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Hedgehog Behavior


Are Hedgehogs Right For You?

The four-toed hedgehogs, commonly known as African pygmies, thrive in the savannas of central Africa. To ensure their wellbeing and proper husbandry, providing an adequate heat source is crucial. These natural burrowers require numerous hides in their enclosure to feel secure, and their incredible long-distance running abilities necessitate a wheel or a designated space in your home for exploration. If considering keeping them in the bedroom, it's essential to be mindful of potential noise from the wheel at night. Investing in a well-made silent wheel can significantly reduce disturbances during their marathon-like runs.

Being small mammals with a faster metabolism, hedgehogs need to eat enough to sustain their energy use on the wheel. This inevitably leads to the well-known phenomenon among hedgehog enthusiasts referred to as "Poop Boots" and poop-covered wheels, requiring daily cleanings and weekly baths. While this may seem like a messy aspect of hedgehog care, it's a labor of love that dedicated hedgehog enthusiasts gladly undertake for their cherished lap cacti.

Hedgehogs are considered either insectivores or omnivores depending on the source referenced. In the wild, hedgehogs primarily eat insects, slugs, snails, earthworms, and other small invertebrates, which provide them with protein. They also consume fruits, vegetables, which are sources of fiber. Hedgehogs have the unique ability to digest chitin from insects, which is primarily a protein source but also provides some fiber. If you are considering getting a hedgehog as a pet, it’s important to know what a hedgehog should be eating to make better food decisions for your pet.

Hedgehogs, primarily solitary and nocturnal creatures armed with spines for defense, may not be suitable for households with small children or individuals with sensory issues. Although they won't shoot out their quills, they can and will spike up if feeling threatened or uncomfortable. Their poor eyesight is compensated by a keen sense of smell and good hearing, offering clues for effective communication with humans. Many hedgehogs respond to their owner's voice, with some even understanding their name. Soft verbal communication, along with the incorporation of an old piece of clothing into their daily routine, familiarizes them with their owner's scent during periods of absence.

The Hedgehog Temperament Scale serves as a guide based on interactions with individual hedgehogs. While variations in behavior are expected due to hedgehog behavior, efforts are made to make informed judgments and pair hedgehogs with the right individuals for a harmonious companionship.

1/5 Surly- "bad tempered and unfriendly"

Erect quills, huffing, will not un-ball, popping noises

2/5 Aloof- "cool and distant"

Erect quills, huffing, curious but still defensive, some popping

3/5 Amendable- "able to be influenced"

Firm quills, huffing, will come out but quickly retract, no popping

4/5 Amiable- " friendly and agreeable"

Slightly defensive but quick to relax, some huffing, some sniffing

5/5 Amicable- "friendly and peaceful"

Quills flattened, occasional huffing, little to no balling up, lots of sniffing

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