What is a Hedgehog?
A hedgehog is a small spiny mammal. There are seventeen species of hedgehogs. They can be found through parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa. They are an introduced species in New Zealand. There are no hedgehogs native to Australia and no living species native to North or South America. Hedgehogs share distant ancestry with shrews and have changed little over the last 15 million years. They adapted a nocturnal, insectivorous lifestyle. Hedgehogs' spiny protection resembles that of the unrelated rodent porcupines. To put their quills into perspective they feel like overly gelled hair when a person is petting them, but if they get nervous or scared their quills are their first line of defense and if a person is not careful the spines can easily puncture skin. The name hedgehog takes it roots in the fact that in the wild these animals like to frequent hedgerows, hence the hedge. They also have a pig like snout hence the hog, thus the name hedgehog was born and stuck to the unique animals.
 Hedgehogs can be easily recognized by their spine, which are hollow hairs made stiff with keratin. Contrary to popular belief hedgehogs cannot shoot the quills, and they are not barbed like that of the porcupine, and are very difficult to remove for the hedgehog, but do fall out naturally much like humans loose some of their hair each day. They also go through a process called quilling when a juvenile hedgehog loses its excessively sharp baby spines and replaces them with duller adult spines.  
When a hedgehog feel threatened it will roll up into a tight ball causing all of its spines to point outward. It is because of this natural defense that it rare for a captive breed hedgehog to bite. They do have several natural predators in the wild, however in captivity this is rarely a concern unless you are considering purchasing a hedgehog and currently own ferrets, dogs, cats or some other animals. In these cases it may be necessary to take some extra precautions to insure your animal's safety.
Hedgehogs are primarily nocturnal though they will get up periodically throughout the day to drink, eat or go to the bathroom. Hedgehogs can go into hibernation so this is why in captivity it is essential that their environmental temperature be maintained at a constant of approximately 72-78 degrees F. The temperature of their environment should not be allowed to fluctuate drastically.  They need to have access to sunlight even though they will try to hide.

Why buy from a pedigree breeder over a pet store or back yard breeder?

1.  We track the health of our babies.  We have a pre 3 year death rate of less than 1%.  This means it is very rare for someone to buy one from us and have it die prior to 3 years.  When this does happen we work with you to find out what went wrong.

2.  Pet stores buy from where they can buy them cheapest.  We tried this around 10 years ago.  We bought 20.   50% of them died within 3 months 40% more died within 1 year only 2 lived over 3 years.  Long story short this was the biggest mistake we ever made and will never make it again.  Most pet stores will buy pets from anywhere most commonly a pet distribution center, but even craigslist rehomes.  There are many genetic defects in Hedgehogs and animals with this defect should be removed from breeding lines.  Breeders who breed for massive amounts of hedgehogs to be sold to pet stores usually do not keep up with lineage or pedigree of their hedgehogs so they have no idea of who the parents are to remove those lines. 

3.  Back yard breeders breed without knowing their hedgehogs genetic background.  Just because you buy from different states does not mean you are not buying closely related hedgehogs.  There are several genetic traits and disorders in hedgehogs that if crossed cause devastating results.  I do not want to go into too much detail because some of these can get gory.

 Do Hedgehogs Make Good Pets?

Hedgehogs are a gateway pet into the world of exotic pet ownership.  While they are still considered to be exotics their care and maintenance is about that of a guinea pig.  Their feeding schedule is more like that of a cat.  The only real difference is that this animal does loves bathing.   They are not terribly noisy and have little to no odor when cared for properly.

What Do Hedgehogs Eat?

Although traditionally hedgehogs have been classified as insectivorous, hedgehogs have been found to be almost omnivorous.   In the wild hedgehogs feed on insects, snails, frogs, toads, some snakes, bird eggs, carrion, mushrooms, grass roots, berries, melons and watermelons.  In captivity it has become necessary to find other way to replicate their omnivorous diet.  We offer our hedgehog’s access to dry food 24 hours a day as long as they maintain a healthy weight, most seem not to over eat.  (If your hedgehog cannot roll up into a tight ball it is time for them to go on a controlled diet.) We also offer them a table spoon of wet cat food (they prefer pâté to chunky) twice a week.  

Do Hedgehogs Bite?

Like any small animal hedgehogs can bite.  However, this is not their first line of defense.  They will ball up first when threatened and will hiccup to make themselves appear larger and let’s face it nobody really wants to mess with a prickly Mexican jumping bean the about the size of a soft ball.  If all of this does not work then they can bite.  In reality though it is you are more likely to be accidentally bitten if you taste like food or they are trying to gather the scent for anointing.  Keep your mind at peace because hedgehog bites usually do not break skin.  Mother hedgehogs will charge you and will bite to protect their young (these bites usually won’t break skin but as they are in fight mode over their babies they really do hurt and tend to bruise the person).

What is anointing?

Hedgehogs will perform a ritual referred to as anointing when they encounter new scents. They will lick and bite the source of the scent. Then they will form scented foam in its mouth and spread this foam across its back and the rest of it body. (This is common and the hedgehog does not have rabies.) The true reason for this is so that the animal can disguise or camouflage its scent in its environment. This instinctual behaviour is a defense from predators; it also provides the hedgehog with a potential source of poison to predators.

How do I bond with my Hedgehog?

Bonding with a hedgehog is time consuming and we recommend that you have a sweatshirt, or hoodie of some type that you use every time you handle your hedgehog until it gets completely used to you. It helps in two ways first you are not introducing a lot of new scents to your hedgehog every time you play with it and the second is that it protects you a bit for uncooperative quills.

Do I need to buy a heater for my hedgehog?

You will only need to buy a heater if your house is kept below 72 degrees.  If you need to buy a heater we recommend a room heater.  We do not recommend heat lamps or heat pads.  We have started recommending CHE or heat emitters with thermostats.  And optimal temperature is 74-75 degrees.

What is the life span of a Hedgehog?

The life span of a hedgehog in captivity is typically 3-5 years, though we have heard on one living up to ten, and many of ours have lived to be six to eight.

Can I keep more than one Hedgehog?

We do not recommend this, but occasionally two females from the same litter can be kept together. They are solitary by nature, and usually will fight to keep their territory.  The only real reason to have more than one hedgehog is for breeding purposes.  Please be aware it is illegal to breed hedgehogs even accidentally without a state license in  Arizona, Florida, New York, and Tennessee.  It is illegal to own a hedgehog in  Maine,  Georgia, California, Hawaii, and Pennsylvania.  If you know of any others or laws passed to allow please let me know and I will add to or deleted from the list.

Is there anything I should never use around a hedgehog?

Yes there are several things you should never use around your hedgehog.  Never use anything with catnip it is poisonous to hedgehogs. Never use cedar bedding, it causes repository infections in small animals.  Any type of wood bedding should be avoided as it is common for it to contain mites.  Cat litter causes digestive issues if eaten by your hedgehog and should be avoided at all cost.  

With all of the beddings to avoid is there one you would recommend?

For our hedgehogs we use rice hulls. This is a by product of rice farming, is a green product because it is produced by a renewable source when rice is farmed and not by cutting down trees, and is fairly inexpensive when you are located in a state in which the commodity of rice is grown. This product is available through farmers co-ops and we always have it in stock here.

What do I need to have for my new pet to come home?

We recommend you to check out our cage kits and either purchase from us or replicate the contents of the kit.  We highly recommend you not to use aquariums or totes.  Plastic water bottles have a high fail rate and can dehydrate your new baby.  We have tried just about every wheel out there and pet store wheels break very often. You will need a high quality cat food, and bedding.  We also provide a box that can be closed for the trip home.

How often should I clean my cage?

You should clean your cage, wheel, and shelter weekly with vinegar and water.  Dry it well and fill with bedding.

Does my hedgehog need to be taken to the vet?

Hedgehogs  do not require routine shots, vaccinations, or veterinary testing.

Why do you not state color in your ads?

At about ten to sixteen weeks, they grow their adult set of spines. When this happens, their color may remain the same or it may change overnight. This new color will not change again and can be considered to be their adult color.

Why do you need to know what time I will be there?

It usually takes about an hour to convey care instructions, answer questions, and to pick out a hedgehog.  We make appointments for 2 hour blocks to make sure we have a little extra time if needed between customers.  When you are late it causes difficulties and in some cases may delay our ability to serve you.  This is the most important during our busy months.  

What do you feed your hedgehogs?


 Currently we use equal parts: 

        https://alphadogfood.com/?ref=1097 Alpha dog cat food (the URL is posted and we have coupons available if you would like a discount just call us)

        members mark all stage cat food from Sam's Club.


TREATS (one of the below 2 times per week about 1/2 to 1 tablespoon)

wet cat food       meal worms     wax worms 

Dubia roaches   horn worm        pinkie mouse

crickets              super worms    watermelon

pumpkin


When we change combinations we only change one item at a time.


wet cat food any brand Pate'.  You can buy a small can and some Ice cube trays.  Place about 1/2 tablespoon of food in each spot and cover with saran wrap.  Place in freezer and give one cube in a clean food dish 2 nights a week.  Be careful not to miss any plastic wrap.  

How do I make a deposit or payment?

We take deposits through paypal just call or email prior to making a deposit.  Please be aware deposits are non refundable and the paypal service fee does not go toward your purchase price.  The 50 dollars does go toward the purchase price.  At time of pick up please bring cash or for a 4% fee we can take credit card.

Do you have a guarantee on your hedgehogs?
No. However we would like for you to contact us whenever your hedgehog passes even if it is 10 years from purchase.  This way we can monitor our breeding lines and do not breed lines that have poor  life spans. 

For people who purchased their hedgehog from us prior to June 2019.
In order to get our hedgehog replacement guarantee you must follow a few rules.  You must call us as soon as you notice the hedgehog has passed.   We do not cover abuse, neglect, or trauma issues we may ask that you get a necropsy if that line has had no known problems. You must have used the diet we recommend.   Please note we do not guarantee any hedgehog that has been kept in a tote/tub for longer than 16 weeks or an improper cages.  Tubs/totes are notorious for causing ammonia poisoning.  Improper cages are made out of wood  and/or wire mesh wood is notorious for having bacteria and causing bacterial infections and wire mesh is known for letting hedgehogs small feet get caught and breaking arms and legs.  We have updated this guarantee as of June 2019 and this one is only here and not changed for purchases prior to June 2019.  This one will be removed in June of 2022.