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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone!
I'm a writer for peoplepets.com, and we're running a story about pygmy hedgehogs as pets and whether this might be a growing trend in the U.S. I would love to get your input on what it's like to own and take care of a hedgehog! If you would like to be part of the story, please answer these quick questions below, preferably by Friday late afternoon. You can reply directly to this thread or email responses to [email protected] I will write back and confirm if your quotes are chosen.

It would be wonderful to have feedback from real people who are experienced in taking care of hedgehogs. Thank you so much for your help!

Pearl

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Please provide your name and city when answering these questions:
1) What made you decide to get a hedgehog for a pet?
2) What has your experience been like?
3) What has been the most challenging part of owning a hedgehog?
4) What has been the best part about having a hedgehog for a pet?
5) Anything else you'd like to share (e.g. particularly funny stories, etc.)?
 

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My input would first be that our pet hedgies are not pygmy. ;) They are pet African hedgehogs, Algerian and White Bellied hybrids. African pygmy is an incorrect term.

Hehe, sorry, pet peeve.
 

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If you want to write about hedgehogs as fad pets then I suggest that you write about how deplorable it is that journalists, in order to meet a deadline or impress their supervisors, take inaccurate photos of baby hedgehogs and label them as "Hard-boiled hog: This fully-grown, yet tiny, pygmy hedgehog only comes out to play at night." They are purposefully posting images of babies labeled as adults in order to increase the wow-factor of a "pygmy" hedgehog. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1218989/24-pygmy-hedgehogs-adopted-animal-lover.html

All of the members of this website take our role as pet owners of hedgehogs very seriously. These are exotic animals that should only be adopted from an experienced, licensed, reputable breeder, and only when the new owner has spent many hours researching the animal's dietary and environmental needs. Over the years hedgehogs have gone in and out as fad pets. Sadly, this usually results in breeders and rescues being overrun with abandoned and usually traumatized re-homes as the new owners were not prepared to take care of an exotic pet. Please don't add to this problem by contributing to people's ignorance with inaccurate articles and photos of cute babies labeled as "fully grown, yet tiny, adults."
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I am certainly not trying to add to inaccurate reporting. And I have no control over which photos will appear in this article.

It was in the interest of trying to get an accurate, respectful story that I came to this forum, since you are all serious pet owners as you say. I am just trying to do some research here on what it's like to own a hedgehog.

So far, the only thing I've really gathered is that the term "pygmy" is offensive to many of you. I will alert my editor of this, and hopefully the photo captions for this article will be written correctly.
 

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LarryT said:
This could be a chance to educate the public.
Exactly. I'm hoping that some of our more experienced hedgehog owners, rescuers, and breeders will email Pearl so that we can help get some solid information out to counter the less than accurate reports that are out there.

Pearl, you're in a wonderful position to do a great service to the hedgehog community with your report :)
 

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We are not trying to be rude. It's just that any article/attention drawn to/about about hedgehogs usually results in impulse buys from people who are not equipped to care for this exotic animal. Their dietary requirements are complicated as is their temperature requirements. They are prickly and can be grumpy and huffy. They are nocturnal so you don't see them during the day and they require daily attention and cage cleaning. Does that sound like a committment most people would be able to make? No. If people are going to get a hedgehog they need to do some serious research before they make that decision. And unfortunately, most magazines etc. are not interested in educating the public. They want to sell magazines. So, yeah, we are a little protective.

However, if your intention is to shed light on an unusual pet to educate the public about the pros AND CONS of owning a hedgie than you have come to the right place.
 

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You know... I just got to thinking... I'll post my response to Pearl's questions here and am asking everyone else to take a look. That way, if I've accidentally mis-stated something or it's not representative of other peoples' experiences, then you can make note of it and Pearl will be in a position to better understand about hedgies.

Here goes my copy & paste:

Little Miss Satin Mirranda Hufflepuff turned 2.5 years old on September 26th; she's been living with me since she was a little less than two months old.

1) What made you decide to get a hedgehog for a pet?

In the mid-90's I met a shy little huffy ball of quills. A few years after my last guinea pig passed away and I felt ready for another small friend, thoughts of that hedgehog rumbled around in my head and I decided it was time to start learning about hedgehogs and their needs to see if one would work for me. After reading thought a number of sites like Hedgehog Central, Chins-n-Quills (now Chins-n-Hedgies), and Hedgehog World, I learned that a hedgehog and I would probably work out well together.

2) What has your experience been like?

All in all, my experience with my little fuffer has been good.

I enjoy coming down to her cage every morning to see what she's been up to - how much did she eat? how much did she run? where did she decide to put her igloo this time? how messy are her feet… poop-boots again? She rustles around under her blankie as I get her house back in order… probably dreading the moment when I look at her little feet and say "hedgie… what a little mess you are; it's time for a foot bath!" We make it through the foot & belly bath and she settles down in her bath blanket to dry. I sing "You are my Sunshine" - replacing "sunshine" with "hedgehog" of course… Then it's off to work for me and sleepy time for her.

At night I fix up her house and again and take her out for snuggle time. She's typically a mellow girl who likes to wedge herself into the crook of my arm or on my tummy under my t-shirt to snuggle.

She does have her moments though. She does NOT like to be awoken during the day and will let you know with rapid-fire huffing… a gattling gun of huffy-fuffy-ness. She's also had a number of trips to the vet that she didn't particularly care for: a UTI, yeast infection, and sprained leg. Sprained leg meant I needed to take her wheel out… boy was she put out by that. Despite having her own litter box, she wasn't sure where to poop or pee without her wheel, so I had to get up in the middle of the night and race home after work and bring her to the bathroom to do her business… yes, she does use the commode with assistance.

3) What has been the most challenging part of owning a hedgehog?

The most challenging part of owning my hedgehog is making sure that I keep up with the current state of knowledge about providing care for her. There are a lot of misconceptions about hedgehogs and plenty of misinformation about their care. You need to learn who is and who is not a reputable source of information… it takes time.

In some circles, hedgies have reached the status of a fad pet when they really shouldn't be. They are exotic animals; they do not exist in the wild; cannot survive on their own or be treated like cats or dogs; they have very special and specific needs. Sometimes I read reports on "the latest trend in pet ownership" where the interviewee really doesn't know how to properly care for a hedgehog, but their inaccurate portrayals get into news reports. I worry that others will read those inaccurate reports and decide to get a hedgehog based on that. It ends up hurting hedgehogs L

Every so often you can see an example of this pop up on the board. Please take note of this thread: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3735

4) What has been the best part about having a hedgehog for a pet?

My hedgie's temperament and personality are the best things about her. She sleeps during the day when I'm at work; eats and runs in her wheel all night while I sleep. So we're able to interact at times that work best for us: early morning and late evening/night time. Like me, she prefers quiet time and she's a shy little girl who will run up to me and snuggle in my arms. She has a lot of personality in a compact little body. I love to sit and hold her, to kiss her pudgy pink feet, rub under her chin, and tickle her belly. She has definite likes and dislikes - and will let me know those is no uncertain terms.

5) Anything else you'd like to share (e.g. particularly funny stories, etc.)?

She yawns like a tiny roaring lion and gives hi-fives with her front paw.

A hunter, she is not. We tried live crickets for awhile, but the poor dear just couldn't quite get the hang of it. Heck, she sometimes over-runs her mealies. We put them out, she starts up her super sniffer, then runs for the mealies. She doesn't always stop in time, so they're sitting beneath her belly while she looks around all disappointed because they've disappeared.
 

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leannem said:
smhufflepuff said:
yes, she does use the commode with assistance.
for real? how does that work....?? lol
I hold her while she does her business. What's cute is sometimes when she goes it makes a splash, she gets surprised, and her quills pop up for a second until she figures out everything is okay.
 
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