Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Home for a Hedgehog...

I was going to have a hedgehog of my very own!  (Okay, he would also be my husband's... but mostly mine!) I was over the moon.
The first thing we had to do was come up with a name. So many choices...what should we name him? The great search began. Mr. Pricklepants? Hedgie von Hedgeburg? Bob? My husband vetoed all the names I came up with. He wanted a name that would match the regal hedgehog we would be adopting. Plus, he wanted him to have a Pakistani name, since he would now be a Pakistani-American hedgehog like us. So he came up with Chotay Khan Saab, the Urdu equivalent of a stuffy British name like Sir Nigel Smythe-Pemberton III. I liked it. We would call him Chotu for short. (Something you call small children, which roughly translates to Little Cutie.) Done!
Our next step was to collect all the supplies needed to take care of a pet hedgehog. Not easy. Hedgehogs aren't exactly common pets, which makes finding supplies made specifically for hedgehogs nearly impossible. 
Quest #1: A home for our hedgehog. This was a long and complicated process, because a decision had to be made: would we make his home ourselves, as we had seen online on blogs and youtube videos, or would we follow the books we'd read that say a large cage is perfectly acceptable for a hedgehog? After some deliberation, we decided that, rather than have him live in a makeshift home we've created, requiring the use of measuring, drilling, and cutting up a plastic container, the best (and neatest) home for our hedgehog would be bought from a store.
Quest #2: Food for our hedgehog. Hedgehog food isn't available anywhere. Instead, you can feed them dry cat food; the best is to create a mixture of many different kinds to give them balanced nutrition. We found out that we could buy that through the breeder we were getting our hedgie from. They can also be given fruits and insects as treats. I'm willing to share my strawberries and grapes with our little guy, but it was going to take a while to get used to feeding him insects. I'd deal with that hurdle later...
Quest #3: Toys! This part was fun. We went to Petsmart and went crazy. We needed a food dish, water bottle, something to sleep in (I found a cute realistic looking tree stump), wheel to run on (this was the only thing I found that was actually for hedgehogs...and chinchillas and guinea pigs), tube to crawl through, pet bedding (the challenge was finding one that wouldn't make me sneeze), a few mini tennis balls to push around, and some stuffed toys for him to snuggle with (I settled on a mini teddy bear and small puppy with floppy ears). Needless to say, I had lots of fun and left with lots of bags.
When we got back to our apartment, my husband built the cage and I did the interior decorating.
We were ready. Our hedgehog had a home!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Let's Try Again...

A few days later, I got my reply. My little guy was already reserved, she just hadn't gotten around to posting that this hedgehog was also spoken for. She didn't anticipate having a new group of babies for a few months. In a few months, I would be back in school and unable to give a new baby hedgehog the attention that it needs.
I was beginning to lose hope, but then I remembered that I wasn't the type to give up that easily. I went back online and tried again. I kept reading that hedgehogs should only be bought through breeders, rather than pet stores. Hedgehogs are prone to being grumpy and anti-social, but breeders give them lots of handling and care, which helps baby hedgehogs become friendly. At pet stores they don't get much attention, which makes them uncomfortable around humans. I contacted all the breeders again through emails and voicemails. Then, I waited.
Sure enough, after a few days, I got an email response from one of them. He had babies available! I went to his website, which was chock full of adorable hedgehogs. These ones were a little older than the others I had seen, but still so cute! This time, when I emailed him about the one I chose, he emailed me back right away. I gave him my deposit and went to the website and this is what I saw:

I'm pretty sure there aren't any other Fatimas out there buying hegehogs. This one was mine!