m planning to use fleece, and feed a diet of cat food and insects. I already have reptiles that eat live insects so it won’t be a problem!
 

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Hedgehogs are so incredibly prone to cancer, that I honestly think it’s rare to find someone who has been keeping hedgehogs for a few years who has not dealt with it at least once. As mentioned above, it does typically pop up at 3-4 years (so in ‘older’ hogs) but while it is more uncommon younger hogs are not immune - my past girl was 18 months old at initial diagnosis.

It is absolutely emotionally draining. So definitely something to think hard about!
 

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The vet bills and finding a vet that has experience and is willing to take them is by far one of the greatest challenges. Make sure have one in place before getting your little guy/girl. Most often, it requires anesthesia for them to get a very thorough look. Many times, I've come back from be vet's office thinking I could just buy a new hedgehog for that price. I am completely joking about that; we do everything we can for ours. Last year we spent $400-500 in vet bills, only to find out he just didn't like his food anymore. You will also need to keep a near daily log of weight because they hide problems very well.

Our first hedgehog died of respiratory at an age of around 2.5 years. We were on our way to see a different vet for a secondary opinion. That was the best vet, when we moved out of state and couldn't feasibly go there anymore, he would always take our phone calls and serve as a second opinion, after looking/hearing test results.

Our second died of cancer around 5 years old. The third was probably around 3-4 years old, from cancer. Our fourth was diagnosed 1 month after his fourth birthday and died a month or two later.

Our current hedgehog turned two in October. We had a cancer scare, but luckily it was gingivitis, but still worries us that he's even more susceptible to cancer.

It's always hard getting the diagnosis and then experiencing their passing. We always vow we're not getting another one, yet, we seem to always do.
 
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