Eleanor & Joy - Hedgehog Sister's Interview

This interview begins my journey of getting to know my Instagram friends better. We will be traveling all over the world (virtually of course), asking all the most interesting questions. I won't just be interviewing pups, because this blog doesn't show favoritism. Plus, I'm a curious guy. I want to know about all of you! First up, are two hedgehog ladies named, Eleanor and Joy! 

(*It should be noted, that all these interviews were done through email, so they are pretty straight forward. AND, Mama helped me with these! My puppy paws can't do all the typing!) 

Let’s start simple, ladies, for the readers: Which one of you is which?

   Eleanor (pictured below), is chocolate colored.

Joy (picture below as well), is albino

And, where do you live?

   We live in the United States

Besides the physical appearance, is there any difference between an albino and non-albino hedgehog?

   Joy: Thank you so much for asking that! No! We albino hedgies are just like any other hedgie, except we lack pigmentation. Often a lot of albino hedgies are last to find loving homes because of their coloring or are sold at a reduced price. Breeders have been using albinos to “create” new coloring (using the platinum white color from the albino + normal color eyes from a standard hedgie). It makes me sad when people say I’m “not a real hedgehog” or that I look scary because of my eyes.

Is there a story behind your names?

   Eleanor: Hogmom had narrowed it down to 3 names, but felt like the “old fashioned” name suited me the best. She found the name on a baby website.

   Joy: Hogmom was at a hedgehog convention and as part of the rainbow bridge ceremony (where they honor hedgies that have passed away), and they had the names of the hedgies on a flower. Hogmom was honoring Cella who had passed away. On the back of the flower, was the name Joy. So Hogmom said if she ever got a second hedgie, she’d name her Joy. Little did Hogmom know that she’d have the opportunity to adopt me the next day!

I hope it’s not rude, but how old are you ladies?

   Eleanor: I am 3 years old. My birthday is August 23, 2014. I came home with Hogmom on November 23, 2015.

   Joy: I am 1 year old. My birthday is July 30, 2016. I was adopted by Hogmom on April 30, 2017.

   Hogmom celebrates our birthdays as well as our “gotcha” days.

You’re nocturnal, correct?

   Hedgehogs are nocturnal; however we will wake up and play for a bit if Hogmom takes us out of our cages. Eleanor enjoys waking up and “snacking” at 5pm, 6pm, and 7pm and often spends the night playing for a bit, then napping, then back to playing, then napping. Joy does not fully wake up until 1am.

What activities do you do when awake? And are you awake all night, or just for a few hours?

   We like running on our wheels!! Besides that, Hogmom gives us a variety of toys we play with: Tsum Tsum plushies and crinkle balls are out favorites. Also she got us a toy that dispenses treats when we knock it over, which is fun! Eleanor is awake off/on at night. Joy will be up for longer periods of time at night.

And what specifically is each of your favorite toys?

   Eleanor: I like my duckie plushie. I’ve had him since I was brought home. Mom always makes sure to put him in my travel carrier whenever I go places. Occasionally we fight, and I end up dunking him in my water bowl, but we quickly make up and become friends again.

   Joy: I like my crinkle ball! Mom got me a giant one!! I love pushing it with my nose, or biting it and carrying it around. I can be rather loud at times and it wakes mom up at night.

What does a hedgehog eat in a typical diet? (What is given daily, and what is for special occasions only?)  & who likes what?

   Hedgehogs typically eat a high quality dry cat food supplemented with insects (meal worms, wax worms, super worms, crickets, roaches, any kind of feeder insect!). Daily we get 1.5 tsp of our blend of 3 different kibbles. There is no quality hedgehog specific food currently available for purchase, so Hogmom likes to blend 3 different cat foods so we get a variety of nutrients. The general guidelines are between 30-35% protein and 10-14% fat.

   Eleanor: My favorite snacks are Temptations cat treats, freeze dried chicken liver dog treats and of course - meal-worms!!

   Joy: My favorite snack is popcorn!! (Only the fluffy part and that is given only on special occasions). I also like Temptations cat treats and wax worms. Hogmom gives us either worms or Temptations as a snack daily.

What are those things on your back, and do they serve a purpose?

   Those things are quills. Because we are prey animals in the wild, they act as our defense mechanism to scare away predators. No, we cannot shoot them like a porcupine, but when we curl up into a ball, they stand up. We also make a “popping” motion to also scare our predators away - no one wants a pointy ball of quills in their face! We do shed them like humans shed hair.

The next few questions are for Hogmom, thanks for being so sweet, ladies!

What is the lifespan of a hedgehog?

   Hedgehogs typically live 3-6 years.

Describe their personalities:

   Eleanor is a big goofball. She enjoys watching House Hunters and Shark Tank. (Yes, she will come out of her fleece hide and look at the TV). She likes listening to stories (Peanuts) and dancing. She can be especially grumpy when woken up, and hisses loudly. She loves burrowing in blankets. She has a large fleece hut filled with fleece strips which she hangs out in when outside of her cage. She will spend all day in there and only come out if she needs to use the bathroom. Eleanor enjoys bath time, and will tolerate getting her nails clipped. She collects rubber ducks (she has over 125) and Tsum Tsum plushies.

   Joy is like her name implies, a very happy girl. She constantly makes a chirping noise, which in hedgie language means she is happy. The only time her quills go up is if she is woken up from a nap. She loves exploring - especially in tunnels. She does not like getting her nails clipped, as she would rather be exploring. Joy is a Mom’s girl. She enjoys cuddling with Hogmom and will only accept treats from Hogmom. Joy also likes to be very clean and will clean her poopy feet herself!

   Both Eleanor and Joy volunteer at a local adult day care where they periodically visit the seniors. They are always well loved and have been given the honor of being better than bingo. Neither of them will bite unless your hands smell like worms.

Are hedgehogs prone to any illnesses or diseases?

   Hedgehogs are prone to various types of cancer. Mites are also common amongst hedgehogs, but easily treatable. Depending on breeding, hedgehogs can also get Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome, which is a hedgehog form of Multiple Sclerosis. It is a chronic, progressive disease typically occurring within the first year of life. It can only be truly diagnosed with a necropsy. Fortunately, breeders have been working to eliminate this disease through quality breeding efforts!

   Eleanor’s quill loss is due to mites. You can see the white spots where new quills are coming in.

What are necessities for a hedgehog home/cage?

   A heating unit!! We are very temperature sensitive and can hibernate and die if temperatures become too cold. Other necessities include a wheel, food/water dishes, toys, and places to hide/sleep.

What made you pick hedgehogs as a pet?

   I have chronic migraines, so I was really drawn to hedgehogs because they are nocturnal. It was great to have a companion that was active in the dark and could keep me company. Also I liked that they were small sized and portable which fit into my lifestyle.

What kind of care do hedgehogs require? Anything special?

   Hedgehogs need daily interactions with their humans. If left alone in their cage, they will become very solitary and grumpy. Other daily tasks include spot cleaning poop, and providing fresh food and water. In addition, hedgehogs need their nails trimmed on a regular basis. This can be particularly challenging depending on the hedgehog’s personality. Hedgehogs also need baths every few weeks. They can have a foot bath as often as needed to remove “poop boots” or poop that becomes stuck on their feet. Hedgehogs run for miles on their wheels and often poop while running, thus their feet can become dirty quickly!

Hedgehogs are exotic pets, can you tell me why they may not be for everyone?

   Hedgehogs are super cute - especially if you have seen any of the videos and photos of some of the famous hedgehogs. We are not very cuddly! We need daily interaction with humans to become calm and tame around humans. Otherwise, we will make a hissing noise and curl into a spiky ball if you try to play with us. And keep in mind, some of us are naturally grumpy, despite even the best handling. We also can be very expensive initially (cage setup, heat system, etc). It is also recommended that humans have a vet fund stashed away as we are prone to illness and we have to see exotic vets which are more expensive than a typical vet. We also poop A LOT. Our poop is also not small like a hamster or rabbit either, they are more like toothpaste sized logs. In the United States hedgehogs are illegal in the boroughs of NYC, Pennsylvania, DC, California, Georgia, and Hawaii.

   If you are interested in getting a hedgehog as a pet - do your research first!! Be sure to look for a reputable breeder or adoption agency. Most pet stores buy their hedgehogs from backyard breeders and they may not be as healthy.

Is there anything that hasn’t been covered, that you’d like my readers to know?

   Hedgehogs have a unique behavior called anointing. That is where they find something that smells pleasing to them (usually a strong scented item) and they bite it and create a liquid ball of saliva in their mouth. They then contort into various positions and spit the saliva ball onto themselves. No one knows why hedgehogs do it and some hedgehogs do it more frequently than others.

And those are my friends, Eleanor and Joy! These ladies were actually some of my first followers on Instagram, and I love seeing their adventures. They love story time, just like me! And from the sound of it, they are active ladies. I have to admit, I didn't know much about hedgehogs before this interview, and it is good to see that they are in such good hands with their Hogmom. 

So, a good lesson to take away from this is: as with any fur-baby you are looking to adopt, make sure you have the time and resources to do so. Some are more expensive than others, and require special care. I'd love it if you showed their Instagram page (mentioned below), some love, and let them know you came from my blog!

You can follow their daily life and adventures on instagram @EleanorandJoy !

As you will see when you check out their page, because I know my friends will, they are very photogenic, and lead fun/adventurous lives. 

And: In case you were interested in learning more, here are some helpful links that their Hogmom provided me with!

Hedgehog Welfare Society. A great resource for hedgehog information and includes an updated list of veterinarians that are hedgehog friendly http://www.hedgehogwelfare.org/

Volcano View Hedgehogs. A site operated by two hedgehog breeders in Washington State. They have great hedgehog information pages and the best list of kibble for hedgies! http://www.volcanoviewhedgehogs.com/kibble-list.html

** Reading this, and want to be interviewed? DM me on Instagram @ bodie.goodboy **


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