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Seeking information on hedgehogs and gerbils...

January 3rd, 2005, 05:11 PM
Hello! An acquaintence of mine had a hedgehog once as a pet and I'm curious to know if anyone has any information about these little critters.

Has anyone had one for themselves? What are they like? What about gerbils? How are they as pets?


Lucky Rescue
January 3rd, 2005, 06:34 PM
How are they as pets?

Depends on what you're looking for!

Hedgehogs are cute and endearing, but are nocturnal and shy (and prickly!!), but most gerbils can be hand tamed but prefer to be active rather than held. A big advantage is that gerbils are desert animals, so are very efficient with food and water, thus do not make much of a mess or smell when properly maintained.

If you want a pet just to watch, then gerbils in a large aquarium would be quite entertaining to watch as they dig in the sand, investigate things and romp around. Gerbils are very social and become stressed and nervous if kept alone, so more than one should be kept together. Two littermates is a good choice.

If you want a small animal or rodent who will enjoy your attentions and affection and can be cuddly lap pets, I suggest rats. :D

January 3rd, 2005, 07:20 PM
I have had two rats (an ex-boyfriend's son brought them home & I ended up with them) and a gerbil (a Christmas present.) I knew someone who - of all things - routinely pet-sat a hedgehog. I felt really sorry for the hedgehog. They are nocturnal - mostly the poor little creature hid in its bedding and hissed when messed with.

Having lived in places where these animals ran wild, I must say I prefer to see them uncaged. I do not really approve of wild animals being kept for human amusement just because they are cute, or can be trained to adapt. I think it's cruel. FWIW, I feel the same way about most captive birds.

As to my experience with the above...I found them all to be rather boring, as pets go. I really didn't have a whole lot of interest in working hard to train them to be friendly or cute or adorable or affectionate, or whatever. Yes, I did do that, and felt kinda silly about it. The rats were quite affectionate.

If you get rats, expect to pay for the really good chlorophyll cage litter. Otherwise they reek to high heaven.

January 3rd, 2005, 08:34 PM
Hmm these are interesting points. We've been wanting and planning for a dog for quite sometime now--but since we've never had any pets before we thought getting a smaller animal would be a good stepping stone to teach us more about the care animals require. Of course while we were out looking around all I could focus on was the adorable mini dachshund wondering around with its owner... :confused:

We're young so we have lots of time to make these decisions--though every day we prolong it seems like another day missed to spend with a new furbaby!

January 3rd, 2005, 08:41 PM
Trust me, training a gerbil won't even come close to preparing you for training a teenage dog, or dealing with a kitten! That's sort of like saying you'll get a cat, to prepare you for having a human baby.
Since you've done your research....figure out what pet best fits your lifestyle, go to the shelter or what have you, and jump right in. :crazy:

Personally, I wouldn't even know how to manage a house without at least one other species. Right now I'm "down" to one kitten and two Rottweilers. This is the easy life. :)

Lucky Rescue
January 3rd, 2005, 09:40 PM
Having cage pets doesn't prepare you for having a dog! I never had to go out into the freezing night and stand around with a rat who had the runs! :p

January 4th, 2005, 07:03 AM
heheh! Very good points! I'd never thought of getting a caged animal until this week either. I saw the cute pictures of the ginnea pigs in the pictures thread and I think that's what got me thinking! Ah's better to ask questions and entertain all the options before diving in!

Thanks everyone!