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Before you buy a hedgehog you should have a good understanding of what exactly a hedgehog is and how to take care of a hedgehog.

First things first, before you get your hopes up and start looking for baby hedgehogs for sale, you must be certain that you are allowed to have a hedgehog as a pet in your area. There are certain areas that it is considered illegal to have one as a pet.

Hedgehog Information
Photo Courtesy of Last Human Getaway

It is illegal to own a hedgehog as a pet in the following areas(unless you obtain a permit):

United States

  • Arizona(permit required)
  • California
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho (European hedgehogs are illegal, African Pygmy hedgehogs are legal)
  • Maine (Permit Required)
  • New Jersey (Permit Required)
  • Oregon (European hedgehogs are illegal, African Pygmy hedgehogs are legal)
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia(Pemit Required + 12-month waiting period in Fairfax County)
  • Wyoming (Permit Required)

US Cities/Counties

Canada

  • Windsor, Ontario
  • Langley, British Columbia
  • Quebec (European hedgehogs are illegal, African Pygmy hedgehogs are legal)

Australia

Europe( the following countries are only allowed to own African Pygmy hedgehogs as pets)

  • United Kingdom
  • Netherlands
  • Spain
  • Finland
  • Austria

If you are lucky enough to live in an area that allows these little cuties for pets then continue reading.

Hedgehog History

The names “hedgehog” dates back from the early 1450′s from the Middle English word heyghoge. Heyg meaning hedgerows, as that’s where they were frequently found(in hedges and bushes) and hoge, because it has a pig-like nose/snout.

Domestication of hedgehogs was first noted by the Romans in the 4th century. The Romans raised them for the quills and the meat (if you can believe that). The quills were used as pins, card paper, and training other animals(i.e. helping to wean a calf from suckling).

Domestication became more popular in the 80′s. Since then there have been more and more hedgehog breeders showing up. Keep in mind that anyone that has a hedgehog for sale or is a hedgehog breeder must have a license to do so.

They are only native to parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe. They have been introduced to other countries as well, like New Zealand and Scotland, where they have thrived and since have been labeled a pest. With few predators they have become overpopulated and can wreck havoc on other native species(mostly insects, and ground-nesting birds).

Hedgehog 101
Photo by XWiz

 

General Info

Hedgehogs are small mammals with spines. Although they may look like a miniature version of the porcupine, these two are not related at all. Unlike the porcupine, the hedgehogs spines/quills do not come out easily and are not barbed nor poisonous. However, they do go through a process called quilling, where they will shed their “baby spines” which will be replaced by “adult spines”.

The hedgehog also has a defensive mechanism much like the armadillo. When they feel threatened or frightened they will roll up into a ball using there spines as a deterrent.

They are known to have very few predators. The predators they do have are birds of prey (mainly owls), foxes, mongooses, wolves, and even ferrets. Actually, their biggest predator is humans.

Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, meaning that will sleep during the day and be more active at night. Keep this in mind if you plan on having one as a pet, as you may want to keep it’s cage away from your bedroom as they can be noisy at times, especially if they are running on their wheel.

The lifespan of a hedgehog depends on its size. Larger varieties will have a lifespan of about 4 -7 years, smaller varieties will live about 2-4 years. However, a hedgehog lifespan increases more when in captivity. They can live as long as 8-10 years.

Hedgehog litters will contain about 3 or 4 baby hedgehogs with larger varieties, smaller varieties of hedgehogs will have a litter of about 5 or 6 babies.

Baby hedgehogs are born blind and with spines/quills. The quills are actually underneath the skin and with pass through skin with time.

Although they do not naturally hibernate, if temperatures get to low, they will hibernate. Hedgehogs prefer a warmer temperature and prefer to be in an environment with a temperature between 72-76 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hedgehogs can see, but their eyesight is very bad. They use their sense of smell the most to help them get around. Their sense of smell is how they find their food. It is said that they can smell food 1 inch underground. Along with its sense of smell, the hedgehog has rather good hearing as well. They use their hearing to help detect prey/danger.

What do Hedgehogs Eat

Traditionally, they are classified as “insectivores”, but are actually more omnivorous. Wild hedgehogs diet’s consists of insects, snails, fruits(melons and berries), bird eggs, mushrooms, grass roots, and much more.

Learn more about their diet in our article – What Do Hedgehogs Eat

Types of Hedgehogs

There’s 17 different species of hedgehogs which are divided over five different genera. The most common type of hedgehog for sale is the African pygmy hedgehog. The African pygmy is a hybrid version of the white-bellied/four-toed hedgehog and the Algerian hedgehog. Other common varieties include the Egyptian long-eared, and the Indian long-eared hedgehog. Common varieties found in the United States are the White-Bellied and Algerian hedgehogs.

The following list is all they types of hedgehogs:

  • Genus – Atelerix
    • Four-toed
    • North African
    • Southern African
    • Somali
  • Genus – Erinaceus
    • Amur
    • Sothern white-breasted
    • European
    • Norther white-breasted
  • Genus – Hemiechinus
    • Long-eared
    • Indian long-eared
  • Genus – Mesechinus
    • Daurian hedgehog
    • Hugh’s hedgehog
  • Genus – Paraechinus
    • Desert
    • Brandt’s
    • Indian
    • Bare-bellied