Friday, August 10, 2012

Hedgehogs as Pets

The newest addition to the family is Phoenix Star, a hedgehog, who was adopted on June 29th at eight weeks old.

Phoenix at eight weeks old.

A hedgehog is a nocturnal animal, so he gets up around 9:00 p.m. and is active until about 6:00 a.m. When we picked him up from the breeder, it was about 9:15 p.m. so he was awake and curious.

Sophia on the day we adopted Phoenix.

He eats cat food and drinks water. We tried to give him some meal worms, but he had no interest in them. Some hedgehogs like them, and others don't care for them.

Sophia has given Phoenix two baths in the bathroom sink as a way to clean his paws as well as keep his skin from getting dry. He's not a huge fan of getting a bath. However, his skin does look healthy and his paws are clean.

One of the interesting things we've been able to watch is the quilling process. When he was adopted, he had his baby quills. He has been slowly losing those and the adult quills are growing in where the baby ones were. This process is similar to babies and children when they lose teeth and the adult ones grow in.

Needless to say, it is an uncomfortable process for the hedgehog (imagine teething all over your body), and they can get grumpy. It's important to keep gently handling them during this process so they continue to be comfortable being touched.

Having a hedgehog is a pet that I would never have imagined having when I was growing up. I always enjoyed reading The Tales of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle by Beatix Potter; and thought Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle (a hedgehog) was so cute as the washerwoman. She would do the laundry of all the birds and animals in her neighborhood.

So far, Sophia and Olivia have been intrigued and interested in caring for Phoenix. He's so different from the dogs, cats, and horses that they have now; and the sheep and chickens that lived here when they were infants and toddlers.

The girls are lobbying for rabbits and chickens. I wouldn't mind having chickens again, especially the rare and endangered breeds that made up the flock I use to enjoy watching roam around the farm.

At this point, though, I'm quite content with only adding Phoenix this year to the family. He's been an unusual and fascinating member of the family.


Nicole GF said...

I've not heard of a hedgehog as a pet...what a cutie!

Rita said...

My friend's husband had a hedgehog for many years. I was over during the day so it was almost always sleeping. I did get to hold it once and they are cute. :)

Have a super weekend!

Tammie Lee said...

quite adorable!

Anonymous said...

Hedgehog as a pet. I want to come over to your house, your home sounds like and amazing place to live! said...

He's so cute! I love unique pets like this - when I was a kid I had a pet ferret, but only for a short time - my Dad didn't really like it!

Silver Rose said...

He's adorable, and I bet the girls will learn a lot from him!

FrugalFoodieMama said...

Oh my gosh! That is the cutest littlest thing ever! :)