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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a few general questions about Hedgehogs.
1) Do they smell - say, compared to hamsters, gerbils, rats, rabbits, etc.

2) What is the average life span?

I asked both these questions to a local pet store owner and got answers that seem to contradict what I have read on various forums.
Thanks,
Sundown
 

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sundown said:
1) Do they smell - say, compared to hamsters, gerbils, rats, rabbits, etc.
You'd have to go weeks and weeks and weeks without cleaning their cage (which is a COMPLETE no-no, obviously) for them to smell that bad. I do believe that they tend to smell a little bit more when they're babies, but that's not even comparable to the odor of a hamster/rabbit. This may be the #1 thing I looovveee about hedgies, next to their being absolutely adorable, of course. That being said, I'm sure there are exceptions to this. But, IMO, all three of our guys (even the rescue who never had a bath in 2 1/2 years) haven't smelled as bad as rodents.

sundown said:
2) What is the average life span?
HHC says 4-7 years, which seems reasonable, but some can live relatively longer and some can live relatively shorter. It just depends on the hedgie and the care s/he's receiving in any given environment.

Hope this helps :)
 

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As far as smell goes, it also depends on the space they're living in. I live in a dorm room with my hedgie, and even though I clean his cage thoroughly twice a week and wash his wheel every day it still starts to smell after a while. I find that if I vacuum regularly and air out the room once in awhile it goes away quickly though. Definitely less smelly than other pets, but in confined spaces there will be some smell.
 

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drowsydreamer said:
As far as smell goes, it also depends on the space they're living in. I live in a dorm room with my hedgie, and even though I clean his cage thoroughly twice a week and wash his wheel every day it still starts to smell after a while. I find that if I vacuum regularly and air out the room once in awhile it goes away quickly though. Definitely less smelly than other pets, but in confined spaces there will be some smell.
That's very true-- I neglected to take that into consideration. In the summer their smell would be a bit noticeable in their room, but as you say, not nearly as strong as other pets.
 

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For what it's worth, I have never smelled a hedgehog cage from across the room. I've poked my nose into a few cages and thought, "AIIIIGH!!" but hedgehogs aren't the kind of animals that will foul up an entire living space, in my experience. By contrast, I've had the "pleasure" of smelling some rodent cages at a distance of several feet. My best guess is that the difference is in the urine. Poo is pretty much poo, but hedgehog urine seems to smell either like nothing or to have a faint sourish smell. Rodent urine is a lot more potent.

As for how long they live . . . most hedgehogs really slow down between their third and fourth birthdays. After four, they're considered "geriatric." That's good to know for practical purposes, since an elderly animal is much more likely to require expensive and specialized care. How long any individual hedgehog is likely to live is more of a wildcard. Some have terrible health problems by 3, others are still going strong at 6. In terms of planning for appropriate care across the lifespan of your pet, though, expect the the vet bills to climb between 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 years.
 

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I used to breed Fancy Rats, and stopped due to the smell. Rats don't smell anymore than a Hedgehog, but their urine is much like a Cats.....very acidic smelling. Pretty much the same with most small animals (except mice actually have a musky smell, like ferrets). It's usually the cage, or should I say ..... lack of cleaning the cage, that smells.
 

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I think I can have a valid opinion on the smells, having had Syrian/and multiple dwarf breeds of hamsters, mice (pet and egyptian spiny), rats, and a hedgie. It very much depends on the amount of spot-cleaning you do, and how often you clean the entire cage. I have a dwarf hamster at the moment and if you don't know she's there, you would never know. Dwarf hamsters IMO don't smell at all. Syrians are a bit worse, but no where near what mice and rats are. However mice and rats have a distinct musk odour, like ferrets, and what you smell is often that in combination with the ammonia from the urine.

I'd say hedgies, if on liners (I only say this because I've never used shavings, so I don't know) changed frequently will still smell more than a hamster, but won't be nearly as bad as mice or rats. Other rodents, not sure.
 

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LizardGirl said:
I'd say hedgies, if on liners (I only say this because I've never used shavings, so I don't know) changed frequently will still smell more than a hamster, but won't be nearly as bad as mice or rats. Other rodents, not sure.
Fortunately my hedgie only goes on his paper towel, so once I throw out the soiled/wet paper towel the odor is gone. When he used to go on his liner... WOOO that smelled GROSS! But I spot cleaned really well, so that helped a bunch.
 
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