Are Hedgehogs Good Pets?

Hedgehog looking at the camera on a white background.
Hedgehogs are insectivores.

Getty Images/Csanad Kiss / EyeEm

The African pygmy hedgehog fits the bill for those that are looking for a unique but small and quiet pet but are they ideal for everyone else? Hedgehogs have special diets, sleep routines, and exercise regimens that might not suit every lifestyle but for many people, they can make really good pets.

Do Hedgehogs Make Good Pets?

Yes, hedgehogs can make good pets but only for those that don't require a super cuddly caged pet, are okay with feeding some insects, and don't mind if their pet sleeps during the day and runs all night on its wheel. Hedgehogs are very quiet, don't take up much space, and are pretty low-maintenance pets, which makes them a good pet for many people.

What Do Hedgehogs Eat?

Hedgehogs don't eat seeds or hay like most other caged pets but they do eat special kibble, insects, fruit, and other things. Hedgehogs used to be considered insectivores but due to their varied diet of much more than just insects, they are now classified as omnivores. This means that if you want a hedgehog as a pet, you need to be willing to feed some bugs, fresh items, and formulated kibble. This variety in their diet is essential in helping them stay healthy.

Do Hedgehogs Like To Live Alone?

Some pets, like guinea pigs, do better when they live with friends, but hedgehogs actually prefer flying solo. This means when you decide to have a pet hedgehog, you don't have to have two or three pet hedgehogs to ensure their happiness. One hedgehog only needs an enclosure that is 2 feet by 4 feet, but bigger homes are also appreciated by these spikey critters since they roam for hours in the wild and like to exercise.

Are Hedgehogs Very Active?

Hedgehogs may not look like very athletic animals, but they are extremely active. In the wild, hedgehogs travel about two miles a day, so they are definitely not sedentary animals. Pet hedgehogs need a lot of exercise not only for their mental health but also for their physical health. Hedgehogs that don't get an appropriate amount of exercise each day are likely to become obese, so plenty of play time outside the cage as well as an exercise wheel inside the cage are often necessary.

Are Hedgehogs Awake During the Day?

Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals so this means that they are more active at night than they are during the day. Your hedgehog will spend most of the day sleeping so if you want to spend time with them, the evening hours are when they will awake to eat and exercise. This might not be ideal for someone that has an early bedtime but if you work during the day and have free time in the evening, this schedule could coincide with a hedgehog's normal schedule.

Do Hedgehogs Bite?

While hedgehogs can have up to 44 teeth, they do not typically bite. If a hedgehog is frightened or scared, they will roll up into a spiney ball before they bite anyone. If the rare bite does occur, it is probably because they are extremely annoyed, painful, or startled, but a hedgehog is unlikely to attack and attempt to bite anything.

Are Hedgehog Spines Dangerous?

It's no surprise that a hedgehog has a lot of spines but these tiny quills don't cover their entire body and they aren't always in positions that cause pokes, so hedgehogs are safe to hold at times. Spines are very sharp but when a hedgehog is relaxed, these spines will lay flat against the body. This means that as long as you don't pet the spines backwards, they won't poke you.

There are also no spines on the belly of a hedgehog so this makes holding a happy hedgehog even less prickly. But when a hedgehog balls up, their spines stand at attention and their body position hides their soft belly, so they are pretty prickly all around. Despite this though, hedgehogs cannot shoot their spines like a porcupine shoots its quills and the spines do not contain any type of poison or venom. The spines are actually hollow and filled with air and don't even have barbs on the end of them.