I have kept many pets over the years and about 1 year ago I re-housed Penelope a beautiful pygmy hedgehog who i fell in love with. I researched hedgehogs and soon bought 2 more. I now have 11.
Hedgehogs are seldom agressive, in most cases they only ball up because they are scared. They rarely bite through aggression or fright, I have only been nipped once. If they start licking your fingers there may be something tasty on them so licking is best stopped to avoid a nip.
Where you purchase your hog from and how socialised will dictate how well your hog interacts with you. A well socialised hog will be quite comfortable with being picked up and handled, it may initally curl up it should quickly uncurl and begin to explore. A un-socialised hog will curl up and huff and puff but with patience it will become tame.
Self anointing is a very common hog practise, and is hillarious to watch. When they taste somthing new they build up a frothing lather in their mouths and then doing the most amazing contorsions they spread the lather onto their backs.
The vast majority of existing literature considers the basic diet of a African Pygmy Hedgehog to be a good quality dry cat food ,i.e Iams, Whiskas, which is high in protein and low in fat. I have been advised to never feed them fish, though most cat foods contain fish oil. The dry food allows the hogs to exeecise their teeth thus preventing dental problems.
It is important to offer a varied diet as much as possible. The main diet can therefor be suplimented with the following items :-
1, Canned cat food (not fish)
2, Cooked Chicken, Lamb and Mince.
3, Boiled or Scrambled Eggs.
4, Cottage Cheese (beware this can get very messy)
Live food is also welcomed by most hogs, mine actively hunt Locusts, mealworms and Superworms.
Fresh water should always be available for the hogs. Mine drink from small bowls, they are easy to clean and it appears easier for them to drink from than it is from a bottle.