Rabbit vs Hedgehog: Which is the Best Pet for You?

Both the rabbits and hedgehogs are tiny and adorable mammals. Due to that, there is an assumption that both these animals need similar pet care. But, there are a few primary differences between rabbits and hedgehogs. As an owner, you need to be aware of their differences, pros, and cons. 

You can keep rabbits and hedgehogs in a similar kind of environment. But, both of them need different diets and care routines. Rabbits come under the herbivore category and have a delicate digestive system. The hedgehogs are omnivorous and depend on a protein-based diet. Plus, it is illegal to have hedgehogs as pets in a few states

I have a fantastic experience of owning both rabbits and hedgehogs. In my opinion, both of them could become wonderful pets with proper care and maintenance. Below you can find more details about their diets and different care needs. Continue reading to determine which pet will be great for you. 

Rabbit And Hedgehog Pros and Cons 

Rabbit ProsRabbit Cons
Stays quietSensitive digestive system
Somewhat easy dietExtra maintenance, cleaning, and grooming
Fluffy furIf nervous, they will hide, bite, and run away 
Social animals Needs more attention
Available in a wide range Not good with tiny kids
Possible to train itStinky and needs cleaning
Hedgehog ProsHedgehog Cons
Remains quietSpiked and perhaps difficult to carry
Powerful digestive systemNeed a wide variety of food
Limited cleaning and groomingIf nervous, it will hide, bite, and curl up 
Need less attentionIllegal in specific US states
More exercise and plays often Sometimes it can transfer diseases 
Can be socializedNervous and territorial
Not stinkyOnly 4 to 6 years of life span

As you see, there are some overlapping things between both these animals. These two animals are shy at first. But they can make strong bonds with owners after getting comfortable with their presence! 

Based on your choice, you might find some of these aspects as pros or cons. For example, hedgehogs, being nocturnal animals, will remain active during the night. If you are busy during the day and have free nighttime, hedgehogs are a great choice! But if you have trouble sleeping, they are not ideal. It is because they might make noise while eating or playing on its exercise wheel. 

Animals might become bad-tempered when they are ill, bored, or weak. Below you can learn some things about their proper care and dietary needs.  

Rabbit And Hedgehog Care And Diet 

Cages

Rabbits and hedgehogs love to spend plenty of time staying in their pens and cages. Because of that, owners must set these enclosures properly!

The foremost thing to consider is space. Your pets need to have enough area to roam around. If possible, try to buy a cage that includes separate areas for sleeping, eating, drinking, and urinating. Rabbits and hedgehogs will be happy to have a safe and covered shelter. Plus, they can familiarize themselves with their surroundings. 

Rabbits must have a minimum space of 12 square feet. For hedgehogs, a 4 square feet minimum area is enough. It is because of their size difference since hedgehogs are tinier than many rabbit breeds. But, these animals might enjoy living in a larger area. If possible, you can buy them a big cage. After all, both of their usual environments have no boundaries.

Make sure to get cages that can be easy to clean. They can be beneficial for your pet’s health and your convenience as well.  

Hedgehogs and rabbits have tender feet. Due to that, keeping them in enclosures with cable or mesh grounds will make their paws sore. Cages with a solid floor are best, primarily if they have an extra layer of bedding, straw, or padding. 

Toys

Almost everyone likes to have a little bit of entertainment and leisure in their daily lives! Pets are not an exception to this statement. Rabbits and hedgehogs enjoy playing with a variety of play toys. A few preferences could develop as they grow up. Plus, several toys can come in handy for different purposes. Hence, try to buy a variety of playthings. 

Favorite rabbit toys include:

  • Chewing toys 
  • Toys that can create soft rustling or crunchy sounds  
  • Objects which can be torn or broken down

Favorite hedgehog toys include:

  • Toy cars, balls, and different rolling items 
  • Exercise wheels
  • Hunting or hidden treat toys 

Both these animals enjoy playing in tunnel toys and cardboard tubes. These toys tend to resemble and promote their burrows which they may dig in the wild. 

Diet

There are plenty of diet differences between rabbits and hedgehogs. Both these animals will appreciate the taste of fruits from time to time. But their crucial nutritional necessities are relatively different. 

In short, rabbits are herbivores, and their primary diet is dried hay. This food fills up 80 to 90% of their diet! You can give some dried pellets to supplement their diet and for extra fiber. It is good to offer tiny pieces of fruits or veggies once or twice a week. 

Coming to hedgehogs, they are omnivores. They tend to eat everything they could find in the wild. For pet hedgehogs, feed them meat-based kibble, which is high in protein. You can find various brands of hedgehog-specific kibble. Buy any kibble because this food contains the nutrients that your pet needs. 

In a hedgehog’s diet, chitin is a vital part. It is present in a wide variety of insects like mealworms and crickets. Once again, feed small pieces of fruits and veggies as an occasional treat. But do not make them their staple diet. 

Legality Of Ownership 

Across the United States of America, rabbits are approved as pets. There might be some individual rules about owning rabbits in some apartment complexes. Apart from that, there are no restrictions on owning a rabbit and keeping it in your house. 

With time, hedgehogs are highly available as house pets. But in some areas, it is illegal to own a hedgehog. Hedgehogs come under the exotic pet category. Due to that, there are some limitations to owning them as a pet. 

Currently, having a hedgehog pet is illegal in Pennsylvania, California, Hawaii, Georgia, and the 5 Boroughs of New York City. If you stay in Wisconsin or New Jersey, you need to have a license or a certificate from a veterinary inspection to own a hedgehog. 

Authorized veterinarians and wildlife rescue centers might have the permit to own hedgehogs in these areas. In short, there is no way to own a hedgehog if you are living in a restricted region.