The Ultimate Guide to Owning a Hedgehog in Japan - the Ultimate Guide to Owning a Hedgehog in Japan

Hedgehogs are adorable, spiky, and curious creatures that have become popular pets in recent years. However, owning a hedgehog is not as simple as it may seem. There are many factors to consider before bringing one home, such as their legal status, health care, diet, housing, and personality. In this article, we will provide you with everything you need to know about owning a hedgehog in Japan, one of the countries where hedgehogs are most in demand.

Are Hedgehogs Legal in Japan?

The first thing you need to know is that hedgehogs are not native to Japan. They are imported from Europe, Africa, or Asia, and are classified as exotic animals. This means that they are subject to strict regulations and restrictions, depending on the prefecture or city where you live.

In general, hedgehogs are legal to own in Japan, as long as you obtain a permit from the local authorities. The permit is usually valid for one year, and you need to renew it annually. You also need to provide proof of vaccination, microchipping, and sterilization for your hedgehog. Some prefectures or cities may have additional requirements, such as limiting the number of hedgehogs you can own, or banning them altogether. Therefore, it is essential that you check the local laws before buying or adopting a hedgehog in Japan.

How to Find a Hedgehog in Japan?

If you have decided that you want to own a hedgehog in Japan, the next step is to find a reputable breeder or pet shop that sells them. There are many online platforms and websites that advertise hedgehogs for sale, but you need to be careful and do your research before making a purchase. Some sellers may be unlicensed, unprofessional, or unethical, and may sell you sick, injured, or illegal hedgehogs.

To avoid scams and frauds, you should look for a breeder or pet shop that has a good reputation, experience, and knowledge about hedgehogs. You should also visit the facility in person, and inspect the conditions and quality of the hedgehogs. You should ask the seller questions about the hedgehog’s origin, age, sex, health, temperament, and personality. You should also request to see the hedgehog’s documents, such as the permit, vaccination record, microchip certificate, and sterilization certificate. You should never buy a hedgehog without seeing it first, or from someone who refuses to provide you with these information.

How to Care for a Hedgehog in Japan? - Holding a Hedgehog

Once you have found a hedgehog that meets your expectations, you need to prepare for its arrival and care. Hedgehogs are not low-maintenance pets, and they require a lot of attention, time, and money. Here are some of the basic aspects of hedgehog care that you need to consider:

  • Diet: Hedgehogs are insectivores, which means that they eat insects and other small animals. In the wild, they also eat fruits, vegetables, eggs, and mushrooms. In captivity, you need to provide them with a balanced and varied diet that mimics their natural food sources. You can feed them commercial hedgehog food, which is specially formulated for their nutritional needs. You can also supplement their diet with live or dried insects, such as mealworms, crickets, or waxworms. You can also offer them fresh fruits and vegetables, such as apples, bananas, carrots, or cucumbers, but only in small amounts and occasionally. You should avoid feeding them foods that are high in fat, sugar, salt, or spices, such as chocolate, cheese, nuts, or onions, as these can cause digestive problems or poisoning. You should also provide your hedgehog with fresh water at all times, and change it daily.
  • Housing: Hedgehogs need a spacious and comfortable cage that can accommodate their size and activity level. The cage should be at least 60 cm x 40 cm x 30 cm in dimension, and have a solid bottom, a secure lid, and good ventilation. The cage should be lined with a soft and absorbent bedding, such as paper, wood, or fabric. You should avoid using materials that are sharp, dusty, or scented, such as cedar, pine, or corn, as these can irritate or injure your hedgehog’s skin or respiratory system. You should also furnish the cage with a hiding place, such as a box, a tunnel, or a fleece pouch, where your hedgehog can sleep and feel safe. You should also provide your hedgehog with toys and enrichment items, such as balls, wheels, tunnels, or chew toys, to keep it entertained and stimulated. You should clean the cage and change the bedding at least once a week, and disinfect it monthly.
  • Health: Hedgehogs are prone to various health issues, such as obesity, dental problems, skin infections, parasites, tumors, or quill loss. To prevent or treat these conditions, you need to monitor your hedgehog’s health regularly, and take it to a veterinarian who specializes in exotic animals. You should check your hedgehog’s weight, body condition, appetite, behavior, and quills every day, and look for any signs of illness or injury, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, bleeding, swelling, or discharge. You should also trim your hedgehog’s nails, brush its teeth, and bathe it when necessary, using appropriate tools and products. You should also keep your hedgehog’s vaccinations, microchipping, and sterilization up to date, and follow your veterinarian’s advice and recommendations.
  • Personality: Hedgehogs are solitary and nocturnal animals, which means that they prefer to live alone and be active at night. They are also shy and defensive, and may curl up into a ball or display their quills when they feel threatened or scared. However, hedgehogs can also be friendly and curious, and may bond with their owners over time. To socialize and tame your hedgehog, you need to handle it gently and regularly, and offer it treats and positive reinforcement. You should also respect your hedgehog’s preferences and moods, and avoid forcing it to do something that it does not like or want. You should also provide your hedgehog with a quiet and dark environment, and avoid disturbing it during the day or exposing it to loud noises or bright lights.


Owning a hedgehog in Japan is a rewarding and enjoyable experience, but also a challenging and demanding one. Hedgehogs are not suitable pets for everyone, and you need to be prepared and committed to provide them with the best care possible. If you are interested in owning a hedgehog in Japan, you need to do your research, find a reputable source, and follow the local laws and regulations. You also need to understand your hedgehog’s needs, personality, and behavior, and respect its individuality and uniqueness. By doing so, you will ensure that your hedgehog is happy, healthy, and comfortable, and that you have a strong and lasting bond with your spiky friend. 🦔

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