It is true that African pygmy hedgehogs have become popular in certain circles as pets, and their owners will tell you that their insect-loving nocturnal pets are the most adorable creatures they’ve ever seen. As far as exotic pets go, they are quite easy to care for, don’t have large space needs, are easy-going and being nocturnal, happy to sleep the day away while you’re at work.

Of course, hedgehogs are wild creatures, not domesticated ones, and need to be respected as such. While the African pgymy is among the smallest and calmest of all hedgehogs, if you startle one, it will certainly not hesitate to deploy its quills. Hedgehogs can be held when they are calm and feel safe- just be careful how and when you choose to hold them- a well-meaning endeavor that can be quite painful when they curl up into a ball. When greeting a hedgehog, first let it smell you. They may also try to “taste” you a little with their tongue. If they bite, they probably won’t make a good pet!

Hedgehogs love to eat insects, but can handle a varied diet. They require recreation or they’ll get bored and make quite a mess. If you think a hedgehog is the perfect pet for you and your family, don’t just go out and pluck one from the wild- see if you can adopt one that is in need of a home, such as a rescued orphan that has been hand-raised.