Articles on basic care and considerations for new or prospective owners.
Articles pertaining to health, nutrition, and veterinary care.
Articles and pictures about hedgehog breeding, growth, and development.
Articles for people who already own a hedgehog or want to know more than just the basics.
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Wondering where to buy a hedgehog? Start here!
Where to purchase hedgehog supplies and collectibles.
Meet the hedgehogs of Hedgehog Valley!
Meet the other critters that call or
have called Hedgehog Valley
Being a successful hedgehog breeder means wearing many hats. Simply putting two animals of breeding age together is the easiest part, but there is a lot more to it. Here are some of the hats that you will need to learn to wear if you decide that you want to raise hedgehogs:
1) Sanitation engineer: If you’re going to raise animals, you’re going to have to scoop poop. Hedgehogs require weekly cage cleaning, or more, depending on the type of bedding that you choose to use. This can be quite time consuming if you have very many hedgehogs.
2) Behaviorist: You have to get to know your animals and become familiar with their normal routines so that you will know when things are okay, and when there is a problem. You will need to learn how to work with animals who are not easily handled and how to bring out their best.
You will need to be prepared to help others learn to do the same. If you want your customers to be happy, you will need to know how to help them solve common behavior problems- whether that means helping the customer to adjust their expectations, implementing behavior modification, or providing rescue service.
3) Health tech: You will need to learn to handle basic medical problems. The more animals you have, the more opportunities there are for things to go wrong. Hedgehogs always seem to get sick late Friday night on 3 day weekends so it is really important to know what to do until you can get a hold of the vet or the back-up vet.
You need to be able to identify and resolve small problems before they get big. If your customer's hedgehog has problems, you will be the first person they ask for help so you need to be prepared with factual knowledge.
4) Legal beagle/bureaucrat: You need to know what laws govern hedgehog sales where you live, as well as laws that apply to the persons to whom you are selling your hedgehogs. Local, state/province, and federal laws may apply. For example, if you live in the US and have 3 or more females and breed, you will need to be USDA licensed.
Laws may change and you need to know. If you ship out of state, you need to know where NOT to send a hedgehog. Just because they are legal for you does not mean you are free to send them places where they’ve been banned, or letting your customers figure that out for themselves by running afoul of the law. The law can still hold you responsible. You will also need to know about and maintain any paperwork that is legally required for your area.
5) Marketing expert: Hedgehogs do not just sell themselves, especially if people do not know that you have them for sale. First, you have to figure out a way to reach potential customers. Then you need to be able to demonstrate why they should buy from you. There are a lot of hedgehog breeders out there and customers will want t know what makes your hedgehogs special.
You aren’t just selling an animal, you’re selling your expertise, quality of animals, and after-sale support. One happy customer may send one more your way, but one unhappy customer will tell 100 not to do business with you. You can’t please everybody, but it sure helps to try.
6) Travel agent: Many breeders find that the local market for hedgehogs is not very big and shipping becomes a necessity. Air freight or ground service is the only legal way to ship mammals and that means dealing with the airlines or ground transport companies. Shipping regulations and costs change frequently. What may be the rule or price one day may be different the next.
You may have to sign up with a secondary shipping service to help make the arrangements for you. Secondary shipping services (basically, travel agents for pets) make things easier than having to wade through all the rules and trying to find flights with pressurized cargo areas, but it’s often more expensive than going directly through the airlines. You will earn lots of gray hairs during this part of the process.
7) Public relations/education: You have to like people, not just hedgehogs. If you enjoy working with your customers, helping them to become better educated, and answering their zillions of questions, they will enjoy working with you. They will also have a much better relationship with their hedgehog because they will be better prepared and will have more realistic ideas of what to expect. If you do not enjoy working with people and answering lots of questions, you will quickly become frustrated.
I am sure there are plenty more hats to wear, but those are the ones that first come to mind. If you enjoy your critters, enjoy learning, think creatively, and like to work with people, you’ve got the beginnings of what it takes! I strongly recommend that people gain at least a year to two of experience with owning hedgehogs before trying to breed them. It also helps to partner with an experienced breeder for mentorship. Please contact us if you would like assistance. It’s hard to fill these hats without a strong base of knowledge and experience to go along with the basics.
Good luck, and happy hedgehoggery!
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Last updated by Tig on 11/11/18