For some years now, the African hedgehog has been part of the group of exotic animals that live together with humans as pets. However, since 2012, the sale, breeding and transfer of African and Egyptian hedgehogs has been prohibited in SpainAlthough it is still a very popular companion animal in other countries around the globe, such as Mexico or Argentina.
Generally speaking, it is a creature very intelligent and docile, which favors its care. Your life expectancy oscillates between 5 and 8 years of age and its main characteristic is that it is night and twilight, that is, it spends most of the day sleeping and comes out of its hiding place at night to feed and walk. Under this premise, what are the basic care that you should take into account?
Like other rodents and although sometimes it has total freedom to move around the house, the ground hedgehog usually lives in a cage for guinea pigs or rabbits, of a moderate size so that the animal can move easily. In addition, it may include different floors, tubes or ramps to make your stay much more fun and enjoyable. Of course, the best thing is that the cage is away from drafts, because hedgehogs are prone to colds.
You can always install one house or shelter inside the cage, although the indispensable element in this sense is a thermal blanketAs this little creature will tend to hide underneath to avoid sunlight and keep warm. The ideal temperature should be between 25º and 35º.
African hedgehogs are insectivorous mammals, so they are open to eating live or canned insects, although the normal thing is that you use them as a «treat».
The main options are the specific feed for its species or, failing that, I think light for baby cats, and various fruits and vegetables, among which the banana, apple, watermelon, pear, spinach, cucumber or radish stand out, which you must chop to facilitate their consumption. The proper amount is two tablespoons for the feed and a dessert spoon for fruits and vegetables.
Obviously, you must clean and disinfect the cage every so often, like the drinker and the feeder, which can accumulate bacteria. In addition, faeces and damp areas of the substrate must be removed, as the hedgehog cage must include this element in the ground to absorb odors and urine. The normal thing is that it is soft and comfortable paper.
On the other hand, experts recommend bathe the hedgehog about 2 times a year, for which you will need a neutral shampoo, a toothbrush to rub between the bristles and a towel that does not have threads, since you run the risk of snagging. It is also advised cut her nails when they are very long, although you can take advantage of your next visit to the vet to have a professional do it.
Unlike other pets, the hedgehog does not require special care as far as your health is concerned. However, this does not mean that we should not check it from time to time to check that it is in perfect condition. In this sense, it is very important that know their habits perfectly, because it is a animal of customs. If you do not eat for several days or defecate at unusual times, it may be a sign of illness.
If this happens, go to the vet for a check-up and, from that moment, try to visit this professional periodically for a checkupBecause, being nocturnal animals, we sometimes overlook problems that are visible.
One of them are parasites, both external and internal. If your hedgehog has this infection, will be more upset and nervous than usual, hence the importance of checking it from time to time. Keep in mind that these tiny insects adhere to your skin and cause excruciating itchiness, as well as being able to transmit other diseases.
For external deworming there are several products based on selamectin which, applied on the back of the hedgehog, will help eliminate parasites. As for internal deworming, it is best to take a stool sample to the vet to verify if this problem really exists, as it is not advisable to treat it without being sure. If so, the specialist will inform you about the most appropriate solution.
Make sure you always have water available for avoid dehydration, keep all their toys and accessories clean, Avoid sudden temperature changes or save you tense situations, such as frequent trips or taking it out of its cage too much, are other preventive measures so that its health does not deteriorate.
Contact with humans
One way to know if your hedgehog is okay is analyze their behavior. As we have seen at the beginning of the article, it is a docile and very calm species, that’s why any sign of irritability or nervousness must be taken into account. For example, when this creature feels threatened, it normally makes a sound similar to a constant gasp or blowing, which is usually accompanied by a few light boats.
Equally, if it ever bites youThis means that he wants you to leave him alone or, at best, that your hands smell like food and he is hungry. If this happens, do not drop it suddenly, as it will bite you harder and the wound could get worse. The best thing is to blow on his face, so he will let you go.