Last Updated on October 30, 2022.

VIDEO.:  Avoid these bedding options

Cedar Shavings

  • One doesn’t have to search very hard to find numerous warnings and studies showing the dangers of using cedar for animal, reptile or bird bedding.  NEVER use cedar shavings because they contain a toxin called Plicatic Acid and other aromatic (volatile) hydrocarbon or phenol compounds.
  • These phenols are what give the shavings their scent and what repel fleas and moths but they are the same compounds that lead to numerous problems in small mammals.
  • The use of cedar shavings can lead to respiratory illnesses, liver problems and some types of cancer in hedgehogs.
  • To our knowledge the only recommended use of cedar shavings by veterinarians is for filler in DOG beds only.


  • A few owners have used hay as a nesting option for their hedgehogs.
  • As long as the hay is packaged from a pet store it should be fine.
  • Hay used for large livestock hasn’t been treated for anything and that could make your hedgehog very sick.
  • Hay is generally NOT recommended as the main cage bedding.

Other unsuitable bedding

  • Sawdust (will most definitely cause respiratory issues)
  • Straw (many of the same reasons as hay)
  • Garden soil and leaves (contaminated with outdoor bugs and perlite or fertilizers)
  • Gravel (not at all comfortable to walk on or lay on)

All bedding should be properly cleaned and processed to remove the risk of mites and other parasites and you should make sure your hedgehog is happy with whatever bedding you choose.  Sometimes what you prefer isn’t what your hedgehog thrives in.

Contributors: Gail Smith, Melissa Ramos

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