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Hi everyone!

I'm a big animal husbandry enthusiast. I'm moving in with my sister (MS) in a few weeks, and life has kind of been kicking her ass lately, so she could use something good.

MS really likes hedgehogs, and a few days ago she told me that she wants to breed them one day. We aren't really in a place for that right now, but I thought it would be cool if I could surprise her with a really cool enclosure for one (or two, if they can be safely cohabitated?) and then let her pick out some toys/hides/etc and the animal(s). It'll take ages for me to save up enough to do everything I'm planning, and I don't know much about hedgehogs, so I could use some guidance. MS knows a lot more about hedgies than I do, but if I ask her questions she'll know something is up.

So here's my plan so far. I want to either buy or build the coolest hedgie enclosure I can afford, and stock it with a few basic supplies like bowls, a bottle, and a wheel. Then, have MS pick out some toys and the animal(s). I'd also like to give her a supply of hedgie food and bedding that can last a while while she decides what things to change about or add to the hedgie's care.

I've enlisted MS's friend E for help. Most of the stuff I'm looking at is online, so when I get to the point of ordering some things, I'll send them to E's house instead of ours, so MS won't see the packages. Once I have everything I need purchased/delivered, I'm going to buy a gift card to Petco and give it to E, to take MS shopping on to get her out of the house. While they're out of the house, I'll set everything up in our living room to surprise MS when they get back.

So at that point, there's one major flaw: E can influence what she buys a little, but MS is smart, and she'll catch on quickly. She won't know about the stuff I'll have already bought, and E will only be able to push so hard without giving it away. So I need to give MS an excuse not to buy the basic supplies like a cage, bottle, etc.

And then I thought, what if I asked the Petco employees for help ahead of time? I could buy the cheapest possible cage they have (because I'll already have a super cool one), and a wheel and bottle there, and ask them to hold it for MS. They could tell her something like "Somebody bought it and decided they didn't want it, so they told us to give it away." (Idk, I'm working on this part, ok?) If MS thinks she's getting something that will work temporarily for free, she'll be less likely to spend the gift card money on that stuff. If I give them a little list of what I've already bought, maybe they'd be willing to help E steer MS's purchases in the right direction.

I'm sure MS will catch on before they get home and she sees the setup, but hopefully she'll be at least moderately surprised. If I drag her to Petco a few times for "fish supplies" beforehand, maybe I can figure out which cage furnishings she wants and get her the right ones. I'm planning to clear getting a hedgehog or two with our landlord ahead of time. I was thinking I might also consult one or two exotics vets in the area, and see if I can work out some kind of gift certificate to pay for the hedgie's first appointment.

It should also be noted that I intend on taking MS to a hedgie breeder or rescue to pick out the critter(s), as there are both within a couple hours of where we live. But if she ends up wanting to buy them at Petco out of impatience, I don't think I can stop her.

I'm sure I'll have questions as I get more into this, but for now I figured I would mostly look over the forums here as a resource in addition to several other websites and books I'm reading through. I don't think it'll be necessary, but since I'm surprising MS with this, I kind of feel like it's partially my responsibility to make sure the animal is cared for correctly.

So that's why I'm here! Any tips or advice are greatly appreciated. :grin::)
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