Scottsdale is not the ideal home for any outdoor adventuring hedgehog. The temperature outside would kill them. The snakes would eat them. The inability for a saguaro cactus to form an adequate hedge would make them homeless. The conditions can therefore be described as somewhat hostile.

They are not indigenous to Arizona but from 2015 they became legal pets for you or I to own and enjoy provided they are kept indoors, kept warm but not too hot, cool but not too cold (too cool might encourage them to hibernate).

There does not appear to be any scientific classification for a Scottsdale hedgehog.

Most common is the African pygmy hedgehog.

The Scottish hedgehog, also known as a European hedgehog, is somewhat tougher than the Scottsdale version and to produce a comparative list of what might harm them appears to be excessively mean but I feel its my duty in order to protect them. The cuteness of these bonny wee chaps is quite evidently clear but an innocuous treat of chocolate could lead to a watery brown trail as these creatures are lactose intolerant.

Grapes kill pets. Many pet owners will know that grapes are toxic and can be potentially fatal and the same goes for the poor wee hedgehog. The native hedgehog to Scotland has less reason to fear such a viscous attack from fruit because as a nation we prefer deep-fried Mars Bars to fruit so our indoor environment is considerably safer.

The imported house-bound Scottsdale hedgehog has every right to fear a grape as it could easily be found in its food chain within the home and I haven’t even mentioned raisins, seeds or tea tree oil yet as these are all potential pitfalls to death for the unwary hedgehog not streetwise and too domesticated.

If you actually manage to actually keep a lactose intolerant, temperature sensitive, hibernating, diet wary, salmonella bacteria harboring hedgehog awake or alive, you may wish to wash it. Oh yeah, the CDC recommend you wash your hands before and after handling a hedgehog as they can carry salmonella bacteria.



How to clean a hedgehog.

The recommended paraphernalia for bathing a hedgehog is quite simply a mild shampoo, a soft towel, and brush (preferably not your sibling or partners as cross contamination could harm either party here) and a baby bath or sink of lukewarm water.

You may be thinking at this point can a hedgehog swim?

The answer is a rather impressive yes. I must say I was surprised to learn this but then I felt I should have given these guy’s a better chance. I suggest you don’t assume yours is a fully fledged Arena Swim Series hopeful and fling the spiky cutey straight into the deep end of the bath just in case he was the runt of the litter and needed swim aids, googles, flippers and a guide pole.

Gently lower you pet into the tranquil pool and let him soak up some moisture and enjoy the moment. Be careful not to knock over your glass of wine or burn your elbow on a candle as you brush his quills and dab his body with the soft washcloth or towel. If a hedgehog could speak at this point he would encourage you to avoid water in his ears, they mostly detest water in their ears.

If you should take your eye off the wee fella for split second please be aware that these little creatures can run up to 6mph and can even climb. Keep your wits about you, cute but adventurous little hedgehogs can get into all kinds of scrapes. Note here: some mobility scooters operate at a speed of 4mph, therefore all drivers should be aware of ‘speeding’ hedgehogs and use mirrors when making sudden direction changes.

Drying the hedgehog afterwards is important and ensuring all shampoo is rinsed off his quills equally so. A warm second towel is advisable to snuggle into and then sit back, watch some David Attenbourgh and enjoy bonding with your fresh and clean hedgehog.

Do this at least twice a year but more often would be encouraged if a swimming scholarship looks to be an option or ambition.


So what did we learn today?

  1. Hedgehogs are legal pets in Arizona but would not last too long in the wild. They are fussy eaters and if allowed to cool off will hibernate.
  2. Hedgehogs can swim. They also run at an impressive 6mph which is faster than a 3 wheeled mobility scooter with a top speed of 4mph.
  3. Hedgehogs are susceptible to pneumonia so wrap up warm after a bath but don’t feed them chocolate as this will make an undesirable mess on a clean white towel.

Although this article does not cover all the intricate details required for cleaning a hedgehog I feel there is basis enough here to allow you to further investigate, read more authoritative resources for cleaning your hedgehog and take care of these impressive and cute little mammals. To be fair, cleaning the little ball of needles is the least of your concerns, keeping it alive is much trickier.