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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone - I joined because I have been reading about hedgies and want to get one, but I need some advice.

First of all, I will say I have a dog, two cats and 7 rats. Some of my rats are getting a bit old and I have decided that I am not going to get more rats in the future, but I still want to have a small pet once they have left me. :( So I won't be getting a hedgehog for a while but I am doing my research now. From what I have read I like them and I think they would be a good pet for me in the future.

I already have a vet who knows about many exotics, I'm going to check with her if she has experience with hedgehogs. She's very good with my rats and other animals like ferrets.

So my questions I hope you guys can help me with:
- Do hedgehogs often need vet care?
- Are there personality differences between males and females? What are pros and cons to each?
- Since I have cats I will keep the hedgie in a cage when I am not there. Can I use my Ferret Nation 142 cage? It is a cage about 2 ft x 3 ft x 5 ft, and has two full floors and two half floors (they have pans so they are not wire) and several wire ramps. Can hedgies walk up these ramps or does it need a big single story cage? What would I use for bedding in a cage, I have litter pans but for the rest of it?
- I have read I should just get one as they are not social, unlike my rats which have to be in pairs. Is this right?
- I have allergies and I am able to deal with my allergies to my pets by taking Claritin. Do hedgehogs aggravate allergies? Do any of you have pet allergies and manage to do okay with your hedgehog?
- I am having trouble finding a breeder near me, I am in Plano Texas (near Dallas) and I will travel a good distance to get the right pet. If anyone knows of any good breeders in Texas or neighboring states can you recommend them?
- What do you feed yours? I read they eat insects - but not to give them raw meat. My dog and cats eat raw meat since they are carnivores. The rats eat fruits, veggies and grains with some bugs. Would I feed a hedgehog fresh veggies and bugs? Or do most people use a processed food like for cats and ferrets? I prefer to feed my pets the most natural diet so advice on what you guys use for food would be helpful.


Thanks for reading and I look forward to talking to everyone.
 

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Kudos for researching beforehand, and welcome to HHC!

Hedgehogs don't need vaccinations like dogs and cats, but they do need vet care. Wellness checks for sure, should be done when you first get your hedgie and once a year if possible. Other than that, they just need to be taken in if you notice any sudden (or gradual) changes in appetite, weight, feces, etc. Hedgehogs hide illness very well and if you notice something's wrong, it's likely they are already pretty sick. And then, obviously, if they are injured in any way.

Males and females as pets are basically the same. Neither smells worse, or has a different personality. Just be warned that males like "time to themselves" and you might find some crusties from that...

Cage: yes, you can use a FN142 as a cage, with modifications. I use one for my one boy. He lives in the top compartment, and I keep storage below. You can't use a shelf or ramp unless they are completely enclosed, hedgies will fall off and get hurt.
Here's a link to how I did my FN:
http://hedgehogcentral.com/oldforum/ind ... topic=4902

Bedding, I would recommend using liners. You just cut a piece of fleece to the size of the cage. You might have done the same with ferrets, just hedgies don't use hammocks.

Hedgies are solitary and do great on their own.

Some people are more sensitive to hedgies than others, but the only major concern about that would be if you used shavings (not in the FN) and sometimes the quill pokes bother people.

Here's a list of breeders:
http://hedgehogcentral.com/breederusa.shtml

For food, the best we can offer, since we don't know much about nutritional requirements, is a mix of high quality cat foods. Most owners will supplement this with insects like mealies (most LOVE them).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the quick reply! After some more reading I saw those FNs that have been modified, I could easily do that with mine. I also read about the Sterilite bins, and I might prefer to do that sort of cage, because honestly the FN is a PITA to clean with the rats. (It has hardware cloth to make it 1/2" not 1" and it gets so gross. I don't think I can take it off for a hedgie right, some could fit out of 1", correct?) Honestly I'm about fed up with my FN lol. I never had a rat cage I liked though. Anyway I use fleece liners for the rats - do hedgies chew fleece? Right now I have to make new liners every few weeks, if the hedgies don't chew them up that would rock :)

On that breeder list the one in Texas with a website looks sort of suspicious to me, and the one in AK is $200+. Eek. I was expecting to pay more like $50-75...is that too unreasonable? I want to get a good pet and I don't mind spending money but why would some breeders charge $50 and some $200. Also is it suspicious if they charge more for different colors? I'm trying to find breeders with websites since I am not close enough to getting one to call them up, I just want to research in the background ;)

With rats, generally breeders will charge between $10-$25 so such a huge difference for hedgies is confusing to me. It makes me think of how a good dog breeder will charge one amount and a pet shop will charge 5 times that - and the pet shop dog is not healthy. You know?
 

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As long as your hedgie isn't very young/extremely small, you don't need the hardware cloth... If you clean it and leave it on until your hedgie is large enough (assuming you get a baby...)

Hedgies aren't rodents so they won't need anything to chew on, and shouldn't chew the fleece. The most you could worry about is them trying to dig through it and ingesting some of the little fluffies that come off.


I don't know which breeder you're talking about, or if they are reputable, but usually hedgies are 100-200, closer to 150+ is more common. Some breeders choose to charge more for male/female, or color. It's their personal choice. Over 200 I think is too much...

Hedgies cost a lot more because they are exotic, not too very common, and much, much more difficult to keep and breed than rats. Litters are smaller, and it's common for moms to canniballize babies. They have to be kept at a constant temp of 73-78 degrees F as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That is probably what I'd do, leave it on until I was sure it couldn't escape then take it off cause it's pretty hard to clean with it on. But doing a sterlite bin seems like it would be easier to control the temperature using a pad under it. How do you control the temp in the FN?

This is the one in AK where they are 200-250: http://gothedgehogsbreedingandrescue.br ... lable.html - they do also sell a starter kit cage that looks neat, with toys and food. But they don't have any pictures of the actual animals, heh.

The one in Texas I didn't like the looks of is: http://www.bayou-bend.com/ - it claims not to be a pet shop but it looks suspicious to me. The fact that they "always" have animals available - I dunno I just get a bad vibe from it. They are $60 on there. There is another texas breeder who I found their site: http://www.freewebs.com/texashedgehogs/ their prices are all over the place - but I have read good things about them. It looks like they'll have babies going out the end of November which may be a good time if I decide to get one while I still have rats, but I will probably wait longer so I have a while to look.

I don't really care that much what color it is as long as it is has black eyes - it might sound vain but I just don't like animals with red eyes, and if you don't like to look at your pet it will be hard to bond, you know?

What I meant by huge difference was a range of prices, not the difference from 25 to 200 but from the low price of 60 for a hedgie to 200+ on another site. I know they will cost more, that's okay I just don't know what is the right range. I don't want to get taken for a ride you know :)

Sadly the one on the breeder list in OK, another close state, their website doesn't work anymore.

One thing I haven't seen much info on is their water - it looks like you guys use bowls instead of water bottles. Can they use water bottles or only bowls?
 

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I paid $200 for my baby, and from the research I did when I was getting ready to buy, that's a pretty typical rate. That's also the price I saw for hedgehogs at a local, very trustworthy pet store. I've also heard of breeders charging more for rarer colors than for basic ones.

Here's a really useful sit that might help you: http://www.hedgehogworld.com/. It's got a lot of great articles and stuff, and I found it very helpful when I started researching hedgehogs.

As for allergies: I have really sensative skin, and expected to break out like crazy from the pokes, but haven't had any problem with them. Also, my mom is allergic to fuzzy animals of all kinds (cats, dogs, horses...), and hasn't had any problem when she holds my Sophie.
 

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Sterilite bins work well too. For heating, though, you can't just use a heat pad. The whole environment, and air, have to be warm. With bins, the best way is to have a space heater in the room. Ceramic Heat Emitters can cause the bins to be too humid and build up moisture. For the FN, I have a ceramic heat emitter up top and that heats the whole cage.

For water, people generally recommend giving water bowls opposing bottles because hedgies aren't built to drink from bottles. It isn't a natural position, and they have been known to chew on the nozzle, cutting tongues and chipping teeth. If you are using fabric/fleece liners, I recommend a bowl. If you end up using shavings, then a bottle may be better, because the water would stay cleaner.

Bayou-Bend, to me, does NOT look like a good place at all. I think the second link looks fine. You can email them and get a feel for how well they care for the hedgies, and ask questions.
 

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(Some people may not like me to say this, but I don't recommend Hedgehog World at all. My experience there was that they were rude and thought their way to do things was the only way. Also, many of the breeders on that site don't believe HWS is a genetically transmitted disease, which can cause their babies to be unhealthy later in life. That's only my opinion, just throwing it out there...)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So I would put a space heater next to the bins?
What if they had a lid covering one half to keep the warm air in on that side? Would that work at all? Sort of like this : http://www.dapper.com.au/articles.htm#cage if I put two together, and had one of them with a regular lid and one like that?

I have to think about how I'd do this, I figured I would keep the cage in my office which has computers, and we have to keep the room a bit cooler so the computers don't overheat. So it sounds like this is not a good place at all to keep a hedgie. We do have a dining room that we NEVER use and it stays pretty warm, so I could keep the cage in there and put a space heater in that area. It's on the "hot" side of the house (the AC is on the opposite side and our insulation sucks) so it actually stays warmer over there anyway. My concern with that is getting to spend enough time with my hedgie. If I keep the cage in a warm area, but take the hedgie out to play during the day, how long can I keep it in my office if it's cooler in there? Like 10 minutes or could it stay in there for an hour or so with me before having to go back to the warmer cage? I realize I'd have to watch it to make sure it's okay heat-wise but I'm just looking for an idea of what would work.
 

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Two other places you can look for a breeder:

http://hedgehogbreederalliance.org/breeders.html
http://www.hedgehogclub.com/breeders.html

As to the space heater. I have mine across the room from my hedgehogs currently. I have had it much closer in the past. Either works as long as the temperature inside the cage is above 72. I say use your judgment on how long to keep them in a lower temperature area. I bring mine into my finished basement to watch TV often. The temperature down here is under 72 but the hedgehog is almost always snuggled in a blanket on my chest or crawling around on me. If I think its too cool we go somewhere else in the house.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Okay - I would get a digital thermometer and put it in there and if the office doesn't work out I can move it into the dining room. I had no idea they had a cold intolerance when I started looking into them, but I'm certainly glad I did my research!

I think I probably will get one, they sound like really neat pets and I think it would work out for me. I sent an email to the breeder near me to let them know I am interested in the future, and see if I can come see their hedgies to help me decide if I do want one.

Thanks for everyone's help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Going to get a hedgehog :)

Well, I talked to the breeder near me and I really like her, and she's going to let me come visit the boy hedgies and meet them, and I will likely place a deposit on that litter. I'm excited - I think this will be really neat.
 
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