Hello. I am a small scale breeder of Pedigreed African Pygmy Hedgehogs, Short Tail Opossums, and Netherland Dwarf Rabbits, located in Shepherdsville, KY, which is about 20 miles south of Louisville. My focus is on quality animals that are bred for health, temperament, conformation and genetic diversity.
WHY ARE MY HEDGEHOGS SO MUCH??? AND WHY ARE PEDIGREED HEDGEHOGS SO IMPORTANT? Let me answer the second question first. The genetic pool of hedgehogs really isn't that big. I am in KY, but I was looking at hedgehogs in MI, KS, and OH to buy, but ended up not doing it because they were too closely related to mine. Hedgehogs that are bred too close in relation can potentially cause Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome and other genetic diseases. Reputable breeders talk amongst themselves and let each other know if one of their hogs is diagnosed with anything genetic so we can mark our lines to watch for it. It takes two carriers for something like WHS to become active. Backyard breeders who don't have pedigreed hedgehogs, have no idea what they are dealing with. You are playing Russian Roulette with the health of that baby, and most of the time they have no health guarantee. Or they say they do, but drop off the face of the Earth once you are gone with the hog.
Now to answer the first part of the question... The reason hogs from reputable breeders are so much is because we spend the extra money ourselves to get the best hogs to use in our breeding programs. Many of us have hogs that were imported from other countries so we can expand the genetics in the United States!! I have bloodlines from Hungary and the Czech Republic. We spend hours inputting pedigree info into our pedigree programs and then staring at the computer screens comparing pedigrees for the best breeding pairings. In addition to that, we often spend more money making sure our hogs have the best of everything: larger totes, better wheels, toys... and Veterinary care when they need it. Oftentimes (not always) BYBs let their animals die when they get sick or injured and just get another to replace it because it is oftentimes cheaper than going to the vet if it is something serious like a ruptured eye or prolapsed uterus.
You get what you pay for. I stand behind my hogs. You have lifetime access to me for any questions. My hogs have a lifetime guarantee against WHS. All of my hogs are pedigreed. I will take them back at any time if you can no longer care for them (that goes for the opossums and rabbits as well). My hedgehogs usually are $275-375, depending on bloodline, markings, and temperament. I have one line that is 3/4 imported bloodline. That one costs more. Breeding rights is $50 more. Please be truthful if you plan to breed. Some lines are more suitable for breeding than others, and I would like to help steer you in the right direction.