Exotic pets are unique and unusual animals kept as pets. However, what is considered exotic is constantly evolving. Some reptiles, rodents, and amphibians are quite common now as pets, so they are not considered exotic anymore. However, if you are ready to venture outside of the normal dog or cat, an exotic breed may be for you!
Why (Certain) Exotic Pets Are Worth Owning
• Allergies prevent you from owning a traditional pet
• Most of them are engaging
• Exotic pets are utterly incredible
• Some do not require a lot of space.
Do you want an exotic pet? You may want to start with a hedgehog.
The hedgehog as pets can be entertaining and endearing, but if you want to make the most of being a hedgehog owner, there are some things to consider:
Hedgehogs have certain basic needs in common with other “regular” domestic pets such as:
• Regular exercise and handling
• Constant access to clean water
• Requiring high quality food specific for its species
• Adjustment while your pet grows (including being aware of potential nips, bites, and adjustment behavior)
• A safe, clean cage, with proper ventilation and protection from other household pets
Another consideration when owning a hedgehog is to be considerate of its natural hunting behavior. In the wild, hedgehogs cover several miles in search of a good meal. Your pet hedgehog does not have to worry itself about catching its food; therefore, it can easily develop health complications or grow obese for its species. For this reason, you ought to invest in stimulating toys and features. Despite its modest size, hedgehogs require a spacious environment that means at least 2 square meters of cage space.
Hedgehogs identify strange items and substances by tasting them. This habit could take on dangerous proportions especially when it involves electric wires or cleansing chemicals. Keep a keen eye on the hedgehog, if you allow it some time out of its cage, especially around children and other pets. Even though hedgehogs have an excellent armor against potential predators, they might experience some anxiety. They are pros at hiding out of sight, so keep them confined to one room at a time (or you may be searching everywhere for a missing hedgehog!)
Hedgehogs also have unique individual needs as a more “exotic” pet:
• Hedgehogs need to eat insects. Most insects can be purchased and then immediately frozen. This keeps the insects fresh for quite a few months, but it also reduces the “ick” factor for many people as they can no longer fly, crawl, or otherwise escape.
• Hedgehogs need to be kept between seventy-three and seventy-six degrees Fahrenheit at all times otherwise; they risk going into hibernation – a life-threatening condition.
• Hedgehogs have quills. These quills as not barbed, poisonous, or dangerous but it is possible to accidentally get yourself poked. Children especially will not appreciate the surprise.
• When hedgehogs encounter a neat new smell, they will roll in their own saliva in order to “remember” that smell forever.
• Hedgehogs need to be handled daily if possible to remain social. Hedgehogs are less naturally social and they tend to forget what it is like to be handled very quickly. Hedgehogs are also less likely to view you as a friend and companion – although many do.
• Hedgehogs require a litter box and a well ventilated area to do it’s potty business.
Planning in advance will help you make the most of your new family pet! A hedgehog can be a great addition to your family as long as you are prepared and fully understand the needs of a not-so-common pet. As a reminder, cities and states have different laws regarding pet ownership. Please refer to your local ordinances before making any animal purchase.