West Coast Hedgehogs is located in Corvallis, Oregon. For those who live a ways away, we can sometimes meet in Salem, Portland, or Eugene. Once you fill out an application we are happy to discuss pickup/delivery options!
Why buy from West Coast Hedgehogs?
We take hedgehogs seriously.
Unlike many other breeders, we have specific goals and priorities in place which outline the way we do business.
First and foremost, we breed to improve. There is no slapping together two random hedgehogs with hopes for as many babies to sell as possible. We keep some of the most extensive health records of breeders across the world in order to better understand the genetic health of our hedgehogs and pair up hedgehogs to produce even healthier offspring. Many breeders will work to breed out Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome alone, but we also address other problems like early onset of cancer, genetic inclination to obesity, and more. Health is our first priority, and temperament is our second. We do our best to produce naturally friendly animals and not just ones that will come around after extensive socialization. Pairing that with frequent handling as babies, we hope to send home happy babies who will handle well in their new homes.
After seeing and experiencing communication with other breeders, rescues, etc. for the last many years, we know how important good communication is, especially to those who are buying a hedgehog from you. Even though we are extremely busy, we do our absolute best to respond to application submissions and emails as quickly as possible and not keep people waiting. We also know how much baby pictures are appreciated! We update our site frequently to reflect recent changes so our customers don't have to guess what's new and what's not, and are always sure to post pictures for those patiently waiting to bring their new pet home! We also sell many hedgehog safe supplies (as well as refer to other sellers), and offer boarding services for the convenience of our adoptive families.
The humane aspect of the care we give our hedgehogs has to do with the way they are treated. There are many breeders out there who keep their hedgehogs on standards that are below pet quality. We don't do that here. You'll never find a hedgehog living in a small tub with no wheel. All our hedgehogs have at the very least 4 square feet of cage space, a safe wheel (an absolute must), and are treated as our loved pets, which means they are actually handled every day! We believe in having animals in our breeding program that are friendly enough to be great pets - and not just breed grumpy babies that may otherwise have a harder time finding a home. We have a wonderful vet to work with to make sure our hedgehogs get the very best care whenever they need it.
What would a breeder be if they could not teach the people adopting their babies, how to properly care for them? We have spent the last seven years dedicating hours upon hours to answering questions in forums, chat rooms, mailing lists, over email, over phone, in person, you name it. Educating others is the biggest thing we do here, as we believe no hedgehog should have to live in sub-par conditions purely for a lack of information. We wrote the book Pet African Hedgehogs - A Complete Guide to Care, the most up-to-date one-stop resource for hedgehog care and have distributed it to the public for absolutely free. We work closely with our customers to be sure they have a good grasp on care before taking on the challenge of a hedgehog, and are active in the online community promoting safe and proper care.
There are some money-hungry breeders that will breed to sell babies but not take in hedgehogs in need. For any good, dedicated breeder though, they will love the species enough to go the whole nine yards and keep a careful eye on their area, taking in rehomes and rescues and doing their best to stop or improve any undesirable situations (like backyard breeding). Rescue is another aspect of our hedgehog world that we enjoy, because it allows us to give different hedgehogs a second (or even third, or fourth) chance at a good home and improve the conditions of the animals around us.
This is a bit of a unique goal we have that not many other breeders have the time or resources to get involved in. Back before getting involved in breeding, we conducted all sorts of small studies on hedgehogs to better understand them as pets. We currently have many small projects we're working, from developing complete and balanced kibble-free diets to developing wireless wheel activity dataloggers that automatically record each hedgehog's activity to an online file. Because we have the opportunity to see hedgehogs all the way from birth to the end, we can keep weight records and compare them with the protein and fat percentages of their food to see if they have an affect on their growth rate, etc. There are many studies in the work here, and the continued support from the community enables us to collect and share this new information.
One thing that sets us apart from other breeders is our commitment to choose the eco-friendly option when faced with various day-to-day tasks. Lighting the room? LED lightbulbs, using the tiniest fraction of the energy a regular incandescent bulb uses. What about bedding? We don't go through bags and bags and bags of loose bedding, we use washable fabric liners that last virtually forever. All of our hedgehog waste is composted, from leftover hedgie food going to our variety of feeder insects, to all the droppings our animals and feeders produce getting scattered around as fertilizer on our plants - which in turn grow food for us and our animals. When given the option of buying fresh, locally grown fruits and veggies or frozen ones shipped from half way across the country, our hedgies and the rest of our crew are eating local, seasonal treats. These are all small things, but they make a difference in our operations and help make a difference for others around us!
As of April 2015, I have had eight years of experience keeping hedgehogs. Throughout the years I've been chosen to serve as a moderator on the largest hedgehog forum online, approved as a rescue station by the Hedgehog Welfare Society, written a book (and an update of the book!) on proper hedgehog care, and helped board, foster, and rehome dozens of local hedgies. My first boy, Inky, came from HedgiePets in Eugene, OR (who has since retired) and passed away at just over 5 years old. In 2012 my living situation changed and I have finally had the opportunity to add more hedgehogs to the menagerie. West Coast Hedgehogs started small, and will continue to focus on quality and never quantity. We always want to have a personal connection with each animal in our care, no animal is just a number to us.
I personally have a long history of working with animals. I've volunteered at a local wildlife rescue for several years, which has given me invaluable experience handing wild and unpredictable animals, as well as practicing hand feeding stubborn babies cleaning LOTS of cages. I also volunteer with several local dog and cat rescues, helping at outreach events, socializing animals, and donating photography services to promote their efforts. I have experience in veterinary clinics and dog boarding kennels, where I've worked in the past. I have been chosen to manage education animal programs and provide consultation services to a variety of animal facilities for small exotics management and welfare. Along with volunteering and work, I have experience in my own home with owning and caring for many, many different kinds of pets. Small mammals are my specialty, though quite a few reptiles join our ranks as well as amphibians, birds, fish, and invertebrates.
Here are a few pictures of our hedgies and their homes, and some of our other residents!
Take a peek inside our Hedgehog Room (coming soon)
Meet the rest of our zoo (coming soon)
Inky, the hedgehog that started it all:
A few of our past and present hogs: (more coming soon)