I have been interested in hedgehogs for as long as I can remember. However, I didn’t realize that they were kept as pets until 1999 when I spent a year in Russia and saw them being sold on the streets of Moscow. I completely fell in love with the little creatures. In fact, I talked about them so much that one of my professors planned to try to catch one for me at her dacha (summer home), but I knew that taking it home would be impossible. The European Hedgehogs are a larger cousin of the African Pygmy Hedgehogs and are not legal to own in the U.S.
As a child, I had about every animal imaginable. I spent all of my free time in the woods, creek and mountain behind our house catching everything from tadpoles and crayfish to chipmunks and rabbits. I have always been fascinated by every living thing.
Unfortunately, hedgehogs are not legal to own in Pennsylvania and many other areas of the country. I lived in Pennsylvania until 2002 when I moved to Baltimore. I worked 2 full-time jobs in Baltimore which left no room for any other pets than my Bengal cat. In 2004, My husband and I moved to Virginia. I did more research on hedgehogs and got on a waiting list.
In 2007, I bought my first hedgehogs. It took 8 years from the time I wanted one so badly until I was finally able to have one as a pet. They did not have pedigrees and the female was accidentally bred when I got her. I was in complete shock the day that I cleaned the cage and saw baby hedgehogs! Of course I was super excited and have been breeding ever since.
I have learned quite a bit since I got my first hedgehog pair. I joined the International Hedgehog Registry and began registering my babies. I no longer breed any hedgehogs unless they are pedigreed with no known genetic illnesses. I bathe my hedgehogs with warm water and a drop of olive oil to keep their skin healthy and free of mites once per month. I love my hedgehogs and make sure they are happy and healthy at all times.
My family has been very supportive. I have 2 young daughters now and I’m a stay at home mom. I am truly lucky and blessed to have a hobby/business that I can enjoy with my children. My husband helps with my web site, video production and marketing side. Shannon at Dreamflower Meadows has also been a tremendous help to me. She sold me most of my herd and she is very knowledgable about hedgehogs. I have learned so much from Shannon and can not recommend her more as a reputable breeder. Gail from Millermeade Farms has also been wonderful and she has such a passion for animals, too. She helped me to build my herd.
I enjoy learning more about hedgehogs and sharing my knowledge with others. I am so fortunate to have a hobby that I truly enjoy. Thanks for visiting my site and let me know if I can be of any help.
Christie D. Riddle