An African pygmy hedgehog from Worksop has become a hit on social media – with a following of over 7.000 people on Instagram who log on to admire the huge collection of beautiful photos uploaded by his proud owners.
Charlie was brought to our town by his human family Antonia and Lewis in May and now lives with them and their Rottweiller Rosie and tortoise Tillie.
Antonia fell in love with Charlie at first sight and she spent hours researching his very complex needs to make sure she could give him the best environment to live in. This includes his very own custom built, two tier vivarium tank which is thermostatically controlled to between 23 and 26 degrees and boasts personalised bee beds and tunnels and a bucket wheel where he will spend hours running.
Antonia said: “Charlie runs and plays all night while we sleep. He normally starts his night time fun at around 11.00pm and doesn’t stop till around 5.00am, when he then rests till the next night. Hedgehogs are nocturnal and that’s the same for pygmy hedgehogs, Charlie sleeps most of the day until around 8.00pm where I get him out for some bonding time.”
Bonding time includes cuddles in snuggle pouches made especially for pet hedgehogs, while play time in his special play pen is also important. Charlie also loves a sand bath.
Keeping hedgehogs as pets is a prickly subject – as their owners need to be dedicated and invest both time and money to mimic their natural African habitat. Antonia enjoys sharing all her experiences of keeping Charlie – including his monthly baths and daily foot baths to wash off his ‘poop boots’. She has also had a special ring made containing one of his quills and enjoys taking him on family walks on warmer days, though he will spend the autumn and winter months indoors where he can stay in his special surroundings as the cold is especially dangerous.
African pygmy hedgehogs have a complex diet as they are exotic pets. Charlie has five different types of cat food, high in protein and low in fat, mixed together to make the perfect pygmy lunch that is available 24/7 with his water. He then has his bugs which can be a mix between black crickets, Dubia roaches, meal worms, waxworms, locust and morio worms. Charlie also loves chicken, scrambled egg and strawberries, that he can have as a treat once a week.
“Charlie is extremely friendly and loves a cuddle and he gets along very well with our Rottweiler Rosie and our tortoise Tillie,” Antonia added. “I couldn’t imagine my life without him now. Hogs are very well known for being quite grumpy and huffy. They need a lot of time and patience but I think spending a lot of bonding time with Charlie through lockdown really helped. There is a lot of effort needed to have a pet hedgehog and it isn’t for everyone, but it was the best decision I ever made.”
Follow Charlie’s adventures on Instagram: @charlie_african_pygmy_hedgehog.