Hedgehogs are found in the wild in parts of Africa, Asia, New Zealand and Europe; however, they are found all over the world in captivity as a pet hedgehog. Luckily, the hedgehog is one mammal that can adapt well to being kept as a pet through selective breeding. As is the case with most animals, the pet hedgehog and the wild hedgehog have many similarities, but they also have some differences.
Similarities of Wild Hedgehogs and Pet Hedgehogs
One of the main similarities between a pet hedgehog and a wild hedgehog is the look of the animals. Both domesticated and wild hedgehogs have a spiny coat covering most of the back. They also have adorable little faces. The size of these animals is comparable to a tea cup.
Both domestic and wild hedgehogs exhibit the same defensive mechanism of curling up into a ball when scared. Because of the excitement in a new home, pet hedgehogs usually do curl up and exhibit this mechanism more often than wild hedgehogs. Once the pet hedgehog becomes accustomed to the activity in the home, the behavior usually subsides to nothing more than a rare occurrence.
Pet hedgehogs and wild hedgehogs need to live a temperate environment. This means that if you want to own a pet hedgehog, you have to keep your home at a constant temperature. It is common for hedgehogs as pets and hedgehogs in the wild to hibernate when it is cold and to go to sleep when it is too warm.
Differences of Pet Hedgehogs and Wild Hedgehogs
One of the most obvious differences between wild hedgehogs and pet hedgehogs is the way they get their food. In the wild, hedgehogs forage for food. They burrow under hedges and undergrowth in an effort to find food. While doing this, the hedgehog emits a snort that sounds like a pig. Pet hedgehogs usually don’t have to forage for food since many owners just toss the food into the hedgehog’s enclosure.
The diet composition of the wild hedgehog varies somewhat from that of the pet hedgehog. Wild hedgehogs eat just about anything they can find. Insects, small mammals like mice, lizards and frogs are some of the common foods for hedgehogs. Additionally, hedgehogs in the wild will eat the flesh of recently killed animals. A domesticated hedgehog isn’t likely going to get the variety of foods that one in the wild will get.
Pet hedgehogs also get their exercise in a different way than wild hedgehogs. Pet hedgehogs usually exercise in a wheel or by running from one side of the enclosure to the other. Digging is also limited, as most enclosures aren’t very deep. Wild hedgehogs get exercise from roaming around freely and digging.