I remember being fascinated by these little creatures around the age of seventeen and keeping that fascination all the way up to my twentieth birthday when I decided to take my own money and purchase my very own hedgehog. I did all my research and learned all about how they function in the wild so that I could understand my hedgehog’s actions a little bit more. After months on the internet, I ended up finding a place all the way out in Middleburg in Jacksonville, FL and decided to hold the hedgehog I was eyeing on the website. Within seconds, I found out that their pricks aren’t even slightly soft, they hurt a whole lot and it takes time to get used to the feel and even then you might never get used to the puffs they do to push the pricks harder into your skin. I giggled to myself when I realized the hedgehog I had been planning to take home didn’t like me very much and the thought of “just my luck” kept running through my mind until I noticed an albino hedgehog that was placed separately from the others.
“Weird looking fella isn’t he? Nobody wants to buy him because of those red eyes and if he doesn’t sell then we gunna have to get rid of him.” proclaimed the hedgehog breeder.
You all already know that I couldn’t watch an animal just get thrown to the side like that PLUS I was already prepped to take home a hedgehog that exact day. After a few minutes with this strange looking hedgehog, I absolutely fell in love.
His name was Oliver Peter and he was the grouchiest little buddy I have ever met (that includes all animals combined that have tried to nip at me.) Now deciding to be a caretaker of an animal is already a hard decision but being a caretaker of a small animal (bathing, feeding, cleaning cage, spending time with, and so much more) is an even bigger responsibility. All the research in the world didn’t help me prepare for an animal who was a grump for even being born, but through everything, I would try to make him the most comfortable and take him out on walks (yeah, he actually liked that.) Bathing him was the most fun we would have together, after huffing and puffing his pricks into my skin he was open up the second he felt the warm water on his belly. Ollie would run around in circles in the bathtub and get so mad the second I had to take him out. Each hedgehog has a unique personality and even though some training can be implemented it is usually very difficult to take that certain strain of spunk out of such a tiny animal. Hedgehogs are not like cats/dogs; they will not give you the never ending love that you seek for, they will sometimes play games with you but decide on their terms, they will poop absolutely everywhere and even places you didn’t know that they hid around too, and once they have chosen a personality, they will not leave it.
Oliver soon became to never open up for me and I couldn’t take care of him properly because of it. I found an individual who loved the idea of having a hedgehog and knew the proper way to take care of him. The second I put Ollie in her hands, he opened up in seconds and you could see how much more comfortable he was. I loved having a hedgehog but my god was it a handful and not just the quills.