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Last Updated: Thursday April 17 2008 13:05 GMT

Pet hedgehog craze sparks fears

African pygmy hedgehog on a wheel

Loads of you have got pet guinea pigs, hamsters, or rabbits, but have you ever thought about having a pet hedgehog?

A new craze is sweeping the country for African pygmy hedgehogs, with people waiting for months, and driving for miles, to pick up their prickly pets.

But not everyone's happy about the new trend. Animal experts say they're not good pets, and need special care.

They're also worried the craze might prompt people to pick up hedgehogs, a protected species, from the wild.

African pygmy hedgehogs are much smaller than hedgehogs found in the wild in the UK.

They're bred in captivity, and need special care because they need very warm and mild conditions.

African pygmy hedgehog
African pygmy hedgehogs come in 92 different colours
They live for 3-5 years
They love meal worms
They're pregnant for 35 days
They have three or four babies each litter

They're supposed to be good pets for people who go out to work, because they sleep all day, and wake up when their owners come home.

But the creatures can be hard to come by, and with equipment, can cost up to £300.

Bonnie, who breeds the cute creatures, said they take a lot of time, effort and energy to keep them happy and friendly.

She said: "They're absolutely gorgeous, very cute indeed, and as long as you get one from a reputable breeder, they're also very happy to be handled.

"They're great fun," she added.