Climbing Objects & Multi-Level Cages
- 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 of multi-level cages should be padded with several inches of shock absorbing bedding.
- Most hedgehog experts would agree that tree branches and ladders are NOT a good idea.
- If you must use a cage with levels and ramps, the safest way to do so would be to completely enclose the levels and ramps. Keep in mind that even with a barrier, the hedgie may attempt to climb up and over leading to an even greater fall. (Wikipedia)
Contributor: Nicole Belval