Perhaps you’ve been searching for a new family bet that is a bit unorthodox. You may love how small and cute some cats and dogs are, but you could also be a little unsure about some of their other characteristics. Hedgehogs are a low-maintenance pet that is still entertaining to raise without the louder and messier tendencies of traditional pets. One of our favorite types of hedgehogs I the Brandt’s hedgehog.
Quick Facts about Brandt’s Hedgehog
|Species Name:||Paraechinus hypomelas|
|Temperature:||75 – 85 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Temperament:||Intelligent, curious, docile, shy|
|Color Form:||Mottled brown and black|
|Lifespan:||4 – 10 years|
|Size:||7 – 10 inches|
|Minimum Cage Size:||2 x 2 feet enclosure|
|Tank Set-Up:||Ventilated and secure|
Brandt’s Hedgehog Overview
The Brandt’s hedgehog is native to Middle Asia and the Middle East. Some of the most common countries they are found in include Afghanistan, India, Iran, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.
Brandt’s hedgehogs are small animals, with most weighing under three pounds and having distinctively huge ears. They share this uncommon trait with a close relative called the Long-eared hedgehog. These animals are faster runners compared to their family members because of how light they are. Brandt’s hedgehogs are mostly nocturnal animals that prefer to be awake and moving around at night.
In the wild, the Brandt’s hedgehog typically lives in arid deserts or mountains. They travel in the nighttime to find natural shelters but can still dig dens when necessary. They must also hibernate during the colder months of the year.
Something unique to the Brandt’s hedgehog compared to all other types is the number of layers of skin they have. These hedgehogs have three layers of skin (an epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis), and other hedgehogs only have two. Scientists believe this has been an adaptation to their environment.
How Much Do Brandt’s Hedgehog Cost?
The Brandt’s hedgehog isn’t one of the most common types you see that is kept as a pet. While the most popular kind, the African pygmy, would cost you somewhere between $100 and $300 from a pet store, buying a Brandt’s hedgehog from a licensed breeder might cost you $1,500 to $2,000. There are occasional situations where you could find one for sale for cheaper, but you should be careful and do your research to ensure that they were bred and raised properly.
Typical Behavior & Temperament
It may take your hedgehog a while to open up and form a bond with you. Most pet hedgehogs are shy and nervous. This may result in behaviors such as rolling up into a ball to hide its head, belly, and feet. They could also snuffle or snort.
Keep in mind that not all hedgehogs are the same, and some might be a little more curious than others. Once they start to feel more comfortable in their new environments, they become more eager and start to familiarize themselves with objects around them. Hedgehogs will lick and chew on nearby objects that they aren’t yet familiar with. If you’re lucky, they might even allow you to cuddle with them during the day when they’re feeling a bit sleepy.
Appearance & Varieties
The Brandt’s hedgehog looks like a smaller, darker version of many other hedgehogs. These animals are very lightweight to allow them to move quickly. Their bodies are covered mostly in dark brown fur, and they have black, sharp quills on their entire backside. They also have very long ears that sit on top of their small heads.
How to Take Care of Brandt’s Hedgehog
The housing for a hedgehog is critical for their health. These pets need a safe place to sleep and hide while still providing plenty of room to jump and run. You want their enclosure to be enriching both physically and mentally.
Hedgehogs prefer to have a good amount of floor space in their enclosures. You should provide a minimum of 4 square feet, although 5 – 8 square feet is ideal. The more floor space you provide, the more likely they are to stay fit and healthy. Houses that are too small contribute to depression, obesity, and other health concerns.
The walls of the hedgehog house must be tall enough to fit accessories like an exercise wheel. A cage that is 18 inches tall is usually a good place to start, but you could go taller if you prefer.
The bottom of your hedgehog enclosure should always be made of a solid material. Do not ever use mesh or wire. Plastic, metal, and glass are all acceptable. These materials or non-porous and easy to clean while avoiding any hazards. If you want to offer them bedding, use Aspen shavings or chips, recycled paper or newspaper, fabric pieces, or wood pulp. Avoid using cedar shaving or chips, sawdust, hay, straw, soil, or gravel.
Hedgehogs are smart, and there are quite a few known for being escape artists. Therefore, the lid of your cage should be secure and stop them from easily pushing it off. The lid must also allow plenty of airflow to keep the entire pen well ventilated.
Cage placement is another factor you have to consider. Keep the hedgehog’s house in a room that is relatively quiet and away from everyday traffic. Since they are nocturnal, they also benefit from being in a place that is relatively dark during the day. Do not ever set their enclosure in a place that sits in direct sunlight.
Do Brandt’s Hedgehogs Get Along with Other Pets?
It is very possible for a pet hedgehog to get along with other pets that you keep in the house. However, this depends entirely on the personalities of both animals being introduced to each other.
Hedgehogs with Other Hedgehogs
You don’t need to hesitate if you want to introduce one hedgehog to another. These animals almost always get along with one another. You should always keep them in separate cages until you are certain that they can safely stay with each other. This means that you need to do a lot of supervised interactions until you are 100% confident that one won’t hurt the other.
Hedgehogs with Other Pets
Both cats and dogs are generally a little wary of a hedgehog’s army of quills. Still, there are some pets out there that don’t have a lot of boundaries, and you’ll have to be careful when allowing them to interact with one another. Never allow any of your pets to harass a hedgehog and remove them from the room right away if you notice any signs of stress.
What to Feed Your Brandt’s Hedgehog
Hedgehogs usually eat between one and two times per day. On top of giving them nutrient-rich hedgehog food, you can enrich their diet with plenty of other things. Some of a hedgehog’s favorite snacks are insects, worms, or the occasional piece of fruit from time to time. Gut-loaded insects are preferred.
Keeping Your Brandt’s Hedgehog Healthy
Even though hedgehogs are low-maintenance pets, they still need a few things to keep them happy. The first item that is crucial for their health is an appropriate home where they can feel safe and still have plenty of room to move around. This includes keeping the house clean and adding this chore to your list of responsibilities at least once per week.
You also need to ensure that your hedgehogs are eating a well-rounded diet and have a consistent supply of fresh water. Change out their water bowls at least one or two times per day. Keep an eye out for diseases as well. Most of their health problems come from poor nutrition, digestion, obesity, and dental issues.
Finally, remember that hedgehogs need space sometimes. They tend to be a little anti-social. If you overhandle them, it could actually lead to mistrust and create more issues between you two.
While female hedgehogs can be bred at any time, it’s not something that we would recommend. There are many risks associated with breeding hedgehogs. Females that are bred too young may lose their babies by either natural death or cannibalism from the mother. Complications with the pregnancy could also be dangerous to the mother’s life. While breeding them, you have to be extremely careful and watch for violence between the males and females. Because of these risks, we do not recommend breeding hedgehogs without the supervision of someone who is licensed.
Are Brandt’s Hedgehogs Suitable For You?
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance and interesting pet, then the Brandt’s hedgehog is definitely the pet for you. As long as you’re willing to provide these animals with a warm, safe environment and lots of stimulation, there is no reason why these animals wouldn’t make the perfect addition to your home.
The Brandt’s hedgehog is a small, beautiful animal that is growing more popular in the pet world. While they may not be a good choice for every home, they adapt to the lifestyles of many people and don’t demand too much from their owners. Still, you should always do your research and learn as much about their lifestyles and personalities before committing the next decade of your life to taking care of one.
Featured Image Credit: Brandt’s Hedgehog, Shah Jahan, Wikimedia Commons CC SA 4.0 International