Whether they live in a spacious tank or outside near the hedges of an English garden, hedgehogs prefer the solitary life. If you’re thinking of buying two hedgehogs, try to keep them in separate cages. They are happier alone and do not need a companion to fulfill their emotional needs.
Why Are Hedgehogs Solitary?
Except for mating season, the animals would rather spend every moment of their lives away from their own kind. As mothers and fathers, hedgehogs would appear near the bottom of the animal kingdom for parenting skills. After the male performs his act, he takes off and abandons the family. He doesn’t stay to protect the hoglets from predators or gather food for his mate; he strikes out alone and hopes to mate with a different female in the future.
Female hedgehogs are slightly better at childcare than males, and they feed the babies and show them how to collect food. However, around 6 weeks after birth, the mother and her babies will go their separate ways. While her offspring are young, the mother will defend the nest from predators, but sometimes, the hoglets are in more danger from their mother than predators.
If the mother has few viable food options or feels anxiety from an uncomfortable environment, she may eat some of her babies. Cannibalism is not an uncommon occurrence in the wild or a breeding facility, but strangely enough, scientists have witnessed a hedgehog mother caring for a hoglet from another litter. If the abandoned hedgehog is a similar age and does not have an offensive scent, the mother will feed and raise the hoglet like one of her babies.
The Ideal Home for Two Pet Hedgehogs
Taking the hedgehog’s poor parenting skills and love of solitude into consideration, you should avoid housing two pets in the same enclosure. After becoming adults, hedgehogs are not friendly to their siblings or parents. Placing two unrelated animals in the cage is just as dangerous as putting adult siblings together. Male hedgehogs are incredibly violent towards one another, and they will fight to the death to establish dominance. If a male is placed in a cage with infants, he’s not likely to enjoy their presence and may decide to eat them for nourishment.
Although some hedgehog owners have housed two females together without incidents, there’s no guarantee you’ll experience the same situation with your pets. Keeping two females together may be the safest option, but it’s still a risky environment that can lead to injuries or death. Companionship is against their nature, and even in the wild, they hunt and sleep alone. Mating is the only reason that hedgehogs look for company. If you have a male and female, they should be kept in separate tanks. When breeders place males and females together for mating, they often remove the male shortly after conception to protect the mother.
Buying two tanks and twice the amount of food and supplies can be expensive, but using a single tank when you try to fit two exercise wheels, separate food and water dishes, and litter material can be challenging. Each hedgehog needs a tank that is at least 4 feet long and two feet wide. However, a larger tank is even better.
Two Separate Play Areas Are Better Than One
An exercise wheel can reduce your hedgehog’s chances of becoming obese, but the little creature needs to run around away from his habitat to stay happy and comfortable. Hedgehogs are always on the move at night in their natural environments, and they’re accustomed to traveling long distances to find food and water. Letting your pet run around for at least an hour every night can keep it fit, but it’s more complicated with two hedgehogs.
Hedgehogs need to be supervised when they roam around, but you may find it difficult to keep two animals in the same room without conflicts. They may not be as aggressive when they have the freedom of a larger space compared to a small cage, but two hedgehogs, regardless of sex, will still fight each other if they cross paths.
Your Sleep Schedule Matters
If you go to bed early, hedgehogs may not be the ideal pets for your schedule. They’re active at night, and you cannot play with them during the day unless you want an angry reception. With two hedgehogs, you’ll have to schedule separate playtimes in the room or have a family member play with one in another room. You can use dog or child gates to keep your hedgehog from escaping into the house, but you should keep them in your line of sight during the entire session. Hedgehogs like to burrow and hide in a natural setting, and in your home, they can find a cramped hiding place if you leave the room.
Hedgehogs are curious creatures that are entertaining to watch when they’re active at night. Although keeping two hedgehogs together seems like it would double the fun and provide companionship, hedgehogs are much happier alone. You’ll never have to worry about a hedgehog getting lonely, but if you introduce it to a new friend, the results could be disastrous. It’s possible that two females could live without incidents, but the risk of injury or death of one or more of the hedgehogs is an unnecessary risk. If you buy two hedgehogs, they’ll be happier and safer in separate cages.
- You may also want to know: Do Hedgehogs Live Alone or In Groups? What You Need to Know!
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