One of the small pets that’s gaining popularity in the UK is the African pygmy hedgehog, which is an ideal choice for anyone who lives in an apartment or has limited available space. African pygmy hedgehogs have a cute appearance but are not really suitable as pets if there are small children in the home.
How to look after your African pygmy hedgehog
When you first introduce your hedgehog to the home you will need to spend several months taming it, so you will need to be patient and treat your hedgehog in a gentle manner.
Your hedgehog needs to eat a balanced diet, which can include dried cat mix, as this is high in protein, meat-based cat foods, cooked eggs, which can be boiled or scrambled, fresh fruits and vegetables. In the wild environment these hedgehogs survive by eating insects, so mealworms, crickets and silkworms should also be included in your pet’s regular feeding schedule.
African hedgehogs are solitary creatures in the wild, so your pet will not mind being kept on its own and will need a cage or rabbit hutch that is a minimum of 3ft x 1.5ft in size. Hedgehogs are not climbing animals, so you should avoid multi-level cages and ensure your pet cannot get its head stuck in the wire mesh on the sides of the cage. Wire mesh bases for cages should also be avoided as they could damage your hedgehog’s feet.
African pygmy hedgehogs need to be kept in a warm environment, so you will probably need to heat the cage to around 23C to 24.4C using a heating pad. As hedgehogs are nocturnal in nature, you should not expect too much activity during daylight hours and your pet should be allowed to sleep as much as needed. Ideally, you should add a nesting box to the cage to allow your hedgehog to retreat into a private space for sleep.
A hamster exercise wheel is an ideal playtime toy for your hedgehog’s cage and will provide hours of fun for your pet.
You can find out more about African pygmy hedgehogs and other unusual pets at nichepets.com.