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    Exotic Pets - African Hedgehog

    Geo Beats

    by Geo Beats

    Exotic Pets - Hedgehogs - as part of the expert series by GeoBeats. I am Beth Randall, and I am the director at Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary. And this is Lucy, she is a hedgehog, an African Pygmy Hedgehog. And those are the type of hedgehogs that are pets in the United States. There are also European Hedgehogs, which are about 3 times bigger than these. And they live in the gardens in England and Europe. These guys are native to the grasslands of Africa, where they run and burrow underground. And they eat bugs, worms, and small animals and eggs in the wild. They are a totally solitary animal. In captivity, they need to be kept alone, or they will fight with another hedgehog. Occasionally, female siblings can live together, but it is not guaranteed. They live about 5 to 8 years, they are nocturnal. Their quills are poky. They feel kinda like toothpicks, is what they feel like. They do not shoot them out, neither do porcupines. But, and they are not related to porcupines at all. Porcupines are rodents, these guys are little omnivores, again, that would be more closely related to a weasel or something like that. Or even a cat. They like to run, and so they do need a wheel. And when they are in a cage, they need to be in about a guinea pig size cage. A couple feet by maybe 3 or 4 feet. And they do need a wheel to run in at night. And it does have to be solid, because you can see, they have very tiny little feet, and they will get stuck in a wheel that has slots, or, you know, any kind of metal, that kind of thing. And they can actually have their little feet torn off, they get running so fast. They have been odometered at running 5 to 10 miles a night. As pets, it is a good idea to feed them a high quality kitten food. Even a ferret food, because they are a very high protein food, a dry one. And then you can supplement that with bits of chicken. Um, you can supplement it with a little bit of wet cat food. You can give them meal worms, crickets, super worms, that kind of thing. They do enjoy eating sometimes, and chasing around and catching. Um, they are not hard to hold when they are calm. Their little quills will lay down like this. And you can hold them. Their tummies are very soft. But you do not usually get to feel that until they are friendly and enjoy your company. Hedgehogs need a lot of time to get to know you. And they do curl up in their little ball when they are hiding. And they make a snorty and puffing sound like that. That is just a sound that they make. And they push their quills up when a predator tries to eat them. So, sometimes, if you try to pick them up from the top, they are going to do that. So you want to always pick them up from the bottom, so they do not think that you are going to eat them. They will run around in a hamster ball as well, a large hamster ball. It is a good idea to put your hedgehog in a small tub for a while, before you take them out to play. Because if they are awake, they are generally pooping. And so, if you get them in the tub, they will poop for a while. You can clean that up, and then you can play with your hedgehog a lot more. More fun. They do need a sleep sack in their cage, because they like to burrow and hide in that as well. And they do need their cage and their wheel cleaned very often. I know, you tell them! And so, a hedgehog is an interesting little pet. They do need to be kept warm, never under 60 degrees, preferably 75 degrees. And so they are an unusual little pet that needs a little bit extra care. And good for people who are experienced in different kinds of animals, and are willing to take that extra time to give them the appropriate care.