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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am wanting to get a hedgehog sometime this summer but my mom is worried about it being too much of a distraction from my studies since I'm still in college. I have researched hedgehogs for about a year now and I was just wondering how much time is needed daily in caring for a hedgehog? I am trying to convince my mom that it won't be that difficult to balance school and hedgehog ownership and thought it would be a good idea to ask experienced owners their opinions. Please give me your input on the situation. ^_^
 

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I'm in college and I have a hedgie. It's not too time-consuming at all to take care of him. The initial set-up is what takes the longest. You just have to keep in mind that you really need to set aside AT LEAST half an hour a day to interact with your hedgie in addition to time to clean the cage (which takes like ten minutes TOPS on a normal day; some days you'll have to do more when the cage needs a good scrub-down). A hedgie can actually study with you, too, if you have a cuddler. The little guy can sleep on your lap while you read, that kind of thing. And if you have a day when you absolutely HAVE to do something, one day of not spending a total of 30 minutes won't hurt anything--just be sure to check on the little guy and make sure he has food/water and do a leg check. (That, of course, should not be the policy all the time; it should just be on special busy days.)
My biggest concern about people who have hedgies in college isn't the time (although some semesters are worse about time than others for people so depending on your schedule it could be a bigger concern for you), it's the dorms. I live off my campus so I don't have to worry about policies at my school, but I would NOT be able to have a hedgie at the campus I go to school at now because of their dorm policies. It's also very hard to keep a dorm room the right temperature, and with the concrete walls that most schools have it can get really cold if the cage isn't elevated. I don't think I would be able to give my hedgie the quality of life I can now if I was actually living in the dorms (and he was allowed there, of course). When it comes to time, though, if you're passionate enough about your hedgie and really enjoy having the little guy (or girl) around I really don't think that you would have problems finding time to spend with them and still study.
 

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I too am in college and have a hedgie, and I agree with everything Zalea said. But, I do live in the dorms. Hedgies are permitted, and I have a space heater to keep the temperature ok. However, some days it get old sharing a space with such a unique creature. For starters, I hate the heat, and I really wish my room didn't always have to be 76 degrees. Also, when he runs at night it can get pretty noisy, so I usually have earplugs (I need it to be quiet to sleep), also, you need to take into account the facilities you have available for cleaning- I clean turbo's wheel in the kitchen sink, but some people you live with might have a problem with that, so those are things you need to keep in mind.
 

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When i was in college i had a hedgie.. the great thing about them is that even though they are "exotics" they are fairly easy and will not hold it against you if you have a busy week.. HOWEVER, when it comes to studying, they are GREAT study partners. Even if you have a scaredy hedgie (which i had back then) i would just scoop him up (bedding and all) and basically transplant him from the cage to my lap.. Doing that make him become SOO comfortable with me that he REALLY came around and almost never huffed at me..

I actually just got another, many years later and out of college.. hes awesome. i was a tad worried about the time, but i realized that since i spend a lot of my nights working on the computer, he can be with me, just like when i was in college.. He has been with either me or my husband every night for 3-4 hours, and osmetimes we forget that hes in out hoodie pouch.

They arent like hamsters where they will try to run away from you at every change, if they are scared, they basically freeze, and if they are happy, they cuddle..

We havent had a chance to watch ours run around a lot, hes new to us and very shy still, but if you put aside a little bit of time to let him run around outside of his cage, that would be great.. You can even get one of those baby playpens to put him in so you can keep an eye on him, but not have to super watch him..

I think out of all of the exotics,they are the BEST choice.

I would be concerned abotu the dorms though.. and possible parties (not sure if you do that or not) but if you had a load of people at your place and they were intoxicated, people will do STUPID and mean things to animals
 

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I'm hoping to be accepted soon, and am taking my little girl with me. I have living arrangements made though, and will be double checking dorm polocies just incase. Extra knowledge never hurts. I also agree with whats been said already. Hedgies are fun, and my little girl is a great stress buster. Give them a new toy, play with them or just cuddle and study. They'll make you laugh garuntee. Being silly, trying to be sneaky or extra smart, or being super cute sleepers all get me smiling.
One thing I'd like to mention though is housing. If you have the hedgie in the dorm you have to make sure its house/cage is well equiped with a heater that will stay at a constant tempurature. And if you can help it do not place the house/cage any where near a window. The draft from the window can make things very cold for your little roomate. Speaking of room mates, if you're sharing a dorm room or renting a place with others, make sure they are also okay with you owning hedgie. Make sure either way that they accept it as YOUR responsibility. Check too, to make sure if they own a pet as well before taking up residence. It shouldnt be a problem, but just in case. It is also nice to know, and good to consider when trying to find a good place for the house/cage. Big curious puppies sniffing aroudn can scare a new hedgie, and cats sitting on the top of the cage really annoys mine.
Another thing to consider when thinking about housing is a noise factor :p My hedgie is an afternoon-late night girl. You can, and I recomend adjusting critters time clock to work with your schedual, this can be done by regular handling, feeding and play durring day. However! Hedgie still may like to shuffle around at night, and if the house is in your room you should be aware, it might keep you up but I'm mostly just giving you a heads up because you may want to take out certain noisey toys. At least until you get them adjusted to your time schedual. And DONT get a metal wheel. There isn't anything wrong as far as safety goes, but mine makes a real racket when luna gets her jog on. She also likes to push and root around the wheel, which then hits the cage sides etc. They also take lubricating it, vasline is what I've been recomended. Its just extra hassle.
You can also litter train hedgies (some take it better than others) and also paper train them, I find that the hedgies I get are already paper trained which is a bonus from the breeder.
Too, you've probably read hedgies like their bugs! You can get live bugs from bait stores (which I find are cheaper) or pet stores. From experience I find krikets kind of smell funny, and they chirp and make noise. I get meal worms from the pet store and here they're about $4 four a little tub of 100 worms. You dont feed all 100 worms to hedgie in one sitting, they're treats. So you'll need a good idea of where you're going to keep creepy crawlies. If you want them alive its got to be a warm place. Feeding them isn't a biggy if you're scared of them, I use tweezers.
ALSO from experience I've learnt that its best to know where a vet that will treat exotics is. Just in case!!!!!!!! When my first hedgie got sick I was stuck in a panic over a holdiay weekend. No one was open and the nearest one was almost three hours way. :( So just to be safe, its good to know.
Also, vets can be a good source of knowledge, another reference if you're still looking.
A good thing about rooming with others and having a hedgie is they dont produce much dander, so your allergic friend doesnt have to worry so much.
One last thing I think I should mention is Hedgehog Proofing. Your little pal will enjoy exploring the surroundings, thats not a bad thing. But you do need to hedgie proof things so they dont get hurt. The same way you would rabbit proof, or hamster proof a room. And always supervise them while they're outside their cage!!! An extra saftey tool I use is a large ferret ball. These are like the hamster balls except they are big enough to suit the way the hedgie is built, they have a different spine design than rodents. And the slits in the ball are large enough not to catch little nails and still small enough not to let the whole little foot out. These balls are hard plastic and protect hedgie from inquisitive kitties, and sniffing puppes. They also prevent your little buddy from getting in or under any crevice you might not be able to coax them out of easily. Just watch the stairs! And they're cleanable, the same way the wheel is. Some hot water and a little bit of dish soap and a little scrubbing.

Having said all that, I think a hedgehog is a great pet. Especially if you've researched for over a year now. Thats excellent!! Know what you're getting into before you get in to it. And you certainly came to the right place here, haha a jackpot everybody here knows a lot, and what we dont know we ask and learn from others here. If you get a hedgehog you should really stay as a site member here, you'll have available help 24/7. Hope I was helpful!
 

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Just FYI, I have seen several on craigslist, with the owners explaination being that they are going to college or are in college and just don't have the time to care for them, like they used to. OR the college dorms don't allow pets .... of any kind.
 

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I've taken in many hedgehogs from students who found they were too busy while in college to care for the hedgehog. There are also many on the internet sales sites like kijiji and craigs list. I do not recommend getting a hedgehog before you start college because you don't know how busy you will be. If you are already in college and have been through exams already, you know your time commitment both with studies and social life and can make a much better decision as to if you have time for a hedgehog.

One of the major issues we see on the forums and lists is a health problem develop and the "poor college student", not having the money to take it to the vet. This happens all the time and the hedgehog is the one that suffers.

We also see complaints, now that the hedgehog is living in the room with the student, the noise the hedgehog makes at night becomes an issue, or the smell when hedgie poops while up at night, or the student doesn't have the time to clean the cage, or the room is too hot because of the heat or, or, or, or....

You cannot adjust a hedgehogs time clock. They will still be up at some point during the night so if you are a light sleeper and the hedgehog has to be in your room chances are there will be problems.

Think about where you'll be when school is over. Do you go home for the summers and vacations and will your parents let you bring the hedgehog and do you travel in a way that the hedgehog can go with you. This is another recurring issue we see.

Talk to the shelters about how many puppies and kittens are brought in by students who get a pet to keep them company and then find they don't have the time or finances for it or they finish school and can't take it with them.

Yes, in many cases students having a hedgehog works fine but there are many that don't work out and the hedgehog suffers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If I do plan on getting a hedgie while I'm in college I will be living off campus because pets are not allowed on campus at my school. I am planning on getting my new hedgie during the summer before my third year of college so I'll have been through two years of classes and finals so I will know if time will be an issue. I'm not a party person and the only person to visit me will probably be my boyfriend or a few close friends every now and then. I'm a loner and a very quiet night person so I'll be awake while my hedgie is awake. I will definately buy a space heater for my hedgie and keep him in the living room so I'm not disturbed while I'm sleeping. I want to thank everyone who has given me their advise and I will welcome any more advise given thanks. ^_^
 

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One thing to consider instead of a space heater is a ceramic heat emitter with a thermostat. It will provide heat for the whole cage but your living room will stay whatever temperature you are comfortable with. Emitters are also much cheaper to operate than a space heater.
 

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I am also in college (Grad School! woohoo! sleep? whats sleep? XD) and he doesn't "distract" me from my studies. I usually let him out for about an hour or two depending on his mood. I put him in a tshirt and let him snuggle in my lap while I study and feed him some treats. after an hour or two he goes back in the cage to eat his cat food and run in his wheel.

Compared to a lot of other animals they really dont need that much attention. You should make time for it to be out with you every day but you can find other things to do during that time like study, read or watch tv.
 

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Hey

I'm in University in Toronto. I'm living in a high rise apartment with my boyfriend. We just got a hedgehog two weeks ago (Quigley).

The decision took a long time because we had to decide how he would fit into every aspect of our lives.

We also have two budgies and a pet mouse so we had to make sure we'd still have time for them and that he wouldn't be able to hurt them ever.

We had to consider travel. We go visit our parents at least one or two weekends a month and we had to make sure that we'd be able to bring him with us. The intercity buses do not allow pets so we will have to get a ride with my dad if we're bringing him with us.

We had to make sure we'd be able to afford the start up cost (we are both working part time to pay for school). What we did was get him over the winter holidays and put the money we got as gifts towards him. This was best for us because we both had some time off work and school to get used to him and we did it after Christmas so that all the craziness was over.

Overall it's worked out really for us doing it this way. The summer sounds like a good time as well because you won't have school to worry about.

Good Luck!

one more piece of advice. If you can, you should find a socialized hedgehog that someone cannot keep anymore or one from a rescue organization. If someone is giving one away they usually give away the cage and supplies with it. That way it lessons the start up cost. If they are not giving it away they are probably selling it all cheaper than you could get the cage supplies new. Just make sure that the cage and everything is in good shape.
 

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I am a current freshman in college, and Annabelle is with me too!
She lives in my dorm room, and is perfectly at home.
:D
and to everyone else that posted, GREAT JOB. :]
 
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