Hedgehog Care

Hedgehog Basic Care Sheet

HOUSING:

* A metal or plastic cage (like those made for guinea pigs or ferrets) works great, or a 20 gallon or larger aquarium. Make sure that the cage gas at least 2 square feet of floor space, and that the cage bottom has no wire grates that little hedgehog feet can fall through and get hurt on. Clean the cage at least once a week, and odor won’t be a problem. For more ideas on cages, have a peek here or read the cage reviews.

* Provide a hiding place or cover for the hedgehog to hide under, so that it will be less nervous. Large “critter logs,” a shoe box or Kleenex box with a side cut out, or hedgebag work well.I can make you one but fabrics differ. Email for price and pictures.

* You will want to keep the housing in a warm area of the house. Hedgehogs are from a warm environment and need to stay warm, but not too hot (about 68F to 85F is usually a good range). Reptile heating pads can work well in the winter, but make sure that the pad is not under the entire cage so that if your hedgehog starts to overheat, it can move to a cooler spot.

* Unless you are attempting to breed hedgehogs, keep males and females separate. If a female has babies while there are other hedgehogs in the cage, it is likely to cause her stress and either she or the other hedgehog are likely to eat the babies. Also, hedgehogs can get pregnant when they are as young as 8 weeks old, but this is not healthy for them. A female hedgehog should not be bred until she is at least 6 months old. For more thoughts about breeding, check here. * In the wild, hedgehogs are solitary animals. In captivity, some hedgehogs will accept (or even crave) the companionship of other hedgehogs, but don’t necessarily assume this is the case. Hedgehogs can have lethal roommate disputes, so if you decide to try to house two hedgehogs together, be sure to observe them closely (or at least be within earshot to separate them in case of fights) for at least the first 24 to 48 hours. Hedgehogs can emit a bloodcurdling scream when upset or hurt, but they can also get into fairly quiet tussles, so be careful.

BEDDING:
* Add a one to two inch layer of pine, aspen, or other small animal bedding to your hedgehog’s home. Don’t use cedar because the aromatic oils can cause respiratory illness or death in hedgehogs (and many other small animals). There really is no such thing as a perfect hedgehog bedding, so you may want to experiment.  Plain newsprint has been used with satisfaction.You can also use Fleece liners which requires frequent washing but can be much cheaper then buying bedding.Hedgehogs can also be liter trained. Usually putting the litter box under the wheel works the best but it does require daily cleanings.Cookies sheets work great!

TOYS:
* Hedgehogs need lots of exercise, as they tend to become obese with inactivity. A large wheel (11″ diameter or so) is recommended. Be sure that the running surface of the wheel is solid, so that the hedgie is not at risk for slipping and breaking legs. Carolina Storm wheels are great!

* Most hedgies are pretty curious and love toys they can push, chew, or manipulate. Some of the things ours have enjoyed include solid rubber balls, small toy cars, large plastic toy trucks, toilet paper tubes, Cat toys, stuffed animals, ramps, PVC pipes.

http://www.volcanoviewhedgehogs.com/supplies-list.html

DIET:
http://www.volcanoviewhedgehogs.com/kibble-list.html

http://www.volcanoviewhedgehogs.com/treats-list.html

See below for more information.

HANDLING:
* The more you handle your hedgehog, the more it will get used to you is a good rule of thumb to remember.

* At first, your hedgehog may be scared. It may ball up or puff air and click its tongue to scare away any potential predator (you). Approach your hedgehog slowly and quietly to gain its trust. Pick up your hedgehog from underneath to avoid the quills. You shouldn’t need gloves to pick it up, even if it is scared, since you can slide your fingers underneath to distribute the weight. If you are afraid of being pricked, then take a pair of gloves and get them smelling like you (tuck them under your pillow for a couple of nights, or put them in your shirt for a while) so the hedgie will associate your smell with being picked up.

* ONE LAST NOTE: * Don’t be surprised if your hedgie starts shedding a lot of quills when he or she is between about 8 and 12 weeks of age. This is a normal process, and is known as “quilling.” The hedgehog is simply shedding baby spines and you should be able to see new adults spines pushing through the skin. To be on the safe side, though, you may want to check for mites or fleas. Signs of mites include crustiness around the quills and seriously dry looking skin. Fleas can be treated effectively with Frontline spray on  and several options are also available by prescription for treating mites. Ask your vet for more information. When adolescent hedgies are “quilling” they may be somewhat grumpy, but should return to normal temperament once the quills are in. 

My personal experience and info

There are alot of examples of cages you can do on my facebook page. I really like using the fleece for bedding, stays cleaner, less smelly, and no dust which is a big plus.You can also use carefresh or aspen bedding. If you use fleece I suggest potty training, The paper towels under the wheel works as a litter pan and I do have to change those out daily,If the cage is big enough using a cookie pan works well for under the wheel and to hold the paper towels. The fleece I change out weekly, maybe twice a week when they are babies. You can get the igloos for them to sleep in or my hedgeies love the snuggle bags. I also really the Carolina bucket wheels  but any 12in will do. They love cat toys, tunnels(see the play pen I have made), paper towel rolls, etc. You can use wire small animal cages( My first home ex-large) or plastic tubs for their cage. Some people also use the one level critter nations or the homemade C&C cages As far as water bowls mine do well with the no-drip bottles or just a bowl of water(if you use the bowl it will need to be changed out each day, they usually poop or get their paws in the water witch makes it dirt quick

As far as feeding goes. I feed a mixture of all cat foods Blue Buffalo, Formms Wild Game, ProPlan Chicken, Natural Balance chicken and green pea. I like to do a mixture because it gives them more nutrients and flavors and my hedgies seam to like the different foods. You will also get a small bag of what they are on so you can slowly start adding in your food.  I will admit if you only have one hedgehog you may want to go with one or two bags to mix once even the little bags will last a while. I’m also thinking about switching the blue buffalo out. Some of my hedgies like it but others tend to pick it out and going with Earthborn or another one the the high quality side. Let me know if you have a brand different in mind and I can let you know. Your just looking for low fat and high protein

http://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forums/113-heating/4048-heating-your-hedgehog-s-cage-simplified.html

http://www.volcanoviewhedgehogs.com/hedgehog-care.html

 Other great link’s for hedgehog knowledge.

http://blog.critterconnection.cc/

http://hedgehogcentral.com/

http://www.freewebs.com/thehedgieden/hedgehogcare.htm

http://www.hedgehogworld.com/

 

 

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