Justin, a hedgehog owner from Massachusetts, has been kind enough to share a comical take on the potential not-so-glorious side of hedgehog ownership – caring for grumpy hedgehog.
While it’s important to know that many hedgehogs are gently, warm and cuddly pets, it is possible for their personalities to fall on the opposite, grumpier side of the spectrum, like Justin’s hedgehog Acorn.
So, here’s some tips from Justin about caring for a grumpy, yet still adorable, pet hedgehog!
I currently work at the Simmons College Archives and am also studying archival theory & practice in the college’s graduate program. My wife Elise works with developmentally disabled folks and teaches them art/craft skills to help them make a living for themselves. We live in Salem, MA with our hedgehog Acorn and two bunnies, Yoshimi & Clarence.
How long have you owned Acorn?
We’ve had Acorn for 5 or 6 years. He was about a year old when we got him, so I assume he’s learned all of life’s secrets by now.
Why did you decide to get a hedgehog as a pet?
I always wanted one because they’re just so adorable. I never thought it was a good idea to buy one from a pet store, as I didn’t really want to support the exotic pet industry, so I waited until I saw one that was up for adoption.
We found some young tween trying to get rid of him on Craigslist (because “he smelled too much” which is true but come on), so I seized the opportunity and gave him a permanent home.
How would you describe Acorn’s personality?
We use a lot of negative words to describe Acorn. Hateful is the most common one. And grumpy. Spartan. Spiteful. We did our best to socialize him and to get him to like us but to no avail. Either he was scorned by his first family or he was just born full of rage.
It’s entirely one-sided though, because we love him dearly. He’s insanely cute and would probably be content if the world was forever cloaked in darkness so he could run on his wheel as long as he wanted.
What’s your favorite part about being a hedgehog owner?
Since Acorn would much rather live in isolation, we don’t interact with him too much other than the usual bathing, cage cleaning, & such. We both keep to ourselves for the most part, so we just make fun of how much he hates humans. He’s basically the butt of our jokes. That’s how he earns his keep.
That and by being SO. ADORABLE. When he was younger, we’d take him outside and do stuff like let him sniff around an enclosed herb garden. Putting him in whatever (safe) situation that would strike our fancy also helps make up for the fact that he’s the most curmudgeonly pet ever.
Any tips or comments for future hedgehog owners?
Be prepared for terrible smells. Acorn’s poop is as rank as it gets. And make sure you’re okay with a one-way relationship. It’s entirely possible your hedgehog will wish the worst upon you.
I have heard stories of friendly hedgehogs who enjoy being around people, though. I don’t know how common that is, but I think knowing the worst case scenario is helpful.