By Amanda Szramiak – For the past six years, I have been utterly obsessed with hedgehogs. I can’t remember my first hedgehog “thing,” but I can assure you the amount of hedgehog “things” I have accumulated over the years are enormous. These things range from hedgehog mugs, floor mats, ornaments, candles, key chains, and numerous stuffed animals. My obsessive collection is bizarre, but their cuteness is too much for me to handle. When this obsession started, I, of course, wanted a real hedgehog. Once I knew my family knew how real my obsession was, I convinced myself every birthday and holiday my next hedgehog “thing” would be alive. I have been sorely disappointed until this past Christmas when I finally got my most prized hedgehog “thing.”
My hedgehog’s name is Holly, and she is the cutest thing I have ever encountered. While I have been dreaming of this day, I have never researched or prepared for the day I would actually own a hedgehog. I thought they were just cute little animals that cuddled up when I wanted, but I was wrong. I have been anticipating this day for a while, but I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I want to chronicle my woes of being a new hog mom:
Hedgehogs are actually prickly.
I knew porcupines were notorious for their harmful spikes, but my impeccably soft stuff animals tricked me into thinking my hedgehog would be soft and the quills were for show. I was wrong. Luckily, fleece helps with the painful spikes when I’m holding Holly. She is also only painfully prickly when she’s in defense mode, which is lessening with our time spent together.
Hedgehogs and porcupines are not related.
Hedgehogs are actually mammals whereas porcupines are rodents. Porcupines are much larger than hedgehogs. Even though Holly curls up and her spikes hurt to touch, porcupines actually shoot off their quills to protect themselves. Their differences are crazy!
Hedgehogs are extremely temperature sensitive.
The environment hedgehogs live in need to be between 72-80 degrees. My family home is always incredibly cold, and the first few days of Holly being home were so scary. I wasn’t able to get a wireless thermometer until after the holidays, so it was a lot of guess in check. The scary part about hedgehogs’ sensitivity to temperature is that they can actually go into false hibernation if they are not in at least 72 degrees. Thankfully, I have mastered keeping the temperature steady, so it is no longer an issue.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal.
Holly’s most active hours are between 1-3 AM in which she runs nonstop on her wheel. Watching her on her wheel is extremely entertaining. However, listening to her wheel when I’m trying to sleep is not. Luckily, she’s in the open area of my apartment and not in my bedroom anymore. Sorry Holly.
Owning an actual hedgehog is better than all my hedgehog paraphernalia.
Although I wish I had done more research about owning a hedgehog before getting one, I am absolutely in love with my little Holly. She fits in nicely with all my stuffed animals, but she is definitely my favorite hedgehog “thing”