Albino Hedgehog: A Cute Hedgehog, If You Like Pink Eyes*
Hedgehogs, especially the pygmy hedgehogs, which are the species people keep as pets, are cute animals, and an albino hedgehog is no exception. Most pygmy hedgehogs have a white underbelly and face, or a white face with a raccoon-like mask across the eyes, a black nose, black eyes, and spines that can take on a variety of colors, but most hedgehogs, or hedgepigs, have black and white spines, in a salt-and-pepper pattern.
Many Different Colors, Some of Which Are Quite Rare
Look through the Web pages of the International Hedgehog Association, and you’ll see over 90 different varieties and combinations of color these little animals could have. The hedgepigs sold in pet stores seem to be mainly of the black and white, salt-and-pepper variety. If you want a cinnamon-colored hedgepig, or an apricot-colored one, you’ll usually have to check with a few breeders. Some of the colors, which are either rare or highly prized by those who love hedgehogs, can command high prices. There is even a champagne hedgehog. A champagne hedgehog is one whose spines are white, but banded by a combination of orange-beige and cinnamon-colored stripes.
Albinos Can Be Very Expensive, or Rather Cheap
Since albinos are somewhat of a rarity, one might expect to pay considerably more for one of the more common salt-and-pepper hedgepigs. Some breeders will ask several hundred dollars for an albino, and an occasional breeder might ask $1,000 or more.
This is where it can pay to shop around, since there are breeders who sell albinos for about the same price they ask for hedgehogs with the most common colors, and occasionally you can find a breeder who will sell an albino for less than the asking price of other hedgepigs he or she might have for sale. While this may seem a bit strange, there is some logic behind this lower price. One of the cutest pygmy hedgehogs you’ll ever lay your eyes upon is a pure white hedgehog, one with white spines, underbelly, and face, but one that has a little black nose and black eyes. The nose of albinos is pink, and their eyes are also pink, or pinkish red. Many find the pink eyes somewhat unattractive. Consequently, albino hedgehogs, though somewhat rare, are not usually in great demand.
Very often a hedgehog can be purchased for a price somewhere between $50 and $100. The best place to find a healthy hedgehog is with a reputable breeder. Occasionally, pet owners who don’t breed hedgepigs, but just happened to put a male in with a female, will have baby hedgepigs for sale. The best time to purchase a hedgehog is shortly after it has been weaned. A baby hedgehog that is gently handled will, over a period of time, become quite tame, and when you pick it up, you won’t be picking up a round ball covered with sharp spines. When the spines, which are indeed hard and very sharp, are laying flat, a hedgehog actually feels quite soft, and when the spines are flat, you know the hedgehog isn’t afraid of you and trusts you. A sudden sharp noise however can cause hedgepig to turn into a bristly ball in about the same amount of time it takes to blink an eye.
The male hedgehogs are larger than the females, and a large male pygmy hedgehog can weigh up to a pound. When a one-pound hedgehog curls up into a ball and erects its spines, you usually need to be wearing canvas or leather gloves to pick it up.
When a Wild Hedgehog Makes the News
It’s not just among the pygmy hedgehogs that one will find albinos. An occasional albino will be found among the larger European hedgehogs, which can become somewhat tame, but generally don’t make good pets, and the Egyptian hedgehogs, which are larger and have a reputation for being quite ill tempered. When one of these albino hedgehogs in the wild is spotted, it often is captured, given a cute name, sent to a zoo, and, of course, makes the newspapers.
Hedgehogs are not the most brilliant of all animals. Even the tame ones are nearly impossible to train. They have a keen sense of smell, but are notoriously nearsighted. If allowed to run freely through the house, they will sometimes run head-on into a table leg or another piece of furniture. If one is allowed to run free outside, it has to be carefully watched, and let it find a nice hiding place and stay there for quite some time. Hedgehogs won’t come when called.
The best way to become familiar with hedgehogs is to attend an event where breeders and owners have them on display or for sale. You might even be lucky enough to spot an albino hedgepig or, better yet, a white one that isn’t a pure albino. Hedgehogs are not all that difficult to care for, as long as they have a safe and clean home, a constant supply of fresh water, and pet food or crickets to munch on.