Non Traditional Pets

I remember my dad bringing home a hedgehog way back when I was only a little boy. It was the first time I saw that kind of a creature and I was frightened by it initially, probably because it was curled up into a prickly ball when it was first shown to me and I was thinking of how painful it would be if I did manage to get poked by it and stuff. But when dad played with it and called its name, it unfurled itself showing a relatively soft underside and a cute little adorable face that seemed to be so innocent and tame, that you would think it is not capable of doing anyone harm.

After several days of me being around him, always making sure I keep a careful eye on him lest he charges for me or something else more horrible, I eventually warmed up to him. Of course dad was there when I bravely ventured near the hedgehog that was eating at the time. He made funny snorting kind of noises while eating and upon seeing that he was busy, I took the chance and touched his quills. It was not as hard and sharp as I imagined it to be, it felt more like plastic and it didn’t hurt one bit, even if I intentionally poked one against my finger.

Dad then explained to me everything he knew about hedgehogs. He said it was a night animal who likes to sleep during the day. It rolls into a ball when it feels threatened and it eats close to everything, from insects such as flies and ants to all kinds of plants and several kinds of animals that are smaller than they are. Dad also said that their spikes are not like the porcupine ones because they do not have barbs or hooks at their ends, and are also not sharp.

We kept the hedgehog in a makeshift produce box that we bought in the market as there was really no hedgehog cages available back then. Dad just made a sort of cave for him using an upturned basket and also sprinkled sawdust on its base to mimic the hedgehog’s natural habitat. We just fed it cooked vegetables and cat food as it seems to have a liking for it and we sometimes let it go out of his cage to wander around our yard, much to the delight of our pet dog who always chases it around.

I forgot what eventually happened to that hedgehog, what I remember is mom and dad talking about releasing it into the wild and stuff, maybe they did do it. I believe it is also illegal to have hedgehogs as pets in our area as even breeders need a state license in-order for them to handle hedgehogs.

I did not remember anything particular with regards to it being a pet, as it generally just keeps to himself in his cave. The only thing that reminds you that he is there are his otherworldly grunts and squeals, which really seems to be not coming from him according to my dad. The novelty of it was fun while it lasted, but sadly it did not last very long.