Do hedgies get sick alot? How often do you have to take them to the vet? Are they naturally more sickly than normal animals like cats or dogs? I'm just asking so I know what's in stored for me when it comes down to vet costs. ^_^
Well they have survived for more than 50 million years virtually unchanged so no they are not prone to sickness. But you must remember the life span for an African hedgehog in the wild is on average about 2 years. By providing a better diet, controlled climate, and clean water most pet hedgehogs live longer. Cats and dogs have been kept as pets for thousands of years where African hedgehogs have been for under 50 years. So you really can't compare them. But to answer your question they don't seem to be prone to sickness anymore than any other pet. The most common problems seem to be mite infestations and skin problems. Skin problems can be anything from dry skin to bacterial and yeast infections. More serious health problems do occur as they get older as in any pet.
My experience has been that hedgehogs are extremely healthy animals if you provide them with an appropriate diet, clean safe housing and lots of exercise. However, once they get sick, they often are very sick. Keep in mind that hedgehogs are extremely good at hiding illness. I monitor food intake, stool color/consistency and weigh my hedgehogs daily. I have had cases where only a slight weight loss was the sole symptom of a problem.