• What Do I Do With A Surprise Hedgehog?

    Written by Antigone Means-Burleson
    Owning a hedgehog is a special thing that isn't just for everyone. Once people learn that you are truly attached to your prickly pal, don't be surprised if one day, someone somewhere calls you up, or you get an email, or you learn of a hedgehog whose life circumstances necessitate that it find a new home, NOW. While you may be feeling inexperienced or unprepared, know that if the hedgehog appears, you've learned a lot from your first hedgehog and you will be able to rise to the challenge. Here are some suggestions to help you with the surprise arrival.

    1.) Quarantine. Even hedgehogs that appear healthy can turn out to have some very nasty problems, like mites or internal parasites. You will want to quarantine the hedgehog for at least 30 days to reduce the chances that your other hedgehog(s)will get any kind of infection or infestation from the new arrival. If you don't have space to quarantine in a seperate room, seperate them by as much space as possible and don't let them roam in the same areas. Disinfect frequently and practice good hygiene.

    2.) Give the hedgehog a health inspection. If hedgie is too scared to allow for a thorough examination, you may want to try giving it a bath. Many hedgehogs will relax their quills and cooperate better with an examination if they are gently bathed. Look for injuries, lumps, bumps, crustiness, quill loss, or anything else that might suggest problems. Monitor stool frequency, color, and consistency for signs of possible problems. If in doubt, schedule a visit with the vet.

    3.) Talk quietly and soothingly to the new arrival. Spend quiet time together, no matter how upset hedgie is, and talk sweetly. I like to sit with a new hedgehog in my lap, under a blanket. This way, hedgie feels safe and begins to associate my scent with the feeling of security.

    4.) If hedgie is female, be prepared that if she's been around other hedgies, pregnancy is possible. Housing her alone and keeping things very spotless in case you need to give a new litter wide berth is important. Hedgehog gestation is typically 35 to 40 days, so you can breathe again if there aren't any babies within a month and a half of arrival.

    5.) Have a list of contacts for extra help. Hedgehog friends, experienced owners, or breeders are often happy to help support you in making your home a successful placement for hedgie, or in helping you out if you find that you are overwhelmed by the task.

    Photo courtesy of pogstarhedgehogs.com