There are many things to consider before deciding to bring a hedgehog home. For first time owners, they may not fully know what to expect, so hopefully this will help you make an educated decision.
Are they legal where you live?
They are currently illegal in:
The 5 boroughs of New York City
And in some states, such as Maine, you are required to have a permit
The laws change all the time, so it is best to check to make sure they're legal before purchasing one.
Do you have young children?
I always look at this on a case by case basis. I'd say definitely no children under the age of 5 as they are all usually quite loud. Hedgehogs need quiet, especially during the day when they sleep. They need gentle handling. If they are constantly handled roughly or thrown or whatever, they'll become mean. Wouldn't you? So try to take an unbiased look at your situation. Will your child be content to quietly sit on the couch and hold the hedgehog? Or are they like I was, unable to sit still and noisy? If so, it may be better to wait a few years. Also, as I mentioned, they sleep during the day, so the best time to handle them is in the early evening or at night. This means that your child will only get to hold him right before they go to bed. Will that be a problem?
Will a hedgehog fit into your schedule?
As mentioned above, hedgehogs are nocturnal, so if you work the night shift when they are awake and never get to handle them, they'll become unsocialized. You have to keep up with handling or they do regress in their friendly behavior. Genetics and early socialization at the breeder only goes so far. The rest is up to you.
They will poke you with their quills. Some more than others. It doesn't feel wonderful, but it isn't the worst thing in the world. I've found the more you hold them that their quill tips actually dull. When they are babies their quills are sharpest. A heads up, they will lose their baby quills and grow adult ones. During this process it is like a teething baby. They will be grouchy because it doesn't feel good to them. This doesn't mean stop holding them. They still need daily socialization. Just be gentle and patient with them. Some people use gloves to hold them. I don't think this is a good idea because they can't get your scent, which is an important part of you bonding with them.
Are they cuddly? If you are wondering if they will let you snuggle them like a cat or dog, the answer is no. The ones in my breeding program will let me pick them up and rub their face. They tolerate handling well and only spike up when I first get them out. BUT every hedgehog has its own personality and quirks. Again, it is important to remember that they will be quilling for up to the first 6 months of their life, so they will be hot and cold temperament-wise during that time. Just know that keeping a routine with them (feeding and holding them around the same time every day) is important
They will destroy their wheel nearly every night with poop. Be prepared to clean it daily. I think baby wipes work best. They may poop on you when you hold them. You can try to prevent this by sticking them in warm water before you hold them and letting them poop there. It usually stimulates them. So, they also poop while you're bathing them. If poop bothers you, this isn't the pet for you.
My hedgehogs vary in price up to $350 (most are much less than that). That's not where the initial cost ends. You need a cage. A heat set up. A wheel. Whatever type of bedding you're going to use. A food dish. A water bowl or bottle... Another thing to consider is since this is an exotic pet, you can't just take it to any vet. It needs a specialized exotic vet. Their office visits usually run $50 or more. Be sure you have an emergency vet fund in case your pet ever has an emergency, you'll be able to take them to the vet right away. Exotics are good at masking their symptoms, so usually by the time we notice anything, they're really sick.