CAGE REQUIREMENTS: Your hedgehog will require a secure home since they are very good climbers and can easily escape from open-topped 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 24” x 24”. It must also have good circulation and be well lit but not exposed to direct sunlight during the daytime.
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 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. (20-27 degrees Celsius) The basic rule of thumb is, if you are comfortable without a sweater, they will do just fine.
BEDDING: Paper, Aspen, Pine or White shavings (NOT CEDAR!) are by far the best choice for bedding material. Crushed corn cob makes a relatively good bedding and is safe to use for females and adults, but it SHOULD NOT be used for young male hedgehogs. Place approximately two inches of bedding material evenly over the floor of the cage.
FOOD BOWL: The food bowl needs to be fairly wide and heavy to prevent your pet from dumping out its contents and using it as a toy. 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.
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 or mesh-covered running surface rather than the more common metal bars which they sometimes get their long legs caught in.
HIDING PLACE: A igloo, hut, cave or something similar is required. Hedgehogs love to burrow; so they need something dark and somewhat confined in space. They do NOT enjoy 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 equally good choices. Whatever commercial food you choose should be supplemented by a variety of other foods such as vegetables, mealworms and crickets, cooked meats and fruit and vegetables. However none of these should be fed as anything more than a treat 3 or 4 times a week. The dry food should be the staple.
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. You may pick him up and hold him once or twice for a few minutes the first day, but remember, it will probably be more like a week before he begins to feel at home. Baby hedgehogs need quite a bit of sleep the first month after they come home with you, so don’t be too concerned if he sleeps a lot at first.