Cage Location

Aug 30, 2013 by

Noise Level Some hedgehog enthusiasts recommend keeping hedgehog cages in areas that are not high traffic areas, so as not to disturb the sleeping hedgehog. Others recommend that keeping the hedgehog in a busy area of the house allows the hedgehog to become accustomed to the family and increases likelihood of interaction with the family. One should be considerate of noise that may be perceptible to hedgehogs but not to humans.  For instance ultra sonic devices used to deter small rodents are extremely disturbing to a hedgehog’s sensitive ears. Computers and other electronic devices may also emit a noise that some hedgies may find disturbing. We find that playing music is helpful to our animals.  Regular noise throughout the day is muffled by the radio.  Again, be considerate of the hedgehog, in music selection and volume.  Light Level Hedgehogs need regular day and night cycles to keep their biological clocks in balance. Their natural habit has very little seasonal variation in the length of day and night. Hedgehogs kept in basements or windowless rooms should be provided ultra violet light that has a cycle maintained on a timer. The ultra violet night is necessary for vitamin D production and general well being. Hedgehogs should NOT be kept in closets or in the dark. Likewise they should not be kept in direct sunlight as this can be damaging to a hedgehog’s eyes over a period of...

Wire Cages

Jun 7, 2013 by

Introduction Wire cages with a solid bottom and a deep pan are often used as hedgehog cages. They are well ventilated, easy, and safe to heat using a ceramic heat emitter. One advantage of wire cages is that they are specially designed for ground dwelling animals such as guinea pigs, rabbits, and hedgehogs. Another advantage is that there is more floor space than in an aquarium, bird cage and some modified cages. Cages of this type are strong enough to adequately house hedgehogs and most are able to protect them from other pets and small children. There is, however a huge difference in the quality and some brands are easily damaged in daily maintenance. Pans Pans that are six inches deep or deeper are preferred to more shallow pans. Deep pans not only contain the bedding within the cage but also discourage the hedgehog from climbing. Plastic pans are generally preferred over metal pans. Both are lightweight but plastic does not rust and it will maintain its integrity over time. Metal that has begun to rust is harder to clean and disinfect than plastic. Metal will also conduct heat much differently, which may be a problem when trying to provide additional heat sources for your pet. Wire floors are not acceptable for hedgehogs. Their tiny feet can get caught in the wire and it is very difficult for the hedgehog to walk. Wire Sides...

Plastic Storage Containers

Jun 7, 2013 by

Using a plastic storage container as a cage is popular with many breeders. Advantages  Clear plastic tubs can be purchased relatively cheaply.  They are lightweight and easy to transport. Storage containers can be easily cleaned and disinfected. Necessary Modifications  Almost all bins need to have a modified lid in order to prevent escape. Hedgehogs can easily escape up and over bins using water bottles or accessories to give them a boost. Ideally, the top is modified to have a screen or grid, and the sides are drilled or cut to have most of the center removed.  The lid cannot be used unless it is modified. A lid with holes drilled into it may not provide adequate ventilation.  Time and care must taken to prevent respiratory infections. A drill may crack the fairly fragile plastic so be careful when drilling the side holes. Soldering irons melt the plastic but don’t look as neat and tidy. The plastic can be heated with a hair dryer and then cut with a utility knife. The bottle must be secure inside as  Disadvantages One problem with plastic tubs is finding one large enough and tall enough to accommodate the wheel and other accessories without customizing your cage. You can cut out a section of the lid to allow the wheel to move freely and then glue an appropriately sized smaller bin over the top to provide a “dome” over the...

Nontraditional Cage Options

Jun 6, 2013 by

Glass Aquariums Large aquariums can be used to house hedgehogs.  Some hedgehog enthusiasts recommend, at minimum of, a 20-gallon-long size, but the larger sizes are much better. A 20-gallon aquarium will not accommodate an appropriate sized wheel.  The main drawback of using a glass aquarium is that most aquariums are narrow and tall in order to best display fish or reptiles. Hedgehogs need lots of floor space and in order to have that, you will need a large aquarium. The larger the aquarium, the more costly, heavier, cumbersome, and difficult to clean. For these reasons, they are not ideal unless you already have a large aquarium in your possession. It is important to use a screen or wire top and not the glass covering used for fish. This will allow better ventilation into the aquarium. Cages must be cleaned regularly so that the hedgehog can have fresh air and instead of soiled wood smells. A tight fitting lid is necessary on a cage that is less than 18” high or any cage that has a hanging water bottle. Hedgehogs can climb right up to the water bottle or use accessories to boost them up and over the top. Attaching or hanging a water bottle inside the cage may be very difficult. Even large aquariums may have ventilation problems if not cleaned frequently. Unless you already have an aquarium on hand, these can be quite...

Cage Selection & Requirements

Jun 6, 2013 by

 Cage Selection Choosing a cage is one of the most important decisions you will have to make for your pet. Your hedgehog’s home and environment are one of the keys in determining the quality of life and longevity of your pet. You should discuss cage recommendations with your breeder prior to purchasing a new home for your pet. Plan on purchasing a cage from your breeder (who will appreciate your support) or have your hedgehog’s cage completely setup BEFORE bringing your hedgehog home. Your hedgehog’s cage MUST have a solid bottom. Hedgehogs’ feet are very different than other animals that can tolerate a wire bottom.  Some enclosures have an open top. An adventurous hedgehog may try to escape. We believe it is easier and safer to prevent an escape than to locate a missing hedgehog. Keep in mind that hedgehog’s have piled things against the side of a cage in order to escape! Cage Size Requirements Hedgehogs need plenty of room to move about and play. The minimum size recommended by most hedgehog enthusiasts is 24” x 24,” which equals 576 square inches, or four square feet. Some recommend a minimum of 24″ x 42′ which is 1,008 square inches. Many years ago some people recommended 10 gallon aquariums which does not provide nearly enough floor space. Your cage should have enough room for a wheel, litter box, and sleeping bag or nest box,...

Climbing Objects & Multi-Level Cages...

Jun 6, 2013 by

We feel that multi-level ferret or rabbit cages, climbing branches, ramps, and ladders may be a good idea, but only if you take several precautions.  We recommend avoiding the above situations because providing more floor space with accessories or toys is a much safer alternative. Hedgehogs are quite capable of climbing up, but they are not so graceful in the descent. Their toes are fairly short and are not made for grasping and hanging on. Their legs are relatively small in comparison to their body mass.  They simply do not have the strength to resist the pull of gravity.  Their eyesight is very poor and so they have very little depth perception. The most natural way for hedgehogs to get down from a high place is to curl themselves into a ball and free-fall. Many claim that hedgehogs have naturally built in “shock absorbers” and that their spines will protect them in a fall. However, a hedgehog may still bruise himself or break a bone from an ill-fated fall. It has also been reported that spines can actually puncture backward into the animal. In order to provide a safe climbing experience some hedgehog owners use multi-level ferret or rabbit cages and line the ramps with plastic mesh or cover with an all-purpose carpet.  This keeps little feet from being injured but might be quite messy if the hedgehog is not litter-trained. The bottom pan...

Heat Emitters

May 28, 2013 by

Benefits Heat emitters are possibly the best option as a direct heat source. The benefits of the ceramic bulbs compared to traditional heat bulbs are that they do not emit light (only heat) therefore they produce more heat per watt than a traditional heat bulb that produces both light and heat. Heat lamps emitting light are less than ideal for nocturnal animals, as the light will affect their sleep pattern.  Heat emitters last a lot longer than traditional heat bulbs. Dimmable clamp lamps include a built in rheostat, which can lower the amount of heat produced by higher wattage bulbs when extra heat is not necessary. The highest watt bulb (150W) has the most use flexibility when using a wire cage even without a base lacking a rheostat. A rheostat is helpful because it can control the amount of heat a bulb can produce. The height of the lamp may be raised or lowered to increase or decrease the heat emitted in the cage. Wire cages typically require more heat because the heat is not confined as compared to an aquarium with the same dimensions. Cautions One should use caution when using the heat emitters with plastic tote type cages or any plastic accessory in the cage that the heat could damage. The ceramic heat emitters must be used with a lamp base designed for ceramic emitters and rated for the appropriate wattage. A...

Cage Maintenance

May 21, 2013 by

Introduction A clean cage is essential to the health and well being of your pet. Our rule of thumb is that if the cage smells bad to us, it probably smells really bad to our hedgehog. Hedgehogs have a much better sense of smell than we do. Type of Cage The type of cage and the ventilation it provides can make a difference in the level of odor that accumulates in the area of the cage. A glass aquarium or plastic bin with poor ventilation will harbor odor, moisture, and will encourage bacterial growth, which will in turn create an unsanitary living environment for your hedgehog. If you should choose to use these types of cages, you may need to perform complete bedding changes more frequently than with a wire-topped cage. Marchioro’s solid plastic bottom cages with coated wire tops provide the needed ventilation and they are our recommended choice of cage. Regardless of the type of cage you use, you will still need to perform regular cage cleanings. Type of Litter Different types of bedding have different absorbency levels so the cage may need to be cleaned more or less frequently depending on the size and general messiness of your hedgehog. Pelleted beddings may allow you to sift the good bedding from the soiled bedding to be reused after the bottom has been cleaned. Refer to our Bedding Guide for more information on...