General Requirements

Sep 2, 2013 by

Maintenance Requirements Most hedgehog owners agree that hedgehogs are relatively easy to care for and maintain. Fresh food, water, and regular cage cleaning are it’s basic requirements.  One must be careful not to take the hedgehog’s easy care for granted.  A hedgehog not closely monitored, can become neglected. A small problem can result in death of the hedgehog, if a problem is not addressed in a timely manner. The amount of maintenance required is determined in part by the cleanliness of the hedgehog and your perception of ‘work’, as an owner. Cage Requirements Most breeders recommend a medium size, solid surfaced, guinea pig cage with a minimum of four square feet.  Ten to 15 gallon aquariums were once recommended, but most hedgehog enthusiasts and experts now agree that aquariums this size do not have adequate floor space for hedgehogs. Diet Requirements Many commercial hedgehog foods are available but they are all not equal in nutritional value or ingredient quality.  One should become familiar with their hedgehog’s needs, before purchasing foods, because some foods marketed for hedgehogs are quite inappropriate as a staple diet. Spike’s Delite Ultra by Pet Products (1-877-977-8310) is a quality hedgehog food that is used by many breeders. Other breeders use a blend of dry cat foods. Hedgehogs should be kept on the same diet as the breeder/previous owner for at least a week of adjustment before changing foods. Please review...

Ideal Diet

Sep 2, 2013 by

Food Many hedgehogs have developed fatal liver problems due to diet of too much fat. For many years, cat food has been the default food for domestic hedgehogs but many cat foods are too high in fat and low in protein to be healthy food for hedgehogs. Over time, hedgehog-specific food has been developed but don’t blindly accept it based on the label. The only way you can guarantee the healthiness of your hedgehog’s food is to analyze its fat, protein and carbohydrate content. Choose food (whether in the form of cat or hedgehog food) that guarantees a composition of at least 30% protein. Don’t feed your hedgehog any food with a fat content of over 12%. Make sure your hedgehog gets a good amount of fiber (food with 10% fiber analysis will work well), because fibers can partially substitute for some of the substances that a hedgehog would normally consume in its primarily insect diet. In the Wild Although traditionally classified in the now abandoned order Insectivora, hedgehogs are not exclusively insectivores but are almost omnivorous. Hedgehogs feed on insects, snails, frogs and toads, snakes, bird eggs, carrion, mushrooms, grass roots, berries, melons, and watermelons. In fact, berries constitute a major part of an Afghan Hedgehog’s diet in early spring after hibernation. The hedgehog is occasionally spotted after a rainstorm foraging for earthworms. Although forest hedgehogs, most well-known to Europeans, are indeed mainly...

Specialty & Tempting Foods For Hedgehogs With Health Concerns...

Jun 8, 2013 by

Any time your hedgehog is not eating it is cause for concern. Be sure to read our Help! Hedgie is Not Eating article to try and determine the cause of your hedgehog to stop eating. Soft Food Diets Hedgehogs that have dental problems (tooth decay, tooth loss, gum disease) or are too weak to feed themselves may need a soft food diet. Traditional hard kibble can be crushed or ground with a food processor, blender (grind setting), or coffee grinder.  Several days worth of food can be ground at one time and stored in a zip lock bag in the refrigerator. Pet Pro Products makes and sells “1st Crumbs” which is an excellent crushed kibble for young babies or hedgehogs with special needs. Many hedgehogs will accept traditional foods softened with warm water. Homemade or low-sodium chicken broth can be added to whole or crushed kibble provide moisture and to make the ground food a little tastier than plain water. Chicken, turkey and beef can be ground in the blender. Can be added to powdered regular food or feed alone. Crumbling Crickets and Mashing Mealies The exoskeletons of many insets and the crunchiness of freeze dried bugs may present a problem for hedgehogs that have trouble chewing. Live insects can be frozen and then crushed, crumbled, mashed, or ground either by them selves or with the dry kibble. Insect crumble can be fed alone or mixed with...

References & Further Reading

May 25, 2013 by

Resources Available Information Many pet stores and libraries do not have the most current resources and, therefore, do not have the most accurate hedgehog information. Unfortunately, some of the books on the market and web pages on the Internet are out of date, and contain inaccurate and even harmful information. Books Antigone Means-Burleson published a book titled The Hedgehog Primer. This book has all the latest and most up to date information concerning hedgehogs and hedgehog care. This book may be purchased directly from Hedgehog Valley or here at Millermeade Farms. My favorite book that can be found in pet stores is by Dawn Wrobel with Dr. Susan Brown: Hedgehogs: Guide to a Happy, Healthy Pet. It is a small, hardback book published by Howell House (copyright 1997). Reeve, N: Hedgehgos. T & AD Poyser, London 1997. Websites Hedgehog Central www.hedgehogcentral.com The International Hedgehog Association www.hedgehogclub.com Hedgehog Valley www.hedgehogvalley.com www.hedgies.com The Hedgehog Welfare Society www.hedgehogwelfare.org Laura Ledet www.angelfire.com/wa2/commeetmyfamily or http://tinyurl.com/ptoe Pet Info Packets: Hedgehogs http://petinfopackets.com/hedgehogs/hedgehoginfopacket.html www.mihog.org Websites No Longer Available http://homearts.com/depts/pastime/hedgehb2.htm (printed 1/20/99) Articles Ducommun, Debbie. The Toxicity of Pine and Cedar Shavings. http://www.ratfanclub.org/litters.html 9/3/02 Graesser, Donnasue. Mortality and Longevity Update! Boys vs. Girls. IHA News. September-December 2005. McLeod, Lianne, DVM. Your Guide to Exotic Pets. Top 10 Alternatives to Cedar and Pine Shavings. http://exoticpets.about.com 06/21/07 Miller, Lucinda. Facts You Should Know About Hedgehogs. Ohio 4-H Small Animal Hedgehog Fact Sheet. 1998. Loane, Becca....

Transition From The Breeder’s Home To Your Home...

May 25, 2013 by

 When to Feed Your Hedgehog Hedgehogs are typically crepuscular (awake during dusk and dawn) to nocturnal animals. Wild hedgehogs typically spend most of their awake-time hunting for food. We feed our animals in the morning because that is what our schedule allows. Our animals know the routine and are very well adjusted. Most of our hedgehogs come out and take a nibble of their favorite part of the mix and then go back to sleep and eat the rest in the evening. Other hedgehog owners find that evening feeding works well for them and it certainly doesn’t hurt hedgehogs to adjust to a new routine. Moist or wet food or treats should be left in the cage for about four hours to prevent spoilage. This needs to be kept in mind while developing a routine. Your hedgehog will adjust to feeding at any time during the day or evening but it is important to be consistent in feeding at the same time every day. Shipping Stress Overview Baby hedgehogs in transition to new homes are subject to “shipping” stress.  Shipping stress occurs in all types of animals and can occur at any age. The most common problems during shipping stress are diarrhea or loose stools, and/or not eating. Many hedgehogs are happy to discover a new wheel and be so absorbed with running that they forget to eat, drink, and attempt to use the...

Diet Selection Criteria

May 25, 2013 by

Overview Selecting a diet is one of the most important decisions you can make for your pet. This guide contains diet recommendations that are based on information we have gathered from other breeders (both large and small scale), nutrition experts, veterinarians, and other experts, as well as our own 15+ years of hedgehog breeding experience. Diet plays an important role in reproduction, growth of babies, the overall health of your pet, and in longevity. We have attempted to address basic hedgehog nutrition in our Nutrition Overview article. Our hedgehog diet has evolved over the years and will probably change in the future as we learn more and new products are developed. We have tried and tested just about every hedgehog specific food out there as well as many other breeder recommendations.There are several key components that will ultimately help you decide on the best choice of food for your hedgehog. We as owners have to educate ourselves so that we can make better choices for our pets since they do not get to decide what is best for themselves. Not all foods are created equal, but keep in mind the perfect food has not yet been determined. Nutritional Content There are a lot of foods that have many of the same ingredients, but the amount of each ingredient as well as the quality will determine how “nutritious” the food is. Many breeders and hedgehog...

Nutrition

May 5, 2013 by

In the Wild Hedgehogs are insectivores and like many other insectivores they can eat one third to one hundred percent of their body weight in insects and food every night. Hedgehogs eat the whole insect including the hard exoskeleton. Wild hedgehogs seem to have a preference for soft-bodied insects such as centipedes and millipedes when available. (Graffam) They are also opportunistic omnivores and may feed on small vertebrates they can catch or carrion they encounter. Birds’ eggs are said to be a hedgehog favorite. Hedgehogs do not have a cecum, which is the lower end of the colon in other animals. Herbivores have a relatively large cecum, hosting a number of bacteria, which aid in enzymatic breakdown of plant matter such as cellulose whereas carnivores have only a small portion of a cecum called vermiform appendix. Hedgehogs have been known to eat some seeds, soft fruit, and vegetation. Their body is not designed to digest plant matter; it is probable that they eat these foods because there is a shortage of their preferred diet. Traditionally, hedgehogs are a welcome friend in gardens and will never become agricultural pests. What We Know A majority of the hedgehog diet information available today originates from research by Dr. Graffam-Carlsen of the Bronx Zoo. She presented her research at Go Hog Wild 1998, a convention of hedgehog enthusiasts. Like humans and other animals, hedgehogs need a blend of...