According to the Red Book of the Russian Federation,1 this tiny hedgehog is considered protected, though their status is unknown. The IUCN declares that they are “least concerned.” They are primarily located in northern Mongolia and Transbaikal, a region in Russia.
Compared to some other hedgehog breeds, these are not regularly kept as pets. They mostly live in the wild, making their dens in forests and steppes. They usually seek out rocky areas, likely for use as cover against predators. They have more extensive home ranges than most other hedgehogs, which can cause problems when you keep them in captivity.
However, these hedgehogs are considered quite aesthetically pleasing, so they are commonly sought by exotic pet owners.
Quick Facts About the Daurian Hedgehog
|Species Name:||Daurian Hedgehog|
|Temperature:||75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Color Form:||Brown with a white underside|
|Lifespan:||About 6 years|
|Size:||6 to 8 inches|
|Minimum Cage Size:||2 feet by 4 feet|
|Tank Setup||Hiding places, exercise equipment|
Daurian Hedgehog Overview
The Daurian Hedgehog is not a common pet hedgehog species. Their population took a dive in their natural habitats after the introduction of pesticides, so there were not many hedgehogs available for a long time.
However, over time, their population made a comeback. Today, you can find some for sale as pets.
Since they are a small breed, they are often easy to keep as pets. However, they also have a higher exercise need than most other hedgehogs. Many experts will tell you that they need a large cage despite their size, as they are used to keeping extensive ranges in the wild.
Still, they are easy to handle.
Beyond these facts, they are generally quite similar to most other hedgehogs out there, and their housing and dietary needs are similar. Therefore, if you have kept other hedgehogs, you should have no problem keeping this species.
That said, hedgehogs are accessible exotic pets to keep in general. So, even if you haven’t kept an exotic pet before, this species may be a good option for you. They do need specialized care, but they are somewhat forgiving of mistakes.
How Much Do Daurian Hedgehogs Cost?
Since these hedgehogs are a bit rare, they can cost as much as $300. Compared to most other hedgehog species, this is a bit expensive. The African pygmy hedgehog usually costs around $200, though $300 isn’t unheard of for more “desirable” color variations.
Prices can vary based on your location. Since these hedgehogs are rarer than some other breeds, they can be challenging to find in certain areas. If the supply is low and the demand high, the price may also be high.
More specialized, experienced breeders often charge more. However, these breeders also produce high-quality, healthy animals, so the extra price is often worth it.
Typical Behavior and Temperament
Hedgehogs are solitary creatures, so they don’t tend to bond or socialize with their owners. This can be helpful if you have a busy life, though, since these animals do not require much interaction. As long as you have time to meet their other needs, you don’t have to worry about setting extra time aside to cuddle.
These animals take a while to be tamed and to get used to people. They require plenty of gentle handling and care before accepting human interaction. However, they are not prone to biting because their primary defensive instinct is to use their spines.
Appearance & Varieties
Like many hedgehogs, this hedgehog has a body made up of spines. However, their stomach and face are free of these spines, so they curl up in a ball to protect themselves completely. They are primarily a brown color, similar to other species, and their stomach is white, which isn’t so common. This color difference is why they are considered more aesthetically pleasing than most other hedgehogs out there.
The Daurian hedgehog is about 6 to 8 inches in length, and there is no difference in size between the sexes. Generally, these hedgehogs are considered relatively small.
How to Take Care of a Daurian Hedgehog
Daurian Hedgehogs are active, so they need a great deal of exercise. In the wild, they would travel a long way each day to hunt for food. For this reason, you must provide them with an exercise ball to run in or something similar. Otherwise, they may become prone to obesity, a serious health problem that can make them more prone to other health conditions.
You should choose an exercise ball that is made of a solid surface. Bars are known to cause injuries in hedgehogs (and other animals). Be sure to choose a ball that gives your hedgehog plenty of room. Otherwise, they may not use it as much as they need to.
Daurian hedgehogs do not need much grooming because they typically keep themselves clean. In the wild, their nails would wear down due to them traveling great distances every day, but they aren’t doing this in captivity, so regular trimming is often necessary.
Habitat, Cage Conditions & Setup
Like most hedgehogs, the Daurian hedgehog is a solitary animal. Therefore, you should keep them in a cage by themselves. If they are housed with other hedgehogs, they may fight.
Your cage will need to be quite large despite this hedgehog’s small size. A 2-feet by 4-feet enclosure is the bare minimum. Larger is always better with this species and is more likely to exercise them properly.
The type of container does matter. A tank is ideal because the walls and floor are solid and smooth. Their habitat should not be made of bars because these can potentially harm these tiny creatures. Wire floors can also hurt their feet and cause sores, which can get infected and develop into a severe problem.
Use tight-fitting mesh as the lid. You want to maximize airflow while ensuring that the hedgehog can’t get out (and nothing else can get in).
You should place your new hedgehog in a quiet and warm place. Put the cage away from drafts, as these can potentially make the hedgehog get too cold. Be sure to include a hiding box of some sort where the hedgehog can go if they need to hide. As these are shy creatures, having nowhere to hide can cause them extreme stress.
Recycled paper is the most commonly used bedding because it is inexpensive, safe, and easy to clean. You can also use aspen shavings. However, avoid cedar and pine shavings. The oils that cause these woods to smell strong can be toxic to small animals in large amounts.
Do Daurian Hedgehogs Get Along With Other Pets?
Usually, these hedgehogs can co-exist in a multi-pet household just fine. However, they are generally too shy to get along with other pets. If they spot an animal like a dog or a cat, their first instinct will be to hide. If they can’t do that, they will use their spines.
Don’t expect these animals to be “friends” with any other animal, as it simply isn’t in their nature.
You should not house your hedgehog with other animals. They are territorial in some cases and always solitary, and they do not need a “friend.” Instead, they do much better when kept by themselves.
If possible, you should place their cage in a place that other animals do not frequent. While a large container will keep cats and dogs away from them, the presence of these animals can stress out your hedgehog. While they may get used to other animals with time, the stress can still cause them significant health challenges.
What to Feed Your Daurian Hedgehog
This species has a somewhat similar diet as most other hedgehogs. They are primarily carnivores, with their main source of calories being insects. For this reason, their diet is relatively high in protein.
In the wild, this species would eat a wide variety of different insects, which would help ensure that they consume a well-rounded diet. However, in captivity, this is hard to mirror. For this reason, the best diet that you can often provide them is one made up of mostly cat food.
Cats are obligate carnivores, just like the Daurian Hedgehog, so cat food has ingredients that hedgehogs would naturally eat. Plus, it is easily accessible and not too expensive.
You can supplement this diet with mealworms, crickets, and other high-protein insects. Your hedgehog will likely love these, though they can’t thrive on a diet only containing these insects. There isn’t be enough variety.
In some areas, you may be able to locate specially-made hedgehog food. This is likely better for your pet than cat food. However, it can be expensive.
Keeping Your Daurian Hedgehog Healthy
Generally, these hedgehogs are healthy. However, they are prone to various conditions that mostly come with improper care. They are not domesticated, so they aren’t completely adapted to living in captivity.
For instance, they are prone to obesity, which can lead to a range of other problems. Mange can also occur if they are not kept in a clean cage. Heart disease is somewhat common, though it is mainly linked to obesity.
Generally, these hedgehogs will start looking for a mate after they come out of hibernation. Males will attempt to breed with whatever females they find, as these animals do not bond upon mating.
Females will give birth to about three to seven babies, which she will nurse until they can find food for themselves.
Beyond that, not much is documented about their natural breeding habits. These hedgehogs are not well-studied.
Are Daurian Hedgehogs Suitable for You?
Owning one of these pets is not something that you should take lightly. They may not need much attention, but they do require a special diet, and their cage will need to be cleaned regularly. This can take at least a few hours a week.
These hedgehogs are best for those who don’t plan on spending much time with their pet. While they can be tamed, they do not naturally bond with people. They are not family-oriented, so the hormones needed for bonding aren’t produced.
Furthermore, be sure that you can handle feeding them insects. While their main diet will be a different commercial food, insects provide variety, nutrition, and entertainment.
You should also ensure that a veterinarian near you will treat a hedgehog. These are considered exotic animals, and many vets do not have experience with them. It is only ethical to ensure that you can treat your hedgehog in case of illness before adopting one.