• Hedgehogs and Human Pregnancy

    Written by Antigone Means-Burleson

    All too often I see ads posted on the internet that say, "Having a baby, have to find a home for my hedgehog." From personal experience, I can definitely say that having a baby is a huge life change, but it doesn't necessitate the re-homing of your hedgehog.

    The first thing to pay attention to if you are pregnant or have a small baby, is hygiene. I have talked to several vets and doctors and all told me that the risk of toxoplasmosis is pretty darn remote with hedgehogs, unless they are allowed to spend a lot of time rooting outdoors. Other types of infections, such as salmonella, are a possible risk but washing hands and practicing good hygiene can prevent the spread of infection. When my children were very small, I would wait until they napped before taking care of the hedgehogs and then would wash up and change clothes before handling the baby.

    Many expectant parents believe that a new baby will mean that they don't have enough time for the hedgehog. My experience has been that this is not the case. Babies sleep a lot. And in the middle of the night, when you can't sleep after the little human has woken to demand feeding, hedgehogs are very understanding.

    As your human baby grows, a hedgehog is a wonderful companion to learn from. My children have been fascinated with the hedgehogs since they were old enough to take note. They have learned about expressing feelings and how to respect the hedgehog's defenses. My kids and I spend valuable together time cleaning the cages and playing with hedgehogs. While it would take me half the time to clean alone, my kids take pride in their jobs. Zury (2.5 years) dumps clean shavings in the cages after I clean them out, while Seph (age 4) rinses out and refills water bottles, then fills and places feed dishes in the clean cage. I take pride in their learning these responsibilities, and in their learning how much our little friends depend on us to help them.

    I feel sad for the people behind those "Having a baby, must get rid of hedgehog" ads. I think of how much my children have benefited from the hedgehogs in our family, and how much the hedgehogs benefit from having my children to share their love and attention, and I think my children would agree.