Posted: March 17, 2009, 4:30 p.m. EDT
Q: I'm thinking about getting a pet hedgehog. I already have a few pets, and I'm wondering how well hedgehogs mix with rabbits. I have three rabbits, and I'm not sure if they can be housed with a hedgehog. Also, do African pygmy hedgehogs hibernate?
A: Hedgehogs and rabbits are non-aggressive critters, so I don't see a problem with letting them out together with supervision and a lot of space. Your rabbit will probably sniff the hedgehog and may receive a little poke, then just hop away.
Hedgehogs are solitary and don't require the companionship of other animals. Therefore, they should never be housed with other critters, not even another hedgehog. The only exception would be two females, if there's plenty of space. Anytime your hedgehog and rabbit are out, they should be supervised.
Because African pygmy hedgehogs come from a warm climate, they do not hibernate like their European cousins. In the wild, they will go into estivation - a form of dormancy similar to hibernation behavior - due to the heat and dryness of their environment. If they are exposed to cold temperatures, hibernation is almost always fatal unless caught early. Do not expose your hedgehog to temperatures lower than 72 degrees Fahrenheit. If you house your hedgehog in an area that falls below 72 degrees Fahrenheit, set up a heat system to keep your hedgehog warm.