A ball of sharp quills when threatened but very sociable otherwise – that is how hedgehogs are described by many. Living mostly throughout Africa and the Southern parts of Europe in centuries past, hedgehogs have already been recently gaining popularity as pets all over the world.
Commonly known for their bodies covered in quills that are used for defense, they can also be very playful when they are familiar and comfortable with the individual holding them. And in case you might be wondering, no, they do not shoot people with quills because they are unable to do so.
Hedgehogs love sleeping most of the day. They also love foraging through the hedges looking for food – insects, snails, and frogs – whenever they are awake. That is why some people love having them as pets as they can eat insects forever without complain.
Average Cost of Hedgehogs
Hedgehogs can be bought from either a pet store or a licensed breeder. The prices would usually vary depending on age, gender, color variety, and availability.
Typical range is from about $160 to $350. This is just for the hedgehog alone. Purchasing one means you also need to get your new pet a cage, bedding, toys, and of course, food.
Here’s a quick look at the costs that go along with the purchase of a hedgehog.
A pet cage would normally cost around $13 to $80. Sometimes, it would even go up to $209 for a cage that has two shelves, three ramps, and wheel casters. That, however, may be too huge for one hedgehog. It’s your choice, though. Whatever your decision on the cage may be, it is important that it is airy enough for your pet.
While hedgehogs normally have a diet composed of insects and worms, hedgehog food is already available online, with prices ranging from $5 for a 2lb-bag of food to $388 for 66lbs of bulk dried mealworms. Once in a while, you may also give your hedgehog some treats like scrambled eggs or cooked meat (except fish).
Food bowls for your new pet cost about $4 to as much as $16 and a drinking bottle for them is priced at $6 to $13. A small water bottle (about 8oz) and a food bowl about two to four inches deep would do.
Nail trimmers are also needed when you have a hedgehog. You can purchase them for about $10 to $13. When without nail trimmers for pets around, you may opt for nail clippers (child-sized). There are also veterinary clinics that provide nail trim services which cost about $10.
At least once a year or whenever necessary, you and your hedgehog also need to pay your vet a visit. Prepare to shell out around $30 or more for a physical exam, the cost of which would depend on doc rates and some additional tests when needed.
An igloo or a hut serves as your hedgehog’s hideout. It normally costs around $4 to $7 and provides a safe and secure resting spot for your pet.
An exercise wheel of about 11 inches is priced at about $19 to about $29. There are also those that are priced at $61 but a $29-wheel is enough to keep your hedgehog from getting obese.
For a good day’s sleep (hedgehogs are usually awake at night and sleeps most of the day), a comfortable bed for your hedgehog can be bought for about $9 to $17.
You would also be needing wipes for the cage. The starting price would be around $8 to as much as $30. You may also choose to just wipe the cage with a piece of cloth. Just make sure to clean it well.
There are breeders around that sell “starter” habitats. An example is AZ Hedgies in Arizona that sells these at $110. The package includes a cage, an exercise wheel, a hideaway (or hut/igloo), and food dishes. When ordering from outside Arizona, you’ll also have pay for shipping of about $260 via United Petsafe. They would, of course, be shipping these, provided you are from a location where owning a hedgehog as a pet is considered legal.
Shopping for Hedgehogs
The website of Exotic Animals for Sale lists a number of sellers of hedgehogs from all over the country. Remember, however, that prior to the purchase, you should always familiarize yourself with the type of hedgehog you want to buy. You decide on the color, the age, and the breed. Breeders always have a photo posted online. It also helps to visit prior to the purchase itself as some may look different in flesh than from the photos.
You should also decide on whether you are going to get your hedgehog from a licensed breeder or from a pet store. If you want to get your hedgehog from a breeder, Hedgehog Central has a list of breeders across America that you can check out. Make sure to buy from a breeder that has enough knowledge about the pet you are buying. You should also make sure to check that the hedgehog you are buying is healthy and is in good condition. Check the eyelids if they are droopy as that is an indication that the hedgehog is not healthy.
The website of the Hedgehog Welfare Society lists veterinarians from all over the country for when you need to have your hedgehog checked.
The USDA also requires licenses to breed hedgehogs. Even if you only plan on giving away the hedgehogs to friends and family members, you need to secure a license to ensure that proper care and comfort are given to animals as required by the Animal Welfare Act.
There are three classes when getting a license from USDA – Classes A, B, and C. Class A is when you plan on breeding hedgehogs and exotic animals for the purpose of selling them as pets. Class B is for wholesalers who broker animals and sell them wholesale, while Class C is given to those who plan on exhibiting animals to the public or to conduct performances featuring animals.
Licenses for Class A and Class B have an annual fee of $30 to $750. The amount would depend on dollar volume of your business in regulated animals. Class C annual licensing fee is from $30 to $300, depending on the number of animals held. A $10-application fee should also be added to licensing costs.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Hedgehogs
- Age plays an important. Those that are of breeding age are usually pricier than the others. Hedgehogs at about seven to ten weeks are the most popular because this is an ideal age to purchase one when you are planning to make them as pets. There are also adult hedgehogs that are sold at a lower price than the babies; with the babies (from 7 to 12 weeks) costing around $200 to $225 and the adults costing around $100 or so.
- Males are also less expensive than the females. It is common practice for breeders to keep more females than males. Females are only used for breeding a couple of times max before they are replaced.
- How much do hedgehogs cost when they are of a unique color? The rarer the color, the higher-priced it is. Normal colors like brown, gray, apricot and the likes can be bought at around $150 – $175 while that with snowflake and silver colors costs about $175 to around $200.
- Hedgehogs always feel like breeding during the spring months. Because of this, there are quite a number of hedgehog babies during the summer months, which results in the prices being lower. During winter, they’d rather be cooped inside their cages and are not interested in mating. With the baby hedgehogs fewer, the prices tend to be higher.
- Some breeders may be keeping for himself a good quality hedgehog. It won’t hurt to ask your breeder if he has other hedgehogs of superior quality he would like to sell you. This may cost a little more than the usual because of the breeding potential and good qualities, but if you are into getting a hedgehog from good lineage, ask your breeder for one.
- Pet stores like Uncle Bill’s in Fort Wayne sell hedgies at a sale for a price of $199.99. Pet stores may be a little less expensive than the breeders but the latter is always recommended by many. Breeders would always have a clear picture of the ancestry of your hedgehogs – where it came from, its health history – while pet stores rarely have that information handy. This is not to generalize pet stores and breeders, though. It should be emphasized that there are some pet stores that have complete information and provide superior care to their pets. There are also some breeders that may not be as knowledgeable as you want them to be in terms of lineage. In short, always talk to the person you are buying your hedgies from, and decide from there.
- Organizations like the Minnesota Pocket Pet Rescue make hedgehogs as well as other pets available for adoption. These animals are from those that have been left out in the streets or have been given to them for one reason or another – unfit, relocation of owner to another state, etc. Whatever the case may be, hedgehogs are available for adoption at a starting price of $150 each. You can get a pair for $210. Prior to the adoption, make sure to have the hedgehog(s) checked. There may be some pre-existing illness(es) you may want to know about prior to owning them.
Owning a hedgehog as a pet is illegal in some locations. This is true to states like Alabama, California, some parts of New York, and a few others. It would be useful to check online whether your state allows ownership of a hedgehog or not. You may also choose to reach out to animal control to get this information.
Hedgehogs may not be as comfortable with you on your first meeting and may curl into a ball of quills. Never force him to uncurl. Offer a treat. Dangle it by his mouth. He will eventually uncurl.
Finally, hedgehogs can also socialize with your other pets like your dogs and cats. Just make sure to supervise their first meetings with your other pets, up until they are trusting enough to socialize.