The typical places where you can buy an African pygmy hedgehog are at a pet store, at a breeder or at exotic pet shows. Another option that is often overlooked is to adopt a pet hedgehog someone else isn’t able to care for anymore.
While you can get great pets with every option I mentioned, the likelihood is much bigger if you choose a reputable breeder. In the following paragraphs, I will point out all the advantages and disadvantages that come with the different possibilities. But let’s have a look first at the things that are very important no matter where you buy your hedgie.
Things You Should Look For
This is mainly about how to buy a hedgehog. Under no circumstances you want to buy a pet without going into the details. Especially at pet shows it can happen, that you fall in love with a little hedgie and ignore the warning signs. Don’t let you pressure into buying the pet right away if you are uncertain.
Make sure to take a serious look at the following points:
How old is the pet? Baby hedgehogs should stay with their mother until they are weaned with 6 weeks. The appearance and color are also only fully developed after weaning.
- What is the background of the mother? How old is she? And what is the breeding frequency? Female hedgehogs can get pregnant as early as at 8 weeks. Have in mind that early breeding can cause serious problems for the mother and her babies. A responsible breeder wouldn’t use such young females for breeding purposes.
- Is the environment clean and well maintained? That is especially for cages but have look at everything else too. What about odor? Usually, hedgehogs don’t smell if it’s stinky there is probably a more serious problem.
- What food do the hedgies get? Quality food should always be the basis as well as a variety of fresh food like vegetables and treats. It can be tricky to introduce an animal to a new food, so you are doing good in knowing what it already eats.
- The person you are in contact with should be able to show you how to handle the pet. Additionally, she should determine the gender and tell you how this is done.
- Reputable breeders want to give their pets in good hands. Therefore they provide you with information on how to care for the pet.
- Last but not least: even baby hedgehogs should be housed according to their gender. Never buy a female that was housed together with males.
I know, the costs of owning a hedgehog don’t stop after the purchase. Still it’s not a good idea to go with the lowest price as well. Costs can easily add up in the future if the hedgehog is ill.
A reputable breeder is definitely the place where I would recommend buying. Hedgehog breeders often have a personal interest in the species they breed. Also, you have a person you can go to if you have a question. Even after you bought your hedgie.
Another argument for a breeder is, that you can handle the baby hedgehog and get a feeling for his character. I even recommend visiting him twice or even more often before you take your hedgie home. This way you can bond already with your future pet. You will also learn a lot about the breeder and his pets.
That said, it’s obvious, that not every breeder is a good breeder. But there are some things you can do to make the decision easier for you:
- Look for everything I mentioned above
- Ask for a USDA license
- Ask for information about lineage and breeding practices
- Check online forums for recommendations
- Ask other hedgehog owners in your area if they know someone trustworthy
Breeders who offer their hedgies on craigslist are often not a good choice. Most likely these sellers just want to make a quick buck and don’t care about the pets. But of course, there might be exceptions.
Some breeders that can be found online and are not in driving distance might offer to send the pet over. I suggest staying local and within your reach. Sending a living creature is too much of a risk for me. Especially with such sensitive animals.
Now I want to give you a list of some breeders I found in different places in the US. If you are a reputable breeder or know someone, don’t hesitate to contact me and I will add the person to the list.
Not every pet store offers hedgehogs, but with the rising demand in the last years more and more hop on the train. It can be tempting to just go to the next store and drive home with a new pet and everything you need for proper care.
But you will need to have a very close look. Staff at the store often lacks experience and the questions you have if you read this article thoroughly can’t be answered in most cases. This might be different if you chose a small private store over a big chain.
Be also aware that recommended products like cages aren’t necessarily meeting the needs. A small shop simply can’t store all the products for all the different species it may offers.
Exotic Pet Shows
An exotic pet convention might not be a good choice during the pandemic, but hopefully, they will start again soon. This kind of event is basically a gathering of experienced sellers and breeders.
Offers are tempting and I know the desire to take a hedgie home can be strong. However, you should double-check every point before you make a decision right away. Imagine you discover something is wrong with your pet later on and you have an unwanted hedgehog at home.
The cost of having a stand should not be underestimated. Many sellers have to sell a lot of pets and supplies to break even. Some might want to talk you into buying, don’t let this happen.
Adopting a pet hedgehog is something most people don’t think about. There are far too many pets out there that deserve a new home and a loving owner. At petfinder.com you can search for hedgies, as well as every other type of pet.
As rewarding as adopting a pet might there is a bunch of disadvantage coming with it. If you want your hedgehog fast, this option isn’t for you. Often you have to wait quite some time as hedgehogs are still an unusual pet that not many people take care of.
Additionally don’t know a thing about the health of the pet and are relying on the statements the former owner makes. It also might be that the pet you are about to adopt is older than stated. If you are unlucky, you will only have a short amount of time together as hedgehogs have a short lifespan. In almost every case you will get an adult hedgehog.
Your local vet can be a good source for more information if you plan to purchase a pet hedgehog (or any other animal). You’ll have to look for a good veterinarian that has experience with hedgies non the less.
The vet knows who is breeding hedgehogs in your area and can probably tell you more. It’s also likely, that he treats the mother of the baby hedgehog as well. All in all, he has a feeling which breeder takes good care of his pets.
Sometimes a vet can even refer you a hedgehog that is free for adoption.
There are many places where you can buy a hedgehog. I recommend to chose a breeder that is near your location and that you trust. But of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get a good pet at a pet store or a convention.
No matter where you decide to buy, make sure, that you ask the right questions and have a look at the overall conditions.