Need to know

Physical Traits

Characteristics

  • Type: African Pygmy Hedgehog
  • Length: 14 - 25 cm | 5.5 - 10 inches
  • Mass: 250 - 700 g | 9 - 25 oz
  • Lifespan: 5 - 8 years

Habituation & Quilling

 

In the first months there are some things that you should definitely know in order zu gain a better understanding of your hedgehog. Here are the most important ones:

  • HABITUATION: You need to remember that your hedgehog is torn away from its unual environment and must first find its way and settle into a new home. This may take several weeks. 
  • QUILLING: Your hedgehog passes the state of quilling within the first few months of its life (usually between the 3rd and 6th month). During that period, it loses some of its small, sharp spines, which are replaced by stronger, firmer ones. This exchange causes a kind of itching on its sensitive skin. The result is an unfamiliar feeling, which the hedgehog is unable to allocate. Thereby it experiences human contact and affection as rather distracting and annoying. 

When the state of quilling has been passed your hedgehog should have adapted to his new environment and home.

 

Functional Traits

Self-Anoiting

 

Why exactly a hedgehog does this sort of mechanism is still not yet properly researched. However, the most common assumption implies a camouflaging instinct. This means, when a hedgehog finds something it likes the smell or taste of he licks it off, then chews and bites it. It produces a special foam in its mouth, which it then places onto one exact spot on its quills. It sounds just as funny as it looks and when you see this for the first time, you'll most likely be a little confused. But there is absolutely no reason to be worried about your hedgehogs condition. Anoiting is a natural habit. (Pokee especially loves good smelling body lotions.)


Nocturnal

 

Hedgehogs are night active. How does this affect us? It basically means loud noises at night. You should have enough space at home to have the terrarium in a different room than the bedroom. Otherwise your hedgehog will keep you awake all night. Additionally, you should pick a place where it is quiet during the day to ensure he gets the necessary amount of sleep and doesn't wake up all the time.

 

Character Traits

When we think of a hedgehog I'm pretty sure that the very first thing that comes to mind are the quills. Hedgehogs are very shy and when you first meet them they're most certainly curled up in a ball. If you're patient enough though, you'll notice a tiny little nose, a super soft belly and curious eyes. And if you show even more patience, you'll see that a hedgehog will not only get used to you, but also enjoy your presence and let you cuddle it. You eventually become its person.  In other words: Hard shell, soft core. 

 

Main Emotions

  • GRUMPY: You can't touch a hedgehog's quills when it is grumpy. This is because the enemy always comes from above and when it notices a hand from above, it will automatically put its spikes up. This is absolutely natural and a protective mechanism.
  • SCARED: You can tell that a hedgehog is scared when it's been grumpy for a while. It has its spikes up and it's very hard to touch it. This can happen when it feels permanently observed. (One of the reasons why a glass terrarium isn't appropriate for a hedgehog.)
  • HAPPY: Hedgehogs are happy when they get to run around (Pokee loves to run on the bed) and especially when they get to eat meal worms. A happy hedgehog is relaxed and let's you easily touch its quills. The happiest Pokee can get is when it gets belly rubs. Then it closes its eyes and forgets everything around it - no enemies -  it's in peace with the world.