Small animals have become a popular choice as pets nowadays. A lot of people keep them because they believe such animals are much easier to care for.
This is especially true when compared to traditional pets like cats and dogs.
Amongst small animals, the two popular ones that people consider keeping as pets are guinea pigs and hedgehogs. There are tons of similarities between these two.
However, the answer is not entirely simple when it comes down to which is better as pets. It depends significantly on what you prefer in pets and your needs.
This guide will walk you through the pros and cons of keeping guinea pigs and hedgehogs as pets.
While guinea pigs and hedgehogs are both good pets, if you’re a beginner (or planning to get a pet for children), it’s best to get a guinea pig. Hedgehog is a good choice for an experienced pet owner
Are Hedgehogs or Guinea Pigs Better Pets for Beginners?
Hedgehogs tend to prefer solitude, which is why they will not be as sociable and playful as guinea pigs.
Hence, guinea pigs might make better pets if you want a pet that plays with you and cuddles you.
Hedgehogs tend to be fearful and shy in the beginning. This is why they require more work if you want to get to know them. As a result, they are not entirely beginner-friendly either.
Many people who are new to the pet-owning world would want to start off with caring for a small animal. They believe that such animals are easier to manage and are low maintenance.
For the most part, this is true. Small animals can be easier to look after. However, they are not as low maintenance as we think.
For example, hedgehogs are very shy and fearful. They even have quills, which, when triggered, can be activated and may hurt the owner.
This is why owners have to be quite careful and patient when caring for a hedgehog because they could injure themselves. These small animals are also not the best to cuddle and play with since they prefer solitude.
On the other hand, guinea pigs are much better pets for beginners.
They don’t have quills that could hurt children. They can also pretty much survive on their own. Guinea pigs don’t need constant care, and attention like hedgehogs do.
Therefore, guinea pigs are the better pets for beginner pet owners and children.
Guinea Pigs and Hedgehogs as Pets
Guinea pigs have been a favorite pet choice for years now, but hedgehogs are gaining greater popularity.
Knowing the pros and cons of each will help you make a better-informed decision.
Therefore, let’s take a look at everything you need to know about keeping either of these small animals as pets. Considering how both of them are popular options, you might be tempted to get one.
Keeping Hedgehogs as Pets: Pros and Cons
The popularity of hedgehogs as pets came about when the sonic cartoon was released.
The animal was unique and adorable, which is why people flocked to their nearest pet stores to adopt them.
Hedgehogs come in various shapes, sizes, and shades. None of them look exactly like the other since there will always be slight differences between each other.
How you care for hedgehogs predominantly depends on an owner’s experience and patience levels. They are solitary animals, which means they will not rely on their owners that much.
They have a pretty specific diet that consists of fruits and vegetables.
Hedgehog can even eat cat food. Hedgehog’s favorite treats are freeze-dried worms. You can give these to make them more acquainted with their owner.
An important thing to note about hedgehogs is that they will endlessly mate. Hence, if you keep a pair of male and female hedgehogs together, you will likely end up with tons of litter.
However, don’t keep two males in one enclosure since they might end up killing each other. This is not the case for female hedgehogs that can live amicably with each other.
Challenges of Caring for Hedgehogs
There are still numerous tasks and responsibilities a hedgehog owner will need to carry out. For example, they will need to hedgehog-proof the house.
There should be no space in the house where the hedgehog can burrow into.
They can also easily hide or go into hard-to-reach places, which can be stressful and difficult for pet owners.
Moreover, the pet owner will regularly need to clean and care for not just the hedgehog but also their enclosures.
This can be particularly difficult considering the fact that they don’t like being handled by humans.
Hedgehogs are naturally active animals. They love to explore, dig, play, climb, and run. And since they are also nocturnal creatures, they enjoy doing all of this at night.
For this reason, it is important to keep hedgehogs in enclosures for the night. These enclosures should also be large enough to give them space to run, play and climb.
Additionally, you will need to regularly clean hedgehogs and their enclosures. They are at risk for numerous diseases and microbial infections.
Soap dries out their body, which is why you simply need to wash them with water. Do this at least once a week.
Lastly, before adopting a hedgehog, it is imperative to look up your state’s laws. These are still exotic animals.
In many states in the US, it is illegal to keep a hedgehog as a pet. Hence, make sure you are not breaking the law if you house and care for this animal!
The Bright Side
It takes time for a hedgehog to warm up to a human. This is why owners will need to dedicate time and patience to caring for the hedgehog when they first get them.
Slowly, with time, hedgehogs will eventually become comfortable with humans. This is when they will let you hold them and pick them up without getting fearful.
Pros of Hedgehogs as Pets
Here’s a quick rundown of the pros of keeping hedgehogs as pets in your home:
- Hedgehogs are quiet animals and don’t make a lot of noises like guinea pigs do
- They don’t depend on humans too much and can thrive without them
- They are inexpensive to keep as pets
- You don’t need to exercise hedgehogs since they are quite active on their own. All you need to do is provide them with a large space and a wheel to run on
- They don’t have a complex diet since they mostly eat fruits and vegetables
- Their quills are not as sharp or painful
- For small animals, they can live for a long time, up to five years
- They don’t emit any bad odors (they don’t stink)
Cons of Hedgehogs as Pets
Here are some of the cons you will need to consider about owning hedgehogs as pets:
- Their buying and adoption fees are expensive
- They carry diseases and infections, which might be dangerous for other animals
- Hedgehogs are not suitable to keep in apartments since they need space to move around
- They don’t like being handled too much and might end up hating you if you pick them and cuddle them too much
- Their quails might be dangerous for children
- They require specialized vet care
- Hedgehogs get dirty quite often, which is why they need to be regularly cleaned
- They are not the best animals to keep alongside other pets
- Avoid kissing or hugging them because they carry salmonella, which can be quite dangerous
- They are at risk of several diseases and microbial infections
- You have to follow a specific nutritional plan in order to ensure they have a healthy diet
Keeping Guinea Pigs as Pets: Pros and Cons
Unlike hedgehogs that happen to be exotic animals, guinea pigs are a much more common pet choice.
Guinea pigs are yet another popular small animal to keep as pets, especially for children. They are playful, cuddly, cute, entertaining, and quite quirky.
Each guinea pig has its own personality, and they are all quite unique and affectionate. They also make loud oink sounds every now and then.
Guinea pigs are a popular pet option also because they are quite sociable.
Without any companion or company, they will not survive for long. This is why they should be kept in pairs.
When you keep a guinea pig, you must ensure that you have a large enclosure for them. It should be big enough to allow them to roam around freely.
Additionally, you must also provide them with the right nutritional diet.
Guinea pigs need vitamin C since they cannot produce it themselves. Otherwise, they may experience weakness, poor joints, and hemorrhages.
You also need to give them special care to ensure that they are not developing any problems or health issues.
The biggest challenge in caring for guinea pigs is in terms of keeping their enclosures clean. If you don’t do that, it will leave a horrible odor.
Pros of Guinea Pigs as Pets
Here are some of the most significant pros you need to know about if you plan to keep a guinea pig:
- They can live for up to eight years
- They have an excellent immune system, which is why they rarely get sick or carry any diseases
- Guinea pigs don’t require large areas to play and run around in
- They can easily adapt to their surroundings
- They don’t need much attention from the owner
- The cost of buying and adopting them is affordable
- They are great for children
Cons of Guinea Pigs as Pets
It is equally important to consider all of the disadvantages of keeping guinea pigs as pets.
They include the following:
- If you don’t handle them properly, they can get hurt since their bones are fragile
- You have to ensure they are getting enough vitamin C; otherwise, they will be at risk of health issues
- Guinea pigs and their enclosures can produce an unpleasant odor if it is not regularly cleaned
- They can easily develop dust and food allergies, which is why you need to keep a close eye on them
- They cannot stay unattended outside of their enclosures for long
- Guinea pigs can get depressed alone, which is why you should keep a pair of them. In that case, their maintenance can become expensive
- If you keep a male and female guinea pig together, they will reproduce extensively
- They can often become too noisy
Can You Keep Guinea Pigs and Hedgehogs Together?
If you are confused about which of these small animals to keep, you might be tempted to keep both of them together.
After all, having a variety of small animals is great.
You might think that you can keep guinea pigs and hedgehogs together since they both are small and have similar habits.
You should not keep guinea pigs and hedgehogs together. If they are kept in the same enclosure, they will likely have issues and fights. This will make both of them stressed.
Guinea pigs tend to be prone to stress since they are nervous and timid.
With a hedgehog around, this could become a problem. Not to mention hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, so they might keep guinea pigs up at night as well.
All in all, you can house them together in the same room, but in separate enclosures.
To sum, it is clear that guinea pigs make better pets for a variety of reasons.
They are comparatively low maintenance than hedgehogs, are affordable, and don’t carry many health risks.
On the other hand, hedgehogs can be expensive since they are exotic animals. They are also not beginner-friendly pets or the best choice for children. You need patience, practice, and a vet’s help to care for them.
Whichever small animal you choose to keep as pets, make sure you give them plenty of love and care. Good luck!
Other articles you may also like:
- Guinea Pigs Vs. Rabbits: What Makes a Better Pet?
- Can Guinea Pigs and Rabbits Live Together?
- Why Are My Guinea Pigs Fighting?
- Do Guinea Pigs and Hamsters Get Along?
- Do Cats and Guinea Pigs Get Along?
- Guinea Pig vs. Hamsters – What Make Better Pets?
- Male vs. Female Guinea Pig – Which Ones Make Better Pet?
- Do Guinea Pigs and Dogs Get Along?