Prospective Hedgie Owners: Finding a good breeder is very important as your hedgehog will only be as good as the breeder who raised it. There is more to breeding than sticking two random hedgehogs together and getting paid for the end result. Time, money and extensive planning goes into ethical litters however there are plenty of breeders out there that just see $$$ they have very little interest in the correct care of their hedgehogs nor care which homes the hoglets will go to. Just because a breeder is USDA Licensed does not mean they are a quality breeder.
Use this checklist when you are looking for a breeder:
** Some of these may not be possible to verify with the current pandemic and many breeders using Curbside no Contact methods:
How long have they been breeding hedgehogs?
Is the breeder USDA Licensed?
Have they had any violations with their USDA inspections?
How many times a year do they breed their females?
What condition is the facility in (most times this is a persons home) are the animals in clean cages, is there enough room, food and water.
Do they breed multiple species of animals? This can signify a breeder who may have such diverse breeding programs that they have little information on all the animals they produce
What is the condition of the surrounding area is it clean?
Are the animals on site? Red Flag Here...
Do you have to meet them somewhere to get your baby? Typically this is not optimal however with security/covid many breeders are not allowing owners near their "facility"
Can they provide a pedigree for the parents?
Do they have a Health Guarantee?
Do they make themselves available for your questions or problems?
Do they have a Code of Ethics or Mission Statement?
Ask questions! Yes....good breeders don't mind.
Ask if the breeder will be okay with you coming back to them if there are any questions with the hog or you are unable to care for the hog anymore. Again, ethical breeders will not mind taking back or even helping you find a new home for your hog.
Back yard breeders will breed for profit (key word) and the vet will cost them money thus lowering their profit. Flippant attitudes towards housing, food, care and even enrichment can prove fatal or emotionally scaring for a hedgehog. Study pictures of the animals - look for wounds, sores, scabs abything that would indicate a medical condition.
Lack of time spent with a hedgehog can lead to a very anti-social hedgehog.
It is VERY IMPORTANT to do your research before buying a hedgehog, the focus should be on a healthy animal from a reputable breeder. Hedgehogs should not be an impulse buy. Not doing your research can end in heartbreak with a sick animal costing hundreds in Veterinary bills or an untimely death.
Never feel bad about ending a potential transaction with a breeder - you need to feel comfortable with your breeder - - and your breeder should be available to answer any of your questions and provide guidance if you need it!