Meet Our Hedgehogs!

If you're thinking about getting a hedgehog as a pet, scroll down to our "hedgehogs as pets" section for lots of helpful information!

 

Meet our hedgehogs

Hailey was born in 2009. She became part of the Tiny Tails family in 2011 and we've enjoyed every minute we've had with her! Hailey is a very friendly hedgehog and loves to meet new people.

Smokey and Bandit were born in May 2011 and joined our zoo when they were 2 months old. They are brothers, and they weren't handled as babies so it took them a lot longer to become friendly hedgehogs. Now that they know that no one's trying to eat them, they're very excited about all of their people friends!

Hiccup and Ludwig are very friendly hedgehogs, Ludwig von Hedgehog is very curious and (we think) has taken a liking to classical music. Hiccup used to jump and hiss a lot when you picked her up, which reminded us of hiccups.


Thinking about keeping a hedgehog as a pet?

  • Hedgehogs need a very large cage (2'x4' is the recommended minimum size for a happy hedgehog) with a wheel and a lot of supervised time exploring either around your house or outside in an enclosed area each week. Hedgehogs in the wild will often cover several miles in their search for a tasty meal.
  • Hedgehogs are nocturnal. This means they are very active at night and will make a lot of noise while you're trying to sleep.
  • In captivity, hedgehogs eat a combination of cat food, fruit and mealworms.
  • A hedgehog's cage must be cleaned at minimum one time per week.
  • Hedgehog bonus fact: If you are allergic to cats and dogs, you are most likely allergic to the dander. Hedgehogs will not trigger allergies as they do no spread dander.
  • Hedgehogs can live up to ten years in captivity.
 

Hedgehog Rescue Organizations

Unfortunately, many people get a hedgehog as a pet and then decide that they don't want to keep it. Luckily, there are organizations determined to find loving homes for unwanted hedgehogs.

 

A COLLECTION OF INTERESTING HEDGEHOG FACTS

  • Hedgehogs can smell prey up to two inches or more below ground! They have fairly good eyesight and even have some color vision, but they mostly rely on their excellent sense of hearing and smell. 
  • African pygmy hedgehogs are one of 15 species found throughout Africa and Eurasia. A very small breed of hedgehog, they are the breed most commonly found as pets.
  • African Pygmy Hedgehogs can be found in both forest and desert habitats, but do not live in areas where the ground may become heavily saturated. They are nocturnal creatures coming out at sundown and returning to their burrows during the day.
  • In the wild, their lifespan is 2-3 years but in captivity it is 8-10 years. 
  • Hedgehogs' spines (called quills) are actually modified hairs used as protection from predators. Hedgehogs gain their ability to ball up from specialized muscles called orbiularis panniculi. These muscles go around their bodies at the edge of the quilled coat and allow them to draw in the edges of the spines like a drawstring purse. They tuck their head, belly, and feet inside while additional muscles running from tail to head control the spines on the forehead, allowing them to protect their eyes.
  • African pygmy hedgehogs have five toes on their front feet but only four on the back.
  • In the wild, their diet consists of worms, snails, frogs, lizards, snakes, birds, other mammals, carrion, fruits, seeds, and fungi (among other things).  Hedgehogs eat up to 1/3 of their body weight nightly.  In captivity, these hedgehogs are fed a combination of cat food, fruit, and mealworms.
  • Hedgehogs live solitary lives (except for mating) and are territorial. The litter range from two to ten babies, which are born blind and covered in a fluid that protects the mother from the spines. They are able to open their eyes between 8 and 18 days and leave the mother at around 45 days. African pygmy hedgehogs reach sexual maturity at 2 months.
  • Noises that these hedgehogs make range from hissing to chirping to growling. When extremely frightened or if injured, they may even “scream.” 
  • In the wild, African pygmy hedgehogs hibernate during the dry season when food is scarce, but in captivity, this should be discouraged. A false hibernation in captivity may lead to health problems for the hedgehog or even death.
  • Breeds of hedgehog in Europe can be up to 12 inches long! The African Pygmy hedgehog stays just under half that size.
 

Want more hedgehog information?