It all started on a trip to Trat city. We visited the small pet shop near the market to buy some guinea-pig food for Dale when we spotted a cage with 4 or five hedgehogs sleeping in it.
One of these few month old four-toed hedgehogs (Atelerix albiventris) was an albino and didn’t look in the best of health. We debated for sometime whether the ethical thing was to leave him in the shop and not support the owners further or buy the little guy and give him a good home.
We took the hedgehog home and named him Walter White after the lead protagonist from the popular Breaking Bad TV series. OK, his name is a poor joke for an albino but he’s never seen the show so hasn’t took offense.
On the first night we left him downstairs in his cage with the door open. The next morning we couldn’t find him anywhere. After searching high and low we discovered him behind the washing machine. We wasn’t prepared for just how fast hedgehogs can run and the distance they like to cover.
The next day we decided to convert the balcony to be hedgehog friendly and plant it out to resemble a more natural setting for Walter. To date this has proved to have been a great idea. Along with a lot of ground covering plants, I also planted plum tomatoes and cucumber and for the first time the fruit is growing successfully.
Hedgehogs are omnivorous mammals who love to eat insects and snails so are great for keeping the garden pests at bay, which in turn, I’m sure contributes to our abundance of fresh fruit on the vine. They also like mushrooms, grass roots, berries and melons in their diet in addition to the cat food he gets daily.
Hedgehogs are a very low maintenance pets who are mostly nocturnal so they are not for everyone. However, they are fascinating creatures and Walter is certainly proving to be a happy chappy and an enjoyable character to have around the house.
Did you know…
- Hedgehogs can be found in Europe, Asia, Africa and New Zealand (by introduction)
- The are distant ancestors of the shrew
- The average hedgehog has over 5000 quills
- Pet hedgehogs can live between 8-10 years
- A group of hedgehogs is called an array or prickle