Bringing home a hedgehog is exciting, and you can look forward to spending lots of time bonding with your new little bundle of joy. While hedgehogs are excellent companions, they do require some adjustment time once you get them home. Using these tips helps you introduce your new pet to your home while keeping them comfortable and safe as they become a part of your family.
1- Brush Up On the Basics of Hedgehog Care
Hedgehogs typically live between four to six years, depending upon their type. With proper care, some hedgehogs can live even longer. You’ll want to start by making sure to have all of the things you need on hand to keep your pet healthy. Most hedgehogs eat a diet that consists of high-protein cat food along with lots of insects and quail eggs to round out their meals.
2- Prep Their Living Environment
Hedgehogs like to ball up and hide sometimes, but they are also active when they are awake at night. Making sure that your hedgehog has lots of room to move around is important. Ideally, their cage should be around 10 square feet. You’ll also want to make sure that it is warm to prevent false hibernation. Heating pads work well for keeping the space warm, and your new pet may prefer having a cozy blanket that adds to the warmth.
3- Adopt From a Reputable Breeder
Handling hedgehogs at an early age helps them to develop a calmer temperament. Reputable breeders make sure that hedgehogs are bred using the best practices to give them the best chances of being healthy and friendly. You should also hear that the young hedgehogs are handled and socialized daily, which results in the friendliest pets.
4- Plan for Ground Transportation
Flying is hard on humans, and you can likely imagine how stressful that kind of environment would be for a hedgehog that is used to being safe with its breeder or in a cage. Arranging for ground transportation is an option that can reduce stress for your pet as they travel from their first home to their new one.
5- Give Them Safe Hiding Places
Even when your hedgehog is in your lap, they may look for a place to hide. You can lay a soft blanket on your lap and encourage them to curl up underneath it. Or, you might show them the cozy pockets in your hoodie. Finding a cozy hiding spot encourages your pet to want to snuggle closer to your warmth.
6- Handle Your New Pet Frequently
Now that you have your pet at home, you want to continue their prior socialization routine. Daily handling is critical for helping your hedgehog learn to trust you, and you’ll want to make sure that every member of your family has a chance to bond. If someone in your home is nervous about the quills, then you can use a blanket or other soft fabric to pick them up. As you spend time together, make sure to do so in a quiet environment that fosters the development of trust.
Hedgehogs adjust faster to homes with a calm, soothing environment that is set up to meet their needs. While hedgehogs may be a little shy at first, you’ll find that they quickly warm up as you demonstrate love and affection during their first several weeks in your home.