Subject: Hedgehog FAQ [1/7] - About the Hedgehog FAQ

picture of a hedgehog

Usenet Posting Information:

Newsgroups: rec.pets,rec.answers,news.answers
Followup-To: rec.pets
Sender: macnamara@HedgehogHollow.COM (Brian MacNamara)
Approved: news-answers-request@MIT.EDU
Distribution: world
Archive-name: hedgehog-faq/part1
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Keywords: faq pet hedgehogs


Answers to Frequently Asked Questions and general information about pet (African Pigmy) hedgehogs. Should be helpful to both prospective and current hedgehog owners.
Part I - about the FAQ, and revisions

Current Revision

Last-modified: 25 Nov 2001
Version: 3.32

Compiled and edited by Brian MacNamara (
Additions, corrections, and suggestions for this file are welcomed.

This document is copyright 2001 by Brian MacNamara. See section [0.6] for authorship information and redistribution rights. In short, you can give it away, but you can't charge for it.

The basic Hedgehog FAQ has seven parts, all of which should be available from wherever you obtained this one. A complete table of contents for all seven parts is given below.

Please note: While my knowledge of hedgehogs has grown (far beyond my wildest expectations when I began the FAQ), my knowledge is still quite limited, especially in areas of health care. I did not write, or verify, all the information in this FAQ. I have done my best to include only accurate and useful information, but I cannot guarantee the correctness of what is contained in this FAQ, regardless of the source, or even that it will not be harmful to you or your hedgehog in some way. For advice from an expert, I recommend you consult the books listed in part 2 [2.1], or, especially in the case of a suspected medical problem, a veterinarian who is familiar with hedgehogs.


Part I: ABOUT THE HEDGEHOG FAQ (this file)


0. *** About this FAQ ***

Subject: <0.1> Notes on formatting

The answers in these files are given in a ``digest format,'' which should make it easier for you to scan through them for the information you want. Each question begins with a line of hyphens, followed by its number and the question itself, as given in the Table of Contents above. In many newsreaders, including rn, trn, and strn, you can jump from one question to the next by hitting CONTROL-G. You can also look for a particular answer by searching for its number or for words from the question.

There are also some formatting aspects which may appear odd at first, such as indents and combinations of tabs and spaces. These are used to automatically convert the FAQ into HTML format, using a utility program I created for this. Unfortunately, it's not very adaptable to other FAQs as it was written in some haste, but it does do a reasonable job on the Hedgehog FAQ.

Cross-references to other questions are in square brackets; for example, [2.2] means that more information may be found in section 2.2.

Subject: <0.2> Where to get the Hedgehog FAQ

This FAQ is posted once a month (usually on or around the 20th) to the rec.pets, rec.answers, and news.answers newsgroups. It is also available by anonymous FTP from the main news.answers repository:

(That is, ftp to and cd into the directory pub/usenet-by-group/rec.pets). The files themselves are called:


It's also always available from my hedgehog web page at:

Finally, Dr. Tetsuro Oka, DMV, has translated the one version of the FAQ into Japanese, which can be accessed at:

Please note that the address, above, is new (Oct, 1999), and Dr. Tetsuro Oka informs me that he is working on an updated translation of the FAQ.

If you cannot ftp and have no WWW access, send me email ( and I'll be glad to email you a copy.

Subject: <0.3> Goal of this FAQ

This FAQ is intended to cover many of the basic questions about hedgehogs. It's somewhat unusual in that it deals both with pet (African Pigmy) hedgehogs, and with wild hedgehogs (primarily European, but also African). Most of the FAQ is aimed primarily at pet hedgehogs, largely because that is the information I have to draw on. I hope to continue to extend the coverage of the FAQ to address both groups reasonably, and since there is considerable crossover in how the information applies, much of what is said about one group is applicable to the other, with a little common sense used in the interpretation.

The number of books and other sources for information is finally expanding to a reasonable quantity, however, there is still relatively little information available on caring for and understanding hedgehogs, at least compared to most animals. While this FAQ does not intend to be an in-depth dissertation on hedgehogs, it is expected to provide some basic information, and to be a source for new information as it is learned, rather than waiting for the next book to be published.

I should also point out that I expect to keep the comments fairly light, so as not to make the bulk of this FAQ qualify as a cure for insomnia. If you start to find it boring, tell me -- I probably fell asleep while typing that section, and messed up on the what I was saying.

I do have to admit to one pang of guilt. When I discovered there was so very little information on looking after hedgehogs, I desperately wanted a FAQ to refer to. Since there wasn't one (Sorry Nathan, I didn't even know about your efforts then) I figured the best way to get all the information I wanted was to write the FAQ, and hope the comments it managed to get would provide all the missing bits and pieces. 'Nuff said, let's get on with hedgehogs.

Subject: <0.4> Credits and editor's notes

I can take credit for only a relatively small part of the contents of this FAQ. Most of the useful information deserves thanks to others. I have tried to give credit to the right person in the right place by indenting specific comments by others and citing the authors. My real contribution has been to cobble together the many useful pieces of information on hedgehogs that have appeared on the Internet, and elsewhere, into a single source.

With this latest version (3.X), I think the FAQ, and myself, have finally reached the point where we both know something about hedgehogs, at last. As part of this rewrite, I've tried to blend in many of the comments that people have provided, and in some cases, I may have dropped actual quotes from the FAQ. I want to apologize to those of you whose information has now become part of the prose, rather than a separate quotation. I've done this to try and make the information flow better for the reader, and I can promise it has not been done lightly.

Of all the contributors, I would like to extend a special thanks to Nathan Tenny whose unofficial hedgehog FAQ formed the foundation for the information below. Nathan deserves the lion's share of the inspiration on this FAQ, and should be considered the father of the hedgehog FAQ. Thanks Nathan -- you saved my first version from just being filled with hedgehog anecdotes, instead of good information.

I would also like to thank Katherine Long for the encouragement to actually pull this together, and Pamela Greene for allowing me to use the ferret FAQ as a guide for the topics and sections below, and many other useful tidbits of FAQ formatting.

I have a special thanks for Cathy A. Johnson-Delaney, DVM, who as one of the first few veterinarians who has owned (or is that owned by?) hedgehogs, has provided some medical info for the FAQ. Thanks for the help Cathy, and for making me feel a lot better about this pile of babbling.

Thanks to Peter Captijn, who almost single handedly kick-started me into finally adding the information on European hedgehogs that I've been meaning to for ages (and who actually contributed most of it) -- may your garden be overrun by prickly little visitors.

And next to David Mantle for sending me an absolutely amazing wealth of information on European hedgehogs that will take me a while to wade through and incorporate all the wonderful tidbits into the FAQ.

Sort of a quick separate thanks to all the hedgehog-happy readers of the rec.pets newsgroup, and the hedgehog listservers, who have unknowingly added volumes to this FAQ, and especially to Patty-Anne Lea for boosting my ego above and beyond measure and letting me know for sure that this creation is appreciated.

In a general sense, I would like to thank all the people at the N.A.H.A., HI, and the IHR for their help and encouragement.

I want to extend many thanks to the contributors who all deserve a round of applause for what they have contributed: Melanie A. Abell; Ron Adrezin; Andrew Albinger; Debbie Allen; Jeffery Allen; Debbie Andelin; Tammy Baer; Lance Barlow; Brenda Basinger; Michael Bell; D. Bishop; Shirley Ann Blakeney; Dick Brisky, Matt and Renee Butcher; Tom Buzzwo; Eloise Campbell; Christi Cantrell; Travis Carter; Chingur/Lani Richey; chvall; Teresa Claudino; Wayne W. Clendenin; Kathleen Close; Jazmyn Concolor; Bill Corner; Peyton M. Creadick; John R. Daily; Marcin Dobrucki; Doug Dorer and Mary Anne; Dave Ehrnstein; Elizabeth Galante; Robyn Gorton; Tex Green; Leslie H.; Michael Hainsworth; Lynn Hallquist; Kim Heys; Kelly A. Hodge; John Horton; Stefan Hossack; Penny Jackson; Laura Jefferson; Jerry; Julihana; Marcia Kautz; Kay of Hedgehog Helpline; Anders Kemi and Siw Bjorkgren; Kirby J. Kerr; Lisa Ladouceur; LeAnne and Adrian; Julie Leir-Van Sickle and Glen Van Sickle; John Lester; George Lewis; Terri Lewis; Alicia Look; Peter Mack; Melissa Maloney; John F. Masinter; Sharon Massena; Donald Martin; Janet Martin; Mike McGary; Gerald McKiness; Antigone Means; Melissa and Heather; Melissa-Lee; Jan Micheel; Elizabeth Jane Monroe; Julie Moor; Tiffany Mross; Willard B. ``Skip'' Nelson, DVM; Mary Novak; John Ofner; Dr. Tetsuro Oka, DVM; Ligia Ortega; Tim Pearson; Christine Porter; Pam Powers; Vanessa Purvis; Dr. Nigel Reeve; Todd Reeves; Paul Ritchey; Lisa Rowe; Rick Russell; Seabury Salmon; Jon Santarelli; Richard Saunders; Sigrun Seetrevik; Sheri; Jon Simmons; Craig Simpson; Shelley Small; Wendi Smit; Bryan H. Smith; Alexis Sneller; Elyse Spaite; Randy Starcher; Ken Steigenberger; Pat Storer; Chuck Stoup; Doyle Stradling; Susan & Chia; Teresa; Tirya; Dan Tishman; Barry Turner; Steve Turpin; Anja van der Werf; Ian Van Natter; Jesse and Kris Welsh; Tom Weston; Kyrstin Westwind; Linda Wheatley; Janet Willacy; Johnny M. Williams; Dominique Winther; Woobie; Dawn Wrobel, Jennifer Young-Watson; Kathy and Donald Zepp; and Znofyl; and last but not least, my resident editors-in-quills Quiver and Pepper, and the late, dear Velcro, Sprocket, Hocus, Pocus, Quibble, Bramble, Skewer, and Popeye.

One last thank you that deserves separate note is to my wife, Betty Gunn for happily sharing and encouraging my hedgehog addiction, presenting me with Velcro, and for repeatedly translating this whole thing into English, from what ends up being little more than a mish-mash of spelling mistakes and punctuation that bears no resemblance to any language from this planet.

If there is anyone I have missed, you have my apologies, and please let me know. I hope that the list above will continue to grow over the coming years.

Subject: <0.5> Information I would like to track down and add -- please help!

This is your chance to help add things to the FAQ. Some of the specific information I'm trying to track down is listed below, but please don't limit yourselves to this -- I'm very open minded about taking any kind of information I can get a hold of.

Some of the things I hope to add over the upcoming releases are:

    (I'm still trying to finish tidying up all the changes in the V3.X rewrite of the FAQ -- as soon as I can start to look forward, again, I'll add some meaningful plans, here).

Subject: <0.6> Copyright and redistribution information

    This compilation, is copyright 2001 by Brian MacNamara. It may be freely distributed by electronic, paper, or other means, provided that it is distributed in its entirety, including this notice, and that no fee is charged apart from the actual costs of distribution. (For-profit service providers such as CompuServe and America Online are granted permission to distribute the files provided that no additional fee beyond standard connection-time charges is levied.)

    Those portions of this file written by others remain the property of their respective authors.

    1. *** Revision history of this file ***

    Subject: Revision history

    The most accurate description of the version of this FAQ is the date at the top. For really minor changes, I won't necessarily change the version number, but I'll always change the date.

    Version 3.32 - 25 November 2001

      No changes this month.

    Version 3.31 - 25 October 2001

    Version 3.30 - 27 September 2001

      No changes this month. Duck and Snuffle... (Cool weather is coming -- keep your hedgies warm)

    Version 3.29 - 27 August 2001

      No changes this month.

    Version 3.28 - 24 July 2001

      No changes this month due to hedgie problems. Sorry.

    Version 3.27 - 20 Jun 2001

      No changes this month due to moving (my world is made of boxes).

    Version 3.26 - 26 May 2001

      No changes this month due to moving.

    Version 3.25 - 26 April 2001

      Revised sections [0.4] (more contributions), [1.] (always), [2.7] (added to sources).

    Version 3.24 - 25 March 2001

      No changes.

    Version 3.23 - 24 February 2001

      Revised sections [0.4] (staff changes), [1.] (always).

      Due to the `staff changes' I was not up doing much else this month -- sorry.

    Version 3.22 - 29 January 2001

      Revised sections [1.] (always), [2.4] (Hedgehogs International have ceased operations), various changes throughout to remove references to section 2.4.

      My apologies for not getting to the other updates that people have sent me over the past few months. I hope to get to some of them for February.

    Version 3.21 - 26 December 2000

      No changes.

    Version 3.20 - 26 November 2000

      No changes.

    Version 3.19 - 24 October 2000

      Revised sections [1.] (always), [2.2] (added note on HedgehogHollow being closed for reconstruction), [2.4] (updated info for Hedgehog International), [9.5] (added additional info on wobbly hedgehogs).

    Version 3.18 - 24 September 2000

      Revised sections [1.] (always), [2.2] (more mailing list changes), [2.4] (updated addresses for Hedgehog International).

    Version 3.17 - 20 August 2000

      No changes.

    Version 3.16 - 24 July 2000

      Revised sections [0.4] (more contributors), [1.] (always), [2.3] (updated HHog Registry info).

    Version 3.15 - 25 June 2000

      No changes.

    Version 3.14 - 24 May 2000

      Revised sections [1.] (as ever), [2.2] (HH Mailing list has closed, but added info on newish list, PigPogLives)

    Version 3.13 - 24 April 2000

      No changes.

    Version 3.12 - 23 March 2000

      No changes.

    Version 3.11 - 26 February 2000

      Revised sections [0.4] (more contributors), [1.] (as ever), [11.5] (Added info on CJ Wildbird nest boxes and wild hh food).

    Version 3.10 - 23 January 2000

      Revised sections [0.6] (updated copyright), [1.] (right here), [6.3] (fixed address for ABC).

    Version 3.9 - 26 December 1999

      No changes this month -- I've been busy with work and the holidays. Sorry.

    Version 3.8 - 25 November 1999

      Delayed again. This time of all things the cause was due in part to fixing earthquake induced computer problems (unfortunately, I'm not making this one up :-})

      Changed to HI throughout, and Renumbered sections 2.5-2.6 to allow room to add IHC as [2.5].

      Revised sections [0.2] (new address for Japanese translation), [0.4] (hedgie staff changes), [1.] (still), [2.2] (adjusted AOL chat information and removed Lance Barlow's chat which seems to be gone), [2.4] (changed to HI), [6.3] (changes to food availability).

    Version 3.7 - 27 October 1999

      No changes this month due to hedgie problems. Sorry.

    Version 3.6 - 25 September 1999

      Whoops, missed the date! Sorry the changes and posting are late. I've been busy with a new job.

      Revised sections [0.4] (more contributers), [1.] (this message), [2.3] (updated branch info for IHR), [2.4] (brief update name), [9.1] (added notes on Uterine tumours).

    Version 3.5 - 23 August 1999

      No real changes, again, this month due to editor changing jobs. Hopefully this will mean more time for the FAQ in the coming months.

      Please note: at this time, only the HedgehogHollow.COM addresses for both the FAQ and myself continue to work. Email sent to my previous addresses at PCI will not be able to reach me. Also, I regret that I have been mostly offline over the previous month or so, and I am far behind on email. I hope that I will be able to catch up, starting soon, though this will depend on how much time and effort my new job will absorb.

      Revised sections [1.] (this message).

    Version 3.4 - 24 July 1999

      No real changes this month due to editor being completely overloaded at work.

      Revised sections [1.] (this message).

    Version 3.3 - 20 June 1999

      Changed sender to reflect coming from domain.

      Revised sections [0.4] (more kind contributors), [1.] (always), [3.2] (revised info on Maine and PEI).

    Version 3.2 - 20 May 1999

      Revised sections [0.2] (ftp access from main news repository, only), [1.] (always).

      Few changes due to editor being busy changing ISPs.

    Version 3.1 - 20 Apr 1999

      Revised sections [1.] (always), [2.2] (adjusted AOL chat information), [8.2] (added caution about alcohol based flea/tick spays, including Adams), [9.1] (stressed dangers of sunflower seeds, which like peanuts get caught in hedgie mouths, with sometimes deadly results).

    Version 3.0 - 02 Mar 1999

      It's done, at last. My apologies for the delays in getting V3.0 of the FAQ together -- it was a much bigger job than I anticipated.

      This release constitutes a major rewrite and reorganization of the FAQ. The first in over 3 years, and 45 monthly updates. The changes are extensive enough that I've removed the revision history between V2.0 and V3.0 as the contents were meaningless relative to the `new' FAQ. Only the major versions are shown until updates begin, again.

    Version 2.0 - 17 Apr 1995

      Renumbered sections 1 and 2 reversing them to allow for split-up, and because it made more sense to me.

      Split FAQ into multiple pieces to try and avoid newsreader size limitations.

    Version 1.0 - 10 Jan 1995

    * * *