Petting a happy hedgehog is a bit like affectionately stroking a bristly hairbrush. Attempting to pet an upset hedgehog is more like trying to soothe a wriggly cactus of doom.
That’s the answer to the most common question I get when people learn I’m caretaker to a hedgehog: What do they feel like? That’s followed closely by asking why I have such an unusual pet.
So, why do I have a pet hedgehog? Initially, I decided to look for a pet that I could cuddle, but that didn’t make me sneeze. But now it goes beyond my allergies and has become an ongoing nightly lesson in slowing down, dimming the lights, and being a bit more calm in this fast-paced world.
People do debate whether hedgehogs should be kept as pets. Wild animals should stay wild, the argument goes. Others note that cats and dogs were wild once, and domestication has to start somewhere. If you’re considering adopting a pet hedgehog, it’s important to know about — and accomodate — their habits in the wild.