When you first look into getting a hedgehog, you’ll notice there are a lot of breeders out there. Your job is to file out the reputable breeders from the others. Therefore, there are important questions to ask a hedgehog breeder before buying. The answers can give you information to make the transition easier, to know what to get for your pet, and to gain helpful advice. By asking these questions, you can make sure you are getting a healthy hedgehog from a quality breeder.
Do you offer a health guarantee?
A reputable breeder should offer a health guarantee for their hedgehogs. Offering a health guarantee helps you feel more confident in the breeder. If they do not offer some sort of health guarantee, you should be allowed to at least check out your hedgehog before handing over money.
Most guarantees last for 30 days or up to 6 months. If they offer a health guarantee and your hedgie is sick, then you need to call them on it. They will either give you a full refund or a replacement hedgehog.
Do the parents have any health issues?
This very important question will tell you the risk of disease and hereditary sickness your hedgehog could have. The breeder’s answer should answer no. You don’t want to buy a hedgehog from someone who breeds sick hedgehogs! Some people think wobbly leg syndrome is hereditary. So if that is an answer they give, you might want to go elsewhere. Check out our disease list here.
Do the parents have certain traits or characteristics?
Hopefully, they know the answer to this and can tell you if the parents are friendly, very active, or lazy. That characteristic might spill into their children and affect which hoglet you want.
The answer to this question should also be no! Certain health issues can result from inbreeding. It is never a good idea for a breeding pair to be related.
Do you have a USDA breeding license?
This means they are professionals and are selling hedgehogs in a legal way. If they do have a license, they will have three or more female hedgehogs and usually have healthier hedgehogs. Although the litter could come from an unprofessional breeder. In this case, make sure to get a health guarantee.
Do you have a return policy if It doesn’t work out?
It’s understandable if they don’t have a return policy, most do not have one. But if they do have a return policy, then it’s nice to know they have one.
How often do you breed them?
This question has a dual purpose. First, you will know when you can buy your hedgehog or how long the wait will be (if you need to wait till the next litter). Hedgehogs should not constantly be bred. It’s unhealthy for the litter and mother. It is recommended that a hedgehog should only be bred 3 times a year. Otherwise, issues can arise.
At what age can I pick them up?
Hedgehogs can be taken away from the mother at 6-11 weeks old. Earlier could result in death or negative effects. This question also tells you how much time you have to prepare.
What type of bedding do you use?
This question helps you prepare for your new pet and to add a final test. If they answer something from our dangerous bedding list, they might not be the best breeder. Some types of bedding are dangerous for hedgehogs. Some dyes and oils are unsafe. Safe choices can be found in our safe bedding guide. Additionally, if they have a safe bedding choice, you might want to adopt it. This creates an easier transition for the hog.
What do you feed them?
This question also helps you prepare for your new pet. You should get the food before you bring your hedgie home. Most breeders feed their hedgehogs cat food. They should be able to tell you the specific brand they use, so you can use it too. If you are lucky, they might even give you a sample of food! But you might prefer our healthy and balanced choices here.
Sometimes they add mealworms or other bugs to their diet. You could add that in moderation. If they add unhealthy food, you might want to go with a different breeder who knows which food is dangerous to hedgehogs.
How often do you feed them?
The general rule is to feed them once every night. You will feed them 1-3 tablespoons. This question would help you know if you need to slowly lower the amount of food they were given.
Can I see mine?
If they don’t let you see them before you buy, you can’t check their health and that is an automatic red flag. Examine the hog before handing them payment.
How much are they handled?
If they are regularly handled, the chances of them being more friendly are higher. If they are just kept in a box and never handled, they will likely be mean or scared of humans.
Where are they kept and can you see it?
You could be dealing with a bad breeder who overcrowds them and keeps them in filth. This question lets you know if you are getting a healthy hog. Although, some breeders won’t let you see and that is okay. Just check to see if they have a description of where they are kept. Ask them how often they clean out the cage. It should be regularly. You could also ask what kind of cage they use. The answer might help you pick a cage.
Have they or their parents been checked by a vet?
If they have been checked by a vet before. Then you will know their records, health, and health history. You also might be able to get a recommended vet out of this question!
When choosing a breeder it is up to you and what you want. There are a variety of breeders with different techniques. Just try to get the most information that is most valuable to you!
Did you encounter any sketchy breeders when you were shopping for your new pet? Let us know in the comments!