- If you have decided to adopt or purchase a hedgehog there are a few basic things you will need. First of all, you should only keep one hedgehog per cage. Hedgehogs are solitary animals that spend most of their lives by themselves. They are not looking for friends and do better by themselves. You will need a cage that is about 4 square feet at the smallest. The floor must be solid and not wire. You can use critter keepers or even glass aquariums made for fish or reptiles. You will need to provide bedding inside the cage. Treated wood shavings should not be used. I much prefer soft pet bedding that is absorbent. Cob bedding also works for hedgehogs, but I have noticed they prefer something softer. Your hedgehog will also need a house to sleep in. This can be a small cardboard house, a wood house or igloo. You will also need to provide a low dish for food and a water bottle. I do not suggest using a dish for water because it is very hard to keep clean and will often be split.
- There is hedgehog diet on the market that is available in some pet stores or online, but I will always promote feeding fresh foods over processed food. If you decide to go with a processed food diet for your hedgehog you may also consider using cat food. Sometimes you can get a corn free high quality cat food that is much better for the animal than a hedgehog diet formula. Never buy a low quality cat food for your hedgehog. Your hedgehog will always benefit more from fresh foods. Be sure to give him/her lots of protein such as chicken and live bugs. And don’t forget fruits and vegetables. Always feed more veggies than fruits. Only feed items that are safe for hedgehogs. I’ve noticed some of mine’s favorite are peas, cucumbers and apples.
- When taming your hedgehog the most important thing to remember is to be patient! Hedgehogs in nature come out around dusk and dawn and spend almost all the rest of time sleeping. If you want to handle your hedgehog let him/her know you are there and then give him/her time to wake up. If you startle your hedgehog too much, he/she will turn into a biter! Hedgehogs have very poor eye sight, but excellent smell! Always give your hedgehog a chance to see who you are and what you are going to do, before taking them out of the cage. Place your hands underneath the hedgehog’s belly to lift him up. Stubborn hedgehogs can be taken out using leather gloves. They will unroll once they are taken out.
- Hedgehogs can easily become over weight so it’s important to provide them with an excise wheel. You can also allow your hedgehog to have an area outside the cage to walk around in. This time must be supervised! Whether you provide your hedgehog with an area to play inside the house or outside, always supervise and make sure there is nothing that can harm your hedgehog. Not only should you watch out for cats or other larger animals, but make sure the area is secure and does not have anything that can harm him/her. Hedgehogs love to lick new things they find. It’s very important to make sure your hedgehog is not exposed to chemicals used to clean the house, or fertilizers and/or pesticides used outside.
- Hedgehogs are not difficult to clean up after. You can spot clean the cage daily and replace bedding on a regular occasion. Every so often you can use mild soap and water to wash the cage down. Remove the hedgehog when cleaning and do not put the hedgehog back into the cage until it is completely dry. Hedgehogs do need to be bathed every so often. Do not bath your hedgehog more than every two weeks, as this can cause his skin to become irregular. You can use a tear free baby shampoo to wash the hedgehog. I use a tooth brush to clean the quills.
Meghan Arriola is an animal care consultant from Texas that spends her time promoting holistic wellbeing for humans and animals, while also caring for her many pets including dogs, ferrets, reptiles, goats and much more!
Copyright 2015 – All Rights Reserved MJ Arriola Creations LLC