Hedgehog as a pet – can you keep the African white-bellied hedgehog at home?

Keep hedgehog as a pet, african white-bellied hedgehog at home

A very special trend has developed in recent years – dwarf hedgehogs are kept as pets. The trend comes from the USA and is also gaining more and more popularity in Germany and Austria. This is a specific type of hedgehog – the African white-bellied hedgehog, which is known as an exotic animal. Whether you can or should keep a hedgehog as a pet remains controversial.

Can you keep a hedgehog at home as a pet??

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Hedgehogs are protected in Germany and are not allowed to be kept as pets. The African white-bellied hedgehog, which is in a gray area, so to speak, is an exception. Although he is not endangered, animal rights activists and associations advise against his private attitude. These animals are wild and do not feel comfortable in the cage or enclosure. In freedom they are used to a wide range of food and cover several kilometers in search of food each night. So much movement is of course not possible in an apartment. If you do not meet the high requirements for keeping these animals, they can become ill or even die.

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If you do decide to have a hedgehog as a pet, you need to make sure that you are ready to keep it. The dwarf hedgehog needs no less care than any other pet and even has other special needs. Therefore, you need to think carefully about whether you can keep such a hedgehog in your home.

In the following we summarize the special features and requirements of these exotic animals. Only then can you determine whether or not they are a suitable pet for your household.

The peculiarities of the African white-bellied hedgehog

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With a length of 15 to 25 cm and a weight of 250 to 600 g, the African white-bellied hedgehogs are a bit smaller than the hedgehogs that can be found in Germany. They belong to the nocturnal animals that only look for food in the wild at night. In contrast to the European hedgehogs, however, the representatives of this exotic species do not hibernate. Since the white-bellied hedgehogs are usually solitary, keeping them alone is recommended.

Such a hedgehog as a pet can only be brought home after the 8th week of life. It is recommended to buy the animal from an approved breeder who can prove its origin and health status. The price for an African white-bellied hedgehog starts at 100 euros and usually depends on its color and age.

When the animal is around 4 months old, it changes its sting. The hedgehog loses its baby spines and gets new, firmer spines.

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How old do hedgehogs get?

Especially if you are looking to buy a pet for your child, you should consider the life expectancy of the animal. Children become very fond of their pets and are sure to be very unhappy if something happens. With good care, the life expectancy of the African white-bellied hedgehog is between 4-6 years, up to a maximum of 8 years. However, hedgehogs are not suitable pets for children because they are mostly active at night and sleep during the day. The spiked bearers cannot be called cuddly toys either, so you should perhaps reconsider the choice of a hedgehog as a pet for your child.

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What do hedgehogs eat?

The African white-bellied hedgehog is known as an omnivore. However, the animal has a fondness for insects and these should be part of the daily menu. Crickets, crickets, grasshoppers and cockroaches in particular should be fed daily, although the greasier mealworms, zophobas and wax maggots are only suitable as delicacies. Special feed mixes for exotic hedgehogs as well as high-quality dry cat food should also be available daily, along with fresh water. The white-bellied hedgehogs like to eat meat just as much as chicken, turkey, beef, rabbit or fish. However, the meat should be cooked and may not have offal. You can also feed the animal to baby mice 1-2 times a week, which can be found frozen in the reptile department in the pet store. Ripe fruit is also allowed in small quantities.

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Foods to avoid at all costs include: Milk and dairy products, pork, spices, hard fruits and vegetables, bread and sweets. You should feed the white-bellied hedgehog in the early evening, because only then does it become active.

Tips for keeping white-bellied hedgehogs

Hedgehog as a pet tips for keeping african white-bellied hedgehogs

Before you decide on a hedgehog as a pet, you must first check whether you can offer the animal appropriate accommodation. If you want to design a hedgehog home in your own apartment, you should ensure a constant room temperature of 24 degrees Celsius. If such a temperature is not always possible in the house, then the hedgehog home should also be heated.

An African white-bellied hedgehog needs a lot of exercise, which is why a sufficiently large hedgehog home is mandatory for keeping these animals. Toys and activity material shouldn’t be missing either. You can create a species-appropriate living space with leaves, stones and pieces of bark.

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What you need as initial equipment for your hedgehog as a pet:

  • a large enclosure or terrarium, at least 120 x 60 x 60 cm (the larger the better)
  • a little house and other hiding places
  • a suitable balance bike
  • Food and drinking bowl (e.g. made of ceramic)
  • Bedding for small animals
  • Corner toilet with matching litter and sand bath
  • Hedgehog feed, e.g. B. Insects or dry cat food

Since the hedgehogs are not rodents, you shouldn’t worry about them nibbling on cables, carpets, or furniture. When running free in a room with many plants, however, there should be no plants within reach of the animal, as most indoor plants are poisonous to hedgehogs.

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The cute dwarf hedgehog is a suitable pet for people who, like him, are night owls and can invest the necessary care. The perfect hedgehog owner should still be able to offer the animal a large home and plenty of space for discovery tours. In addition, you shouldn’t be disgusted about feeding the animal insects every day.

african white-bellied hedgehog pet tame cute

The African white-bellied hedgehogs are usually very tame, but they are not cuddly animals. Of course you can pick them up, hold them and stroke them without forgetting that the spines are prickly and can poke.

The decision as to whether or not to keep a hedgehog as a pet is entirely up to you. However, if you are not 100% sure that you can invest the time and effort necessary to care for it, then an African white-bellied hedgehog may not be the right pet for you.