The day is finally here! Your hedgehog gets to come home. As exciting as it is, you will want to keep in mind that this is also a BIG day for your new companion as well. It can be quite the transition, so your primary goal is to make the hedgehog feel safe, secure, and loved.
safe, secure travel carrier
As tempting as it may be to travel with the hedgehog in your lap or with a companion holding him or her on the ride home, it is important that your hedgehog travel in a secure small pet travel carrier. We typically use the one pictured above, but you can also use a smaller clear storage bin with holes in the side or lid or most any variety that has a secure lid. Not only is it safer to travel in a carrier, but they can get quite squirmy suddenly and the last thing you would want would be for your hedgehog to escape your lap and end up in difficult to reach places in your vehicle or worse - under your gas or brake pedal.
transition the scent
*Optional* To help with the adjustment, it can be nice to see if you can have a small amount of bedding from their previous cage for their travel carrier and transitioned into their new cage, so they have some familiar and comfortable smells around them. You may also leave something that smells like you in their cage. For example, a piece of an old t-shirt. Be sure that it does not have any loose fibers or holes to get stuck in. Monitor any wear and tear on the item and remove after a week or so.
Let the hedgehog adjust
It is so tempting to just want to cuddle up to your new hedgehog, but you will need to be patient. Your hedgehog went through one of the biggest transitions of their life going from their home with siblings and mother to its new home. For the first week, we recommend minimal interaction other than feeding, water, and brief checks on them. Keep in mind they might be a bit grumpier than normal while they adjust to their new surroundings. Also, depending on their age, they may go through a quilling process losing their baby quills while their adult quills come in, also adding to a bit more unease.
In the first week, try to limit handling so they can adjust and feel safe in their new surroundings. After a week of transition time, you can slowly increase your handling and socialization time with your new hedgehog.
Rachel, the owner of Penny's Prickly Pigs has been breeding hedgehogs since 2008, and owned hedgehogs off and on since she was 12 years old. We maintain a small herd to focus on quality and personality. We track pedigrees on all of our hedgehogs.