taquitos, are you on HHC? I recognize the hedgehog name Kashi!
I have two hedgehogs, Quinnlee and Clark :) I love them to death but hedgehogs are definitely not for everyone.
Quinnlee is a cuddler and is good with everyone. She has been on road trips and is very clean (does not poop/pee on people). Quinnlee currenly has osteomyelitis so the going is a bit rough with antibiotics for 8 weeks, but she's generally been quite healthy.
Clark is good around everyone, but does not want to be held - he wants to walk around and taste everything! He does not care where he poops. Never had a health issue with this boy.
Hedgehogs do poop a lot, but if you have a good cage setup, it's simple to care for.
Iowa has a few good breeders, it seems: http://www.hedgehogcentral.com/breederusa.shtml
Most breeders will have adoptables, too (rescues, rehomes, etc).
I prefer hedgehogs over rodents, even if the care level is along the same lines - my thought being that no pet is worth it without some level of daily socialization. There is no chewing in the way that rodents chew, and like guinea pigs, they do well with fleece bedding.
That said, I want to have rats someday :)
Degus have too much energy for me o.o They're essentially giant gerbils as far as behavior goes.
I really love the personalities hedgehogs have. I used to have my cage (two floors in a single level ferret nation) next to my bed and watch my hedgehogs at night. I loved climbing into bed and listening to them eat kibble and run on their wheels (could only hear the pitter patter of feet because they have bucket wheels). (PS buy a bucket wheel for whatever it is you end up getting, they are amazing and safe) I could tell who was eating and walking and playing because of their habits and unique sounds. Socializing them, while it required a lot of time, is a pleasure, and if you're home in the evenings it isn't too difficult . You do have to like shy animals to deal with hedgies, that's for sure!
I think guineas require more space as far as cages go, but they can house well together.
...are hedgehogs to small pets what betta fish are to the aquatic world? Oh my gosh.
They generally have to have their own cages.
Females can sometimes live together under the right circumstances.
...nevermind, the similarities end there. But it's funny to think about a hedgehog blowing bubble nests.