A wildlife organisation is asking people to think twice before getting an African Pygmy hedgehog as a domestic pet.
Northumberland Wildlife Trust says some parents buy these domesticated pets for children. However, they then discover they cannot be easily handled the way a hamster or gerbil can, and so release the little hedgehogs into the wild.
The African Pygmy hedgehog cannot live for long at all in the wild and suffer greatly. They can end up in a dreadful state. Tragically, the Pricklepad Hedgehog Hospital, which is in Forrest Hall, Newcastle, has had many telephone calls about people who have found the tiny creates in very sorry states.
“As with any pet, think long and hard before buying an African Pygmy hedgehog,” said Steve Lowe, Head of Conservation at Northumberland Wildlife Trust. “They my look enchanting but cannot be handled like hamsters because they have spikes. Please, should you tire of them, do not release them into the wild as they won’t survive for very long.”
Steve is concerned that the African Pygmies will affect the native population of British hedgehogs by inter breeding and fear that within 10 years time, our native breed will face extinction.
Emma Pearson, Living Waterways at the Trust rescued one of the little hedgehogs, called Huffa, from it young owner. She said that Huffa looks very cute but cannot be handled because of his spikes. This kind of hedgehog is also quite anti-social which also makes his species unacceptable as a pet.
Find out more about Northumberland wildlife.