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How To Care For African Pygmy Hedgehogs

 by jaime on 07 Jun 2014 |
2 Comment(s)

African pygmy hedgehogs have become the latest exotic pet craze with hundreds of people falling in love with the tiny spiked creatures. As well as being incredibly cute and friendly, they are extremely easy to care for and can be housed in a regular hamster cage as long as they get plenty of daily exercise. The African pygmy hedgehog was first bred in captivity in the United States and is a cross between an Algerian and a White Bellied hedgehog. Before purchasing one as a pet, it is important to check whether or not it is legal in your area as many states and some parts of Europe do not allow domesticated hedgehogs.



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Hedgehogs are solitary creatures that only seek company when they wish to mate. Therefore, it is advisable to keep only one hedgehog in a cage to avoid fights. Large hamster cages are ideal for African pygmy hedgehogs as long as there is at least three square feet of floor space. Your new pet will need a small litter box filled with shredded paper to use as a bathroom, a small box or soft pouch to sleep in and an exercise wheel.  You will also need a fleece liner to line the floor of the cage.



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Many hedgehog breeders recommend either dog or cat food for domesticated hedgehogs. Some stores now sell specialised hedgehog food, but it can be expensive. High quality cat food is commonly used to provide a complete diet for African pygmy hedgehogs. You can supplement this with plenty of fruits and vegetables to keep your pet in optimum health. Treats such as crickets, hardboiled eggs and cooked meats can be given as an occasional treat.



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Hedgehogs are nocturnal creatures and will come alive at night ready to explore their environment. As well as an exercise wheel, hedgehogs need space to roam in order to stimulate their senses and prevent boredom. If you have a garden, a small run enclosed in chicken wire is ideal. You can also let your hedgehog explore your home, but beware of potential dangers such as other pets and electrical wires.



African pygmy hedgehogs love being handled and will slowly learn to trust you once they feel safe in their environment. Try to purchase a baby hedgehog from a reputable breeder rather than a pet shop. Start by picking up your hedgehog by placing your fingers under his belly from either side and letting him relax on your lap. After a while, he will slowly start to uncurl and enjoy being handled. Hedgehogs also love to take baths, and this is a great opportunity to bond with your new pet. 


Upon encountering a new smell, hedgehogs will start to foam at the mouth and then spread their saliva over their backs. Although it can look as though the hedgehog is in distress, this is perfectly normal behaviour and is known as self-anointing. As long as you are prepared to cater to their slightly fussy diets and spend time socialising them, hedgehogs make wonderful pets that will keep you entertained for hours at a time.

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samantha - Comment
samantha26 Nov 2014Reply
Good day,

I am looking for pygmy pairing hedgehogs.
Can you advise me where I can get in South Africa?

Wren - Comment
Wren05 Dec 2014Reply
I live near Daytona Beach, FL...there are several exotic pet stores that have GREAT reputations for fair sale prices and support after your purchase. Look in your city and also check with Vets...you will need a Vet to keep your breeding pair healthy anyway!

NOTE: I have been trying to find where to purchase a hedgehog of the same breed/type as pictured in the FIRST PIC OF THIS ARTICLE!!!


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