Small Animal Information from

SMALL ANIMALS

AFRICAN DWARF HEDGEHOGS

The African Pygmy Hedgehog, once a native of Africa, is now a domesticated animal in America. 

 They are solitary animals, preferring being in enclosed environments, i.e. hedges. With a small amount of socialization however, a hedgehog can become a friendly companion for life. 

Size and Age: Adult hedgehogs will grow to be approximately 6 inches from head to tail, and weigh about 2 to 3 pounds. They can live as long as 10 years if cared for properly.

  Appearance: The face, underbody, and legs are covered with soft hair, usually cream or brown colored. The ears are small and nearly hairless. 

   The top of the body is densely covered with darker colored spines. These spines are actually modified hairs filled with air chambers. When the animal is frightened or angry, these spines will become stiff, and picking up the hedgehog when it is in this state is nearly impossible. However, with proper handling, your hedgehog will relax its spines, allowing it to be picked up with no problem.

Diet: Hedgehogs are known to eat many things in their natural environment, from mealworms to leafy plants. They require a high protein, vitamin enriched diet to maintain good health. As pets, they can find what they need in a high protein cat or ferret diet. 

Environment: Hedgehogs should be kept in a closed area with something to climb on to feel protected. A shipping crate with clean wood shavings is a good home. It is important to keep the temperature between 65 and 90 degrees F. Colder temperatures can cause hedgehogs to go into hibernation, while warmer temperatures could cause health problems. These animals can be litter trained, so it is a good idea to place a pan with cat litter in the cage. A guinea pig water bottle, hung on the outside of the cage is good for holding water. As open dishes are often messy and can cause problems, a small dish like that used for a cat or ferret is good for holding food. 

   If these tips are followed, along with periodic trips to your veterinarian, your hedgehog should lead a long, healthy life.

 -Thanks to Marshall Pet Products for this information.

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