Toys, Enrichment & Entertainment...

Jun 27, 2013 by

Environmental Enrichment Wild and free ranging animals have lots of natural exercise and stimulation. Numerous studies have shown that animals in zoos, animal parks, labs and private homes benefit from exercise and environmental enrichment. Thirty minutes outside of the cage each day is ideal for play time. Hedgehogs require physical and mental stimulation through toys and other objects in their enviroment. Activity that is essential to animal health and a happier life. Healthy, happy, active animals (and humans) tend to live longer and have more fulfilling lives. It is up to hedgehog caretakers to provide a variety of cage items to enrich the life of your pet by providing a variety of experiences, which prevent boredom and stimulate activity. In her book Pet African Hedgehogs Kimberly Goertzen states “While it’s extremely unlikely your hedgehog will fetch a ball or jump through hoops for you, they still interact with things. Some will play tug-of-war, some will chase things”. Like children, hedgehogs seem to prefer bright colors while some hedgehogs may have no color preference at all. Many hedgehogs like to push, pull, drag, and climb on a variety of different objects. Safety Precautions One must carefully inspect every cage addition (or play item) for small detachable parts that could become choking hazards. Look for sharp edges that could cut your hedgehog. Inspect toys the same way you would for a young child. Play Areas Enclosed...

Messy Wheels & Wheel Cleaning

May 28, 2013 by

Wheel Overview Our Hedgehog Wheel  Article describes the health and entertainment/enrichment benefits of providing your hedgehog with a wheel. As with most good things, there is a price and the price for providing your hedgehog a wheel is the risk of having to clean it. Wheels have a tendency to cause hedgehogs to forget all about using the litter pan. Some considerate hedgehogs will stop wheeling and hang their little tail end off the wheel to do their business – don’t expect this from your pet. Why Messy Wheels Happen This is the best explanation we’ve found. Taken from Hedgehog Central: http://wiki.hedgehogcentral.com/tiki-index.php?page=wheels#Pooping_on_the_Wheel When a hedgehog runs it releases its bowels and urinary tract. By running, the hedgehog is kick starting its metabolism and urgently needs to expel waste much like a human does after a warm cup of coffee. When a hedgehog is running, it believes it is leaving its waste behind it and unlike a dog will not search for a place to go to the washroom. Hedgehogs on a wheel will release their bowels much like they do in the wild; however, in this instance the hedgehog does not leave its feces behind, but continues to run through it. With a hedgehog, this is inevitable. It is likely you will have to clean the wheel daily and provide your hedgehog with weekly foot baths in a shallow sink or on a damp cloth...

Wheels

May 28, 2013 by

Wheel Benefits Wheels are an excellent addition to any cage and are one of the most important accessories to provide stimulation since most hedgehogs love to run in a wheel. Our customers have measured their hedgehog’s wheel activity and have reported up to 12 miles logged on a pedometer in one night.  Wheels provide important exercise for your hedgehog.  Exercise increases the overall health and well being of animals and humans alike. Hedgehogs that are provided wheels have a decrease in fatty liver disease and other obesity related health complications. Some hedgehogs have been clocked at a top speed of 12 mph. http://hedgehoghollow.com/faq/part4.html#5.6 Wheel Size and Design Hedgehogs need a relatively large wheel. Wheels that are sold for large rats, chinchillas, or ferrets are generally the right size. Wheels should have a SOLID bottom or a plastic mesh running surface – no wire rung, rodent-style wheels, etc. Make sure you use the 11” to 15” diameter wheels with approximately 5” of running width. The smaller 10” wheels are only acceptable for smaller than average adults or youngsters. Most wheels need a 16” cage height clearance. Wheels with a sturdy stand tend to be a little quieter and are less likely to be tipped over or pushed around the cage. Keep in mind that there is no PERFECT wheel. Each owner and hedgehog tends to have their favorite to use and favorite to clean.  You...

Elimination Habits

May 27, 2013 by

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...