Hedgehogs can make great pets for the right person. As with any pet, hedgehogs need care and attention to remain healthy and happy. Most of their needs are common sense but they have unique characteristics, as well.
Hedgehogs need a substantial amount of protein in their diets. Most hedgehog food that is available in pet stores contains ingredients of low quality and lack the protein that these pets need. Many pet hedgehog owners simply feed their little friends a quality cat food. This is good news for you and your hedgehog. He will be healthier and you will save some money instead of buying expensive hedgehog food. Some owners even mix brands of cat food together for a custom diet. Dry cat food will work perfectly and you can purchase large bags as long as you store it in a dry place.
Pet hedgehogs originate from Africa and Europe. In their natural habitat they search for beetles and worms to survive on. In captivity, your hedgehog might enjoy crickets or mealworms from time to time. These snacks are available in many pet stores and come live or freeze dried. Some hedgehogs have a preference between worms or crickets so you might want to try both and see which works best.
Now that your hedgehog has a set diet and some snacks it's time to look at housing. Hedgehogs don't have a problem with being alone during their cage time so a 2' x 3' cage would be big enough for a single hedgehog. If you have the space and budget to get a bigger cage your friend would appreciate it, though. Most owners use cages with wire bars. These work great but some are easier to clean than others so do some research. It is not a good idea to use an aquarium. The restricted air flow could cause your hedgehog to overheat. The cage, also, needs to be kept in an area of stable temperature. A drop in temperature can send your hedgehog into hibernation.
Your pet will need access to food and water inside of their cage. A dish will work to hold the water but may be the source of a mess. Water bottles are available at almost all pet stores and are very inexpensive. A water bottle will save you a lot of time you would spend cleaning a water mess after your hedgehog played in his water dish. Hedgehogs will also need some things in their cage to play with and hide under. Try some different things but make sure they don't pose a hazard for your pet. Wood chips are not recommended because the dust is very irritable to a hedgehog's eyes and respiratory system. Some owners have found that cheap fleece material works very well for bedding or to lay on the bottom of the cage.
It is a good idea to give your hedgehog attention daily so he or she can get used to you and your scent. Once your pet is used to being handled he will relax it's quills and become a very affectionate friend.
Hedgehogs are wonderful pets for many people. With proper care and daily attention your pet will be a friendly companion for years to come.