Should I Get a Ferret or a Hedgehog?

Ferrets and hedgehogs are both cute little creatures that are amazing pets for any household.

They are exotic, different than your average pet and enjoy the interaction with humans.

Keeping a ferret or a hedgehog is a hoot if you provide them with the proper accommodations and also socialize them.

When it comes to needs, the things required by ferrets and hedgehogs are not very different although ferrets do need a little bit more in regards to housing and accessories.

So, should I get a ferret or a hedgehog? If you are looking for a low maintenance pet then hedgehogs are your best bet. But if you want to spend a lot of time with your pet and are fine with keeping an eye on them most of the time, then ferrets will definitely keep you on your toes.

There is no wrong or right answer here; it completely depends on what you are looking for in a pet.

This article will help you make an informed decision regarding which pet to choose.

Life with Hedgehogs (Video)

 

Life with Ferrets (Video)

 

Accessories and toys

Hedgehogs or ferrets both are incredibly playful, so you need to provide them with loads of toys in their cages in order to prevent them from getting bored.

Ferrets love to play with cat toys, give your ferret a rubber ball and watch it go to town on that thing.

Ferrets are known to chew on cloth, plastic, and rubber so remember to only give things from these materials to your ferret when you can keep an eye on it.

Giving them toys is very important as they have a habit of stealing things and then hiding them in hard to reach places.

They will take anything that is not nailed to the floor, so you have to be careful and put your things where they cannot reach them or you will never find your beloved keys.

Ferrets are also big fans of snuggling, so provide them with pet beds, hammocks and soft blankets for their cage.

Hedgehogs are not very choosy when it comes to toys.

They are fine with playing with pieces of cardboard or rubber balls.

Like all pets you need to provide your hedgehog with exercise, so the best thing to do is to ass an exercise wheel to its cage.

You can also get a large ball for your hedgehog and let it explore the surroundings.

Nutritional needs

Ferrets and hedgehogs, both are omnivorous, but the diet of ferrets is predominantly carnivorous.

You need to provide your hedgehog with a very balanced diet consisting of low-fat cat kibble or hedgehog kibble.

The diet of ferrets, on the other hand, should consist of high-quality protein foods such as high-fat cat kibble.

Both the critters need treats such as cooked chicken, vegetables or cooked eggs.

Ferrets metabolize their food at very high rates, so they need several feedings per day but hedgehogs need just two to three feedings a day.

Housing

Hedgehogs and ferrets need more space as compared to other domesticated rodents.

The best cages for these little creatures are wire cages as they provide ample ventilation and also interaction with the world outside.

Ferret require a cage that has sufficient vertical space.

They require a multistory habitat where they can exercise their body, climb, play and explore when they are left alone in the cage.

They need a minimum of 36 inches by 18 inches cage.

Hedgehogs are another story.

They need more horizontal space and a minimum of 2 feet by 2 feet is sufficient for one hedgehog.

They fare well in a long, shallow aquarium that has a secure top in order to keep the hedgehog in.

Interaction with humans

Ferrets are professional escape artists and they can weasel their way out of almost anything and end up in dangerous situations.

Hedgehogs, on the other hand, are not as agile as ferrets but they too can escape rather quickly.

Ferrets have slim bodies and can easily get into small holes or spaces.

The small size of the hedgehog enables it to vanish in the blink of an eye.

Hedgehogs or ferrets love the company of humans but ferrets tend to enjoy doing activities such as going for walks.

Here are some reasons why ferrets make good pets

Ferrets are cute

With sweet faces and naughty eyes, these fuzzy creatures are undeniably adorable.

They are rather small in size and do not take up a lot of space.

They also have a rather long lifespan which is approximately 6 to 8 years.

Some ferrets are known to even live up to 12 years.

Male ferrets are slightly larger than female ferrets.

Male ferrets can grow up to 17 inches and weigh about 4 pounds.

The female ferrets usually grow to about 14 inches long and weight around 2 pounds on average.

Ferrets are very intelligent

Ferrets often amaze their owners at how adept they become in solving problems.

They are very persistent and will keep on working on something until they succeed.

They can easily open drawers, cupboards and sometimes even small doors.

They love puzzles and you should definitely provide them with puzzle-based toys.

Ferrets can be easily litter trained

Ferrets can be trained to use a litter box but not as efficiently like cats.

A cat will be fine with using one litter box but for ferrets, you need to put at least one litter box in every room they roam around in.

This helps you keep your house clean but beware there will sometimes be accidents.

Here are some things that you should know before buying a hedgehog:

They love playing I’m out of here

Hedgehogs have a defense mechanism in which they roll their bodies into a tight little ball when they are afraid or they feel threatened.

The splints of their bodies also protrude outwards in order to conceal their bodies and their limbs from predators.

It is very difficult to uncurl a hedgehog if it is curled up as they have very strong muscles on the back of their bodies.

You need to handle them very gently if you want them to uncurl.

Otherwise, you will most probably spend most of your time staring at a prickly ball in your lap.

Hedgehogs are prickly

The skin over the back of hedgehogs is covered with sharp spines just like porcupines.

The spines are there to protect the hedgehog from predators.

Fortunately, hedgehogs are the opposite of porcupines when it comes to shooting their quills out in defense.

If the hedgehog gets stuck in the mouth of a predator, it uses its spines to injure the mouth of the predator and keeps on doing that until it is released.

So it is very hard to handle a nervous hedgehog as it may prick your hand with its spines.

Try holding the hedgehog in a towel until it calms down.

They like the nightlife

Hedgehogs in the wild are more active at night as that is when the food is most available.

Domesticated hedgehogs are no different; they sleep in the day and then run all night long on the wheel.

If you are a rather light sleeper then a hedgehog is definitely not the right pet for you.

Hedgehogs bond with their owner

Hedgehogs are known to actually respond to the appearance the voice of their owner if they have spent a considerable amount of time interacting and also socializing with the hedgehog.

If an irritated or frightened hedgehog is curled up, it will only uncurl if it smells its owner’s scent or hear his or her voice.

Hedgehogs are very cute and loving pets, but they should be handled properly.

Hedgehogs that have been rarely handled in the past are somewhat jumpy, nervous and tightly balled up most of the time.

If you want to keep a hedgehog as a pet, then you need to understand that these cute little creatures need attention, love, and care, time in order to become social and thrive.

Related questions

Are hedgehogs noisy? Hedgehogs are mostly thought of as silent creatures. They actually vocalize via a variety of snorting, snuffling, grunts, and squeals. They vocalize at the time of exploring their environment. They hiss when they are nervous or feel threatened and they only scream when they are in pain. So no generally Hedgehogs are not noisy animals.

Do hedgehogs carry diseases? Hedgehogs carry some diseases that can be transmitted to humans such as Salmonella bacteria in their feces. The hedgehogs can also carry fungal spores on their skin that leads to ringworms in humans. So you should wash your hands after playing with your hedgehog.

Are hedgehogs intelligent? Hedgehogs are considered to have the same level of intelligence as a guinea pig. They do not actively seek out human interactions and do not typically come when they are called for. But they do learn certain behavior if provided with positive reinforcement.

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