About Marion the Hedgehog

Marion the Hedgehog started life as a sort of exotic pet to a fourth grade boy. When she turned out to be not quite what he expected, he gave her to a fourth grade teacher for the remainder of the year. In the classroom she lived in a small aquarium.
After a couple years, that teacher moved on to a new position and Marion, who was called Zipper and Velcro, was inherited by the new teacher in that room. At some point the teaching assistant took her home and she was given to a seventh grade Science teacher.

Unfortunately, none of the people who kept her as a classroom pet bothered to research what type of environemts hedgehogs need. Marion was in pretty bad shape when I adopted her. She had foot problems and internal parisites (probably because her house wasn’t cleaned often enough).

Hedgehogs are insectivors and travel vast distances (miles!) in the wild searching for food every night, so a pet hedgehog must have a special exercise wheel. A typical small animal wheel doesn’t work becuase a hedgehog’s legs and feet are very thin and will fall through the space between the rungs. My husband made a wheel for Marion out of a five gallon bucket from instruction we found on the internet. She loved it and used it every night for the rest of her life. I also bought a ferret ball for Marion so that she could run through the hall of my school and around the library safely for part of evey afternoon. When we put the ball into her house and tap on it, she would run to it from where ever she was and climb right inside.

Marion’s home in the library was 4, four foot long translucent covered plastic boxes that we connected with 3″ PVC piping. Each box had a pipe, box, or hat for her to burrow in. Her wheel was in one, a patio stone in a second, her food and water in a third and the last one she used as a bathroom. Marion’s house was set up on the top of a 4 foot tall bookcase so that students could walk along the length of the bookcase to see her. On weekends, vacations and during summer, she lived at my house where, in additon to her box house form library, she had a 5′ swimming pool to play in, Marion had a variety of toys to play with too. She liked hard plastic cat toy balls with little seeds inside. She actually would chase after a ball that we rolled across the floor.

Another problem Marion had when I got her was her toenails had grown around her toes and back up into her feet. I can not imagine how painful that must have been for her to walk! Since hedgehogs in the wildrun over a variety of surfaces that serve to file their toenails, captive hedgehogs must either have regualr trims, or as we did, give the hedgie a patio stone to run over so to help keep nails short!

I had Marion for nearly four years before she died of old age and she was a wonderful and interesting pet.