July 28 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
An animal foster carer from Ipswich has today urged people to do serious research before taking on an African Pygmy Hedgehog, which is being seen as the latest ‘fad pet’ to own.
Animal charities have already raised concerns that owners do not know enough about the creatures to care for them properly and have raised fears that they will be open to neglect and abandonment should people get bored with them.
Rebecca Hadgraft, an Ipswich-based volunteer with the National Exotic Hedgehog Rescue Service, says the animals require a lot of care and that many people are not aware of the conditions they need to be kept in.
The 22-year-old added: “We want to advise people that they are not just cute, there are more issues involved with them like the way they are meant to be kept and health issues – things like that.
“I have seen things that are wrong, I have collected hedgehogs from people and they have been kept in the wrong conditions and some have had to have vet treatment.”
Fears over the welfare of the animals have come after it emerged there has been a 5% rise in the ownership of the animals in the past six months.
The nocturnal creatures generally need to be cleaned everyday and are sensitive to cold and changes in temperature, so their cages need to be heated with a heat pad.
Miss Hadgraft, of Sidegate Lane, added: “The reason we are trying to raise awareness is because a lot of people don’t know how they are meant to be kept.
“It is a massive commitment to take on one of those animals. The main message is just to research as much as you can and weigh up the pros and the cons. You have got to be able to give the right amount of time and dedication to these animals.”
For more information about the work done by Rebecca, or for details on exotic hedgehogs, visit www.homelesshogs.co.uk