Hedgehog V.S. Guinea Pigs: Which Makes Better Pets?

Small pets are becoming more and more popular as we speak. Well, it’s understandable though since not every soon-to-be owner wants the conventional dog and cat as their house pets.

It’s quite common for people to associate small pets with easiness in terms of taking care of a pet and providing for their needs.

However, an effort is more required from owners who have small animals as their pets. Some popular choices of small pets would be guinea pigs and hedgehogs.

There’s much similarity and difference between the two, so this article will help owners choose what pet suits their lifestyle.

Are Hedgehog Or Guinea Pigs Better Pets?

Guinea pigs would be a clear choice as it has one factor that a hedgehog doesn’t have, and that’s the beginner-friendly pet title.

Small pets are a common choice for owners who are new to the entire pet-owning life. New owners don’t want to be baffled by the heavy responsibilities required if they take care of other pets such as dogs.

Owners want to start on an animal that can be easily managed, and what better way is there to take care of a pet that’s low-maintenance than a small animal, right?

Well, that logic is both correct and incorrect. Size is a contributing factor when it comes to the level of easiness in taking care of pets. For example, bathing a large dog would require more energy and patience from owners compared to small pets like guinea pigs.

Are Horses & Giraffe Related
Are Horses & Giraffe Related

On the other hand, this logic is not completely correct since small pets are not as low-maintenance as we think.

Take hedgehogs, for example, these animals have quills (the tiny spikes on their back) and that would activate and possibly hurt the owner if they’re not careful, although the pain is nothing too serious, the feeling is similar to having a bunch of toothpicks pierced at you.

Needless to say, hedgehogs will require time, dedication, and money from owners.

Guinea pigs aren’t as challenging to take care of compared to hedgehogs, which is why it makes a great pet compared to the latter.

Guinea pigs don’t have quills that could hurt you or your children, and they can be pretty active on their own so owners don’t need to dedicate that much attention and time to play with them.

hedgehog

The Popularity Behind Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs have gained much popularity over the years, one reason behind this is because of Sonic the Hedgehog’s fame in both movies and iconic video games.

While this may be a good advertisement for the lovable, fictional blue hedgehog, it’s not the same when it comes to the real-life animals themselves.

Since people are head-over-heels in love with these small spiky animals, they decide to purchase one for themselves. Most often than not, people tend to buy more than one. Sadly, like any other thing that’s loved dearly, people will gradually lose their interest.

This is a common occurrence in the pet scene and hedgehogs aren’t spared from this type of cruelty and abandonment. Pets aren’t decorations, rather, they’re a responsibility. Just because a certain pet is cute people would flock over to the nearest pet store to buy one.

A pet is a companion and a responsibility. It has its needs in order to survive and it needs the assistance of a person in order to keep on living.

Pet owners who don’t understand the discipline it takes to take care of a pet will abandon their own pets the moment things get too hard for them.

Hedgehogs As Pets

With that being said, hedgehogs are both high and low-maintenance animals, depending on the owner’s capabilities. If the owner is always away due to school or work, then a hedgehog may probably not be the smartest choice for them.

Hedgehogs are solitary animals, which means they can do well on their own without relying on the attention given by owners. However, owners still need to look after their hedgehogs, especially when it comes to their enclosures and the cleanliness of their bodies.

As an owner, your house needs to be hedgehog-proof, meaning, there shouldn’t be any space where a hedgehog can burrow into. If there’s one thing hedgehogs are known for, it’s their love for digging.

If they wound up getting into hard-to-reach places, then you will easily lose sight of your hedgehog. In unfortunate cases, you may never even find them again. This is why it’s important for them to have large enclosures to roam around in.

Another thing to take note of when it comes to hedgehogs is they’re highly active and nocturnal animals. They love to climb, run, dig, you name it! Their active nature can be quite cumbersome during the night, luckily, large enclosures can solve that problem.

Hedgehogs are not a big fan of handling as well. They don’t like being picked up and cuddled since they’re solitary animals. It would take some time for the hedgehog to completely trust and warm up to a person.

By spending time with them a few times a day, a hedgehog will eventually get used to the touch and care of a person.

The most important information of all would have to be knowing if owning a hedgehog in your location is legal or not. In the United States, there are about eight states in which it’s illegal to own a hedgehog. Take note that hedgehogs are indeed exotic animals.

Pros

  • Hedgehogs are generally quiet animals. Aside from instances where they make purring sounds when they’re hungry, they don’t really make that much noise like how guinea pigs and hamsters make loud oinks.
  • Hedgehogs are independent animals and can thrive without much human attention.
  • Hedgehogs are low-maintenance when it comes to exercising them. They’re active on their own and all they need is something to scratch on and a wheel to run on.
  • Hedgehogs are usually inactive during the day because they are nocturnal animals.
  • The quills on a hedgehog are not as sharp and painful when it comes in contact with the skin as compared to porcupines. The sensation is similar to that of toothpicks.
  • For a small animal, they have a pretty long lifespan that ranges from 4-6 years.
  • Hedgehogs don’t emit any foul odor.
  • Hedgehogs make great hypoallergenic pets.

Cons

  • Hedgehogs carry salmonella and other diseases and bacteria.
  • Hedgehogs are not social animals. Keeping them with another pet spell trouble and handling them too often will make them hate you and display their quills in defense mode.
  • Hedgehogs need a lot of time and space for them to roam around, so that means, they’re not suitable for apartments and such.
  • These animals don’t give promising results when it comes to litter training.
  • Hedgehogs are not suitable for children.
  • Hedgehogs require specialized vet care.
  • A hedgehog must follow a specific nutritional plan to keep them healthy.
  • While hedgehogs may be independent animals, they can’t be left alone for a long period of time.

They need to be cleaned because they can get dirty easily, they need to have an interaction with a person a few times a day, and the temperature of their enclosure must be under 70F.

Guinea Pigs

Guinea Pigs As Pets

Another popular type of small pet that sweeps a nation by storm would be the guinea pigs. Guinea pigs are like the small version of a capybara wherein people can easily get one for themselves then cuddle and bond with it.

These animals are affectionate and pack a lot of individuality in them. Each guinea pig is unique and has its own set of quirks that would make any person entertained and happy.

These animals are very vocal! Guinea pigs make these iconic oink sounds that can either be tolerable or not, depends on the person really.

Another thing about guinea pigs is they are social animals. These small pets won’t last long by themselves and would most likely be depressed without any companion. So buying guinea pigs in pairs is the best way to go.

Guinea pigs also need large enclosures for them to roam around and play in. Said enclosure must also have proper bedding and water supply. It’s important to note that the floor of the enclosure must be solid and not grilled.

Owners should regularly change the beddings to prevent ammonia build-up. Their diet must also consist of Vitamin C because guinea pigs can’t produce these on their own.

Vitamin C is essential for them as this prevents them from getting weak, having hemorrhages, and swollen joints.

Pros

  • Guinea pigs have long lifespans that range from 6-8 years.
  • These are healthy animals because they primarily consume fruits and vegetables.
  • Guinea pigs are sociable animals and this makes them fond of human and animal interactions.
  • These animals don’t take a lot of space.
  • The initial costs for owning a guinea pig are affordable.
  • These animals don’t have any destructive behavior such as nibbling.
  • They make great companions for children.

Cons

  • Guinea pigs are delicate so they can get hurt easily when improperly handled.
  • They are not capable of producing Vitamin C.
  • They are strictly indoor animals.
  • Guinea pigs have this unpleasant odor. They get this from their dirty enclosures, so make sure to clean their enclosures regularly.
  • Their vocalness may be cumbersome for some people.
  • Veterinary care and other supplies may be costly over time, considering their long lifespans as well.

Similarities Between Hedgehog And Guinea Pigs

  • Both are nocturnal animals.
  • They’re both similar in size so their food intake is somewhat similar.
  • Both animals can smell bad if their enclosures aren’t properly maintained.
  • Both animals need large enclosures with flat solid floors.
  • The maintenance of both these animals can get pricey over time.
  • Both have long lifespans for small animals.

Differences Between Hedgehog And Guinea Pigs

Guinea PigsHedgehogs
SociableSolitary
Covered with fur          The entirety of their bodies are almost covered with quills
Very vocalOnly makes hissing sounds when scared or afraid
Guinea pigs groom themselvesHedgehogs don’t groom themselves
Adaptable and friendlyDocile and easily frightened

Do Hedgehogs And Guinea Pigs Get Along?

No, hedgehogs won’t get along with guinea pigs because they are solitary animals, so they prefer to be alone rather than to be with another animal.

Which is Easier To Take Care Of? Hedgehogs Or Guinea Pigs?

This purely depends on what type of lifestyle the owner would have. Both animals make great pets, so it all boils down to what the owner wants and can handle.

Resources:

https://pets.webmd.com/can-i-have-a-pet-hedgehog#1

https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/guinea-pigs-right-pet-you

https://news.okstate.edu/articles/communications/2020/guinea-pigs-as-pets.html