Monthly Archive for March, 2013

Henry the Easter Egg

Yes, we HAD to do this today.

Gives a whole new meaning to “asleep at the wheel.”

He’ll get back to exercising right after this quick nap. We’ve all been there, Henry. Trust me.

Lord Henry Quillington Rasmussen’s Abode

Another question we’ve been getting about our new baby Hedgehog, Henry, is where does he live?

Here are some photos to answer that question:

Here is Henry’s Cage.

We went with a Living World cage because it came in a huge size, had a plastic bottom, AND a wire enclosure. Hedgehogs don’t need much space, but the more you can give them the better. We have the space to spare, so we splurged on a large cage.  (The red shelving unit is from IKEA.)

Here, you see his igloo, water & food bowls, and his wheel. (We’re trying to see if he’ll drink from a bottle on the side, so you see that, too.) There is a sliding door on the side, and the top opens completely. It’s split so that you can open either side, or both at the same time.

Repurposed Kiddy Latch

Daddy screwed these repurposed kiddy latches to the wall so that we can click the lid up. Genius!

Henry was sleeping in his igloo when I took these photos. This is what it looks like inside.

We opted to use fleece “bedding” for his cage. I just measured and cut a piece of anti-pill fleece and folded it over to cover the bottom of his cage. I then cut smaller pieces for him to burrow into, as you can see in the above photo.  I cut two smaller squares to use for him to burrow into and for us to pick him up.  Guests also like holding him in the fleece squares.

I have an extra bag of cut pieces and an extra fleece handy for when I clean the cage. We spot clean daily. Once a week or so, I switch out the fleece and just toss it in the wash. I found lingerie bags at the dollar store and just store and wash the cut pieces that way. Works like a charm!

Henry’s Heater

Hedgehogs need to be kept in an environment that is between 72 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. This is best accomplished with a space heater of some kind if you don’t keep your house that warm (and we don’t). We opted for the one in the photo above. It’s safe to use with animals, silent, and does not emit any light (and is usually used with baby chicks). It’s very low wattage, so it won’t be too noticeable on our electric bill. We purchased a thermostat control that will turn the unit off and on, keeping the cage at the optimum temperature.

What’s really hard to see in these photos is how big the cage really is.

This should give you an idea:

This baby hedgehog was much bigger than I anticipated.

We take Quality Testing around here seriously!

So, why did you get a hedgehog?

So, why did you get a hedgehog?

That, my friends, is the Number One Question asked by the people who realize we’ve adopted a hedgehog. (And if you’re anywhere near the Internet, you’ve realized by now that we’ve adopted a baby hedgehog.)

The Number Two Question asked by people (okay, mainly by Claire):
Is that poop or his tail?
(It’s usually his tail)
Get it? The Number Two question?

Ha! I couldn’t resist.
But, I digress…

Why did we get a hedgehog? Well, here’s the story:

A few months ago, I decided that Claire is old enough to care for a pet. My husband politely reminded me that we already HAVE TWO pets (Merlin and Jasper), and that Claire HAS been caring for them. (Part of her chores is that she feeds them and checks the water.)

I told him that Merlin and Jasper don’t count as pets. I mean, not really. They’re almost 12! They were here first! They’re more like big brothers to Claire than pets.

He scoffed and muttered something about not wanting to add any more creatures to this house that poop, and that he’d like (another) robot. They don’t poop.

I let this discussion go. For the time being.  I planned on revisiting it when he’d stopped muttering about poop.

Then, a few weeks later, while looking for something completely different, he stumbled upon a video on youtube of a hedgehog playing with a kitten. As he and Claire were oooohing and aaaahing over the video, they showed it to me.

Then it hit me:
“What about a hedgehog?” I asked suddenly.

“No, no, no, no!” he said. Apparently, that wasn’t the point of showing me that video. Well, the seed was planted, and I may or may not have watched another 14, 237 videos of hedgehogs doing various things.

I talked to him about it again. He could tell that our hedgehog-less days were dwindling.

“Fine. Research it!” he said.

I love research, so that’s what I did.

He’d rattled off some things to check on, just sure that one of them would thwart me. (He swears that wasn’t his intention, but that’s easy for him to say now that he, too, has fallen in love with Henry.)

“How easy are they to care for?” he asked.

“Do they smell?” When I responded that they DID have noses, he altered his question to mean, “Do they stink?”

“What do they eat? By the way, I had a lizard back in the day, and I refuse to bring live crickets into the house,” he muttered.

“We don’t believe in buying pets from pet stores, so where would you get a hedgehog?”

Those were just the initial questions to research, and I agreed they were valid.

According to everything I read online (and I believe everything I read online), hedgehogs were very easy to care for. I have a friend back in Iowa who nearly moonlighted as a recreational zoologist, and sure enough, she’d had a hedgehog in the past, and she confirmed that. She also confirmed that they do not have an odor, and that if you keep the cage clean, it isn’t an issue.

Okay, Research Items 1 and 2 were checked off.

What do hedgehogs eat? By nature, they are insectivores, and I was leery. He’d already nixed the idea of live crickets. Amazingly, I found out that domesticated hedgehogs eat…

Are you ready for this?
It’s really complicated.

…CAT FOOD. I KNOW. If only we knew were to get THAT. *cough*

With Research Item 3 figured out, I moved on. Surely there would be something that would stand in the way of adopting a new friend.

I started researching where to adopt a baby hedgehog. (They are, in fact, legal to own in Colorado. Some states have strict laws or forbid them, but not Colorado.  We live in the Wild, Wild West.) One of the breeders’ websites I found mentioned that having them “live shipped” was really expensive, unless you could pick them up in…

Are you ready for this?

…OUR SUBURB.

Yes, there is a breeder within a two mile radius of our house. Unbelievable! (And, they could recommend a good vet for a hedgehog, which was a question I had of my own. Turns out, the animal hospital we use for Merlin and Jasper has a vet on staff that sees hedgehogs!)

Things were falling into place!

Then, he played his trump card. “Fine. Before you make a decision, I really think you should hold a hedgehog.”

On one hand, I agreed with him. I mean, they’re spiny! What if that’s too freaky? What if this won’t work out in reality?  Pictures are one thing, but what about real life?  Hedgehogs have SEVEN THOUSAND spines, and I love, love, love cacti, but I don’t carry them around with me.  (I do talk to them, though, so there is that.)

On the other hand, I’m not squeamish. I think I could do this! Where on earth would I find a hedgehog to hold??

One thing led to another, and I discovered that the science teacher at Claire’s school HAS a hedgehog, and was more than happy to set up a playdate for us after school in the Science Room. (On Valentine’s Day, no less!)

Needless to say, we got home from that excursion and put a down-payment on a baby hedgehog. We were hooked.

I’m working on another post with OTHER questions about Hedgehogs. Stay tuned!

I knew this was a possible side-effect.

I can’t stop taking photos of Lord Henry Quillington Rasmussen. I’m powerless against his charms.

JoAnn & Henry

Henry is peeking through my fingers. (Photo by Claire)

Baby Hedgehog Perspective

So, how big is Henry?

Officially, he weighed 4 ounces when we brought him home from the breeder on Saturday. (As a full-size African Pygmy Hedgehog, he probably won’t be much larger than a pound.  Both is parents (Brock and Lia) were on the smaller side.)

We know he fits in the palm of our hands, AND in a measuring cup.

He’s too small to have a cell phone.

Here is Claire’s hand and a US Quarter for perspective. (Henry is turned away, and that’s his ear you see. Of course, you can see his tiny feet, too.)

In other words, he’s tiny!

…but what he lacks in stature he more than makes up for in personality.  😉

Henry’s First Swim!

He loves it!

Good Morning, Henry! Time for bed.

“Hey, guys! You’re finally up! Slackers,” says Lord Henry Quillington Rasmussen, the Nighttime Party Animal, as he’s getting ready for bed. (Claire is holding him in this pic.)

Hedgehog Recipes

1 Cup of Henry

Some people start their day with a cup o’ Joe. We started ours with a cup o’ Henry.

Anyone know any good recipes?

😉