There are many MANY MANY pages on the internet that go into great detail for hedgehog care, and they are invaluable. Research for these little dudes is key to their well-being and longevity. But I will give you a basic run down, and if you have further questions or need clarification, you are welcome to contact me! I am happy to answer any questions you might have.
In the future, I may also be selling full set ups, as well.
The first question you might ask is, "Is a hedgehog the right pet for me?" Here is a post I wrote about why hedgehogs make great pets. They do have a few extra requirements such as heat and wheels and attention to diet, but it's generally simple and well worth it for your pet!
The Hedgehaus eats--
I prefer to stick with cat foods with less than 13% fat, and in the range of 30% for protein, and as much fiber as I can find, which is often very low in cat foods, and why things like insects or cricket powder are helpful. A good quality dry cat food will have meat listed as the first ingredient.
There are, as always, debates on how much protein/fat are acceptable, but these ranges have always worked well for me. So when selecting a cat food for your hedgehog, check the bags nutrition with these numbers in mind. Also, high quality ingredients, that list meat as the first ingredient. I give them about 2-3 table spoons of kibble a night.
*cricket powder~ This was a suggestion from Antigone that I loved and it has proven to be great. I kinda swear by this stuff now. It really makes a difference, in my opinion. I sprinkle a pinch over their cat food each night and mix it in. The insect fiber (chitin) increases the hedgehogs' ability to digest fat.
They also get several times a week:
Mealworms and superworms are the most favorite insects at the Hedgehaus. Mealworms and wax worms especially are very fatty, so I wouldn't overdo it.
Fat hedgehogs might look cute on Instagram, but trust me, fatty liver disease will shorten the life of your hedgie. A good diet and exercise is imperative for long-term health.
Other treats that hedgies love: scrambled eggs, unseasoned/unprocessed meats, unseasoned/cooked eggs (hardboiled or scrambled), fruits (no citrus or dried fruit), veggies, (no raisins, onions, avocados, onions) baby food, wet cat food, cottage cheese.
!! IF YOU AREN'T SURE IF SOMETHING IS GOOD FOR YOUR HEDGIE TO EAT, PLEASE USE YOUR FRIEND GOOGLE TO FIND OUT BEFORE FEEDING IT TO THEM! ALSO CHECK MULTIPLE SOURCES FOR EXTRA VERIFICATION BECAUSE THE INTERNET IS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT!!
Water bottles have always worked for me with no issues. You can also use heavy ceramic bowls for water. Hedgehogs love to tip stuff over, so make sure it is heavy enough that they can't.
PRO TIP: If using a plastic bin for a DIY cage, after melting holes for the water bottle to fit into, elastic banding tied around the bottle holds it in tightly and they are easy to remove!
PLEASE make sure they always have access to fresh water. Probably a given, but must be said, regardless.
This is yet another topic of various opinions and debates. There are many types of cages/housing to choose from! I have a couple of guinea pig starter kit cages, but I also really like to make cages out of Rubbermaid/Sterilite bins. These are very economical and easy to clean! I recommend a minumum of 110 qts but the bigger the better!
Here are a couple of videos for reference on how to make one-
If you don't have the luxury of leaving the lid off, because you might have cats or dogs or small children that could get into the cage, I have cut big rectangles in the center of the lids, and hot glued screen mesh over it for ventilation. You can find it super cheap at Walmart or Lowe's, Home Depot, etc.
There are also a lot of great options on Amazon, such as the Critter Nation cages. I personally don't have that kind of space, but they look pretty cool and spacious. Just make sure it's something that you won't mind cleaning once a week!
NO CEDAR NO CEDAR NO CEDAR
Kiln-dried pine, aspen, carefresh are all fine. I prefer the Kaytee Aspen. Many people like to use fleece instead of bedding. It is economical. I do not have a washer & dryer in my apartment, so that is not something I have explored. However I would make sure the fleece does not pill. Hedgie toenails can snag it, pull it, and get it wrapped around hedgie feet and cut off circulation faster than you realize. (For that matter, so can HAIR, or any kind of string, and I have seen this happen! Very important to check feet DAILY, imo.)
A wheel is very important. IF for whatever reason you don't have or want a wheel, if your hedgie gets a lot of exercise (running around, like in a small kiddie swimming pool minus the water, or SUPERVISED around the house) that should be fine but I like to take the guesswork out of it and just give them a wheel! My all time favorite is the Carolina Storm Wheel found on Etsy. They make zero noise, which is wonderful for a light sleeper like me. They are a bit pricey after shipping, but worth every penny. They make models with a litter tray beneath them and without. Since hedgehogs like to run and poo, I advise the litter tray model. My first two wheels didn't have the tray, and I regret that despite them being great wheels otherwise. Regardless of whether or not it has a litter tray, your hedgehog WILL poo & run. It will be gross. You WILL have to clean it AT LEAST every other day. Spot cleaning is good if it's a few spots, but mine like to make a huge mess so they always require complete cleanings. Fortunately, that isn't very difficult.
The Kaytee Comfort Wheel is also good but maybe not as silent.
In addition to a wheel, you can let your hedgie run around in the bathtub with no water in it, (OR with a small amount of warm water and let them have a little foot bath for poo feet!) or let them run around your house as long as you're watching them, there are small animal playpens online, and I have even bought small kid pools that I put bedding in for hoglets to run around in. There are many exercise options! Hedgehogs LOVE TO RUN, so please please do not deprive them of this joy in their life! Thus the reason I think a wheel is soooooo important, in addition to it keeping them fit and active.
African Pygmy hedgehogs WILL hibernate if they are too cold. BUT unlike European hedgehogs, African Pygmies are NOT SUPPOSED to hibernate. Below 70 is too cold. Some can handle it, but that's a horrible risk to take. If they hibernate, they will die. So, no hibernation, please. Keep your hedgie warm! I keep the thermostats in my hedgie cages set to 75.
My setup is as follows:
-Fluker's Repta-Clamp Lamp with Switch for Reptiles (8.5")
-CHE (ceramic heat emitter) bulb
-thermostat for setting temp
If you search for the Fluker's lamp on Amazon, it'll probably show you the other products as "Frequently Bought Together".
There are several videos on Youtube on how to set these up.
I wouldn't advise a heating pad. Some people use them, but I don't want anything to catch fire or melt the plastic of a bin cage, etc.
As you can see, hedgehogs have many requirements, some more unusual than others. PLEASE make sure these are requirements you can provide. I will ask for pictures of your setup before a baby is allowed to go home.
Also BEFORE you get a hedgehog, make sure you know an exotics vet who sees hedgehogs, so you know who to take your hedgie to if needed. (There is a list of DFW area vets on the links page.) Vets for exotics are usually not cheap, so keep that in mind. The hedgehog itself, and the initial set up, isn't "cheap" either. Don't cheap out on your hedgehog! They (or any pet) deserves the very best!
I hope this adequately covers MOST of the bases, and again, if you have any questions, feel free to send me a message!
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