Pixie's Exotic Hedgies

Breeder of African Pygmy Hedgehogs

TAKING A BREAK....

January 2015:

  • Due to family and personal reasons, we are currently taking a break from breeding and rescuing. 
  • At this time we do NOT have any available hedgehogs for sale or adoption.
  • I'll keep my website online, since it's informative to anyone thinking of getting a hedgie & new hedgie owners.
  • I hope to start my breeding/rescue program again in the future; as it is something I really enjoyed doing.
  • Good luck with your search for your new hedgehog, and best wishes to all the hedgies with new forever homes!!

For the LOVE of Hedgehogs!

Breeding hedgies for loveable personalties and a variety of color choices.

We also rescue neglected hedgehogs and hand tame them for rehoming.

eMail Us! 

Located in NORTH CAROLINA

SE Creedmoor, in Granville County

Deposit policy:  http://pixiesexotichedgies.webs.com/policy.htm

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Personality and Health

Our number one priority!

Personality:  All of our babies are handled starting at 1 week old (or as early as the mother will allow it).  Every hedgehog I've sold has been extremely friendly and hand-tamed by 6 weeks of age.  None of our hedgies roll up in a ball, at the time they are sold.  If I have a shy hedgie, I will work extra hard to calm it down before selling it.  I am a small breeder and a stay home mom, so I have plenty of time to socialize our hedgies.  Our breeding herd are not just breeders, they are also OUR PETS.  My hedgies are never held with gloves, and we always handle them with our bare hands.  Our hedgies are handled by everyone in the family and are also exposed to other animals in our household.  I receive compliments from buyers, that they have never seen a hedgehog so tame.  I am very picky about my breeders and never purchase a grumpy or shy hedgehog for my herd.  I'm sure you will be very happy with any hedgie you purchase from us!

"Skittles"

11 days (sold)

 

Health:  To insure you are purchasing a healthy hedgehog, we pick our breeding herd very carefully.  Our breeders are registered with the Internation Hedgehog Association and each breeder has its own pedigree. We never inbreed, and screen carefully for WHS.

Why are HEDGEHOGS so expensive?

Prices for each Hedgie is determined by it's own pedigree lineage, whether or not it is pet quality or breeder quality, whether it is a male or female, their color pattern and each individuals personality.

Theoretically, a mother hedgehog can have 8 babies per year, pretty easily.  Realistically, hedgehog breeding is not that reliable.  First of all, not every meeting between a male and a female results in conception.  Depending on time of year, weather cycles, and other unknown factors, the rate runs somewhere around 50% of breedings resulting in a pregnancy. 

Since it is very difficult to know if a hedgehog is pregnant or not, you will have to wait until there is no chance of delivery from a breeding, before you can try again.  A failed breeding may lose you as much as 2 months (50 days of possible pregnancy, from the very last day the pair had the opportunity to breed). 

So if a breeder is gets lucky, the female hedgehog IS pregnant. But, just because she delivers, does not mean that you will have successful babies.  One breeder compiled results over a period of time, and found that approximately 1/3 of the babies do not make it to weaning age.  This gives you a very small quantity of babies, from a single female in a years time.

Why buy from a BREEDER?

With all the hedgehogs that are available in pet stores, you might be wondering why you should take the extra time to contact a breeder and go out of your way to get a hedgehog. After all, the pet store is only a few blocks away and they are having a sale! Below are a few points we would like to make about the average pet store hedgehog. While you might be lucky enough to find one that is both friendly and healthy, do you really want to take that risk?

  • A hedgehog from a breeder is socialized and used to people. While the personality of any individual hedgehog cannot be guaranteed (some are runners, explores, cuddlers, etc.), a hedgehog from a breeder is typically much friendlier then one you would find at a pet store. Temperament is the highest concern when matching breeding pairs, and babies are held from an early age to ensure they are friendly and used to people.
  • Hedgehogs from a breeder are weaned at no earlier then 6 weeks of age. A responsible breeder will watch the babies to be sure that they are eating kibble and drinking from a water bottle. This ensures that your baby has received adequate nutrition from his/her mother and makes for a much healthier hedgehog in the long run. Many of the hedgehogs you find in pet stores are taken from their mom by 3 weeks and are already at pet stores by 4 weeks of age. Due to lack of nutrition and stunted development, many of these babies get sick and end up at the vet before they are 6 weeks old. Unfortunately the damage done by weaning a baby to early is nearly impossibly to undo, and if they survive, many of these hedgehogs end up with severe long term problems.
  • Hedgehogs from a responsible breeder are kept in clean cages and in good conditions. Many pet stores keep their hedgehogs in overcrowded 10g aquariums with substandard conditions. These hedgehogs are either poked and yelled at all day by excited visitors, or completely ignored because store employees are afraid of them. The hedgehogs are typically not given a hideout so that they will be visible to potential buyers, and they do not receive any toys to occupy them. In a truly bad situation, they may live on dirty shavings, eat dirty food, or drink from water bottles sprouting mold. They learn to fear the loud voices and screaming children who poke at them, and even with proper care, they may never become trusting and friendly hedgehogs. Often male and female hedgehogs are kept in the same cage, and buyers could unknowingly end up with an underage pregnant female.
  • A responsible breeder will keep their babies in an adequately sized cage so that they have room to roam and play. They have tubes and toys to play with and a hideout to retreat to when they need to rest. Bedding, food, and water is changed on a regular basis to keep the cage free of poop, mildew, mold, and germs. Males are separated from females by 6 weeks of age to ensure that buyers do not get an unwelcome surprise (pregnancy in an immature female could result in stunted growth, stillborn or cannibalized babies, or death of the mother due to birthing complications). A typical baby from a breeder will learn that people are friendly, and they will often occasionally seek out human interaction.
  • A breeder will carefully plan their breedings and not ever allow their animals to free breed. Unfortunately, we've heard horror stories about some pet stores and hedgehog mills who put all of their hedgehogs in a big tub and allow them to randomly breed with the mate of their choosing. This can potentially lead to multiple generations of inbreeding as well as long term health problems.
  • A responsible breeder will plan their breeding very carefully and consult with fellow breeders when matching their pairs. They keep detailed pedigrees on site, and most parents are available for prospective buyers to meet. Upon purchase, they will provide you with your hedgehog's parents' names and his/her date of birth.
  • Post-sale support:  Always available to help you and your hedgehog while s/he adjusts to his/her new home. A responsible breeder will explain what to expect when your hedgehog goes through quilling (adult quills coming in) and how you should properly address other care issues. You will receive care sheets, a starter supply of food, and more knowledge and support then you would if you bought your hedgehog from some stranger at a pet store.

Introduction to Hedgehogs

Discovery Channel, Pets 101, Hedgehogs -- CLICK HERE

It has been said that no other exotic animal has caught the attention of the public quite like hedgehogs have. Their spines, friendly and curious nature, as well as that ever-smiling expression have endeared them to millions of confessed hedgehog lovers around the globe.

Those in Britain, Europe and parts of Africa have long known about the hedgehogs’ charm. British author and illustrator, Beatrix Potter, although most famous for her story of Peter Rabbit, also wrote the wonderful tale of a hedgehog named "Mrs. Tiggy-winkle", a matronly washer-woman. A British wildlife hospital dedicated to rescuing sick and injured hedgehogs is even named after this delightful character.

The interest in hedgehogs doesn't end there, though. Until recently, these remarkable little animals were virtually unknown in North America.  But now, thanks to the pioneering efforts of breeders, the African Pygmy Hedgehog is now readily available and can be found in the homes of thousands of happy pet owners. But why, you may ask, is their such an interest in hedgehogs as pets? 

Besides having a peaceful and humorous nature, hedgehogs readily lend themselves to just about anyone's lifestyle and schedule. Being somewhat nocturnal much like house cats, nearly everyone can find a time of day in which to enjoy them. 

Unlike hamsters, Guinea Pigs and other small rodents, hedgehogs do not give off any appreciable odor and most are easily litter trained. They live much longer than rodents, too. With the proper care and diet, your pet can live to be 4 - 7 years old.  Add to all of this the fact that they require no immunization shots and are very disease resistant and you can see why so many people consider hedgehogs to be the perfect pet.

They have adorable little raccoon-like faces, set with beady little black eyes and small pointy noses that seem to twitch constantly, checking out the different odors of the room. Depending on the color variation that you choose, their little white faces may or may not have a mask. Although not related to the porcupine, they are sometimes mistaken for them because of the quills that cover their backs. The similarity ends there, however, since these quills are not barbed or nearly as sharp and remain attached to their bodies. Their little white tummies, on the other hand, are extremely soft and are covered with short, white hair. When frightened, they can roll up into a tight ball and look very much like a sea urchin. They have a short, stubby tail, but this is rarely seen since they keep it tucked up close their bodies. With their tiny little legs and round bodies, it is a real sight to see them scurry across the floor.

Unlike their much larger English cousins, the African Pygmy Hedgehog is rather small in size, with the average adult weighing between ½ and 1 ¼ pounds and are 5 to 8 inches long - about the size of a Guinea Pig. There are a few rare adults that will grow to as much as 1 ¾ to 2 pounds (without being fat) while others are as little as 6 or 7 ounces. Breeders are now concentrating on these differences so that someday, we will have a choice between two different sizes of hedgehogs.

They have a quiet, gentle, disposition that makes them a true delight to own and hold. Each has a distinct personality and will bond to it's owner for life. (We are assuming you purchased a socialized pet).  They are surprisingly intelligent, fun to play with and are easily entertained. They love to play with tunnels, mazes and specially designed hedgehog wheels. Even something as simple as a toilet paper tube will make a good toy as they love to stick their heads in them and run about the floor. Despite their somewhat solitary nature, they can become very affectionate with their owners and will even enjoying watching TV with you or just snuggling in your lap.

Because they are quiet, they are very easy to travel with. Most people aren’t even aware that a hedgehog is nearby. Many hotels that restrict other animals such as cats and dogs will allow hedgehogs.  Because they are not a rodent, they have no body odor, but it is still important to clean the litter box daily to eliminate all smells. Some people are not comfortable with a loose pet, so a cage with a minimum floor area of 24" x  36” will keep it happy and secure.

Hedgehogs truly are a low maintenance pet. Your pet should be kept indoors at normal room temperature (65 to 80oF); it can be fed a good quality dry cat food or a specially formulated hedgehog food; they don't bark, although when happy, some will emit a quiet purr; they do not climb curtains or chew on furniture; and, they do not ask to be taken out for a walk. All that your pet asks for is to be fed and watered, loved and appreciated.
Besides simply being enjoyed as pets, there is also an active hobby.

Thanks to the efforts of the hard-working folks at the International Hedgehog Association, (IHA) there is now a working show system and standard of perfection for African Pygmy Hedgehogs.  Breeders and pet owners alike can now show there pets in friendly competition.  As well, many breeders are involved in the fascinating and challenging world of color breeding.  Many beautiful new colors have already been produced and many breeders are hard at work to produce even more. This adds a whole new dimension to owning hedgehogs and even those with only one or two animals are also actively involved.

  

Is a HEDGEHOG for me?

Hedgehogs are considered EXOTIC Animals!  

It is important to do lots of research BEFORE you purchase a hedgehog!

What is a Hedgehog?  Hedgehogs are a small, insectivorous (insect eating) mammal that can be found throughout the world. They are native to England, Europe, Africa and Asia. The hedgehog that is now kept as a pet in North America, is the Pygmy Hedgehog from Central Africa.

Since there are no native species of hedgehog in either Canada or the United States, many people still mistake the domestic hedgehog for a porcupine - which is an entirely different and unrelated animal. While porcupine quills are extremely sharp, barbed and very dangerous, the hedgehog quills are smooth and not nearly as sharp.  Petting a friendly hedgehog can be compared to petting a hairbrush (bristly, not prickly).

The average African Pygmy Hedgehog weighs about  ½ to 1 ¼ pounds and is 5 to 8 inches long - about the size of a Guinea Pig. There are some that will grow to as much as 1 ¾ to 2 pounds (without being fat), while others are as little as 6 or 7 ounces. Your pet should be kept indoors at normal room temperature (70 to 80*F). 

Hedgehogs are basically nocturnal.  If you go to bed relatively early, and are rushed in the mornings, it is very likely that you won't be awake during the times that hedgehogs are most active.  This can be a problem in two different ways.  First, when you are ready to play, your hedgehog is most likely going to be wanting to sleep, which could make them rather crabby at you for disturbing them.  Also, since they are awake while you are asleep, if you keep the hedgehog near your sleeping area, then you may have a hard time sleeping through the night-time activities of your hedgehog wheeling, running, crunching food, banging water bottles, and just generally shuffling around.

Hedgehogs have special medical needs.  Hedgie medical issues aren't HORRIBLY different than most other mammals.  However, the methods needed to examine them ARE different, which makes many vets unwilling to treat them, or uncertain on the proper care.  Therefore, most Veterinians don't treat hedgies!  Be sure to ask your own Vet if they are knowledgeable about hedgehog health care, and if they capable of treating a hedghog in an emergency situation.  If not, then it is important to locate an EXOTIC ANIMALS vet immediately, and write their contact information in your address book.  Don't wait until an emergency arises!  You don't want to be trying to locate an Exotic Animal Vet while you are in a panic, because something is wrong with your hedgie. 

Hedgehogs are very scent oriented.  If you frequently use scented lotions, perfumes, scented soaps, or other products on your skin, it COULD set you up to be frequently nipped.  Hedgehogs rely on their noses to tell them what is food, what is danger, and what is normal.  If a hedgehog feels that you smell like food or something harmlessly interesting, then you may get licked, lightly nipped, and annointed with (which will create one messy hedgehog).  If you smell like something that your hedgehog associates with danger, your hedgehog may either be less likely to interact with you, or MAY cause your hedgehog to fear bite.  A fear bite usually is a tight clamping of the jaws, often holding on and rolling around your fingers, which can be VERY painful.  Another very frequent problem causing scent is tobacco smoke.  It is very common for breeders to get contacted by people wanting to get rid of their hedgehogs because they bite.  However, hedgehogs typically stop their biting when being in an environment without smoking, and handled by people who do not have the scent of smoke on their skin.

Hedgehogs are not dogs or cats.  Sounds obvious, doesn't it? However, many people purchase hedgehogs expecting them to behave like dogs or cats do.  Do not expect your hedgehog to come when called, learn tricks (at least not ones that you WANT them to learn), play fetch, greet you at the door (or front of the cage) when you approach, or to litter box train easily.  While there are SOME hedgehogs will do some of these behaviors, it is certainly not something to be expected.

Hedgehogs may escape from their cage.  Not all will, but many hedgehogs escape from their cages at least once, no matter how secure you think they are.  In some cases, a hedgehog will make an obviously enjoyed (on their part) game of escaping from their cage no matter WHAT you do to attempt to secure the cage.  If your hedgehog does escape, you must carefully search your house to find it, because hedgehogs who will come and find you when they escape are VERY rare.

Hedgehogs like bugs.  While they are not a MUST have, insects are a important part of a hedgehog's diet.  Hedgies love to eat LIVE bugs such as mealworms, superworms, crickets, etc. which are bred yourself or purchased from your local pet store -- never feed bugs that you find outside!  And, if you can't stomach the thought of feeding live bugs, then simply purchase either canned or freeze dried bugs from your local pet store.. 

Some websites may tell you not to feed Superworms because they will bite your hedgies.  I have hand raised many Superworms colonies, and while they might bite.....it does not hurt nor can they break the skin. My personal experience is to say that it would be a very rare occasion to get bitten by a Superworm.  In all the colonies we've raised at PEH, no one has every been bitten!  The best way to feed a Superworm is BUTT first.  This way the hedgie has killed the worm by the time its head gets to the headgehogs mouth.  Or you may prefer to cut off the tip of the head. From my experience, the hedgie will swipe it out of your hand and gobble it down, before the worm has the chance to bite.  Hedgehogs eat a variety of insects and other animals in the wild.  If given the chance (in the wild), they are known to eat small fish and small snakes.  Mealworms are another alternative to the Superworm.  They are smaller, and do not bite.  You can also raise a colony of mealworms at home.  If you are interested in raising a colony of Superworms or Mealworms, just do a GOOGLE search on the internet, and learn how to breed and raise your own supply of bugs!

Breeding a colony of bugs, makes a wonderful Science Fair project. My son won 1st place in the 3rd grade group, and also took home the "Mad Scientist" award, for having the best science project in the entire school!  He morphed adult SUPERWORMS into their MORIO BEETLE stage. Then the beetles bred and hatched eggs, which turned into a new colony of BABY Superworms. 

Hedgehogs have quills.  Another obvious one, right?  You would be amazed though how many people purchase hedgehogs, and then give them up because they are prickly.  While a very well socialized and friendly hedgehog will keep their quills laying flat most of the time, if startled, woken up suddenly, or otherwise having a bad moment, even the sweetest hedgehog will have their quills erect at some point.  As well, you need to be prepared (especially with baby hedgehogs) to find the occasional shed quill in your carpet, furniture, and in odd places such as the toes of your freshly laundered socks, in your shoes, the waist band of your clean underwear, your bed, and anywhere else you can imagine.

Hedgehogs aren't always friendly.   Hedgehogs have only been bred in captivity for about 13 years or so. Because of this, they are still mostly wild animals.  Hedgehog personalities have improved HUGELY in this time though.  The original imported hedgehogs did have to be handled with gloves, because the typical hedgehog was a hissing popping balls of quills.  While you still do see a few hedgehogs that are of this temperament, the typical hedgehog personality has improved to the point of a hedgehog who will quickly unroll when held, will look around and be relatively social, though will still erect quills at sudden movements or noises.  This average could continue to improve though, because good breeders are working hard to improve the temperaments of the hedgehogs that they are breeding.  Because of this, it is not uncommon to meet a hedgehog who is VERY friendly, and will wait to be picked up with quills laying flat, and will relax and sit on you and observe the world and very rarely raise quills, even some who will not roll into balls at ALL, no matter what is going on.  Still, you should be prepared for your hedgehog to be a little nervous and guarded, and with some hedgehogs, even downright defensive and anti-social at times.

Are hedgehogs illegal?  YES they can be, depending on where you live.  There are some states, counties, and cities in which hedgehogs are illegal. This list includes the ENTIRE states of California, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, and Arizona, the city of Denver CO, parts of New York City, and Douglas County Nebraska.  As well, some areas require special permits, including the states of New Jersey, Vermont, and Georgia.  Click on the FAQ link above, to read more specific details.  It is YOUR responsibility to check your areas restrictions. PEH will not knowing sell to anyone living within illegal locations.