Hedgehog Ville was featured in a Chinese Newspaper for the December 2012 article about owning exotic pets. You can click the photo to read it here.
An English Translation was also made to share this information to the Non-Chinese readers.
Sensitive little spikey ball; natural poop machine
It’s hard to say how many people have been mesmerized by this special pint-sized animal. Pointy small mouth, two round bitty eyes, bearing an armour of short little spines, crawling forward. When it gets mad, it instantly curls into a miniature spikey ball. If you can keep a little hedgehog at home, it would be so much fun!
There are currently a lot of people who are beginning to keep hedgehogs as pets. But an experienced hedgehog breeder should give you this advice: you must first do your homework to avoid discovering afterwards that hedgehogs are not what you had imagined them to be and then you become at a loss of what to do with yours. Please know that hedgehogs are sensitive animals. When they change homes, it is a pretty big blow that’s hard for them to accept.
The first time she saw a hedgehog in her friend’s hand, Valerie was mesmerized by the little thing: “I decided at the time that I will rear this unique little animal.
Now she is already a hedgehog breeder with over six years of experience: “hedgehog is a very unique animal; a lot of people are attracted by its looks and want to have one as a pet immediately. But before actually owning one, you should make an effort to get to know their nature, habits, and needs to decide whether it really is the right fit for you.
Markings decide the price
There’s a Chinese saying that goes “while the connoisseur recognizes the artistry, the layman simply enjoys the show.” When we see hedgehogs, we only see its spikey body and soft tummy, but according to the connoisseur, every little hedgehog has its own special marking. Valerie says, “some hedgehog have different colours on their left face and right face; sometimes their left ear and right ear have different colours too. This is called “split face,” which is rare and thus more precious.”
There is artistry to the spikes on its back too, “some hedgehogs have dots on its back that’s different colour than the rest of the body. We call these ‘pinto’. If a hedgehog has pinto, it also means it’s a rarity. The hedgehogs that have these unique markings might cost you around an additional $100.
Watch out for the poop machine
Before owning a pet, you should first understand if they will give your home bad odour. Valerie says, “hedgehogs don’t smell on its own, but be aware that their poop smells pretty bad.” She says with a chuckle, “sometimes hedgehogs are called ‘poop machines.’ They can poop at any time. If they are scared or feel stressed, such as when they are picked up by a stranger petting their head, they might poop on your hand.”
Thankfully, you can train hedgehogs so that they would always go to the same place to relieve themselves. “Generally you would put a plate beneath a running wheel, and then place critter litter in the plate. They will slowly begin to know to relieve themselves in the plate. The reason why you would put the plate under the wheel is because when they are running on the wheel to exercise, they would poop as they go. This way, the plate would catch all the fecal matter. However, what cannot be avoided is when you have poop left on the wheel. “Ideally, you should clean the wheel everyday to avoid the room from smelling.”
Petting for bonding
Some people have hedgehogs for pets because they feel that they are unique. At the same time, hedgehogs do not require a large amount of time or energy for their care. Valerie says, “hedgehog, compared to dogs, require a lot less energy, but it doesn’t mean you can just leave it in the cage. If you just got your hedgehog, you need to bond with it for at least two hours a day. For example, when you watch TV, you can hold it in your hands. After a month, it will slowly begin to trust you and familiarize the feeling of you. Having the trust and familiarity, the hedgehog would no longer be afraid of you. Once the trust has been built, even when they are sleeping and you pick them up, they would not be in shock or resist.
There are tips for petting the hedgehog too. “Hedgehogs don’t like to be touched on the head by strangers and would be scared and resist. You must build a relationship with it, by using a finger from the nose and lightly stroke upwards. This is a method they relatively accept. “Don’t worry about its spines. A house pet hedgehog does not usually have very hard spines, so it won’t prick your hand.”
Every hedgehog has a different personality. Some hedgehogs, when they arrive in their new home, will especially resist the touch of human. Valerie points out, “if it is just a female hedgehog, then one way is to rear it with another female hedgehog that already trusts the owner. The hedgehog that doesn’t like the owner will observe that the other hedgehog is often picked up and petted by the owner and there are no problems. This way, she would bond with the owner much faster. However, if you have a male hedgehog, you cannot use this method because you must never put two male hedgehogs together in one cage – they will fight for sure.
Sensitive and easily stressed
Hedgehogs are easily stressed. Just as previously mentioned, when under stress, they would poop immediately: “hedgehogs cannot stand loud noises. For example, if you close the door heavily, the noise of your TV is high – any of this would scare them. In addition, do not carelessly drop them from your hands. If dropped, hedgehogs will curl into a ball so that its body cannot get hurt. But this kind of experience will harm them psychologically and it will be difficult for them to trust you again.
When in the process of breeding them, the saddest experience Valerie had was when people bought hedgehogs from her, and after a while discovered that this animal was not the pet they had wanted so she had to take them back and find them new owners. “For hedgehogs, this is not a very easily accepted process. They actually do not adapt to new environment changes easily, and would like to stay in the same environment, while only be in contact with the same one or two people. So if you want a hedgehog, you must first consider it carefully.”
Pay Attention Owners
We learned in science class as children that hedgehogs hibernate in winter. But Valerie emphasizes that you should never allow your house pet hedgehogs to hibernate: “The room where the hedgehog resides should always be above 24 degrees celcius. Although in their natural habitat, hedgehogs might get cold and hibernate and then wake up, house pet hedgehogs will generally die slowly and never wake up.”
Also, she pointed out messages on the Internet often misguide the owners: “For example, there was a very popular video where a hedgehog was placed in water by its owner. It floated on its back and enjoyed the splashing of the water on its body. A lot of people saw it and thought hedgehogs must enjoy this time of “swim” and so they carelessly put their own hedgehog in the water. I know many examples of how this led to death.”
Caption for pic one: If you want to train your hedgehog to poop in the plate, you must put this type of critter litter in a pan so they can slowly know they can go there.
Caption for pic two: hedgehogs are scared of the cold. Even if you have heating at home, you should also have a heat pad like this one and place it in their cage.
Caption for pic three: When picked up by a stranger, the little hedgehog will curl itself into a spikey ball. But house pet hedgehogs will not be very prickly so you don’t need to be too worried.
Caption for pic four: if you put the hedgehog in a little fleece bag, you can conveniently put it on your lap and pet it.
~Translated by Lynn Chien~
Hedgehog Ville was also featured with Gooseberry Nursery Prints. You can check them out here.