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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I really, really want a hedgehog. I'm kind of working on it with my parents, because I want one for Christmas and I'm hoping by then they'll let me, but I have a whole bunch of questions before I let myself get to into it.

First off, I heard that they get mites frequently, and I want to do as much as possible to prevent that; part of the reason my mother doesn't want me to get one is that she absolutely hates bugs, and we also have two dogs, and I'm not sure if they could spread to them. Can you get Revolution as a pre-treatment? I also would want to not use wood bedding to prevent accidental exposure to mites or mite eggs in the wood shavings, which leads me to my next question: how well does fabric lining work? I was looking at profleece because someone had recommended it... do you think there's something cheaper that could be used? I of course don't want to risk the safety of the hedgehog but because much of what is needed is expensive I'd like to save money wherever possible, and I'm not sure if this is a good idea. I also wouldn't know which type to get; does anyone else use it? This is the website if anyone's interested. Should I get twice as much as I need for when it's being washed? Because I think that would get pricey, but I'm not sure I understand what to do with the hedgehog while its cage is being cleaned/when its liner is being washed. Also, how would you wash fabric lining like that? Can it go in the washing machine or is that not sanitary, even if washed on its own? And could it still get mites even if I don't use wood shavings? They're my biggest worry. My dogs got fleas once and it really freaked me out, so I don't want to constantly have to worry that he/she's going to get them.

How much do hedgehogs cost? I would prefer to get one from a pet store, because I really don't think I'm going to find any breeders within driving distance. I live on Long Island, and I know there are a few upstate, but I really can't drive all the way upstate to get it, especially not in the winter which is when I'd get it (icy roads, hedgehogs are very sensitive to the cold, etc). I'm not picky at all, and I'd like to get one as cheap as possible (while still purchasing a healthy one) and is a boy or a girl preferable for any reason? I have no preference, I'd just like whichever is easier/cheaper, I suppose

What kind of "bedding" would I use, and does it need to be in an enclosed area? I've read several long guides, but most don't differentiate between play area and sleeping area. How should an area for sleeping be set up exactly?

What kind of cage should I get? I'd prefer to get this as cheap as possible too-- but I'd also like a nice one. I would be totally open to investing time in working on building something, but I'm not sure what to do. I know you can use storage containers and put holes in them for breathing and such, but I've heard these have low visibility, so I'd rather get a cage, I think, but I've also heard climbing up the sides of these can be dangerous for the hedgehog and I'm not sure how much they cost, how big it should be if I plan on having a separate area for a litter box to make training easier, if it should have a top or be open, etc. I think I'm pretty clear on what kind of wheel to get, but that's practically it. I was thinking I'd put his/her cage on top of my dresser which is about 20x50 inches. I'm not sure if this is big enough, but I don't know where else I'd put it.

Also, about litter boxes: I've read tips on how to train them, but what kind of litter should you use? I've heard to use cat litter, but I'm not familiar with different types of cat litter as I don't have a cat, so if someone could tell me specifically what type to use, that would be great. How big should the area be, and what should I put the litter in?

And I've heard to use cat food and mix several types. Any advice on this? Also, water bottle or water bowl?

Last thing: any useful tips on how I can convince my parents that these things are super adorable and we need one? Haha, but really, I'm sure I can take care of it. I'm really responsible and such. I'm 16 right now, but I'd be almost 17 by the time we'd get it. I would definitely be able to wash its cage and feed it and check on it and such, and I don't think it'd be a problem. I take care of our dogs a lot, feeding them when my dad isn't home and letting them out and they even sleep in my bed sometimes :x I'm sure I'd end up spoiling the hedgehog just as bad.

I'm kind of looking to get a list of exactly what I'd need so I can start to figure out how much it'd all cost so I can figure out if it's doable/how much I'd need to save up.

Sorry for how rambly this is... any advice at all would be greatly appreciated!!!
 

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I think reading this care book written by one of our mods will help you a lot - http://www.westcoasthedgehogs.com/files/hedgehogbook/download.html It's free to download and has a lot of information that will probably answer many of your questions more in depth. Reading the stickies in each forum section on the site here will help as well.

They mainly get mites from wood bedding so yes, using fleece or fabric bedding will help with that. You don't need to get the stuff on that site - just a regular fleece blanket bought at Walmart can be used. You can also sew them (and if you use fabric other than fleece, you have to sew them to avoid unravelling) to have a liner that's more than one layer.

Some breeders use Revolution as a preventative, but others recommend against doing that. You could treat your new baby once you bring it home (since many breeders use wood shavings for mom/babies), but you should be fine after that. Keep in mind that hedgehogs eat insects as a large part of their diet, and you really should do your best to provide those as treats or supplements - and freeze-dried mealworms aren't safe. So keep that in mind, that live mealworms may go over badly with your mother as well.

You're not terribly likely to get a healthy hedgehog from a pet store, I'll tell you now. Most pet stores don't know much or care to know much about hedgehogs and their needs, so many don't provide heating. This results in a hedgie coming home with a URI and sometimes other health issues. Some breeders will meet you halfway if they're able to, so I would recommend at least checking in with and contacting the breeders that are closest. You may also find that you have to wait a bit longer - some breeders won't sell babies around Christmas time, not wanting them to be spur-of-the-moment Christmas presents. But if you contact them now and they know you're preparing ahead of time, they may be more willing. I'd really, really recommend supporting a breeder over a pet store though. Pet stores also often get their hedgies from mill breeders, which can mean your new pet has a greater chance of genetic problems, including WHS.

Beds & sleeping areas are explained pretty well in the book, I'll leave that one to the book. :)

The most popular cage options that are cheap are C&C cages. There's more info on them and how to build them here - http://www.guineapigcages.com/howto.htm Keep in mind that most hedgies won't litter train. If you get a litter box, the best place for it would be under the wheel, just put the wheel in it. Then it can catch the run-off from the wheel. A lot of people just use paper towels, which are safe for both sexes, cheap, and don't have a lot of risks like cat litter, wood shavings or Carefresh. What kind of wheel are you planning on getting?

Check the stickies in the nutrition section for food information, I've just added a few (and have a few more to put up). Water bowls are safer.

I would do a ton of research and make up a powerpoint or presentation of some sort to present to your parents. Prove to them that you know what you're doing, you know how to take care of this new animal you want, and show them how you plan to take care of everything, and pay for things. Lay out all of the costs and how you'll pay for them. Show that you'll have a vet fund prepared in case of vet visits (and there will be vet visits, so make sure you're prepared for that). Give them the negatives as well as the positives, so they know what you're all in for - it's not fair to the hedgehog to just give them the positives so they'll agree to get it, then want you to get rid of hedgie later on when they are surprised by unpleasant things. Some of those things include smelly poop, cleaning a poopy wheel, hedgie laundry going through the washer & dryer (which will probably result in quills in places where you don't want them), bugs in the house, and heating costs (you will need a heating set up, they're often expensive, and they usually add to the heating costs).

And keep in mind...if they say no, they say no. Don't try to convince them into an animal that they're set against - it will only hurt the hedgehog in the long run. You'll be able to move out soon enough and get a hedgehog then. :) I speak from experience - I still live at home and am currently barred against getting any more pets of my own, including hedgehogs. I absolutely hate it, but I have to deal with it until I can move out and afford to rescue what animals I want to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks so much for the long reply. I'll definitely read over that guide.

I've been looking around and I think I might end up waiting to get one, because I'm planning on not being around next summer as I'm hoping to be taking classes at a college in New York City, and then a year after I'll be going away to college and will likely be dorming at least freshman year so I won't be able to have one with me. I'm really not sure. I'm gonna have to look into it more because I know that my dad will help me take care of it now, but I just don't want to burden him with it for long stretches of time when I go away to college.

I'll definitely bookmark this post so I have your advice if I change my mind or work out an arrangement. This was a really lovely helpful reply! :)
 

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No problem! :) I'm really glad you're thinking about it & planning for long-term. A lot of people don't do that, especially thinking about college, so that's really smart of you. If you do end up waiting, it'll be worth it in the end!
 
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