Are Hedgehogs Suitable Pets for 10-Year-Olds?

Getting your child a pet can offer them many benefits. Having a pet teaches children to be responsible and care for something other than themselves.

A pet also helps teach a child compassion, and pets can sometimes make lifelong companions. Not to mention, pets are fun! If your child needs a bit of fun, a pet is a great way to increase playtime and creativity.

The most common pets in American households are dogs, cats, and freshwater fish. But of course, there is a whole list of pets you could consider getting your child.

For a 10-year-old child that is likely more mature and responsible than a toddler, you could even get a pet like a bunny rabbit or a hedgehog.

Firstly, it is important to note that hedgehogs require a lot of care and attention. They are not like traditional pets such as cats or dogs and have specific needs that must be met in order for them to thrive.

This includes providing them with a proper diet, a suitable living environment, and regular veterinary care.

Additionally, hedgehogs are not recommended for households with children under 5 years of age or adults over 65, as they can carry Salmonella bacteria in their droppings.

Despite these considerations, hedgehogs can make great pets for responsible 10-year-olds who are willing to put in the time and effort to care for them properly.

They are known for being timid little animals, but as any hedgehog owner will tell you, hedgehogs respond to their owner’s voice and appearance and are very interactive if socialized properly.

With the right care and attention, a pet hedgehog can be a rewarding and unique addition to your family.

Are Hedgehogs Good Pets for 10-Year-Olds?

Hedgehogs are gaining more popularity as pets in the United States – even though it is still illegal to own hedgehogs as pets in some states.

Hedgehogs are cute little critters, so it’s no wonder a 10-year-old would be particularly attracted to them as pets.

If you have been thinking about getting your 10-year-old a pet hedgehog, here are 7 reasons why that is a great idea, and you should go ahead with it:

Tame Hedgehogs Have Loving and Social Personalities

Once a hedgehog has had time to acclimate to your home and family, it becomes tame and develops a more loving and social personality.

Although a hedgehog might not feel too comfortable with your child initially, it can start to show more interest after some time, getting used to its new environment and the new people around it.

Taming a hedgehog can help your 10-year-old learn boundaries and respect an animal’s space.

Hedgehogs are Very Playful and Like Plenty of Exercise

While a hedgehog certainly won’t play fetch or do tricks like a puppy might, it can and will play in its own way.

Hedgehogs can actually have very playful personalities and need quite a bit of daily playtime to get some movement and exercise.

Your 10-year-old can interact with their pet hedgehog by playing with it and helping it stay active. This can be very entertaining for your child and bring them a lot of comfort and happiness.

You can have your child play a gentle game of tug of war with their hedgehog using a piece of fleece or even hide some treats around the hedgehog’s enclosure and watch it go about on a treasure hunt.

Hedgehogs Do Not Need Too Much Maintenance

While a 10-year-old is definitely much more responsible and mature compared to toddlers and younger kids, it might still be unreasonable to expect them to be able to care for a pet entirely on their own.

The good news is that hedgehogs are easy to care for and maintain, and with a bit of help or supervision from you, a 10-year-old can likely provide the hedgehog with all the care it needs.

The main things to keep an eye on include keeping the cage/enclosure clean, ensuring that the temperature is between 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, feeding the hedgehog, and bathing it about once every other week.

Caring for the hedgehog and meeting its needs will teach your child more responsibility.

A Pet Hedgehog Can Form a Strong Bond with Its Owner

Similarly, to how a pet dog or cat can be seen following around their owner and building a strong bond with them, hedgehogs also build bonds with their owners.

Once your child earns their pet hedgehog’s trust, the hedgehog will start to become more drawn to them and want to spend more time with them.

The hedgehog might also become more playful and affectionate. Earning a pet’s trust and love is a huge confidence booster for kids and can help your 10-year-old build strong self-esteem.

The bond with a pet hedgehog can also help your child create meaningful friendships and relationships later on in their life. 

Pet Hedgehogs Do Not Get Aggressive, or Lash Out

Hedgehogs are usually very calm and loving and do not get aggressive or lash out.

You wouldn’t need to worry about your 10-year-old being alone with a hedgehog the way you might if your child was unsupervised with a large pet dog or moody cat.

There are no sharp teeth or claws to worry about. You might think that a hedgehog’s quills can be dangerous, but the truth is that the quills are not very sharp.

In the rare case where a pet hedgehog might feel anxious or scared and reveal its quills to you, the quills most likely could not cause any serious harm or even break the skin.

And remember, a pet hedgehog will never reveal its quills to you in aggression, but rather, this is usually a response to fear or anxiety. The hedgehog isn’t trying to hurt you but only protecting itself.

Hedgehogs Do Not Cause Allergies

Allergies are very common in children as young as 10 years old. In fact, your child could possibly be allergic to a whole host of animals, including cats, dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits, and birds, all of these animals being popular choices for pets.

It can be extremely heartbreaking to bring one of these animals home as a pet only to then discover an allergy and have to give the pet away.

Luckily, a hedgehog can make a great pet that absolutely won’t cause your child any allergy problems.

This is because hedgehogs are hypoallergenic and have quills instead of fur, and do not shed much dander into their surroundings.

On the other hand, a cat or dog would shed excessive amounts of allergy-causing dander. 

Hedgehogs Make Good Companions at Night 

And finally, another reason a hedgehog can be a great pet for a 10-year-old is that hedgehogs are nocturnal or crepuscular.

This means that they are awake and most active during the night or during dawn and dusk hours.

So, if your child is out during the day and busy with school, extracurricular activities, chores, or hanging out with friends, their pet hedgehog can happily spend that time sleeping.

Then, the hedgehog will be awake and active for some playtime after dinner.

The hedgehog can also bring your child comfort at night by knowing that their pet is awake and looking after them since some children can feel alone or afraid at night.

Pros of Owning a Hedgehog

If you’re considering getting a hedgehog as a pet for your 10-year-old, there are several benefits to keep in mind.

First of all, hedgehogs are relatively low-maintenance pets compared to other animals like dogs or cats.

They don’t require much exercise and can be kept in a cage, making them a great option for families who don’t have a lot of space.

Another benefit of owning a hedgehog is that they are very quiet animals. They don’t make a lot of noise, which means they won’t disturb your family or neighbors. Plus, they are very cute and can be a great addition to your family.

Hedgehogs also have a unique appearance that sets them apart from other pets. Their quills are a distinctive feature that makes them stand out.

And while they may look prickly, hedgehogs can be very soft and cuddly once they get to know you.

Cons of Owning a Hedgehog

While there are many benefits to owning a hedgehog, there are also some downsides to keep in mind.

For example, hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, which means they are most active at night. This can be a problem if you’re looking for a pet that will be awake and active during the day.

Hedgehogs also require a specific diet that includes a variety of foods like vegetables, fruits, mealworms, and crickets.

It’s important to make sure your hedgehog is getting the right nutrients and isn’t becoming obese.

Another potential downside of owning a hedgehog is that they can carry mites and salmonella. It’s important to handle them carefully and keep their cage clean to prevent the spread of disease.

Finally, hedgehogs can be prone to dental disease and tumors, which can be expensive to treat. It’s important to provide them with proper bedding and a water bottle to help prevent these issues.

Overall, hedgehogs can make great pets for 10-year-olds as long as they are handled carefully and provided with the right care. They are unique, low-maintenance pets that can be a great addition to any family.

What to Consider Before Getting a Hedgehog

Hedgehogs as Nocturnal Animals

It’s important to know that hedgehogs are nocturnal animals. This means that they are most active at night and sleep during the day.

If you’re considering getting a hedgehog as a pet, make sure that you’re willing to adjust to their schedule. This may mean that you’ll need to keep them in a separate room if their activity at night is disruptive to your sleep.

Hedgehogs as Exotic Pets

Hedgehogs are considered exotic pets, which means that they require specialized care. Before getting a hedgehog, make sure that you have done your research and are aware of their unique needs.

This includes providing them with a large, escape-proof cage, a solid floor, and appropriate bedding.

You’ll also need to provide them with a balanced diet that includes insects, and make sure that their environment is kept at the appropriate temperature and humidity levels.

Hedgehogs as Active Pets

Despite being nocturnal, hedgehogs are active pets that require daily exercise. This can be provided through a variety of toys and activities, such as a running wheel or obstacle course.

It’s important to provide them with a stimulating environment to prevent boredom and promote their physical and mental health.

Hedgehogs as Low-Maintenance Pets

While hedgehogs require specialized care, they are considered low-maintenance pets compared to other animals.

They do not require daily grooming or walks, and their cage can be cleaned once a week. However, it’s important to note that hedgehogs are still living creatures that require attention and care.

Make sure that you’re willing to commit to providing them with the care they need for their entire lifespan, which can be up to 5 years.

Overall, before getting a hedgehog as a pet, it’s important to consider their unique needs and whether they are the right fit for you and your family.

While they can make great pets for responsible owners, they may not be suitable for everyone.

The Bottom Line

Although hedgehogs are classified as exotic pets, they are not that difficult to care for and maintain and can have very affectionate personalities.

Hedgehogs are a great pet for a 10-year-old and can help your child learn to be responsible and build their confidence.

We wouldn’t suggest a pet hedgehog for a younger child or toddler since hedgehogs can be a bit sensitive to loud noises and too much handling.

However, a 10-year-old is mature enough to be more sensitive to a hedgehog’s needs and can look after a pet hedgehog with a bit of help and supervision from you.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

As we consider whether hedgehogs make good pets for 10-year-olds, we’ve compiled some frequently asked questions to help answer any concerns or questions you may have:

What do hedgehogs eat?

Hedgehogs are carnivores and require a diet high in protein. In the wild, they eat insects, worms, and small animals.

As pets, they can be fed high-quality cat food, hedgehog food, or a combination of both. It’s important to avoid feeding them sugary or fatty foods as this can lead to health problems.

Do hedgehogs need a lot of space?

While hedgehogs are small animals, they do require adequate space to move around and explore.

A minimum cage size of 4 square feet is recommended, with plenty of hiding places and toys to keep them entertained.

It’s also important to provide them with a wheel to exercise on, as hedgehogs are active animals.

Are hedgehogs good with children?

Hedgehogs can make great pets for children, but it’s important to supervise interactions and teach children how to handle them gently.

Hedgehogs have spines that can be painful if touched roughly, so it’s important to show children how to hold them properly.

It’s also important to note that hedgehogs are nocturnal animals and may not be as active during the day when children are most likely to want to play with them.

Do hedgehogs require a lot of maintenance?

While hedgehogs do require some maintenance, they are generally low-maintenance pets. They require a clean cage, fresh food and water daily, and regular nail trimming.

It’s also important to monitor their health and take them to a veterinarian who specializes in exotic animals if any health concerns arise.

Can hedgehogs be potty trained?

Yes, hedgehogs can be potty trained to use a litter box. It’s important to use a litter box with low sides and litter that is safe for hedgehogs, such as recycled paper pellets. Consistency and positive reinforcement are key to successfully potty training a hedgehog.

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