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|Physical Characteristics | Behavior Characteristics | Socialization | Gender Differences
- All hedgehog pet owners want a well-socialized hedgehog but the term “well socialized” can have different meanings and contexts.
- Most hedgehog enthusiasts think of a hedgehog that uncurls, relaxes its spines, and generally appears to enjoy handling as a socialized pet.
- How a hedgehog gets to this point and stays socialized can have many variables.
- Hedgehogs are typically naturally shy creatures that tend to fear the unknown.
- Their poor eyesight but heightened sense of hearing, motion detection, and emotion detection makes them sensitive to how their environment and how they are handled.
- When a hedgehog is nervous or scared it will ball up and use its spines not as a form of aggression but as a form of protection.
- You must prove yourself trustworthy before a hedgehog will completely relax with you.
- More information on this topic can be found in our Behavior Characteristics guide.
- Hedgehogs with health issues may also be less responsive to handling. An uncomfortable or sick animal may rather be left alone. Quilling is an example of a normal process that can be very uncomfortable for a hedgehog and can impact how the hedgehog prefers to be handled.
- Proper handling is critical to a well-socialized hedgehog and probably the most important factor in whether or not a hedgehog will make a good pet.
- Hedgehog owners need to learn to understand a hedgehog’s subtle ways of communicating and behavior and then respond accordingly.
- Owners also need to learn:
- When to handle
- How to pick up and hold a hedgehog
- What can cause a hedgehog to be scared or nervous
- Bonding is also an important part of the socialization process and will occur over time
- Patience is probably the most important virtue in hedgehog socialization and in a new pet owner.
- We provide our customers information and tips on this topic in our Care and Handling guides.
Quality Time versus Quantity Time
- My 10 plus years of experience has led me to believe that the more time spent with an animal does not always equal a better response from an animal.
- Your actions (quality time) tend to make a larger impact on an animal than the amount of time (quantity time) you spend with that animal.
- Certainly the amount of time with an animal is important but what you do with the animal during that time is far more important.
- You can handle a hedgehog the wrong way a long time and get no where in the bonding or socialization process.
- However, handling your pet the right way and responding to its needs will dramatically speed up the bonding and socialization processes.
- Every hedgehog owner wants a friendly, outgoing and well-socialized pet. As previously discussed, socialization greatly depends on how a hedgehog is handled.
- Proper handling of your hedgehog before it goes home with you plays a role in how your hedgehog will socialize and bond with you at your home. A hedgehog that has been poked and prodded at in a pet store is unlikely to be as good of a pet as one that has been properly handled and cared for by a good breeder.
- Our Purchasing A Hedgehog guide outlines ways that you can ensure you that you get off to a good start with your new pet.
- Important purchasing decisions include:
- Where to purchase
- What to look for when you buy
- Selection of a hedgehogs available
- Choosing a hedgehog
- Education you will receive at time of purchase
- Once you have selected and purchased your new pet it is up to YOU to continue the socialization and bonding processes.
- The Handling and Play guide along with the Care and Acclimation guide we provide our customers are designed to ensure your success.