It’s always a privilege to meet with Petfinder shelters and adoption groups to learn about their work. When the Hedgehog Welfare Society invited Petfinder to the Eastern States Hedgehog Show near Albany, NY, I happily whistled my dog Molly into the navigator’s seat of my truck and drove up to the beautiful Schoharie Valley to learn about our prickliest pets.
My introduction to hedgehogs came the first night in the relaxation meditation session for hedgehogs and their humans, led by author Dawn Wrobel. Yes, I got to meditate with hedgehogs!
However, when I walked in, there was not a hedgehog to be seen. Everyone was already seated in a circle, and each human participant had a brightly colored cloth bag on their lap. Now and then a bag would give a twitch or a lurch, and I realized these little sacks were the warm, dark and comfortable mode of transportation for well-loved hedgehogs on the go.
While hedgehogs may look like tiny porcupines, they are actually
unrelated. Hedgehogs are insectivores and require extra-special care.
They are gutsy little animals whose personalities range from charming
to grumpy. They are also illegal to own in some states, so hedgehogs
frequently find themselves in need of rescue. Shelters, sanctuaries,
and adoption groups step up to this task, making sure the hedgie’s next
destination will be a forever home.
In North America, hedgehogs are non-native pets who must stay safely indoors. In Europe, they are wild native residents. Nigel Reeve, community ecologist for the Royal Parks in London, spoke on the natural
history of the hedgehog and their wild habits in the United Kingdom.
Dr. Ricardo de Matos of the Cornell University Hospital for Animals spoke on hedgehog health.
In our Small and Furry section, you’ll
find hedgehogs for adoption on Petfinder, along with other small and
unusual pets who require thoughtful care, such as sugar gliders,
chinchillas, and degus. What’s a degu, you wonder? Search for them on
Petfinder, and you’ll find out!
The Hedgehog Welfare Society has a great brochure that covers hedgehog care.
Make a point of checking in
regularly at the Petfinder.com Event Calendar to see what’s going on near you. There
are countless events where you can learn about animals or
support your local adoption agencies. You’ll soon find yourself communing with all manner of creatures!