11 Reasons Why Hedgehogs Are Good Pets for Kids


Have you ever looked at a hedgehog and thought, “What a cute pet they would make?” Well, you’re not alone.

Many families are discovering the charm of these spiky yet endearing creatures, particularly as pets for kids.

But why are hedgehogs considered good pets for children? Are there genuine benefits to inviting a tiny, quilled mammal into your home?

Today, we’re diving into why hedgehogs make great companions for children.

Quick Answer: Are Hedgehogs Good Pets for Kids?

Yes, hedgehogs can make excellent pets for kids for various reasons. Their small size makes them easy to handle, and their unique behavior can be fascinating and educational.

Hedgehogs are typically gentle creatures with low allergenic risk. They have a decent lifespan that syncs well with childhood; their care can teach children about responsibility and compassion.

Plus, there’s just something intrinsically delightful about watching them roll up into a little ball of spikes! But of course, just like any pet, they require understanding and commitment to their specific needs.

Why Hedgehogs Are Good Pets for Kids

Here are the eleven (11) reasons as to why;

Reason 1. Low Allergenic Risk

When choosing a pet, it’s essential to consider potential allergies. Unlike furry animals like cats or dogs, hedgehogs have quills instead of fur, which can reduce the chances of triggering allergic reactions.

This feature makes them suitable for households with allergy-sensitive members. While no pet is truly hypoallergenic, hedgehogs have been known to cause fewer allergy issues compared to many common household pets.

Reason 2. Lifespan in Sync with Childhood

Hedgehogs have an average lifespan of 4 to 6 years, which makes them a fitting pet for kids. This lifespan syncs well with important phases of childhood.

When children bring home a hedgehog, they can grow and learn alongside their pet, without the longer-term commitment required for pets like dogs or cats.

Reason 3. Teach Responsibility & Compassion

Owning a pet, such as a hedgehog, can instill a sense of responsibility in children. They learn to care for another living being, feeding it, cleaning its cage, and providing it with social interaction.

These are essential life skills that can help them develop empathy and compassion.

Reason 4. Compact Size: Ideal for Small Spaces

Space can often be a limiting factor when choosing a pet. Hedgehogs, however, are small and compact, making them perfect for families living in apartments or homes with limited space.

A standard hedgehog cage can fit comfortably in a child’s room, and doesn’t require the kind of space that larger pets would.

Despite their compact size, these little creatures can be quite active and love to run, often covering several miles in a single night on their exercise wheels.

This delightful spectacle for kids reinforces the idea that each creature is unique and that even small pets can lead dynamic lives.

Reason 5. Gentle Temperament

Hedgehogs, despite their prickly exterior, are generally gentle creatures. With regular handling and care, they can become quite comfortable with their human families.

This gentle nature makes them suitable for kids, although younger children should always be supervised to ensure they handle the hedgehog appropriately.

Reason 6. Fascinating and Educational

Kids are naturally curious, and owning a hedgehog can provide a great educational opportunity. These pets have unique behaviors that can fascinate children, stimulating their curiosity and interest in nature.

For instance, hedgehogs are known to ‘self-anoint’, a peculiar behavior that creates frothy saliva and spreads it over their quills. This can serve as a fun and interesting learning experience for kids.

Reason 7. Low Noise Levels

Hedgehogs are relatively quiet pets compared to dogs, cats, or birds. They make sounds – such as huffing, hissing, or even a soft purring noise – but generally, they’re much quieter than many other pets.

This makes them great for families who prefer a peaceful environment or for kids who might be startled or annoyed by louder animals.

A hedgehog can be an ideal choice for children who are sensitive to noise or families living in apartments with noise restrictions.

Plus, since hedgehogs are nocturnal, their most active times won’t clash with your child’s study or sleep times, ensuring minimal disruptions.

Reason 8. Uniqueness and Popularity

There’s something special about having a pet that’s slightly different from the norm. The unique appeal of hedgehogs can make owning one an exciting prospect for kids.

It can also be a great conversation starter, as friends and peers will likely be interested in this uncommon pet.

Despite their exotic status, hedgehogs have gained popularity recently, especially in the US, UK, and Canada.

This means it’s increasingly easy to find resources and communities for support and advice on hedgehog care, including vets knowledgeable about their specific needs.

Reason 9. Independence and Lower Emotional Neediness

Hedgehogs are independent animals and don’t require constant attention like other pets, which can be a good fit for families with busy schedules.

While they still need care and social interaction, they value their alone time, reducing the pressure on kids to entertain them constantly.

This independence can also teach children that not all pets need or want constant physical interaction. It’s an opportunity to understand and respect the individual needs of different animals.

For more insight into the independent nature of these creatures, check out this article on whether hedgehogs like being alone.

Reason 10. Easy Grooming and Maintenance

While hedgehogs do require care, they aren’t particularly high-maintenance pets. They don’t need regular baths, and their self-grooming habits keep them relatively clean.

A hedgehog’s cage will need to be cleaned regularly, but it’s less work than cleaning a large dog crate or a birdcage.

Feeding a hedgehog is also straightforward, as their diet primarily consists of easy-to-find commercial hedgehog food or cat food. They can also have fruits, vegetables, and cooked meats as treats.

Reason 11. Safety and Health

While their quills might look intimidating, hedgehogs pose little risk of harm to children. The quills are not poisonous, and while they can prick, they are not designed to detach and stick in the skin like porcupine quills.

When handled correctly, the chance of injury is quite small.

Healthwise, there’s a lower risk of zoonotic diseases (illnesses that can be transmitted from animals to humans) with hedgehogs than with some other pets.

However, good hygiene practices should still be followed, like washing hands after handling the hedgehog or cleaning its cage.

Do be aware that hedgehogs are known for their unique defense mechanism where they roll up into a ball with their quills out when threatened.

Therefore, dogs might get pricked if they are overly curious. If you have dogs at home, make sure to check out this article on how to prevent dogs from attacking hedgehogs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1: Are hedgehogs friendly to kids?

A: Yes, hedgehogs can be quite friendly and, with regular handling, they can become comfortable with their human families. However, remember that each hedgehog is an individual; some may be more sociable or easier to handle than others.

Supervising younger children while interacting with a hedgehog is always advisable to ensure gentle handling.

Q2: Can hedgehog spikes hurt my child?

A: Hedgehogs have spines (not actually spikes) that are sharp but not designed to detach or pierce skin like a porcupine’s. If a hedgehog is calm and comfortable, their spines lay flat and they can be safely handled.

However, if the hedgehog feels threatened, it can curl into a ball, causing the spines to stand erect. This could potentially prick a child, but serious harm is unlikely.

Q3: What should we feed our pet hedgehog?

A: A hedgehog’s diet can consist of commercial or cat food. They also enjoy treats such as fruits, vegetables, and cooked meats in moderation.

Remember, every hedgehog is unique, and it might take some experimentation to find out what your hedgehog prefers.

Q4: How much space does a hedgehog need?

A: Hedgehogs don’t require a lot of space. A standard cage or enclosure with 24 x 24 inches dimensions should be sufficient. Remember also to include an exercise wheel for your hedgehog’s nightly runs.

Q5: Are hedgehogs nocturnal?

A: Yes, hedgehogs are naturally nocturnal creatures. This means they are most active during the night and usually sleep during the day.


In conclusion, hedgehogs can make wonderful pets for kids. They are adorable, low-maintenance, and can provide an excellent learning opportunity about nature and animal care.

Their unique features and behaviors can stir curiosity and fascination, adding a special touch to the family.

However, remember that hedgehogs, like all pets, do require care and attention. It’s important to ensure that your child is ready for the responsibility, and that you can provide a safe and comfortable home for the hedgehog.

Always be sure to research thoroughly and prepare well before introducing a new pet to your household.

Remember, while hedgehogs are small creatures, they have a big potential for bringing joy and enrichment to your home and your child’s life.

If you’re considering adopting a pet, these spiky little friends are definitely worth considering!

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