Elimination Habits

May 27, 2013 by

Elimination Habits

Baby Hedgehogs

  • Young hedgehogs are especially prone to releasing their bowels on their handler.
  • When you first get your hedgehog you can pretty much expect to get pooped on at some point.
  • Hedgehog babies typically get better as they get older.

Wake Up Ritual

  • Many animals (including humans) have to go to the bathroom when they wake up after a nap or a night of sleep.
  • While the body is resting, it is still processing foods and wastes.
  • Hedgehogs are no different, and they normally eliminate within twenty minutes of waking.
  • It is a good idea to have a litter box or paper towel handy at the beginning of playtime.

Litter Pan Usage

  • Some hedgehogs use the litter pan faithfully when they are first introduced to it.
  • Other hedgehogs flatly refuse to use a litter pan.
  • One hedgehog owner reported that her hedgehog suddenly started using the litter pan at the age of two.
  • The benefits of a hedgehog using the litter pan are well worth the small investment and effort required to set one up.
  • When hedgehogs use their litter pan it cuts down on cage cleaning, which in turn saves on both time and bedding, as well as improves overall hygiene of your hedgehog.
  • Hopefully litter box use will occur in the first week or so of coming home. See our Litter Training Article for more information on this topic.

Wheel Pooping

  • Hedgehogs can have a very unpleasant habit of pooping on their wheel. It is almost as if they are having so much fun running on the wheel that they can not take the time to stop and get off the wheel. Anyone who has potty trained a preschooler knows that sometimes playing is way more important than proper bathroom habits.
  • Unfortunately, there is not a lot you can do to stop this bad habit.
  • We encourage waiting to put the wheel in the cage until after the hedgehog has established a good bathroom routine.
  • One way to discourage wheel pooping is to limit wheel use. This may not always be practical but can be helpful in some cases.
  • Wheels may need to be cleaned anywhere from nightly to weekly. One way to speed clean up is to line the wheel with Glad’s Press’N Seal®. The Press’N Seal® can be regularly replaced.
  • In some cases placing a litter pan under the hedgehogs’ wheel can help both in catching the wheel run off, and in training your hedgehog to use the litter pan.

Hedgehog “Gifts”

  • Even after hedgehogs have bonded with you and outgrown their baby phase, adult hedgehogs may still have occasional “accidents”.
  • Sometimes hedgehogs that typically have good bowel control have accidents because they simply have been handled too long and can’t hold it any longer.
  • Many hedgehog enthusiasts joke that poop is a hedgehog gift. When your hedgehog is not scared of you and gives you a little gift, you can rest assured you have made a friend!


Primary Author: Gail Dick, Millermeade Farm’s Critter Connection

Contributor: Jamie Hand

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