Avian & Exotic Animal Clinic
1911 S Lindsay Rd, Mesa, AZ 85204
CAGE REQUIREMENTS: Your hedgehog will require a secure home since they are very good climbers and can easily escape from open top cages that are designed for animals such as guinea pigs and rabbits. If you do use a cage with an open top, it must have slippery sides that are at least 12″ high and a floor space of at least 4 square feet. Multi tiered cages are unacceptable as they are unsafe. Hedgehogs have poor eye sight and balance. And can easily fall off elevated surfaces.
Place your hedgehogs new home in a comfortable, warm, well lit area that is free of drafts and direct sunlight. They are most comfortable at temperatures of between 73-78 degrees Fahrenheit. The basic rule of thumb is, if you are comfortable without a sweater, they will do just fine.
BEDDING: Paper, Aspen, Pine or fleece are by the most popular choices. Cedar is toxic and should be avoided at all costs. Place approximately two inches of bedding material evenly over the floor of the cage. Daily spot cleaning is good hygiene and full cage cleaning should be done as needed depending on the type of bedding used. Fleece every couple days. Paper and wood every 1-2 weeks or as needed.
FOOD & WATER BOWSL: The food bowl needs to be fairly heavy to prevent your pet from tipping it over. Small ceramic crocks that are designed for small rodents are perfect food dishes for hedgehogs. The width or diameter of the dish can be 3 to 6 inches and it should be no more than 3 inches high. Water bowls should be of the same type. Daily cleaning of both is recommended to prevent the buildup of bacteria.
TOYS: If you choose, you can also add a few toys for your hedgehog to play with. An exercise wheel is an excellent and required addition and will help him to stay healthy and trim. Although a guinea pig wheel will suffice, there are now specially designed hedgehog wheels available from many pet suppliers. These are safer for your pet since they have a solid running surface rather than the more common metal bars or mesh which they sometimes get their legs caught in. Comm on types are the Silent Spinner, Comfort wheel and the Carolina Storm wheels. All need to be a minimum of 12" in diameter.
HIDING PLACE: A igloo, hut, cave, tunnels, sleeping pouch or something similar is required. Hedgehogs love to burrow. So they need something dark and somewhat confined in space. They do not feel comfortable sleeping in the open.
What Should I Feed Him and How Much?
Although there are hedgehog foods available in stores, dry cat and kitten formulas are proven to be more beneficial than anything labeled as hedgehog food. Whatever commercial food you choose should be accompanied with insects. Live meal worms, crickets, caterpillars, snails, dubia roaches or long horned worms are good options 3-4 times per work in addition to their dry food. Freeze dried insects cause issues with their digestive system and should never be used. Live is best. We sell the mix we use on our website under Food & Supplies page. And also list the types of food it contains.
Care and Management
When you bring you new hedgehog home, place him in his new cage and let him have absolute privacy for at least a day if they seem timid. Most of my babies have no issues adjusting to their new environment and may be handled as soon as they arrive at their new home. Hedgehogs are prey animals and are very good at hiding health issues. Yearly exams are highly recommended from a "exotic" veterinarian. We use and recommend the Avian and Exotic Animal Clinic in Gilbert. They perform our yearly exams and have a very caring and knowledgeable staff.