African pygmy hedgehog: the perfect Pet for beginners!

African pygmy hedgehog is a perfect pet for beginners! With its low maintenance needs, all-day sleeping habits (95% of the time it is resting), and cage living style it could be an ideal bud for people who wants to be pet parents for the first time. Here is what you should know if considering to buy one of them for yourself:


It is a small mammal, originally from Africa. It is the smallest of all hedgehog species.

Oval-shaped and with short legs, it is well known for its sharp spines. The body is covered with keratin-made quills and the head is coated with hair. The standard length of an adult hedgehog is about 20 cm or further. Has a very short tail.

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Its average lifespan is about 5 years (it could be more, even over eight years) if it has been properly cared for.     

In most people, African pygmy hedgehog does not cause allergies which is great for those who have issues with it.


Hedgies have delicate ears and are hearing very well. They are shy quiet animals who love to hide. They are awake and active at night when the lights are off and the noise is reduced.

Because of their cute nature, it is not hard to raise them. This animal is not needy and doesn’t require much time- perfect for busy people who don’t spend many hours at home.

It is important to say that hedgehogs don’t like company in their caves. As loners, they prefer living alone and having some living-space peace.  

Hibernation alert! Hedgehogs might hibernate. If not kept in a warm place during the winter time they will change their metabolism state and fall into hibernation. It is potentially dangerous and life-threatening. Make sure you have a good winter condition for keeping your hedgie’s body temperature.  


To pick the perfect hedgehog’s cage you have to know some things. 

First, find a suitable cage for this kind of animal. It has to be large enough to provide comfort for your pet.

Second, it is recommended to inform about different possibilities for cage bedding. It has to be absorbent and pleasurable. You can choose between chopped paper, sawdust, blanket/towel… Find what suits you and your pet the best.

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Third, buy feeding bowls. The best are ceramic-made bowls because it is hard to overturn them. You will need two of them- one for water and one for food.

Fourth, hedgehogs appreciate having some fun. They do love bright-colored toys! It could be any toy like a small ball or a toy car. Even stuffed animals they like suit their personalities. Tube tunnels are preferable. Having someplace to hide and be warm (you can improvise yourself) is essential. Put all these things in a cave and watch its happiness!   


Hedgies are not picky about food at all. There is a whole spectrum of food that can be given. 

They love herbs, fruits (watermelon, strawberries, bananas, apples), and vegetables (tomato, cucumber, broccoli, green pepper). 

Their snacks are insects (spiders and small bugs but especially crickets as favorites) and you should provide it four times per week. In wild, they even eat worms and snails.

You should know that hedgehogs are lactose intolerant so don’t do a mistake by giving them milk to drink. The water will be good enough.

There is some mixed food for it that could be found in pet shops, it will love it.

The interesting thing is that moist cat food is suitable for hedgehogs so don’t be afraid to give it.


Do everything you can to provide the hedgehog’s body and environmental hygiene stays on a high level. It can prevent diseases in your pet’s health and it is important for you, too. Animals can carry some diseases that can easy transfer to humans. Make sure you washed your hands after touching a pet or a cage.

You have to know that hedgehogs might get fleas and ticks. It looks strange but it is a real possibility. This is also one of the reasons to pay attention to some extra hygiene care. 

We recommend you bathe your pet once a month. It will be enough to keep it clean and healthy. 

Bonus tip for fun: hedgies can swim! Fill your sink with water and put your little friend inside to enjoy swimming and bathing. It will be such a pleasure and will melt your heart to watch it. 

Clean it’s a cage every day. Change the bedding. Throw the old food and water and replace them with new, fresh ones. 


In general, hedgehogs are not so hands-on animals. Most of them don’t even like snuggling. They only allow it if feeling comfortable and safe enough- then might convert to real mollies! 

They do need some time to adapt to their owner. Let it get used to your smell and presence. By that time it will become relaxed with you and will allow you to take it into your hands. We need to earn their trust!

Usually, they are not aggressive animals. Rather prefer running away or curling in a ball instead of biting. However, don’t worry if it bites you. Their teeth are small so will not hurt you badly. Yet try to avoid biting because of the possibility of transmitting bacteria. 

It is one of the cutest pets you can choose! If you decide to take that step keep in mind everything you read above. It will help you to become the best hedgehog parent ever!

More about them in Serbian language is here.

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