Who will be responsible for the hedgehog?
Like all pets, hedgehogs require specific care and attention including, but not limited to feeding, fresh water, socialization, cage and wheel cleaning, nail trimming, occasional baths and more. Who will be responsible for making sure the hedgehog is taken care of? If your child's interest wanes, are you willing to step up to take care of your pet for the lifespan of the hedgehog (up to 6+ years)? Note: We ask that all minors (under 18) who submit an adoption application, have a supervising adult that is willing to care for the hedgehog for its entire lifespan if the child cannot/does not.
Why does your child want a hedgehog?
Ask your child why they want a hedgehog. The response might surprise you! It's important that your child has done the research, knows the appropriate care, and is ready to take on this responsibility for the rest of the hedgehog's life.
Do you want a cuddly pet?
Hedgehogs are not "soft" and "cuddly" per se. They do have quills, designed to be defense mechanisms, so they can be sharp - especially baby quills. Friendly hedgehogs will generally let their quills down after they get used to you. It's important that your hedgehog is socialized regularly, in your hands, without gloves on. If you or your child is too afraid to handle hedgehogs, they are likely not an ideal pet for them at this time.
So what is the best age to start owning hedgehogs?
There is no one specific right answer for this question. It will come down to your child's level of responsibility and maturity. Typically, I see this stage reached around middle school (or older) depending on the child WITH an attentive supervising adult. I personally, adopted my first hedgehog when I was about 12 years old.
Ultimately, you know your child best and know your willingness to step in to become the primary caregiver if your child is no longer as interested as the hedgehog deserves.
What age did you get your first hedgehog? Let us know!
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.