Are hedgehogs good pets for college students?

If you are looking for a peculiar-looking pet that shall serve as an excellent companion to you during the night, a hedgehog is what you are looking for. Most college students are nocturnal (haha), just like hedgehogs, making them ideal for some company during the night. Let’s find out Are Hedgehogs Good Pets For College Students?

Petting a hedgehog feels like caressing a spiny baby cactus, with which you would develop a fondness in no time. Hedgehogs ‘tubing’ are adorable to watch that may make you lose track of time. Owners say they are fun-loving creatures that require only little maintenance yet some special care you should definitely consider knowing about before you adopt them.

You must remember these few things before getting this adorable spike ball to your home as a college student.

The Cage 

A hedgehog’s cage must be a minimum of 2X3 feet huge for it to move freely. 

Them being temperature sensitive beings, must not be kept in a place where it is too cold and away from direct sunlight. 


The enclosure must contain either an odour-free wood-based or fabric-based bedding that must be changed every week (changed weekly twice in case of fabric-based bedding). The bedding is to provide insulation to the hedgehog.  The bedding also makes it easier the clean the cage as the bedding absorbs their pee and holds their faecal matter. 

Other Essentials

The rest of the essentials for the cage bring an exercise wheel to keep their weight in control. 

A warmer spot with a heating pad for the hedgehog to snuggle up there. A sleeping pouch and a feeding bowl to feed food and water are non-negotiable.  The cutest thing to witness is paying attention to how they roll up to cute thorn balls while sleeping and curling inside the sleeping pouch. Further, engaging toys such as tunnels and wooden houses are some things hedgehogs really fancy. Owners often use toilet paper rolls too. Sometimes a hedgehog might stick its head inside these tubes and walk around with them. This is referred to as ‘tubing’. The internet is flooded with compilation videos of them tubing and being playful.


The primary diet of this omnivorous creature contains mealworms, insects, and a small number of fresh berries or vegetables that can be offered. Meat-based cat or dog food would be ample for their staple diet. One thing that must be kept in mind is that hedgehogs are lactose intolerant. Do not feed them anything that contains milk. It can significantly affect their health. They are also allergic to grapes and avocados. Although mealworms being one of the primary foods for a hedgehog is unusual for a domestic pet, one can get used to feeding them very soon.

Average instalment and maintenance costs

On average, it will cost you about $70 per month for a hedgehog’s expenses which include its diet, general health check-up and bedding costs. The average price for the installment of its setup, which provides for the cage, its inner components and other essentials, would be $90.

How often should you hang out with your hedgehog?

Most hedgehogs are solitary and anti-social creatures. Yet, they do require a daily dose of snuggles and love. They don’t need your attention in the daytime, for they are nocturnal animals  (most active at night), making themselves a perfect partner to give you company during your study or chill sessions at night. Leave them out of the cage once in a while out of their cell for them to roam and watch them play and pounce around your room. 

Going for a vacation? They can live long without you for many days. However, if not engaged, they act moodily depressed and behave hostile toward you. 

Some Drawbacks owning a hedgehog

  1. They eat mealworms which can seem complicated to get used to
  2. Most hedgys hate bathing. But that doesn’t mean you can skip this hygienic practice at all costs, for it’s essential to keep diseases at bay. Bathing a hedgehog can get traumatic for them, but you shall need to make this process as smooth as possible for them by using the proper procedures to clean them
  3.  If not well fed, Hedgehogs can be highly vulnerable to diseases such as fatty liver disease. This can be prevented with mindful diet practices that include cutting down on high sugar and high-fat foods with your pet and regular health checkups to keep all the evil illnesses at bay.

A sign that a hedgy is sick is that it starts to shed its quills

  1.  The quills of hedgehogs can get flees, which can be controlled by regular bathing 

Some other fantastic stuff about a hedgehog

They are so adorable that you lose track of time watching them play and run.

They are low maintenance, like flexed about earlier.  

Their care is affordable

They need less time commitment

They are independent, solitary animals

They don’t smell.


If you are ready to spend time with a special pet and responsible for taking care of it in the above ways, the hedgehog is your go-to companion for your college life. Obviously, it would grab a lot of attention and would have many visitors to your dorm room for its unique attributes and playful nature. 

Here is a little checklist I have curated to know if you can own this funny, playful pet.


  1. Are you ready to bear a cost of around $100 for the installment?
  2. Are you ready to spend 70$ a month?
  3. Are you set to spend 30 minutes cleaning a week?
  4. If you can spend 15 minutes snuggling your pet every day?
  5. Are you patient enough to deal with a hedgehog’s mood swings and the reluctance it might show during its bathing sessions?
  6. Is a hedgehog legal to be domesticated in your area?

If you have managed to tick at least 5 boxes in the above checklist, the fifth one being a must, congratulations, you are ready to get home this beautiful exotic pet and bond with it.

Written by Meghana Kasula

Interviewed by Roshni S