More and more households are deciding to have a hedgehog as a pet in different parts of the world, mainly due to the ease in their care. However, it is necessary to take into account some other aspects that are very important for your well-being.
Is it legal to have a hedgehog as a pet in Spain? How many species of hedgehogs exist? What foods to give it? how often? These and other questions regarding the breeding of hedgehogs are answered in this article.
Legal status of hedgehog breeding in Spain
The first thing that must be taken into account is the legal situation of raising hedgehogs in our country. In accordance with current regulations, the distribution of African dwarf hedgehogs Atelerix Albiventris and its hybrids is prohibited, and the generic prohibition of their possession, transport, traffic and trade is also applied.
Thus, the possession of these animals today is not allowed. However, the same regulations establish that those hedgehogs acquired before the standard, which dates from 2013, can be maintained by their owners, who are prohibited from marketing, reproducing or transferring their copies.
However, it should be noted that there is a more domestic species called African Pygmy Hedgehog, which is a hybrid between the African hedgehog and the moruno. This species is the most common in Spanish homes, although, in good terms, it is also reached by the ban.
Therefore, it is best to consult with the competent authorities about the possibility of keeping a hedgehog as a pet in the community in which you reside.
Main characteristics of hedgehogs
Despite being a small, quiet, independent and solitary little animal, the hedgehog can be raised as a pet with other species such as dogs and cats, it is enough to delimit the spaces that inhabit to achieve an adequate coexistence and avoid fights and confrontations.
In the world there are a total of 16 species of hedgehogs, being the African pygmy that is usually adopted as a pet. It has rigid spikes that work as a method of protection, so you need to be careful when touching it.
These animals can measure between 10cm and 15cm maximum and their weight can reach 400gr. By its nature, the hedgehog is a solitary and nocturnal animal; During the day he is usually sleeping in his burrow and during the night he goes out to exercise and look for his food.
It is common to observe that the hedgehog maintains a restless breath and constantly moves the nose, sniffing everything around it. Its sharp nails serve to dig the earth in search of food, feeding on insects and worms.
Caring for these exotic animals
Despite being very lonely, hedgehogs adapt very well to living with humans. However, for your care it is necessary to prepare a cage according to certain important considerations.
The cage should have enough space to be comfortable; between 1.5mts and 2mts is the ideal length. In addition, the base must be protected with a suitable material to absorb its waste. It is advisable to use paper since other material can damage your spikes.
On the inside of the cage a burrow should be installed dark enough to have a good rest. The cage should also have a space with soil for the pet to dig.
This cage must be located in a place protected from direct sun and air currents; Warm climates are perfect for them so we must ensure that they do not go cold in the autumn and winter months.
It is important to keep the cage clean and disinfected. Similarly, it is advisable to clean the pet from time to time with clean water, rubbing its spikes with a soft bristle brush.
Common pathologies that hedgehogs have
In their natural habitat, hedgehogs usually travel many kilometers per day, which is why ample space is recommended for their care, otherwise, they can stress and modify their behavior becoming sullen. Also, the lack of physical activity makes them gain weight and makes them prone to certain diseases or pathologies.
In addition to obesity, the cold is one of the most common problems in hedgehogs, so it is recommended to keep room temperature controlled. If possible, a heater should be placed nearby to keep the space warm in especially cold times.
Another common problem in hedgehogs is the attack of fleas, ticks and mites. These parasites can transmit many diseases to the animal so it is essential to keep your cage clean and disinfected. There are some commercial disinfectant products that can be purchased at specialized veterinary clinics.
Changes or alterations in diet can also cause diarrhea or stomach difficulties. Although it is usually a transitory problem, if it is persistent it will be necessary to take the animal to a review with the vet.
In case of any suspicion of having a health problem, it is essential to go with the specialist to rule out any disease that could endanger the life of the animal.
The feeding of these animals should be based on insects, fruits and vegetables. Ideally, give him food only once a day in the afternoon, in order to avoid any problems of being overweight.
Maintaining an adequate balance in the feeding of the hedgehog is essential for the good state of your health; Therefore, the veterinarian may recommend another type of food or vitamin supplement for proper care and maintenance.
Keep in mind that hedgehogs are somewhat distrustful animals, so it may take some time to adapt to home life. It’s just a matter of a little patience and care. You will notice that, at the moment of feeling attacked, it protects its soft parts by becoming a ball of spikes; Be careful when touching it as it can be very painful.