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Hedgehog Basic Care

Updated on July 16, 2017
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Brittany Banks loves animals. She has experience with this type of animal and likes to share how to take care of it.

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Introduction

Hedgehogs can live up to ten years with proper care. If you care for your hedgehog the proper way, it will live a long, happy life. Hedgehogs can make great pets, but be prepared to get poked. You will need to put in a lot of time, patience, and effort to make them more comfortable with you and their surroundings. This article will explain the basic care for your prickly friend.

Never house a different species of animal with a hedgehog!

Enclosure Requirements

Your hedgehog will need a comfortable home to stay in. A one level wired cage with solid flooring will be great for your hedgehog. A cage that is 2ft by 3ft will be a good size cage. Do not use a small cage because hedgehogs need some room to move around. Do not use a multi-level cage because hedgehogs are not great climbers. Your hedgehog will fall over and break a leg. Your hedgehog is nocturnal, so he or she will be out and about when you are sleeping. I prefer you do not place the cage in an area where you will sleeping.

Hedgehogs will go into hibernation if their enclosure is not warm enough. When hedgehogs go into hibernation, they may or may not wake up depending on the health of your hedgehog. To prevent this situation from happening, you need to make sure that the temperature stays around 75 F- 80 F. To achieve this, you should purchase a ceramic heat emitter, a dome, and thermostat. A thermostat will help control these temperatures. Set the thermostat at 80 F. If your enclosure is too hot, your hedgehog will have a heat stroke. Ask a worker at your local pet store to help you find the right dome for your ceramic heat emitter.

As bedding, you need to use something that is not dusty. Avoid pine shavings, they are toxic to your hedgehog. If you want to use shavings, you can use aspen shavings. You will need to change the bedding every two weeks, so purchase a good amount that can last for awhile. Fleece is another good bedding to use and it is washable. Make sure there is no pill or loose strings. Loose strings can wrap around a hedgehog's leg which can cause the leg to need amputation.

Your hedgehog will need an area to sleep in and have some privacy. Purchase an igloo or something big enough that your hedgehog can fit in. You can use a wooden hut. Just make sure it isn't made out of pine. You can find an igloo at your local pet store.

Your hedgehog will need a wheel to run in. Use a solid wheel, so your hedgehog's feet can't get caught. Hedgehogs run a lot on the wheel at night. Try to find a wheel that doesn't squeak.

Your hedgehog will need a food dish and a water bottle. Find a ceramic food dish that is heavy so your hedgehog won't be able to tip it over. Hedgehogs can be messy. Place your water bottle some where away from the bedding, so the bedding doesn't get soaked.

Hedgehogs can be potty trained. Purchase a corner litter pan and place it away from where the hedgehog sleeps. You should use recycled paper pellets for the litter. Do not use cat litter, because it can get into your hedgehog's eyes.

Toys like toilet paper tubes are great to keep your hedgehog occupied. This will help keep them going, so they can get tired and sleep.

You will need to clean this enclosure every two weeks. You can clean the enclosure with just soap and water. An easy way to do this, is to use the bathtub. Remove everything from the cage. Fill the bathtub up with warm water and antibacterial dish soap. Place the cage, igloo, food dish, water bottle and toys in the bath tub and let it soak. Make sure you rinse everything very well. Let everything dry before you put the cage back together.

The cat food in this picture will be great to feed your hedgehog.
The cat food in this picture will be great to feed your hedgehog. | Source

Food And Water

Picking the right kind of food is very important for a hedgehog's diet. Your hedgehog will need a well-balanced diet to prevent health problems. Use high quality cat food that is high in protein and low in fat. You should use chicken or turkey cat food. You need to use a cat food that has no grains in it. Insects are another part of a hedgehogs diet. You can feed meal worms or crickets for treats. Do not feed your hedgehog too many treats. Unseasoned cooked chicken is another great treat. Your hedgehog will need a good water bottle to prevent leakage. Make sure this water is purified. Change the water and food daily.

A cute hedgehog after bath time.
A cute hedgehog after bath time. | Source

Bath Time And Nail Clipping

Your hedgehog will need a bath every two weeks. Purchase some aveeno baby wash and a tooth brush. Fill the sink up with shallow lukewarm water and add some aveeno baby wash to the water. The aveeno baby wash will prevent your hedgehog from having dry skin. Use the tooth brush to scrub the nails and quills. Don't scrub too hard and be gentle. Some hedgehogs like baths and some don't.

After or during the bath, this is the best time to clip your hedgehogs nails. Clipping your hedgehogs nails can be a pain, but you have to be patient. Any chance you have of grabbing a foot will come in handy. Grab each foot gently and clip the nails at the quick. Be careful, this is not an easy task.

Play Time

Hedgehogs like to come out of the cage. Purchase a playpen, so you have an area for your hedgehog to exercise in. Make sure you keep an eye on your hedgehog at all times. Some of them will learn to climb out of the playpen. Use toilet paper tubes or large tubes for your hedgehog to play with. Cat toys are perfect toys for them. You can find a playpen at your local pet store or a department store.

The picture above, shows what kind of playpen you can purchase.
The picture above, shows what kind of playpen you can purchase. | Source

Conclusion

Over time, your hedgehog will bond with you and be your best friend. If you need any more information about hedgehogs, do your research before you purchase one. Check back once a week for any updated information.

Information Collected From:

Facebook Group: Hedgehog Happenings

Facebook Friend: Mark Gibbons

References

"Hedgehogs." Hedgehogcareorg Hedgehogs Comments. Hedgehogcare.org, 2017. Web. 29 June 2017. <http://hedgehogcare.org/>.

"The International Hedgehog Association." The International Hedgehog Association. The International Hedgehog Association, 2012. Web. 29 June 2017. <http://hedgehogclub.com/>.

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