BIRMINGHAM – Kevin the Hedgehog is becoming quite the celebrity – and why not? He’s adorable, and his human, Erika Wilson, creates such creative sets for Kevin’s photos that it’s impossible not to notice.
“People ask me about hedgehogs all the time, and I give them the crucial information because it's important and it usually changes people’s minds on wanting one,” Wilson said. “I really enjoy having a hedgehog, and after working really hard to gain his trust, he really likes me too!”
Hedgehogs are cute, indeed, but they do require time and patience, according to Wilson.
“Hedgehogs are considered an exotic animal, and they are not for everyone,” she said. “I would thoroughly do research before making the commitment. I would not consider them to be a good pet for a young child, or if you do not have time and patience for handling.”
For example, a hedgehog's cage needs to stay between 72 and 80 degrees, or they will attempt hibernation and will not survive.
Here are five things you should know about hedgehogs, courtesy of Wilson:
• They are nocturnal -- they sleep all day and party all night (their cages need to be where natural light is so that they will have a healthy sleep schedule).
• They are super sensitive to smell. If they don't like a particular smell, they will lick and bite the area and develop a foamy saliva and spit it all over their quills to "blend in" to protect themselves from predators (this is called anointing). “Kevin hates perfume,” Wilson said.
• They need a lot of patience, attention, and gentle handling. The less the hedgehog is handled and taken out of its cage when coming home at first, the more frightened and aggressive it will become when attempting to hold in the future. It can be a bit discouraging in the beginning, because they ball up and are very prickly and they make hissing noises.
• They poop a lot. They will usually even poop and pee while running on the exercise wheel, and it goes everywhere.
• Loud noises make them very stressed. They like calm, quiet, warm, and stress-free environments.
Follow Kevin on Facebook at kevinthehedgehog; on Twitter at @kevinthehedgehog; and on Instagram at kevin.the.hedgehog.