Rabbit vs Hedgehog: Which is Better as a Pet? (Deciding Factors Revealed)

If you’re in the area looking to adopt either a pet rabbit or hedgehog and you can’t decide, this article is for you.

So which is better, rabbit or hedgehog?

Rabbits are relatively easy to take care of and they’re also very social creatures while hedgehogs take a little longer to trust you. Hedgehogs may also be more prone to illnesses that can become costly with the vet bills. Hedgehogs also require environments that are warmer, so buying into extra heating equipment might be a good investment. Ultimately rabbits are the more popular choice for pets.

Some people who own both say that they are a little more expensive to take care of because of the cooler environment. The electricity bill can go up if you turn up the heat or buy a heating device for your house.


The fact that rabbits are allergy-free makes them a good choice for small pets. If your child has troublesome allergies, a bunny might be just the thing.

Having a rabbit can give children an opportunity to learn how to care for, feed, and provide water for them. The rabbit can also be walked, petted, and cared for with minimal adult supervision. Rabbits are versatile and aren’t easily broken depending on the breed. You’ll find some owners that keep their rabbits outside during the warm weather in their own cages and pins. Some people keep their rabbits indoors all year round.

Health repercussions are one downside of owning a rabbit. The spaying or neutering of rabbits is essential for reducing aggression in these creatures. Moreover, female rabbits are particularly susceptible to uterine cancer, so spaying is important for this reason as well.

Rabbits are common as pets in the United States. There are no rules when it comes to who can own a rabbit and where it can live. Some owners are willing to raise them in their garage.

The benefits of owning a rabbit include fostering a sense of responsibility and independence in children and extending the rabbit’s life. Rabbits live more than eight years, about the same as a dog, so they far outlive fish.


Normally, you wouldn’t expect people to think that hedgehogs are good for first pets for several reasons. It’s not every day that you see someone with a pet hedgehog. They’re just not as popular as fish or other animals. Worst of all some states might even ban having a hedgehog as a pet.

It’s already known that California, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Georgia, and New York don’t allow people to own hedgehogs as pets. The rest of the US is okay with this. Also, the state of New Jersey and Wisconsin does allow owning a hedgehog however they do require your pet to have a veterinarian inspection and a permit.

Hedgehogs are also reportedly a tad bit more difficult to take care of. They sometimes need specialized veterinary care. Now, this kind of care is pretty hard to find, and not all professionals can provide this kind of care. Hedgehogs might not always have health issues but when they do you must be prepared with the phone number of the specialist.

Hedgehogs do have a relatively high incidence of oral cancer and mites.

Before you decide to pick up a hedgehog from the pet store, be sure to know the ins and outs of taking care of one. If you are ready to focus on adopting a hedgehog, then you should learn as much as you can before doing so.

Pet care information for rabbits

Some people are surprised to learn that rabbits can be considered exotics. Their popularity has been on the rise in the U.S. They’re still classified as exotic pets when it comes to medical care. To begin with, this means they need a specialized vet. If you’re considering a rabbit as a pet, there are several types of veterinary practitioners you can consult. These include a rabbit vet, a small animal vet, and a general veterinarian.

Rabbit vets are aware of health issues that are unique to rabbits, and they are informed of the latest treatments. A general veterinarian may not be able to give you the same level of information you need about rabbit care as a rabbit specialist. Learn everything you can about rabbits on your own before adopting one. You should carefully consider any pet you are thinking of purchasing.

It is very easy for rabbits to develop very serious health problems very quickly. You should immediately take ill rabbits to the veterinarian if you suspect that they are sick. It might be a wise idea to keep a basic rabbit first aid kit in hand. This is if you are an experienced rabbit owner who recognizes the symptoms of specific problems.


The average rabbit measures eight to twenty inches in length and weighs four to eight pounds. It is not uncommon for rabbits to get quite a bit larger.

It’s crucial to understand that rabbits of different breeds come in many different sizes and even shapes.


A typical domesticated rabbit will live approximately between 7-12 years. This number may vary even further depending on the breed. Ordinarily, if you have a rabbit, expect an average life expectancy of 9 years if the rabbit is well taken care of.

However, rabbits in the wild have been known to have significantly fewer life expectancies.


Rabbits are part of the social group. In the wild, they live with a bunch of other rabbits who are considered friends and family.

If you have a pet rabbit you know that you need to interact with your rabbit as much as possible. You need to show companionship to your rabbits.

And if you don’t have enough time to do this, it’s wise to find your rabbit a mate. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a member of the opposite sex.

Rabbits can get along with other animals as well including cats or dogs.

However, it still depends on their relationship together and if things will work out between the two behaviors.


Remember, rabbits need a lot of space. They need to be able to run, jump, play, and roll around the plains.

A backyard could probably fit this description well. However, if you don’t live in a place with a backyard, it’s best to use a large room.

As for enclosures, rabbits need a place to sleep and hide when they are feeling shy or scared.

I recommend that for enclosures and cages, you should have one that is measured about 12 square feet.

The play and exercise area should be at least 32 square feet.

And if you have your rabbit secluded to just indoors, make sure that you rabbit-proof the entire area. This isn’t only for indoors, but for outdoors as well.

There are a lot of dangers for rabbits in both areas.

Remember, rabbits are animals of prey and they instinctively need to hide when they are in danger or feel like they are in danger.


Rabbits should eat mostly fresh hay. Even the type of hay matters. Some of the most popular are Timothy, grass, or oat hay.

Make sure your rabbit gets plenty of vegetables.

It’s important to feed your rabbit fruit as well. However, sugar can be a very dangerous thing for rabbits. Make sure you limit the amount of fruit a rabbit eats because it can harm them.

Common health problems

One of the most common health problems that a rabbit can get deal with their stomach.

Digestive illnesses are some of the worst things that can happen to a rabbit, aside from disease and malnutrition.

If a rabbit ends up consuming too much of the wrong thing, like its own fur, it can cause a lot of stomach issues that can ultimately be the end of it.

Rabbits also have teeth incisors that are always growing. They’re always needing to chew on something hard, like hay to shave down those teeth. If they don’t it will overgrow and end up piercing the rabbit’s gums, for breaking off and causing an infection.

Rabbits are also very sensitive to warm temperatures. If the temperature reaches higher than 85° f then rabbits would normally find a cool place to burrow into.

If you see your rabbit acting strange like exhibiting signs and symptoms of panting, teeth grinding, not eating, and just acting fatigued, then it is best to contact your vet as soon as possible.

Spay or neuter

I’m not sure if I could stress this enough, but to stop rabbits from multiplying like crazy, you’re going to have to either spay or neuter them.

Rabbits are constantly breeding. There are some occurrences where a month after a female rabbit gives birth she is pregnant once again.

There’s also another benefit of spaying or neutering your rabbit. Rabbits can be very aggressive when it comes to territory. They can nip and butt others who are crossing their space.

Having them spayed or neutered will lessen their aggressive nature.

It also protects them from certain genetic and underlying diseases that can soon occur in the future.


In us, it is not necessarily mandatory to get your rabbits vaccinated. Contrary to belief, this is not the same for cats and dogs.

To make sure your rabbit is healthy and it from any future diseases, I recommend reaching out to a veterinarian to get more information on whether or not vaccinating your rabbit is a good decision.

Emergency care

Like I said before, if rabbits are sick it can get bad, really fast.

Unless you are a trained and knowledgeable veterinarian I suggest you bring your rabbit to a person who knows what they’re doing as soon as you can. A rabbit specialist will be able to diagnose the problem and quickly determine the best route to keep your rabbit alive.

I recommend that you look for a simple rabbit first aid kit in the case for some reason you won’t be able to reach your veterinarian in time.

Do what you can and learn as much from your veterinarian as possible on what to do during an emergency.

Hedgehog Pet Care Information

Not every day do you ever see a hedgehog roaming around in your garden. What’s even rarer is finding out that you can take one of these furry little guys home with you as pets.

There’s not much to it, these guys are cute, prickly, and quiet creatures that are relatively easy to take care of.

Hedgehogs have these sharp quills on their backs that they usually use to fight off their natural predators. One bite into a sharp quill will send a coyote backing up in pain.

There is no denying that hedgehogs are also considered exotic pets when it comes to veterinarian care. Hedgehogs will require a specialized veterinarian to understand the ins and outs of their health and body. And to be quite frank, these types of veterinarians are far and few in between.

As such, it’s important to take as many measures as you can to make sure that your hedgehog is getting a well-balanced diet, with plenty of exercises, and taken well care of.

If you have a child or a family member in the house with an allergy then you’re in luck with a hedgehog. Hedgehogs do not have dander. And people with allergies find them very easy to tolerate.

Owning a hedgehog can be a very rewarding experience. The trust you gain with your hedgehog can be of great emotional value for both you and the hedgehog itself. Don’t let the prickly defensive mechanism for you, hedgehogs are normally docile and none aggressive in nature.


This is a difficult question because there are a lot of breeds of hedgehogs roaming the world. Hedgehogs are normally small enough to hold in the palm of your hand. However, be careful when doing this because they do have spikes on their backs.

Some of the smallest hedgehogs can weigh a little over half a pound, while some of the larger ones have been known to weigh almost 3 pounds.

So we’re looking at the range of hedgehogs being between 0.6 to 2.8lbs.

Hedgehogs also generally grow to about 6 to 8 in length.


There’s not been a lot of research when it comes to the lifespans of domesticated hedgehogs versus the ones in the wild.

However, many say that hedgehogs that are adopted as pets will normally live between 4 to 7 years. Some hedgehogs have also been recorded to live up to 16 years!

As for wild hedgehogs, their lifespans are generally 4 to 7 years for larger-sized breeds, and 2 to 4 years for smaller-sized breeds.


Like other small pets, hamsters can be domesticated to a point where it will be okay if you hold them in your hands.

Unlike rabbits, you can consider hedgehogs a little more solitary and a little less sociable. It’s going to take a bit more work to get your hedgehog to trust you.

It’s always good to try and get your hedgehog during its early stages of life preferably while it is an infant. This will help engrave the fact that you are its owner and caregiver.

Hedgehogs have been studied but many have realized that there is not one particular personality that all hedgehogs have in common when it comes to social behavior.

As the owner of a hedgehog, you’re going to have to spend a lot of time and effort to get that hedgehog to tolerate being held in your hand.

Hedgehogs can get frustrated and aggressive. They are also night animals and they are very active at night. They’re not necessarily loud. They just move around a lot at night and asleep during the day.

Hedgehogs are also very active creatures. They can travel several miles a night, they could swim through large bodies of water, and they could climb very steep structures.

It’s important to make sure that rabbits have plenty of exercises and plenty of space to do so. A typical exercise wheel will help keep them healthy and fit. Just make sure their enclosure is large so that they can roam free as much as possible.

In the wild, they are hunters of little bugs, foragers of plants and vegetables, and burrowers.

Amongst other hedgehogs, they’re very introverted. They spend most of their time to themselves and are only sociable during breeding seasons. Again this translates to some difficulty in trusting you as the owner. And the best way to do that is to adopt them when they are at a very young age.

Like rabbits, when you first get your hedgehog you need to let your hedgehog settle in its new home. Don’t try to pick him up right away. Just give him space so that he could get used to where he is.

Allow your hedgehog to learn the scent of your hands behind the cage. Make sure you see it every day so that it could get used to you. Don’t pick it up, let it come to you. If your hedgehog gets startled it might bite you.


Now I know what you’re thinking hedgehogs are so small. Yes, they are but they need lots of space.

They need a large enclosure that is at least 8 square feet. They’re going to need a pump or recycled paper for bedding. You could also use the same things for rabbits.

And within this large cage, don’t forget the bottled water and the anti-spill containers. You want to keep the floor and the food your hedgehog eats to be dry.

You also want to provide your hedgehog with an exercise wheel and some toys for it to play with. Hedgehogs can be potty trained and you can get a typical litter box for that.

It’s also very important that you provide your hamster with a heating lamp or a heat bulb. Hedgehogs typically live in tropical parts of the world ranging from 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.


Hedgehogs are omnivores. This means that hedgehogs can eat everything from meats, to veggies and fruits.

You can even feed your hedgehog cat food made with high protein like chicken and meat.

Hedgehogs also eat tiny little insects such as crickets and mealworms for treats.

And let’s not forget about vegetables like beans, peas, and corn, as well as fruits like apples, grapes, and carrots.

Again in the wild, hedgehogs are scavengers. They will eat anything from a variety of bugs to plants, and fruits. It’s not going to be easy to try to reproduce exactly what they are used to in the wild. But try your best to give it a little bit of everything.

There’s no particular diet restriction, but you must provide them with plenty of the basic substances for them to live.

Clean water is also incredibly important.

Common health problems

It’s unfortunate, I know, but hedgehogs are prone to getting cancer. This will be very difficult to avoid but something you should know before you commit to getting close to your hamster.

Also, suffering from mites and other parasites frequently. I think the best approach here would be to make sure you keep your hedgehog in a nice and clean environment. Make sure you learn from the veterinarian how to properly check for mike’s, and fleas, and any parasites that might latch on to your hedgehog.

Hedgehogs can also have digestive conditions and obstructions that are similar to rabbits.

They are also prone to respiratory infections and dental disease.

Spay or neuter

Spaying and neutering a hedgehog will typically help with stopping it from having babies.

But that’s not the only benefit. There have been studies that found that female hedgehogs who are prone to uterine tumors can be lessened if they were spayed.

Talk to your veterinarian.


At the moment, there are no particular vaccinations available for hedgehogs that are standard.

I believe it has to do with how rare it is to have a hedgehog for a pet. The demand just doesn’t seem to be out there for these little guys.

On the bright side, it would be beneficial for your hedgehog if you find that special veterinarian and schedule regular appointments with him or her.

Emergency care

When there is an emergency, you must act fast. Make sure you already have your special hedgehog veterinarian in your contacts list on your phone so that you could call this person as soon as you feel it’s necessary.

Several organizations have a list of veterinary locations and phone numbers at your disposal. Visit hedgehogwelfare.org. It’s a resource and a community that focuses on hedgehogs and the betterment of their health.

What are the major differences between rabbits vs hedgehogs as pets?

Keeping a hedgehog may be illegal in some areas

The United States is pretty open to accepting rabbits as pets. The owners of rabbits and where they live are completely unrestricted, except for rules that might exist within individual apartments. It is possible that some homeowners even raise their animals in their garages during certain circumstances.

The availability of hedgehogs as pets is expanding, but in some areas of the US, it is still illegal to own one. Since they are considered exotic pets, some restrictions apply to them.

California, Georgia, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Omaha, Nebraska, and New York City are among the states where a hedgehog cannot be kept as a pet.


Rabbits and hedgehogs will both spend a lot of time in their cages and enclosures, so it’s important that pet owners set them up properly!

First, there is the issue of space. For a pet to be comfortable, it must have enough room to move around, and enclosures should have separate areas for eating, drinking, sleeping, and urinating. Having a covered area to sleep in and relax in is important for hedgehogs and rabbits alike.

The minimum space a rabbit needs are 12 square feet, and that of a hedgehog is 8 square feet. The main reason for this is their differing sizes since hedgehogs are much smaller than most rabbit species. The majority of animals will, however, enjoy a larger area if you can manage it. Keep in mind that in the wild, they have no limits. They can roam as free as they want.

The cage should be easy to access and clean for the animal’s health (and for your convenience). There are many ways to keep a rabbit’s cage clean that could help just about any owner.

It is common for rabbits and hedgehogs to develop sore feet if the bottom of their cages is wired or mesh. The best base is one covered with sheets, straw, or other material to act as padding.


We all need a bit of entertainment and fun from time to time! The same applies to our pets. Despite their differences, rabbits and hedgehogs enjoy a variety of toys. It is a good idea to get a variety of toys since each one serves a different purpose.

Rabbit and hedgehog toys - About Everything Pets
Rabbit and hedgehog toys

Favorite rabbit toys include:

  • Chewing toys
  • Rustling or crunching toys
  • Objects that can be safely ripped or knocked over

Favorite hedgehog toys include:

  • Wheels for exercising
  • Objects that roll, such as balls and toy cars
  • Toys that encourage foraging/hidden treats


A hedgehog’s diet differs significantly from a rabbit’s. While both love a bit of fruit at times, their nutritional requirements are quite different.

Rabbits consume hay as their main source of nutrition. Unlike hedgehogs, rabbits eat only plants. Eighty to ninety percent of their food contains these ingredients! You can get additional nutrition from dried pellets as well as fiber from them. Whenever they’d like, they can have an occasional fruit or vegetable meal.

Hedgehogs enjoy eating anything they can find, which is why they are omnivores. As pets, we have to make sure we provide our hedgehogs with a well-balanced diet with a combination of proteins, fruits, and vegetables. There are a few hedgehog brand food, but if you can’t find that, then any premium cat food can suffice.

However, don’t skim on the plants, fruits, and vegetables.

Hedgehogs also enjoy a round of tasty bugs like crickets and mealworms regularly.

The bottom line

Rabbits and hedgehogs are two very different animals. When you are deciding on whether you should pick and choose between the two, I suggest you fully understand what you’re getting yourself into.

There’s a lot you can learn along the way, but it’s best to be prepared in case anything happens.

Here’s my suggestion. If you’re deciding on which is better, a rabbit or a hedgehog as a pet, then know this. It all boils down to how familiar you are with the basics of taking care of small animals. If you’re new to the animal world, it might be easier to start with a rabbit. If you are up for a slightly higher challenge, then a hedgehog would be a great addition to the family.

Ultimately, the rewards and the lifelong friendship you gain from either decision will be worth your while.

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Author: John