Do Hedgehogs Make Good Pets?

Kelly Roper
Pet hedgehog

Is a hedgehog a good pet? Hedgehogs, affectionately referred to as "hedgies," are adorable, but many people don't know what they're like. Consider some hedgehog pros and cons before you decide whether you should get one.

Pros of Having Hedgehogs as Pets

Hedgehogs have a lot of good points that can make them a wonderful pet for some households.

Hedgehogs Are Quiet

Hedgehog in an exercise wheel; © Netz67 |

Hedgies are relatively quiet, but they occasionally make a cute purring noise. If you live in an apartment, you won't have to worry about your pet making too much noise.

They Don't Require Much Interaction

These animals enjoy some daily gentle interaction with their human companions, but they typically prefer to be on their own. Plan to spend about an hour a day with your pet to keep him tame.

Hedgehogs Are Reasonably Low Maintenance

Hedgehogs don't need to go for a walk like dogs do. Providing your pet with an exercise wheel goes a long way toward meeting his exercise requirements.

They Are Interactive

These creatures are awake on and off throughout the day and night, so it doesn't matter which shift you work. You'll be able to interact with your pet.

Hedgehog Quills Don't Hurt

Their quills don't hurt if you handle your pet gently and carefully. However, baby quills are typically sharper than adult quills. When hedgies shed their old quills and get new ones, it's known as "quilling."

They Make Good Apartment Pets

Hedgies don't need a huge cage, but they do need enough room to move around comfortably. This is another point that makes them good candidates for apartment living.

Hedgehogs Don't Stink

These creatures don't carry as much body odor as other small pets such as ferrets. If you keep your pet's cage clean, smell shouldn't be an issue. If your hedgie does develop an odor, it may be wise to consult your vet because this might be a sign of illness.

Cons of Keeping Hedgehogs as Pets

According to Hedgehog, these creatures can make good pets, but they aren't the best choice for a first-time exotic pet owner.

Wearing gloves to hold an adult hedgehog

You Have to Keep Hedgehogs Apart

Hedgehogs must be kept separately because they tend to fight when housed together, especially the males, who will fight to the death. This means separate cages if you want to keep more than one, which increases the space you'll need, as well as extra time spent cleaning your pets' environments.

They Need Time Out of Their Cages

These creatures need out-of-cage time for foraging which is one of their natural activities. This means you'll have to set up a separate, safe area for your pet. You'll also have to plan on cleaning up the numerous droppings he leaves behind as he scurries around.

Litter Training Is Iffy

Hedgies tend to relieve themselves whenever they need to and wherever they are. In fact, they often relieve themselves while they are on the run. According to Millermeade Farm's Hedgehog Headquarters, some hedgies can be trained to use a litter box, while others never catch on.

Not a Great Pet for Small Children

  • Hedgehogs are not the best pets for small children since these creatures can be stressed by a lot of noise.
  • These animals must be handled carefully and securely, or they can easily be injured, especially if a young child accidentally drops his or her pet.
  • The quills can give a poke if the pet is handled roughly or is petted against the way the quills naturally grow.

They Will Need a Vet Specializing in Exotic Pets

You'll most likely need to consult a veterinarian that specializes in exotic pets for your hedgehog's health care. Unfortunately, there typically aren't as many exotics vets available as standard veterinarians, so you may have to travel a bit to reach one.

Only You Can Decide if Hedgehogs Can Be Good Pets

Educating yourself about hedgehogs is one of the best ways to help you decide if this is the right pet for you. You should also ask yourself what you want from a pet. If you want a constant companion who enjoys running around with you, you might be better off with a dog. On the other hand, if you're looking for a relatively low-maintenance pet who is happy to be on his own when you can't be with him, a hedgehog might be just the right fit. Visit a breeder and spend some time interacting with these animals before you make your final decision.

Do Hedgehogs Make Good Pets?