& Gerbils

By Roger Ross, Dvm
FoxNest Veterinary Hospital
Seneca, South Carolina

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Health Problems

What to expect when you go to the vet

Misc comments




Health Problems

What to expect when you go to the vet



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Guinea Pigs



Taking Care of Baby Wildlife

An article entitled:
"Don't Kidnap Baby Wildlife"

And paradoxically; a little bit about caring for the baby wild squirrels,
and birds
you find in your yard,

And a very funny story about beavers

Hedgehogs are about the size of a baseball when they curl up and are covered with spines, so they’re not very cuddly.  They’re also nocturnal.  They’re also prone to lots of external and internal parasites, respiratory diseases, and GI upset.  Not what most people would consider a great pet. 


Despite the above comments, some people find these little creatures endearing and interesting.  Perhaps kindred souls.  Ha.

Jokes aside, here are some introductory comments and general information:

There are two basic types of hedgehogs, the main difference being in size: the smaller African Hedgehog is typically about the size of a hamster (about a pound in weight) and the larger European Hedgehog which is about the size of a guinea pig (2 pounds).  They are native to Europe, Asia, and Africa and their natural diet is insects.


Hedgehogs like to burrow during the day under logs, rocks, and brush, so provide it with a place to hide.  They like to forage for food at sunset.

Hibernation isn’t a requirement for their health, but they will likely go into hibernation if you subject them to temperatures below 60F.

They are a cold natured animal with body temps of about 92F

Hedgehogs can swim and climb trees.

They have a keen sense of hearing and when frightened, they roll up into a ball for protection which may or may not protect them from being eaten by foxes, hawks, owls, badgers, and the like or by getting squished by cars.


Usually, hedgehogs do well if fed a dry dog food along with worms, crickets, and fruits and vegetables.  I also recommend supplementing with colloidal minerals as hedgehogs seems susceptible to mineral deficiencies.


I haven’t had any experience, actually with hedgehog breeding, but I know a few basics:
Gestation is about 35 days

The babies, which are called “pups” are born with very soft spines which become stiff at about 3 days old.  They need to be nursed for 4-6 weeks just like kittens and canine puppies.

Veterinary Recommendations:

Vaccinations: none recommended

Parasite control: I’ve been successful recommending Revolution, the very effective flea, mange mite, ear mite, heartworm preventive, and intestinal parasite medication made for cats and dogs.  It’s off label, untested (as far as I know) but seems to be safe, simple, and effective.

Coming soon; more about hedgehogs: 

Health Problems

What to expect when you go to the vet

Misc comments

Coming soon; about gerbils:


Health Problems

What to expect when you go to the vet

Misc comments