Where to Buy or Adopt a Hedgehog



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How to Buy a Hedgehog

Three Parts:

Buying a hedgehog for a pet can be daunting if you don't know what to look for. These exotic pets are rare and sometimes illegal, so the first challenge is to find a reputable breeder. Even when you do, you'll have to be careful to select a healthy hedgehog with a great personality. Choose carefully, however, and you'll have a unique and loveable pet to treasure.

Steps

Finding a Breeder

  1. Check if hedgehogs are legal in your area.Hedgehogs are considered exotic pets and are illegal in some locations. In others, the sale of hedgehogs is heavily regulated and it may be difficult to find a seller.
    • To learn about which states are illegal, go to: and speak to your veterinarian or contact your state veterinary board.
  2. Find potential sellers.Since hedgehogs are rare pets, don’t be surprised if you have to travel a distance to find someone who sells them. Your nearest options may include pet stores, individuals, and full-fledged breeders. Professional breeders are the preferred option.
    • If you know anyone that has a pet hedgehog, ask them where they bought it to get some ideas.
    • You can also search for something like “Hedgehogs for sale in South Carolina.”
    • Be wary of buying a hedgehog from a pet store. If you are interested in one, be sure to ask the store where they got the hedgehogs from and try to check their sources if possible.
  3. Look for a USDA licensed breeder, if you are in the United States.The sale of hedgehogs and other exotic pets is regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in that country. Not all breeders seek official license from the USDA, but this certification is a sign of a quality, reputable one.
    • Professional breeders may also belong to organizations such as the Hedgehog Breeders Alliance, the Hedgehog Welfare Society, or the International Hedgehog Association.
  4. Be wary of buying hedgehogs from non-professional breeders.Individuals selling hedgehogs from their backyard may have bred or raised the animals in poor conditions, and they may have health problems. Ask to see the breeding site and both parents to make sure they’re healthy and happy before you agree to buy a hedgehog.
  5. Be prepared for a wait.Unlike buying some pets, you may not be able to get a hedgehog immediately, even if you find a seller. Hedgehogs are typically pregnant for 30-40 days before giving birth to around 3-5 babies.There may be a waiting list that you will have to be put on until new baby hedgehogs are born. Other sellers and breeders may have an approval process to ensure that you are prepared to care for the pet.

Selecting a Hedgehog

  1. Buy a hedgehog when it is 6-12 weeks old.Hedgehogs that are too young won’t be ready to live on their own. On the other hand, it might be harder to get an older hedgehog used to you and a new home.
  2. Play with the hedgehog.Like kittens or puppies, individual hedgehogs will have distinct personalities, some playful and active, some calm. Look for one that has the personality you’re looking for and pick it up.
    • Young hedgehogs won’t be as prickly, and you can easily pick them up.
    • The hedgehog may quickly curl up into a ball when you pick it up. This is a natural defense mechanism. If this happens, be calm and patient while it relaxes and adjusts to being held in your hands.
    • Healthy hedgehogs will normally uncurl themselves fairly quickly and investigate your hand.
    • If the hedgehog clicks, hops, or jumps, put it back in its cage and let it settle down and become more relaxed. These signs indicate that the hedgehog is scared and/or stressed, and it may attack.
  3. Avoid choosing a female that has been housed with a male.Good breeders will have separated young hedgehogs by gender. If males and females are housed together, they may quickly mate. When female hedgehogs become pregnant too early, this can cause a number of health problems.
    • Accidentally buying a pregnant female can also leave you with a litter of hedgehog babies before too long.

Checking the Hedgehog’s Health

  1. Ask for certification that the animal is healthy.Reputable breeders will have veterinary records on the parents and proof of vet checks on the babies. They should also be able to give you information about any illnesses or issues that the hedgehog has had, and inform you about any vaccines the hedgehog might be required to get in your area.
  2. Look at the hedgehog’s eyes.They should be round, bright, and fully open. There should not be any sign of discharge from or crustiness around the eyes, as this can indicate an illness.
  3. Check the animal’s nose.A healthy hedgehog will have a dry, clean nose. A wet, runny, or crusty nose is a sign that the animal is not well.
  4. Take a look at the hedgehog's skin.While hedgehogs’ backs are covered on spines, you’ll still be able to see some of their skin as they move around. Be wary if you see any bumps, sores, or other odd spots.
    • If the hedgehog rolls over, you can also see its fur-covered belly. The fur should be soft, smooth, and free of any mats or tangles. There should not be any missing patches of fur or areas where the fur is thinned out.
  5. Make sure the hedgehog is well proportioned.A healthy hedgehog will eat well. The animal’s body should be plump, with no loose skin. It should not be so fat, however, that it cannot roll into a ball.
  6. Watch how the hedgehog walks.African hedgehogs, a variety commonly sold as pets, are at risk of a neurodegenerative condition known as Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome (WHS). Before purchasing a hedgehog, watch it walk. If it wobbles, limps or winces, the hedgehog is not likely to be healthy, and should not be sold.
    • Hedgehogs with WHS will suffer a number of health problems, and likely die at a young age.
    • Reputable dealers will not knowingly sell hedgehogs affected by WHS.

Community Q&A

Search
  • Question
    How much does it cost to buy a hedgehog?

    Licensed Veterinary Technician
    Ryan Corrigan is a Licensed Veterinary Technician in California. She received her Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology from Purdue University in 2010.
    Licensed Veterinary Technician
    Expert Answer
    Hedgehogs can be, at the low end, under 0, and at the top end, over 0.
    Thanks!
  • Question
    What states is it illegal to own a hedgehog in?

    Licensed Veterinary Technician
    Ryan Corrigan is a Licensed Veterinary Technician in California. She received her Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology from Purdue University in 2010.
    Licensed Veterinary Technician
    Expert Answer
    It is illegal to own a hedgehog in the following states: Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Georgia, Arizona, and Maine.
    Thanks!
  • Question
    Can you have a pet hedgehog?

    Licensed Veterinary Technician
    Ryan Corrigan is a Licensed Veterinary Technician in California. She received her Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology from Purdue University in 2010.
    Licensed Veterinary Technician
    Expert Answer
    It depends on your country, and state within the country. In America it is legal to own a hedgehog in most states.
    Thanks!
  • Question
    Do pet hedgehogs hurt?

    Licensed Veterinary Technician
    Ryan Corrigan is a Licensed Veterinary Technician in California. She received her Bachelor of Science in Veterinary Technology from Purdue University in 2010.
    Licensed Veterinary Technician
    Expert Answer
    No, they don't. That is a common misconception. They are quite benign. Of course being poked by a hedgehog doesn't feel great, but it's easy to avoid.
    Thanks!
  • Question
    Do you need two hedgehogs for them to be happy?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    No, hedgehogs usually like to be alone. Two males together will fight if left alone. If you choose to get more than one hedgehog, you will need to buy another cage, igloo, litter, water bottle, etc. It's okay to have them play together, but only with supervision.
    Thanks!
  • Question
    How do I cuddle a hedgehog?
    Shay Facklam
    Community Answer
    Wear a baggy shirt or a hooded jacket with a pocket across the stomach. Hedgehogs love to dig and root in these kinds of shirts. They might fall asleep though in your lap, even if it is night. So be careful.
    Thanks!
  • Question
    Can I leave a hedgehog by itself?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You can, if it is in a safe enough environment. Make sure it is not out in a too open area, and has easy access to food and water.
    Thanks!
  • Question
    How can I tell if a hedgehog from a pet store is healthy?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Check the health symptoms above listed. Ask an employee if you can interact with the animal. If it hisses or makes clicking noises, it feels threatened. Hedgehogs held in pet stores are not handled, so they may have trouble getting used to the attention. They can also be unstable and distance themselves from you once you bring them home.
    Thanks!
  • Question
    Where can I get a hedgehog?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    A breeder. Look on hedgehogcentral.com to find one in your area. Make sure the breeder breeds healthy hedgehogs with no WHS in the lineages, and most importantly, don't buy from a mill. Check their reviews on Facebook if they have a business page. Don't be afraid to ask them questions.
    Thanks!
  • Question
    Is a cat likely to hurt a hedgehog?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    It's possible if the cat is aggressive.
    Thanks!
Unanswered Questions
  • How would dogs react to a hedgehog? I have a Dutch Shepherd and a Beagle/Lab.
  • Can you look after hedgehog in Surrey?
  • Is having a hedgehog in Italy legal?
  • What's a ballpark figure for initial costs?
  • How can I convince my parents to get me a hedgehog?
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Quick Summary

To buy a hedgehog, start by finding potential sellers, such as pet stores, individuals, or professional breeders. Next, look for a hedgehog that is 6-12 weeks old and request certification and veterinary records to confirm that the animal is healthy. Then, make sure the hedgehog's eyes look round, bright, and fully open and its body looks nourished and well-proportioned. You may also want to play with the hedgehog or hold it first to see what personality traits it displays before making your purchase!

Did this summary help you?
  • Once you find a reputable dealer to buy a hedgehog from, ask them for specific advice on handling and caring for your pet.

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Date: 28.11.2018, 08:14 / Views: 73343