Who does not know these cute little animals that are found around the world! A hedgehog is an omnivorous animal, covered with approximately 10 thousand renewing spines, leading a nocturnal lifestyle. The growth of animals is 12-45 cm, hedgehogs weigh from 0.3 to 1.5 kg.
There are several types of hedgehogs suitable for keeping at home:
- Dwarf african. This species has a remarkable feature - animals do not hibernate and quickly get used to humans.
- Eared hedgehog the smallest one, its size does not exceed 20-22 cm. The main charm of this species is 5-centimeter ears, which amusingly stick out on both sides of the head.
- Most often found as a favorite hedgehog home. Thanks to the selection, the hedgehog perfectly adapts to life in apartment conditions. Coloring options for wool and thorns are possible.
Forest hedgehog lives in the wild, looks larger than a domestic brother and does not take root in the apartment.
Where to get a hedgehog?
Not being fast runners (the speed of movement of hedgehogs does not exceed 3-4 km / h) and having met a person in a park, forest or garden, the hedgehogs do not run away, but curl up into a ball. Having tried, this tangle can be picked up. But is it possible to keep a forest hedgehog at home? For a number of objective reasons, this is not worth it. Not only is the forest hedgehog dangerous to human health, as it is a carrier of various infections. A wild hedgehog can be sick with something serious and will die quickly. He is also not accustomed to living at home and behaves aggressively, biting and scratching.
You should not buy a hedgehog in the market from the hands of unknown persons. Most likely, the poor hedgehog got caught by chance or was caught because it was weakened due to illness or old age.
The best option to get a hedgehog is to buy at a pet store or from a breeder (there are some). A hedgehog born in captivity from domesticated parents is perfectly adapted to life in the house and quickly gets used to the new owner.
Features of the life of a hedgehog at home
When starting a hedgehog as a pet, many people wonder how many hedgehogs live at home. If you carefully care for the hedgehog, then he will live 2 times longer than his forest counterparts - about 10 years.
Before purchasing an original pet, one must take into account that a hedgehog is a nocturnal animal that will walk, eat, make noise, move in the night silence, and during the day it will be rather sluggish, in the winter it will probably go into hibernation for several days or even months.
It is impossible to transfer a hedgehog to a daily lifestyle.
A few tips to take care of your hedgehog at home
Having decided to get a pretty prickly friend, you need to prepare for him:
- a cage - a place of shelter, sleep, toilet and food,
- stock of hay and sawdust,
How to care for a hedgehog at home? The main thing to remember is that a hedgehog is not a toy. It needs to be fed, bathed, walked, cleaned in a cage, regularly communicate with him so that he recognizes his owner.
How to feed a prickly handsome man at home
In children's tales, hedgehogs eat apples and mushrooms with appetite, but in real life they are not vegetarians. Most of all hedgehogs like to eat a variety of insects. Cockroaches, crickets, larvae, snails, worms - this is the main diet of a prickly animal in natural nature. But what do hedgehogs eat at home?
A caring owner will try to provide his pet with insect delicacies, but they can be replaced with the following products:
- raw or boiled minced meat (chicken, beef),
- fresh fish
- raw eggs
- boiled liver
- Fresh fruits and vegetables.
The maintenance of hedgehogs at home implies that the animal will not get salty, spicy, fried or sweet from the owner’s table, no matter how much you like to pamper your pet. As a treat, you can give bread soaked in milk or canned cat food.
The hedgehog should have 2 bowls: for food and water. Fresh water is poured daily.
Feed the hedgehogs, like other pets, twice a day to avoid the problem of obesity.
Is it possible to teach a hedgehog to use the toilet like cats, small dogs, and even rats and raccoons do? It is possible, although a lot of efforts will have to be made to achieve the result.
Accustom to the fact that the toilet tray is placed in a certain corner of the cage, you can only young hedgehogs. Old or wild animals will not understand what they want from them.
In nature, the hedgehog uses the places of his own choosing in the forest for the toilet. Therefore, at home, you need to carefully look at what place in the cage has chosen a pet for toilet needs. Then a tray with filler is placed in this place. It is better to use wood sawdust rather than sand that sticks to needles. To make the hedgehog understand what they want from him, put his feces or a rag dipped in urine into the tray.
For a prickly pet, a plastic tray suitable for large rodents is suitable.
The toilet should be cleaned no more than 1 time per week - a sterile, odorless tray will not be used for its intended purpose.
Bowls for food and water should not be placed near the tray.
Cleanliness is the key to health: hedgehog hygiene
Many domestic hedgehogs are carriers of ticks and fleas. Insects injure the skin of the animal and carry various infections, so they must be disposed of. This can be done by washing the pet.
How to wash a hedgehog at home?
- Training. A flea shampoo for rodents is used to bathe a hedgehog. Any other shampoos are not suitable, because they can cause intoxication and extremely dry the skin of the animal. The water temperature is +36 0. Detergents are not added to the water.
- the washing up. After wetting the hedgehog spikes under running water or in a basin, a small amount of shampoo is taken and a spiky fur coat is processed with a toothbrush. A brush moistened with soapy water is quickly carried out from head to tail, acting especially carefully in the head area so that water or foam does not get into the ears. Can be carried out on needles with a soapy hand.
- Rinse. Under a stream of water or in the pelvis, the back is first rinsed, then the hedgehog must be carefully turned over and the stomach rinsed. Water can be applied by hand.
- Drying. You can not use a hairdryer, this will cause the animal to overheat and stress. After washing, the hedgehog is wiped with a towel, not forgetting the stomach, then you can place the pet in a carrier or basket under the lamp until it dries completely, periodically passing through the thorns with your hand to provide air access. The hedgehog will become completely dry in 1-2 hours.
- Apply 1-2 drops of oil to the prickly fur coat and tail area for skin moisturizing.
Only after the hedgehog has completely dried up, can he be allowed to run around the house, otherwise he can get sick by catching a cold.
Since bathing for a hedgehog is stress, it is not worth carrying out this procedure more often than once every 2-3 months. Therefore, if the needles are dusty or the paws get dirty, they can be wiped with a damp cloth.
How to make a cozy house?
Of course, you can let the hedgehog walk around the apartment, but in this case you need to be prepared for wires to be cracked, feces can be found in the most inappropriate places, and the hedgehog itself can get stuck or get injured somewhere.
In order for both the hedgehog and its owner to be comfortable, it is better to keep a prickly friend in the aviary, regularly letting them run around the house.
To keep the hedgehog at home, a metal cage or a plywood box with air holes is perfect, you can also fence off part of the room (for example, a balcony). The aquarium cannot be used, because air stagnates in it.
For a full life, a hedgehog needs 1 m 2 of its own living space.
How to equip an aviary for a hedgehog:
- the enclosure should be placed where there is neither the scorching rays of the sun, nor heating appliances, nor drafts,
- it should have a toilet, a feeding trough, a drinking bowl,
- you can put a running wheel,
- the floor is covered with sawdust or grass.
It is convenient if the bottom extends in the cage - in this case, the cleaning process is greatly simplified. To avoid the smell in the apartment inherent in the forest inhabitants, the owners of a home hedgehog need to clean the feeding place, cage, toilet every day.
In the cage, you must definitely build a house, for the hedgehog, the ability to retire is important. A wooden house is lined with grass, moss, leaves or hay from the inside. In such a house-nest, the hedgehog will be happy to mess around and sleep.
Hibernation has not been canceled!
The maintenance of hedgehogs at home implies that for a couple of winter months the animal must be allowed to go into hibernation. If you force the pet to abandon the usual way of life, then the hedgehog will live much less than it could, be lethargic and painful.
The hibernation period of the animal falls at the end of October - beginning of November.
How to prepare a pet for this important stage in his life:
- With the advent of autumn, more high-calorie foods are introduced into the diet of the hedgehog. So the hedgehog will accumulate fat deposits - energy reserve for sleeping time.
- In a calm, cool place, where the air temperature does not exceed +5 0 - +7 0, a shelter is equipped. The nest can be built from rags, hay, dry leaves, straw.
- Noticing that the hedgehog becomes lethargic, eats poorly, you need to take it to the nest and do not disturb. Usually hibernation continues until the end of February - beginning of March.
Hedgehog and other animals in the house
If you really want to get a hedgehog, and there are already other animals in the house (cats, dogs, hamsters or parrots), is there any hope to make friends with them? Experts give a definite answer: no, in real life there can be no friendship between animals.
In the best case, all the cloisters of the house will live, simply not noticing each other and communicating only with the owner. The hedgehog will not make friends with a dog or a cat, because these animals perceive the world differently and do not contact each other.
You can not put a hedgehog in the same cage with hamsters, rats, chinchillas - this can end sadly for rodents.
How to name a pet?
And now the home hedgehog is acquired. He has a cage and pans. Now he needs a name. Each time, while feeding a prickly pet, it is necessary to pronounce the name out loud. Then, over time, the hedgehog may begin to resort to the call of the owner.
What names are suitable for these funny animals? Shurshunchik or Shurshun, Topotun, Thorn, Hedgehog, Chucha. The choice of a name depends on the imagination and preferences of the owner, the main thing is that it is not very long, and the sounds in the name are pronounced clearly.
Life in the wild
The breeder should understand that the main thing in caring for the pet is to recreate the conditions of the natural habitat as much as possible. How do hedgehogs live in the wild?
Hedgehogs are a family of omnivores. The opinion that these animals feed only on mushrooms and fruits is a myth. In fact, hedgehogs eat arthropods and rodents. In addition, the animal needs fruits and berries.
In conditions of prolonged starvation, hedgehogs are able to eat earthworms and even snakes, including poisonous ones. However, such a diet for the animal will not be useful.
Hedgehogs live in shallow minks, which are tightly closed in the cold season. They hibernate when the ambient temperature drops below 15 ° C. In this case, the mammalian heart rate is reduced to 20 beats per minute, and the respiratory rate is reduced to one.
Hedgehogs mate in spring after hibernation. A female can have up to 8 cubs in a litter; pregnancy lasts 40-49 days. Life expectancy in the wild rarely exceeds 5 years.
How to choose a hedgehog
Before buying a hedgehog, you should carefully examine it. The animal should be mobile, its skin and needles should look healthy, and its eyes should not have crusts or mucus. The first manifestation of many diseases in hedgehogs is excessive prolapse of needles and sour eyes. The most reasonable solution is to consult a veterinarian before purchasing.
Hedgehogs get used to the area in which they live, quite strongly. When a pet is bought and transported to a new place, it is stressed. This is due to the fact that the hedgehogs have poor vision, but excellent sense of smell and hearing. In a new house with unfamiliar odors, the animal will feel in constant danger until it gets used to the environment. How to facilitate the adaptation process? There are a few simple tricks:
- Take the hedgehog often. This is not to say that these animals need constant company, but the pet needs to get used to the new owner.
- Feed the animal from the hands. This is the best way to win over any animal. Show that you are friendly.
- Eliminate the effects of strong aromas. It should be removed from the room where there is a cage with a hedgehog, air fresheners, perfumes, cigarettes and other sources of smell.
- Put your unwashed clothes near the cage. Hedgehog will quickly get used to the owner, if he constantly feels his presence.
- Do not place the animal in a noisy room, this will only increase stress.
Hedgehogs - animals are very mobile, they like to run, because the cage should be large enough. It is important that it closes securely, as these pets are true escape masters. Do not select bunk cells. Pets have poor eyesight, and it is difficult for them to climb to the second floor. In addition, the hedgehogs' bones are fragile, scrambling and tangling in the rods, the pet can damage the foot.
There must be a litter in the cage, it should be made from natural materials: wood sawdust or grass. Hedgehogs like to hide, they definitely need a mink. Replace it at home can a small but closed house. Another required component is the running wheel, otherwise the hedgehog will suffer from physical inactivity.
You can try to accustom your pet to the toilet tray. To do this, it should be filled with materials other than bedding. An ordinary cat filler is suitable for these purposes. However, it must be borne in mind that hedgehogs do not lend themselves well to such training and relieve need wherever they want.
The most common captive hedgehog disease is obesity. It becomes the cause of their premature death, therefore it is worth balancing the pet’s diet as much as possible.
In pet stores you can buy special food for hedgehogs. In case of its absence, dry cat food is suitable, the taste preferences of animals are largely similar. In addition, the hedgehog should be fed meat, fish, eggs and fruits.
As a complementary meal, low-fat boiled chicken or fish, boiled eggs, non-acid apples, ready-made peas are suitable. Food cannot be salted while cooking, nor can raw meat be given. There are a number of products that are forbidden to feed hedgehogs, these include: tomatoes, grapes, raisins, milk, avocados, alcohol, sweets, bread.
The pet's feeder should be low enough and wide so that the hedgehog can climb inside. Thus, it will be more convenient for him to eat. At the same time, it must be heavy so that the pet cannot turn it over.
A few basic rules
- Keep an eye on the ambient temperature. When it drops to 15 ° C, the hedgehog will hibernate. This condition is often perceived by the owners as death, but in fact the pet is alive. Already at 22 ° C, the hedgehogs become sluggish, dynamic, there is a risk of pneumonia.
With proper care, the life of a hedgehog in captivity can reach 12 years. It is necessary to adhere to the basic rules, and the pet will delight you with its presence for a long time.