We're not exactly sure why all of a sudden there is a huge rush to dump hedgehogs, but over the past few days, we've been asked to take in 4 more. Currently, we have 5 up for adoption, and the new ones would bring us up to 9.
Hedgehogs are not a common pet and those who buy them impulsively from pet stores often have no idea about the needs or care. More puzzling are those people who buy them for their young children.
Hedgehogs are prickly.....covered in spines and are nocturnal....not what one would traditionally think of as an ideal child's pet.
As I was reading through a news clipping service yesterday I was stopped by an article in the Penticton Herald Dec 8, 2010. It's headline read "New pet for 2011: hedgehogs in vogue". Then just moments later, I was sent an email form a shelter in the interior asking for ideas on how to trim a hedgehogs nails. One was recently left at the shelter and it's toes nails are literally curling around under it's feet.
A co-worker also brought me in a Readers Digest article featuring a small child holding a hedgehog and some text on it's pros, cons, needs and care.
So what does that mean for the future of the *pet* hedgehogs? Will they end up suffering just to make a sale & a quick buck?
Two of the recent intakes have been hedgehogs who have had their quills cut off, or the ends cut off so that one will not get ther hands pricked by a hedgehog that is not wanting to be disturbed. Some of our hedgehogs have even been used to roll down a fight of stairs.....hedgehogs will ball up if they do not want to be disturbed or are afraid and because of that someone thought it would be funny to use them as a ball.
In the right home, they can be quite social and make a good pet but to be promoted as the new *in vogue* pet, it just doesn't sit right with us. Hopefully 2011 will not live up to it's expectations.