My friend recently pointed out that Sylvia Plath Hedgehog has a "little bat face." (I don't want to get too off-topic here, but how cool are bats?) So, I have begun to coo "Hello, my little bat; my little batty bat" at her when I greet her in the morning. And she smiles at me with her tiny little bat-like teeth as if to say, "Hi, mom!"
Alright, back to business: the hedgehog questions! Here is Part I in case you missed it. I want to be clear that I'm not a hedgehogologist, but I am a momma of several animals whom I consider my children: there's Dillinger the angelic boxer who is deaf; Charlie the mischievous but lovable dachshund; Betty Boop the cat who is actually a dog; Daisy the grumpy snow monkey who is actually a cat; and Sylvia Plath Hedgehog, who needs no introduction. (See picture below which excludes SPH because it is too cold outside for hedgehogs! The taller animal is my husband, Steve. )
What is Sylvia's cage like?
Sylvia sleeps and parties (runs like hell on her wheel) in a wire-frame cage that has eight-square-feet of play space. There is no top to her cage, because she is not a climber. I line her cage with fleece which I purchase by the yard at JoAnn's Fabric in West Lebanon. In her cage, there is a food and water dish, an igloo "hideaway," a tunnel to run through, her wheel, and little cat toys which she hardly plays with. In addition to her cage, I keep a sustainable oil radiator on at 74 degrees. We have an extra thermometer just to be sure we have the appropriate temperature. I also have a heat lamp which hovers over her cage for cold nights. Sylvia's cage is actually in my office, and she is sleeping soundly as I type these words!
Do hedgehogs play?
Hedgehogs love to get exercise by running on their wheel or simply running around on the floor or outside (during the summer months when it's warm). SPH doesn't play fetch, but she loves to have her belly rubbed. We also play a peek-a-boo a lot which involves me talking to her like a newborn baby and rubbing my nose against hers while she desperately tries to crawl back into her snuggle sack (the pleasant nickname given to a hedgehog's fleece-lined pouch.)
Also, it may not seem like it, but hedgehogs need a lot of attention or they will never warm to you. I like to think that SPH looks forward to a good cuddle session. She usually crawls right in my lap and dozes off while I rub her belly.
Do hedgehogs take baths?
Two words: muddy boots. This is the term used to describe little hedgehog feet that are covered in ... you guessed it, poop. (I'm sorry! I'm sorry! But I did mention in my last post that they do poop a lot.) When I take SPH out to play, I always start a small warm bath for her in the bathroom sink to clean off her feet. She usually hangs out in there, does her business, and then I proceed to fluff her silky white hedgehog fur with a towel so she's beautified.
Some hedgehogs float! But SPH does not like to curl in a ball on her back during a bath, so I'm not one of those lucky ones who gets to witness the hedgehog flotation device in person.
Do hedgehogs get sick? Where should I take my hedgehog if he/she gets sick?
Yes, hedgehogs can absolutely get sick. A few tell-tale signs that they have an infection or something more serious: they aren't eating; their poop is green (sorry, there's that poop again); they're not running on their wheel; they're more lethargic than normal; they're sneezing. All of these things may seem minor, but they aren't: You should take your hedgehog to the Vet immediately if you see any of these or more drastic symptoms.
When you're ready to take home a hedgehog, make sure you know a local Vet who can treat a hedgehog or is at least willing to take your hedgehog in for care. When SPH got sick once, I took her to Stonecliff Animal Clinic in Lebanon. They were able to take a look at her right away and prescribed her antibiotics.
*Again, I am NOT a hedgehogologist. There is good information out there on hedgehog sicknesses if you need help.
Are hedgehogs nocturnal?
Yes. But that doesn't mean I don't wake SPH up every morning or during the day to tell her how much I love her! I know she really enjoys when I wake her up from a sound slumber to do this!
Can I get cool pictures of my hedgehog?
It is really difficult to get a good picture of a hedgehog these days. I know people on Instagram make everything look so easy—"Oh, here's a beautifully lit photo of my cat Sylvester who just so happens to be reading Moby Dick"—but not everyone has a professional photography studio in their house. Truthfully, pictures of hedgehogs are always blurry because they're always squirming around and junk. (See photo below from a clever "photo shoot" I did with SPH and The Bell Jar. Really, guys. This is my life.)
What other questions do you have about hedgehogs or Sylvia Plath Hedgehog specifically? Leave a comment below and I'll get back to you ASAP. Don't be afraid. SPH won't bite you.
While SPH will of course be the star of this blog, my next posts will focus on vegan and vegetarian cooking! I've been a vegetarian for 10 years and a vegan for ... one month. It's still very new to me. Stay tuned! & follow me on Instagram.