Does harvest, captive breeding, transport, or
being kept as a pet harm individual animals?
Some Cause for Concern
Ease of care of many non-traditional pets depends on the individual owner’s years of experience and knowledge caring for a particular species. For the purposes of this website, we have geared information toward the benefit of the beginner.
African pygmy hedgehogs are naturally solitary so they need a secure container where they feel safe to sleep and hide. They also need an exercise wheel to ensure that they get enough exercise. African pygmy hedgehogs are prone to respiratory infections so room air temperature should be kept at 75°F to 85°F. Owners should also clean the hedgehogs’ enclosure frequently (daily is optimal), to reduce the risk of skin diseases.
Captive African pygmy hedgehogs are prone to obesity due to overeating or inactivity. Providing a balanced diet is challenging but necessary to keep your hedgehog healthy. Some specially blended commercial hedgehog feeds are available. Owners are encouraged to visually examine their pets weekly, and to schedule annual or biannual veterinary examinations, especially dental check-ups. Because these hedgehogs curl up when frightened, most veterinary exams require the use of sedation.
Before acquiring a pet hedgehog, be sure to research its specific care requirements (web-based sources of information include the International Hedgehog Association’s page: http://hedgehogclub.com/). Talk to your veterinarian about proper diet and how to maintain a healthy weight for your pet. Because these animals can be carriers of disease (see Health Threat), purchase them only from a reputable pet store or breeder. Be sure that it is legal to own a hedgehog in your city and/or state of residence.