Whenever we talk to someone about the hedgehogs, there is a great deal of interest and a lot of questions. They aren’t quite your typical pet, but they’re very sweet and pretty interesting.
- What do they eat? In the wild, hedgies are insectavores, a diet rich in protein. So in suburban Denver, ours eat cat food, high in protein. They can have some fruit and insects (mealworms, crickets) as a treat.
- How long do they live? 6-10 years. These guys will be with us a good long while.
- Do they bite? Ours don’t have teeth yet, but when they develop them they can bite. They are pretty sweet and docile but they have nibbled on Tabby’s fingers when she hadn’t washed them before holding the hedgies. They tend to nibble when they smell food on your hands.
- What’s their cage like? We are currently keeping them in a rubbermaid tub lined with newspaper based kitty litter. They also need a pretty warm environment, so they have a heat lamp right now. Matt is building them a nicer cage and it will have a heater in it as well as a good deal more space for their hedgie hijinks.
- What’s it like to pet them? I’ve told a few people it’s like petting a hairbrush. It’s not soft by any means, but it’s not pokey or sharp either. They can’t throw their quills like a porcupine, but they can bristle them up and they will poke you. Judging from what I’ve seen (and read) it’s doubtful if they could break the skin. Their bellies and faces are soft just like a gerbil or mouse.
- What are they like? They are quite a bit less active than mice or gerbils. That is not to say they’re not active. They move around quite a bit, but if you put them on the ground it isn’t an instant game of hide-and-go-seek. They’re a bit slower and generally more friendly. They climb onto our hands if we hold them in the cage for a few seconds. Snowball seems to like to run and move a bit more and Hedgie likes to be warm and a bit more sedate. At least so far.