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...

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...

Environmental Stress & Not Eating...

May 24, 2013 by

New Environment It is very common for hedgehogs to eat or drink very little the first day or two in its new home. Maintaining the same diet your hedgehog was fed at the breeders will certainly help your new pet adjust more quickly. See our article Diet and Transition. Temperature Temperatures that are too hot or too cold are a stress to your hedgehog. While hedgehogs in the wild are used to experiencing temperature fluctuations, pet hedgehogs in captivity do not tolerate temperature changes as well. A hedgehog that is too hot will lay flat on it’s tummy with all four legs stretched out in sort of a “splat” and will probably be taking quick, short breaths. Moving it to a room with recommended temperatures should slowly cool the hedgehog. A hedgehog that is too cold will attempt to go into hibernation, which is not natural to African Pygmy hedgehogs, and it might die if not found in time and warmed up. It will be in a ball and refuse to unroll or if it does unroll it will move slowly and wobble or even fall. When you feel their tummy it will be cold and clammy. A chilled hedgehog should be warmed up slowly and not overheated. It should then be taken to an experienced veterinarian for check up. See our Temperature Requirements article and Keeping Your Hedgehog Warm article for more information...

Temperature Requirements

May 15, 2013 by

Thermo-Sensitive Hedgehogs are very sensitive to temperatures when compared to dogs or cats. They do not cope well with sudden changes in temperature. We have found that warm room temperatures are better than cool room temperatures. Hedgehogs that get too cool can go into a false or light hibernation, which can be deadly. Hedgehogs that are too cool can become torpid, lethargic, and will start to lose interest in food. Aestivation is a short hibernation that occurs when temperatures are too hot. Both hibernation and aestivation are not normal or healthy for pet hedgehogs. Optimal Temperature Keep your hedgehog out of drafts and in a warm and well-lit location, but not in direct sunlight. Various books and online care information will suggest temperatures ranging from 65°F to 80°F as the preferred temperature. Our hedgehogs are accustomed to temperatures around 80°F. We prefer our animal room to stay between 75°F and 85°F. You should shoot for a higher temperature if the temperature is going to fluctuate so that the lower temperature is still within the recommended range. Lower temperatures lead to eating less and lower activity, and that makes the animal more susceptible to respiratory and other opportunistic infections. Temperatures below 65°F can induce torpor that can be very dangerous to your pet. Pet hedgehogs have been known to die at sudden drops of temperatures this low. Other hedgehog owners may suggest cooler temperatures, but...

Acclimation To New Home

Apr 25, 2013 by

Right From the Start When your hedgehog gets home you will want to let it acclimate to its new cage. Make sure it is warm, comfortable, and able to find its food dish and water bottle. The water level should be placed so that the tip of the bottle is the hedgehog’s shoulder height. Please allow your hedgehog time to rest after the ride home. It may take awhile for it to adjust to its new surroundings or it may be relaxed and ready to play right away. We suggest that you wait to put the wheel until a week after your hedgehog comes home. Your hedgehog should be eating and eliminating regularly before you introduces additional stimulation to the cage. Some hedgies are more interested in wheeling than eating or they wheel so much that they are too tired to eat after all their activity. A good comparison is my children at the park – they play and play and don’t want to stop and eat, then fall asleep in the car on the way home without getting a full meal. It is always a good idea to quarantine any new animals from other animals in your home for two weeks. We understand that it isn’t always possible but it will help minimize the stress of the new animal and decrease the risk of an illness or disease among pets. What is normal...