THP

Hedgehog research and education platform

Buying a hedgehog

Do you want to buy a hedgehog? Here’s a page especialy for you to tell you all about the pro’s and cons, options for buying one and other information you need to know about purchasing a hedgehog. Not to mention, do read the entire website to read about their basic needs in regards to food, housing and (health)care.

Is a hedgehog the right pet for you?

African Pygmy Hedgehogs are incredibly cute and fluffy on their belly, but they aren’t all cute! They are not very hygenic and do tend do poop on their wheels and walk through it until their legs are covered in their poo, which can cause serious infection if not maintained properly. An however they are not known for biting, they can grab a piece of skin and anoint on it, which can hurt and bleed. Especially during opuberty or f you have a neclected hog from a shelter, they can be hard to bond to. But if you have bonded after a few weeks to months? They are the greatest pets you can think of! Just make sure you know all about them before purchasing one.

Rescue, breeder, oops-litter or backyard breeder

If you do think a hedgehog could be the pet for you, there are several options to buy a hedgehog. And they all will treat you differently because of their views on keeping these creatures as a pet.

Rescue

A rescue is an often professional company who shelters hedgehogs that have been dumped, neglected, mistreated or turned over to them for various reasons. They see a lot of people who have not shown any interested in their hedgehog as well as peope who are heartbroken about turning their pet over to them. Rescues will have very strict regulations for new owners to make sure you are the right person to have this pet and to prevent having a hedgehog move out after a short time again. All for the love of hedgehogs, that is! Rescues are very strict and very serious about their business and we don’t blame them. With the raising popularity of this species, also comes a raise in the amount of sheltered hedgehogs, putting a big strain on them. But if they accept you as a new owner for a certain hedgehog, they will stand by you until the end! Not to mention, one hedgehog will be having a second or maybe a third chance in life, which is awesome!

Breeders

Breeders are also very serious about where theit hdgehogs are oing ,whether it’s a hobbyistic breeder or a licensed breeder. There is a distinctive different between the two however: licensed breeders are often listed as a company and do make profit on breeding hedgehogs. If that sounds weird to you, it’s not without reason we have a seperate section for backyard breeders. Licensed breeders are the professional breeders with a great heart towards the animals and the community. No harm in making money with your passion, is it? Hobbyistis breeders are just as serious and also have a great heart towards the animals and the community, but they just don’t make a profit. That’s the only difference. Anyways.. breeders are very serious and will also provide you with regulations regarding guarantees, returning hedgehogs and other things that need to be taken care of. Also, some breeders let you have a pedigrees while others don’t (mainly depending on the country you live in), so always go for the breeder you have the best feeling with, as so many breeders have so many different views on literally everything. Which isn’t a bad thing in our point of view, as that also raises discussions which you can always learn from no matter how experienced you are. And well, babies are always cute so if you want a young one to bond with, this would be a perfect point to buy your hedgehog from.

Oops-litters

This is the specific group of people having bought a hedgehog that is pregnant while they didn’t know it was. It’s an accident, nothing more and nothing less. So those people having “oops-litters” multiple times a year? Those are probably not in this group.. Well, unless you have a private shelter as a hobby and have multiple sheltered hogs a year who turn out to be pregnant..

Owners of oops-liters are often not as educated on hedgehogs or at least not in regards to having litters. Most of these people are not as strict, even though they’ve often got a good heart and their intentions are good. You won’t get a pedigree or regulations and you often have no idea about the background of the hedgehog you buy from them, but still.. These hedgehogs do deserve a good place to live! Most wellwilling owneers of oops-litters however do have connection to a breeder so they can do the best for their hogs to rasie the babies. No har in buying from this group either.

Backyard breeders

This group unfortunately is a very large group since the species has become so popular. This group is deffinately not the place to buy a hedgehog from. Overbreeding, over- or underpricing, no background checks, high inbreeding, low health care, low general care and poor diet are main characteristics for these people and they just don’t care one bit if your hedgehog becomes sick ofter you buy it. Beware, these people are very smart and know exactly what to say and do to prevent you from knowing their practises. All cages are either overcleaned or incredibly dirty when you visit, whist having multiple hogs in a very small cage. This happens also to young hoglets who are in the same small cage with more than 10-30 per cage. When you ask why, they try to tell you it’s because they have more litters from females that have delivered at the same time so they grew up together. Also most will tee you you either have no say in the matter and you get the hogs they tell you to have, they let you choose any hoglet in that bin or they try to sell you a hedgehog that in their eyes i worth more than the one you wanted to buy. Everything fo the money!

Most of these hedgehogs have no background you can check and the breeder often has no clue who the parents and grandparents are or when they are born (only a guess on their age) and they are very sniffy. A large part of the hedgehogs sold by backyard breeders turn out to be ill and die within weeks or months after buying and the breeder has zero interest in their well-being and will tell you it’s your fault. We definitely urge you not to buy from this group of people.

Picture by Victoria Rodgers

Preparations before approaching a seller

If you want to buy a hedgehog, you should prepare some things before contacting a seller. Reading into the species and their needs is crucial as hedgehogs are very sensitive pets. They need a special diet, a steady temperature and have a lot of health risks. Step 1: Read the information on the website or any other for that matter and become a member on a few hedgehog pages to ask your questions. 

After reading into the species’ needs, you can prepare an enclosure and it’s set-up. No need for already putting in the bedding, just buy it and make some pictures along the way which you can show the seller. Make sure the sizes are above the minimum of what your country allows and buy hedgie-safe stuff only. The seller might give you some tips after showing them your enclosure and set-up stuff, so this can be a costy step. Step 2: Prepare and enclosure and buy the stuff you need for a set-up.

After you’ve fully set up an enclosure and read into the species, there are a few other things to think of. Do you happen to know if you want a male or female? There are no differences in character, but some people just have a preference. And what color do you want? If you’re not known in colors you can always mention your preference if you want a lighter colored hedgehog or a dark hedgehog. Or maybe you want a cute albino. Also the character of the hedgehog has to suit you. Do you want a cuddly hedgehog, active roamer hedgehog or do want a hedgehog that’s not too fond of handing because ou want a pet to look at instead of to cuddle? All of these things are important to have a hedgehog that will suit your needs as well as you suiting theirs. Step 3: Know what you want in a hedgehog!

And ofcourse, you need the final things fo your hedgehog to care for it properly. Think of shampoo for bathing, food, insects and other things that can be useful to prevent health issues. Step 4: Buy food & (health)care supplies.

Contacting a seller

If you have made it through the steps, you can contact a seller. We have a Google map on *this page*, but ofcourse there are a lot more peope out there who have hedgehogs available. You probably have made up your mind by now where you want to buy your hedgehogs, so here are some tips to make sure you come across as a reliable new owner:

Mention your age and experience

Young kinds and teens often are not a reliable group to sell to and a lot of breeders and rescues don’t sell to minors. Make sure you tel them how old you are and how experienced you are with hedgehogs. Be true about it, because even though you’re young and might now have a lot of experience, they might still help you out if your parents agree on taking care of the hedgehog even when you might lose interest.

Tell them about your enclosure

When contacting a seller, tell them about your enclosure as how much preperation you have done so far. Sellers don’t like to have to fish for answers, so tell it straight on to avoid them thinking you’re not a reliable owner. They might think you’re holing some things back. Preferably send a picture guided to your message, so they can give you tips for improvements while you’re not actually caring for a hedgehog yet.

Mention your preferences

If you have any prefereces about gender, color or character, feel free to mention. The seller will know a bit more about what you’re looking for and can advice you on your best options. They might put you on a waiting list or tell you to reserve a spot for when a hoglet becomes available. So just be prepared you might have to pay a litte amount of money up front, howevr that’s not the case with all sellers.

Get to know the seller

After you have send your message, you’ll like to get a reply. You don’t have to do anything just yet if you don’t have a connection with the seller directly. Take your time to get to know them. It’s not just about the hedgehogs, you will have the responsibility over a living creature and if there are any issues rising, you definitely want a seller who will be by your side for support!

Reservation & meeting up

Most sellers will let you reserve a hedgehog or will let you reserve a place on the waiting list. When you’re at this point, you can always mention you want to meet up before you’re actualy picking up a hedgehog. This wil give you the perfect opportunity to get to know the seer a bit better, how they work with the hedgehogs and the characters of the hedgehog he or she has. If you’re put down about the situation, you can let them know. Most breeders will give you your money back, but some might have a policy about non-refundable deposits. Make sure you know how your seller works with that.

Pick-up day: tips & tricks

Jay, it’s pick-up day! You’re probably quite excited and ready to go, but stop to think of these tips and tricks to guarantee a good and safe trip for your new prickly friend.

  • Make sure the box you take with you is big enough to at least let your hedgehog turn around in. 30x25x20 cm is bear minimum.
  • Put in a few pieces of fleece and/or a cuddle sack, so your hedgehog can hide. Also reduces stress for a bit.
  • Check the weather! If the temperature is too cold to let them out in, put in some heating for the trip. Ofcouse if it’s hot outside, you can safly take the hedgehog with you without, but be reasonable. They are very sensitive to cold and it might cause a hibernation attempt.
  • No kibbles or water during the trip as it might make them vomit due to car sickness. Some hedgehogs are prone to that.

The first days at home

After bringing your hedgehog home, put it directly into its new enclosure and leave it alone for at least a day, so it can settle in and accomodate. Put in water and food, because it will probably be hungry and thirsty after all the stress of moving. You can even put a blanket over the cage on the back & sides to reduce some more stress.Also, no visitors within the first week! The hedgehog will probably be overwhelmed and stressed and you two need to bond and that takes a lot of time. so for the first week, try to pick the hedgehog up every day except the day of arrival and just sit with it an try to bribe it with mealworms or other snacks. It wil take time and the hedgehog might ball up when you come near them, but don’t give up! Hedgehogs are very reliant on their bonds that formed on trust, and getting to trust someone takes time, a lot of time! So don’t be sursprised if it takes weeks or even months to get there. After the first week or so, you can allow people to visit and hold the hedgehog, to socialise. Not too many people at once, as that may be very overwhelming. Remember, you are the one to trust and you’re responsible for the hedgehog not getting overwhelmed and to regain rest if needed.

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