The hedgehog is an omnivorous mammal that belongs to the family of hedgehogs. The natural habitat of these animals is forests, clearings, river flood plains, plains. In Eurasia, hedgehogs are common almost everywhere, but in some regions they are listed in the Red Book as an endangered species.
How to care for a hedgehog
The wild life
The breeder should understand that the most important thing in caring for a pet is to recreate the conditions of its natural habitat as much as possible. How do hedgehogs live in the wild?
Hedgehogs are a family of omnivores. The view that these animals eat only mushrooms and fruits is a myth. In fact, hedgehogs eat arthropods and rodents. Addition, the animal needs fruits and berries.
In conditions of prolonged famine, hedgehogs are able to eat worms and even snakes, including poisonous ones. However, such a diet for the animal will not be helpful.
Hedgehogs live in shallow mink, which in the cold season are hermetically sealed. They hibernate when the ambient temperature drops below 15 ° C. When this is the heart rate of a mammal it is reduced to 20 beats per minute, and the frequency of breathing movements – to one.
Hedgehogs mate in the spring after hibernation. In the litter, the female can have up to 8 calves, the pregnancy lasts 40-49 days. Life expectancy in nature rarely exceeds 5 years.
How to choose a hedgehog
Is it worth buying a pet at a pet store or is it better to contact a breeder – a moot point. For one thing, the store is an officially responsible organization that is responsible and gives guarantees. However, the seller is usually very familiar with each type of animal. A breeder knows all about hedgehogs and can tell all the nuances of pet care, the pedigree of a particular pet and their preferences. It is worth considering that the risk of buying an unhealthy animal is pretty much the same in both cases.
Before buying a hedgehog, you should examine it carefully. The animal should be mobile, its skin and needles should look healthy, and there should be no crusts or mucus in the eyes. The first manifestation of many diseases in hedgehogs is excessive loss of needles and sour eyes. The most sensible solution is to consult a vet before buying.
Hedgehogs get used to the area in which they live, hard enough. When a pet is bought and transported to a new location, it is under stress. This is because hedgehogs have poor eyesight but excellent smell and hearing. In a new home with strange smells, the animal will feel in constant danger until it gets used to its surroundings. How to facilitate the adaptation process? There are a few simple tricks:
- Often take a hedgehog in your hands. It cannot be said that these animals need constant companionship, but the animal needs to get used to the new owner.
- Feed the animal with your hands. This is the best way to conquer any animal. Show that you are friendly.
- Eliminate the influence of strong flavors. It should be removed from the room where there is a hedgehog cage, air fresheners, perfumes, cigarettes and other sources of smell.
- Put your dirty clothes near the cage. Hedgehog quickly gets used to the owner if you constantly feel his presence.
- Do not put the animal in a noisy room, it will only increase stress.
Hedgehogs are very mobile animals, they like to run, because the cage must be large enough. It is important that it is tightly closed, because these animals are true escape masters. You cannot select bunk cells. Pets have poor eyesight, and it is difficult for them to climb to the second floor. In addition, the bones of hedgehogs are fragile, climbing and screwing on the rods, the animal can damage the foot.
In the cage there should be trash, it must be made of natural materials: sawdust or grass. Hedgehogs like to hide, they definitely need a mink. Replace it at home may a small but closed house. Another essential component is the racing wheel, otherwise the hedgehog will suffer from hypodynamics.
You can try teaching a pet to the toilet tray. For this, it must be filled with materials other than bedding. Suitable for these purposes, the usual cat litter. However, one must keep in mind that hedgehogs are not easily subject to such training and defend their needs where they want them. You can go for the best bedding for hedgehog now.
The most common disease of captive hedgehogs is obesity. It becomes the cause of your premature death because it is necessary to balance the pet’s diet as much as possible.
At pet stores, you can buy special food for hedgehogs. If it is absent, dry cat food is adequate, animal taste preferences are in many respects similar. In addition, the hedgehog should be fed meat, fish, eggs and fruits.
Low-fat cooked chicken or fish, hard-boiled eggs, non-sour apples, ready-made peas are all suitable as complementary foods. Foods during cooking cannot be salted, and you cannot give raw meat. There are a number of products that are prohibited from feeding hedgehogs, including: tomatoes, grapes, raisins, milk, avocados, alcohol, sweets, bread.
The pet’s crib should be low enough and wide enough for the hedgehog to climb. Thus it will be more convenient for him to eat. At the same time, it must be weighed so that the animal cannot turn it over.
Some basic rules
Observe the ambient temperature. By reducing to 15 ° C, the hedgehog will hibernate. This condition is often perceived by owners as death, but in fact the animal is alive. Already at 22 ° C, hedgehogs become lethargic, adynamic, there is a risk of developing pneumonia.
- It is impossible to put two males in a cage. These animals have a fierce fight for territory between the strongest sex representatives, they can cripple each other or even kill.
- Always close the cage and check its tightness. A hedgehog will take every opportunity to escape and can cause many problems because of it.
- Periodically release the animal so it can run around the room. In nature, hedgehogs have a reasonably large area.
- Feed your pet at night because its activity increases at night and energy is needed at this particular time.
Needle prolapse is a normal process, however, if the needles do not grow back and bald areas remain, contact your veterinarian.