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Hedgehog FAQs

I don’t see hedgehogs many places, how is it that Pet World can sell hedgehogs?

Pet World has a license from the USDA and is able to sell a wider, more exotic variety of animals, like hedgehogs. Hedgehogs make great pets, but it is important to be sure that you want a hedgehog as a pet, for they require a lot of responsibility. Feel free to chat with our staff here at Pet World about whether a hedgehog would be a good match for you and your family.

Where does the name hedgehog come from?

“Hedgehog” comes from two words from Middle English. Heyg, or hegge, meaning “hedge” was used because of the tendency of hedgehogs to go into hedgerows. Hoge, or hogge, meaning “hog” was incorporated because of the pig-like snout that hedgehogs have. The word hedgehog came into use in about 1450.

What color are hedgehogs?

Depending on the species of hedgehog, a hedgehog might have a lighter or a darker toned face. The spines of a hedgehog can be as dark as black, but can also be a lighter peach color. As a hedgehog matures, its color may actually change. Once a hedgehog is about a year old, you can have a better sense of what its color truly is. Some do classify hedgehogs into a specific category based on coloring. These categories of hedgehog color include: pintos, which are hedgehogs with any color with patches of white quills; snowflakes, which are hedgehogs with 10-89% white quills; black eyed whites, which are hedgehogs with 90% or more white quills; albino hedgehogs; cinnacot, which are hedgehogs with tan or light brown variations; black eyed whites, which are hedgehogs with 90% or more white quills; and standard, which are hedgehogs with brown to black variations.

What is this process called self-anointing that I hear hedgehogs do?

When a hedgehog finds a novel scent, it might bite and lick the origin of the scent, followed by forming a frothy saliva with its mouth that it puts on its spines by licking. Anointing is believed to be done by hedgehogs as a method of camouflage, allowing the hedgehog to blend into its new surroundings. It is not unusual to see a hedgehog anoint.

Is it true that people cannot be allergic to hedgehogs?

There is no guarantee that any animal will be completely allergy-free. When a person is allergic to an animal, it is typically because they are allergic to the dander produced by the saliva left on the animal during self-bathing. Hedgehogs can generally be labeled free from dander, but they do take part in self-anointing, which can still irritate some people. It is also possible that an allergy to a small animal can have to do with the bedding. If you are considering purchasing a hedgehog and have concerns about an allergy to bedding, talk to our staff here at Pet World and we would be happy to help you find bedding appropriate for your concerns. The best thing you can do if you are considering getting a hedgehog is to visit with a hedgehog beforehand to see if you have any negative reaction.

What types of sounds do hedgehogs make?

The different sounds that a hedgehog makes can signify different messages the hedgehog is trying to communicate. Chirping and squeaking are often made by young hoglets and are signs that baby hedgehogs may be around. When a hedgehog grunts, it might be signaling that it is content. Purring and whistling are sounds a hedgehog makes when it is definitely trying to communicate that it is happy. A strange series of noises, commonly referred to as singing, are made when a hedgehog is partaking in part of a mating ritual. When a hedgehog is irritated, concerned, or generally sending out a warning signal it will huff, puff, and sneeze. Any distinctive clicking and popping sounds are a certain clue that a hedgehog is being defensive and trying to protect itself. General sneezing, snuffling, or wheezing could be related to a cold, but more typically is just a hedgehog’s way of chatting and getting a sense of you.

Should my hedgehog be hibernating?

No. Hedgehogs hibernate in the wild whenever the temperature drops significantly. However, captive hedgehogs that are house pets do not have the same type of fat stored up for this kind of behavior and so hibernation can be fatal to a pet hedgehog. The household environment of your hedgehog should be well controlled to prevent temperatures from dropping and leading your hedgehog into hibernation.

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