Hedgehog Café Tokyo – What can you learn from them for better hedgehog caring?

Many people who are thinking of keeping small pets consider getting hedgehogs but are afraid to do so because of the notion that these little spiky mammals are difficult to take care of. Hedgehog enthusiasts attest that it’s not true, and these include the owners and employees of a hedgehog-themed café that was recently opened in Tokyo, Japan.

Called Harry – a pun for harinezumi, the Japanese name for hedgehog – the café allows people to pet their hedgehogs for an hour. For $11 (1,300 yen) on weekends and $9 (1,000 yen) on weekdays, customers can get the opportunity to get close to, touch, and play with the hedgies. While both kids and adults enjoy this uncommon experience, they also get to disprove the belief that these little mammals are hard to handle.

How to Handle a Hedgehog

The important thing about keeping hedgehogs as pets, or any other animal for that matter, is to know what their needs are so they will remain healthy, happy, and safe. You need to provide them with a suitable habitat, complete with the required accessories and supplies like a food container, a drinking bottle, a running wheel, a place to sleep in, and a hideout.

Learn more about the kind of hedgehog cage a hedgehog needs here

Hedghogs are nocturnal, which means they need to sleep during the day and do their activities at night. Do not force them to adjust to your time but allow them to follow their natural sleeping patterns. This means you should spend time at night to play with them.

When reaching in, be gentle and not aggressive. Scoop your pet with both palms curved, akin to scooping water from a basin, and let them snuggle deep in your hands.

Hedgehogs do have different personalities, so it’s important to observe them. Learn what their behavior and preferences are. If you befriend your pet and they learn to trust you, they will show you who they really are underneath that spiky exterior. They may be playful or the loner type, they might enjoy belly strokes or get upset when you suddenly try to touch them. Whichever personality they may have, you need to give them regular time outside the enclosure so they can socialize with you.

Of course, a hedgehog cannot be happy if it’s not fed well. These animals need proper nutrition, so give them hedgehog food that are formulated to give them a balanced diet. They are generally not picky eaters but they are omnivores so you can give them a variety of treats. They like insects and, according to Hedgehog Care 101, you can give them cat food. Small amounts of meat like chicken, salmon, and tuna as well as some vegetables and fruits are okay, but not daily. You can also give them mealworms, waxworms, crickets, eggs, and yoghurt but only as an occasional treat. Do not give them milk because they are lactose intolerant and avoid grapes, avocado, citrus fruits, pineapple, garlic, onion, tomatoes, potatoes, raisins, nuts, and chocolate.

Hedgehogs do not take baths in the wild, but you can give them one if you want. Use warm water, just enough so their feet are soaked, rub with your hands (don’t use soap or shampoo), then pat dry. They also need to have their nails trimmed, just make sure not to cut it too short or you might cut the blood vessels underneath. If you’re not sure how, take your pet to the veterinarian.

As shown by Harry café in Japan, hedgehogs are not hard to handle. Still, it’s important to provide them with what they need so they will be happy in your care.

Interested in getting a hedgehog but still not sure if you can afford one? Check out
“Hedgehog Supplies List: Everything You Need to Know About Supplies for Hedgehog” to decide.

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