關於刺蝟 All About Hedgehogs
人 為豢養刺蝟的情形在我國並不少，但事實上飼養刺蝟並不像販售業者說的那麼簡單。由於刺蝟是野生動物，所以即使牠們的體型看起來很小，但是飼養空間仍然應有 125公分長，65公分寬，或是更大。對於所有的野生動物來說，空間越大給予他們的壓力則越小。此外，隱蔽的休憩處對於動物來講是很重要的。所以可使用再 生紙製造一個能夠讓動物感到安全並可以躲藏的地方，有效減輕動物的不安全感。為避免長期限制活動空間導致刻板行為產生，也應顧及環境豐富化，提供安全且適 當的玩具與環境裝飾，例如水管、隧道、坡道、實心滾輪等。
刺 蝟是很愛乾淨的動物，因此飼養者應保持其環境的清潔。清理飼養環境前，應妥善地將刺蝟移往其他暫時的安全處所。抱起刺蝟時，應放慢速度，避開尖刺，溫和並 且小心地讓刺蝟站在手掌心，並從腹部提起。若刺蝟緊張的蜷縮成球狀，應立即停止您的動作，耐心等待他冷靜下來再做嘗試。必要時可等待一段時間，讓刺蝟習慣 你的味道再將他抱起來移往他處。
野生動物既敏感又容易緊張，雖然飼養難度看起來好像不難，但人為的飼養其實沒有辦法符合動物福利。許多野 生動物終生被人類豢養於籠內，為了野外生存而具備的習性，長期下來卻因為空間及環境的限制無法自然展現，因此造成動物龐大的壓力，進而出現刻板行為。台灣 防止虐待動物協會呼籲民眾請勿飼養任何野生動物，若喜愛牠們的話，可以選擇致力於保護牠們的原生棲地，讓這些動物在適合自己的大自然中生活，而非將牠們當 作觀賞的物品，永遠圈禁在玻璃箱或鐵 籠內。
參考資料: National Geographic Society, OneKind, Animal planet live, People's Trust for Endangered Species, Pet-Needs
Length: About 16 to 35 centimeters (head, body and tail included)
Weight: About 397 to 1106 grams
Get to know hedgehogs in 5 minutes
1. There are 15 different species of hedgehogs, found throughout Europe, Asia and Africa. Hedgehogs are considered as useful pets by many people, because they hunt insects that are harmful to crops.
2. Hedgehogs are solitary animals. They only live as a group during the mating season.
3. Hedgehogs are nocturnal. They usually rest in their dens under bushes during the daytime. They can sleep up to 18 hours a day and don’t hunt for food until night falls.
4. Wild hedgehogs mostly feed on spineless reptiles, such as worms, beetles, slug, caterpillar, centipede, etc.
5. In addition to parts of their face, feet, and belly, hedgehogs are covered with hard spines. When they are under attack, hedgehogs roll up their bodies and stick out their spines to protect themselves from predators (such as foxes and owls). Usually hedgehogs also roll themselves up during sleep as a way of self-protection.
6. Hedgehogs are covered with about 5000 spines. These spines are hollow and flexible, formed by keratin (a type of protein family). They fall off and regrow naturally like human’s nails and hair.
7. Hedgehogs have poor vision therefore they hunt using their sense of sight and smell.
8. Hedgehog babies, called hoglets, are usually born in June and July. Hedgehogs give birth to 4 to 5 hoglets a litter. If you ever see a hedgehog mother and her hoglets in the wild, do not disturb them. If a mother Hedgehog becomes overly stressed by human presence, she could eat the babies as a way dealing with the stress.
9. Hedgehogs hibernate when the weather turns cold. However, hedgehogs that live in desserts sleep for a long time during high temperatures and dry weather. Such behavior is called aestivation. Hedgehogs living in the temperate zone do not take long sleeps.
10. Keeping hedgehogs as pets is illegal in some places. For example, it is illegal in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Georgia, Washington D.C. and some boroughs of New York City in United States.
Hedgehogs as pets
In Taiwan, it's becoming more common to see people keeping hedgehogs as pets, but actually caring for this tiny animal as a pet is not an easy job. Hedgehogs are wild animals, thus its needs are much more complex than that of domesticated dogs and cats. A hedgehog needs at minimum living space of 125 cm x 65 cm. For any wild animals being kept in captivity, the larger the living space they have the less stress they will feel. Hedgehogs also need private dens where they can hide away. You can provide your pet with small cardboard boxes, old containers filled with paper, or even just old crumbled tissue or paper where they can bury themselves. In order to prevent from stereotypic stress behavior (caused by long term caging in small spaces) you should diversify your hedgehogs space by providing safe toys such as tubes, tunnels, slopes, and wheels, etc.
In terms of diet, hedgehogs must feed on dry and wet food and clean drinking water so as to consume sufficient nutrition. The containers should be fixed so that the feed or water wouldn’t spill and soil the environment. Wild hedgehogs mainly feed on insects but researchers have found that hedgehogs also eat slugs, tiny mice, frogs, fish, little snakes, eggs and fruits. They need to consume abundant amounts of protein in their diet to maintain balanced nutrition. The amount and type of food suitable for your pet should be determined by a vet who is knowledgeable in hedgehogs.
A clean environment is vital for happy and healthy hedgehogs. Before cleaning the environment, make sure to move your pet to a temporary cage. Make sure to gently pick up your hedgehog by his underside and slowly and gently lift him out of his cage. If he curls up into a ball, it's only because he is stressed, so please be patient and let him get comfortable before you continue to move him.
Wild animals are very sensitive and can be very nervous, very different from domesticated animals usually kept as pets such as cats, dogs and rabbits. Wild animals' needs are also very different from domesticated animals and it can be near to impossible for the average pet owner to meet these needs. If their needs aren't met, they will start to display stress behaviors, such as self mutilation, as a way of trying to cope with a living environment not suited to them.
The Taiwan SPCA doesn't not support the keeping of wild animals as pets or animals such as hedgehogs which have not been domesticated. Wild animals should be left in the wild where they belong.
Sources: National Geographic Society, OneKind, Animal planet live, People's Trust for Endangered Species, Pet-Needs