Hedgehogs are spiny mammals that belong to Erinaceinae subfamily. Sixteen species of hedgehogs were originally identified in some parts of Asia, Africa, Europe, and New Zealand. Over the years, Hedgehogs have well adapted to a nocturnal and insectivorous way of living.
Should be about 2 inches high and large enough that the hedgehog’s wheel fits in it and the Hedgehog still has room to use other areas to do it’s business.
For litter, I have found Aspen Supreme Pellet litter to be the best. Cat litters tend to be too dusty (even the dust free) and clumping cat litter can stick to the hedgehog’s rear end.
What do you need for hedgehog supplies?
1) Large cage with solid plastic bottom
2) Water bottle and food dish
3)Bedding – aspen or pine shavings, carefresh, yesterdays news
NO crushed walnuts, cat litter or small granular bedding
4) 12in solid plasic running wheel
5) high protein/low fat dry cat kibble
6) Heating pad
7) Igloo or similar hiding place
Some Basic Facts on Hedgehogs
1) Hedgehogs usually live 3-5 yrs
2) Hedgehogs require a high protein/low fat diet
3) Hedgehogs must be maintained at a minimum of 70 degrees
4) Hedgehogs are nocturnal
5) Hedgehogs are insectivoires by nature
6) Hedgehogs can swim
7) Hedgehogs need daily socialization
8) Males can not be housed together, females can be housed together.
9) Vet bills for hedgehogs can be astronomical
10) Hedgehogs are WONDERFUL
11) The cost and prices of hedgies might surprise you
Exercise, Maintenance, & Bathing
ALL of my hedgehogs have an exercise wheel. In the wild, hedgehogs roam several miles daily.
There are a few options for wheels. I recommend the Ferret Wheel with a plastic canvas liner that can be easily removed and cleaned. Some hedgehog owners use a solid wheel. With some hedgehogs, using these wheels will require daily foot baths.
I also use an exercise ball to let them run around the house and outside in the yard. I have found the Rat size ball works best. The actual hedgehog size is almost to big for some hedgehogs to move easily.
Mites: Always a Popular Topic
Probably the most controversial topic in hedgehogs. There are mites in the environment just like fleas and ticks. A lot of hedgehogs have trouble with contracting mites through certain types of bedding. Even the most maticulously cleaned hedgehogs can contract mites.
In my opinion, prevention is the best cure. Once every three months I use Adams Flea and Tick Powder for Cats and Kittens.
If your hedgehog would get mites, you will see it scratching a lot and it’s skin will look flaky. Bad cases will have sores on their skin and bald spots where the quills fell out.
If your hedgehog is showing signs if mites, consult your Veterinarian.
Nail Clipping: A Necessity
Hedgehogs require regular nail clipping. To clip their nails, I usually have someone hold the hedgehog in the palm of their hand. I then reach under and fold the leg back gently and clip with a small human nail clipper.
Most nails are clear so you can see the pink vein, which provides blood supply to the nail. Clip just above this. If a nail is clipped too short and bleeds, you can pack flour or corn starch on the tip to stop the bleeding.
Yes, you can bathe your hedgehog! For most hedgehogs you will only need to use a few inches of warm water in the sink and a toothbrush to brush the quills. If you must use a shampoo, use a kitten shampoo with an oatmeal base and dilute it. Be absolutely sure to rinse thoroughly!
Have a towel warmed up in the dryer to wrap around the hedgehog. I usually put the wrapped hedgehog in a laundry basket in a warm spot for an hour or so.
Be sure the hedgehog is completely dry before putting it back in it’s cage.
Article Sources: hedgehogpet.net (dead link) , hedgehognaround.com
Have Anything to Add? Questions?
Posted by Michelle: Soooo, Charleigh has some pretty gross poop and I’m not sure if I should be concerned or not. I just got her Sunday, so she’s been under some stress with a new environment and all. Her poop is REALLY loose and a light brown color, and it almost looks like there are bits of white sand in it. It has almost no smell, and there is no mucous. Last night she pooped some semi-formed poop, but this morning I got a handful of this other stuff again. She’s eating fine, a combo of what she was weaned on and some new BB. She wheels, and she’s not lost any weight. Can I give her some pumpkin and see if that firms things up, or should I just give it time? Oh, I forgot to mention she’s 6 weeks old and quilling.
@Reply: Weird poops are normal during a transition period, especially when it goes along with a food transition. You can use some powdered probiotic (benebac or acidophilus) to help a little, but otherwise just focus on making sure the diet you use is good quality, and the stool quality will improve on its own.
@Reply: how long could it take to get better? And where can I get Benebac?
@Reply: You can find benebac on Amazon, OTC from a vet, or sometimes in pet stores. You can get acidophilus from a normal drug store.
Posted by Jessica R: Was supposed to get a hedgie baby sent to me this week but was then told shipping is $200 which is more than the hedgie itself anyone know Any breeders or red used in sc or anyone that ships and doesn’t charge an arm and a leg? Do you think in your personal opinion that hedgies are good pets to own around children?
@Reply: I am not sure of breeders in that area, but honestly that is the price of shipping so your best bet is to find one there!! The shipping can’t get much cheaper!
@Reply: Shipping itself costs $200, before the price of the carrier and gas. So, that’s kind of a steal.
@Reply: Why is it so expensive for shipping I get turtles shipped and it’s 80$ max and that was for two torts that weighed 10lbs total?
@Reply: Reptiles can be shipped via postal shipping. Hedgehogs need to be shipped via airline.
@Reply: Oh thanks is it bc of the risk of cold and hibernation during transport?
@Reply: The nice thing about going with someone local is that you can meet your hedgehog in person and have chance to talk with the breeder with any questions you have at that moment.
@Reply: Yeah, you have to ship hedgehogs over airplane. I honestly don’t know how the breeders do it. I had to ship Pip when I moved out here and it was a nightmare. Having to explain what hedgehogs were, getting told the wrong price, having them try to cancel on us when they realized the DAY BEFORE, having to be on two separate flights (he was routed to Texas, while I went through Atlanta), missing my flight because of shitty scheduling and then crying in the airport because my hedgehog was in Texas, finally arriving and realizing that his flight had been delayed another 5 hours, sobbing in the car at 2 in the morning because I don’t know where you go pick him up because the GPS was telling me the old location…just a nightmare. Would not recommend.
Posted by Kevin M: At what age is it safe to begin feeding mealworms? Three months is okay, right? Also, at what age does a hedgehog stop growing?
@Reply: You’re fine to feed them now. Six months is when they are considered adults and fully grown, though some do continue to grow a bit after that, mostly in width.
@Reply: How many should I feed each day?
@Reply: Depends on if they’re freeze dried or fresh.
Freeze dried I would do 1-3, fresh 3-5 (a little more is fine if your hog is active, though they’re fattening).
@Reply: I would do fresh. It’s fun seeing them “hunt.”
@Reply: I’m giving Charleigh meal worms already, and she’s just 6 weeks old. I only give her 3 at a time. She LOVES them!
Posted by Haley U: Ok. So my girl has a tumor below her jaw. I didn’t think it was causing an issue with her ability to eat. But she sounds like she is chewing on a piece of hard food much longer now. What are some good soft foods for cheap? I have worms and eggs. Any thing else?
@Reply: Baby foods and wet cat foods are good options, though I suggest just wetting the kibble you already have and feeding it that way. That’s probably the cheapest and most efficient way, while still guaranteeing she’s getting the nutrition she needs.
On a side note: Has anyone ever owned a fennec fox before?
@Reply: All sorts of baby foods. Scrambled eggs. Banana
@Reply: add water to her kibble to soften it.
Posted by Nicky R: Hey everyone. I need thoughts. I noticed tonight that me sweet piglet seems to have a cold in her eye. Or I think it is. she has a white face so all her hair around her eye is wet and look pink like her skin. She’s scratching a tiny bit but, she is eating, drinking, running and being social as normal. Should I just watch her eye, clean it with something, or do you all feel a vet is needed?
Posted by Megan V: I have a question and I need some help please?? I am nervous that my hedgie isn’t getting enough water from her water bottle. Is it a bad idea to use water bottles all together?
@Reply: water bottles are fine so long as they are the ball/gravity kind and not the spring loaded kind. The spring loaded bottles have been known to cause tongue injuries. Now, some hogs will chew on the metal and it’s been said they could break their little vampy fangs, but those are very easy to break, and older hedgies often break them on a great many things.