Bobbie's Pets

Hedgehog Care

 

Housing:

  • A metal or plastic cage (like those made for guinea pigs or ferrets) works great, but it should have a plastic bottom. Large plastic storage containers also work very well as a hedgehog home- they are cheap, easy to clean and the hedgehog cannot climb the sides. Make sure that the container is 90 quart or larger. Clean the cage at least once a week, and odor won't be a problem.
  • Hedgehogs need a wheel. It should have a flat running surface, NO wire or metal bars. Silent Spinner or Super Pet Comfort wheels are great.
  • Hedgehogs need to have something to hide in. You can use Pet Igloos, a handmade hiding pouch, or even something as simple as a pvc pipe, an old towel or blanket.
  • Bedding:

    You can choose from a wide variety of bedding for your hedgehog. Wood shavings are great, but do not use cedar. Cedar contains oils that are toxic to hedgehogs and other animals. Shredded newspaper is a good and cost effective choice. You can also use cage liners and puppy pads, although in my experience the hedgehogs like to burrow under them and end up making a huge mess! Other types are Eco-Bedding, Clean & Cozy, and Carefresh.

    Toys:

    A toilet paper tube will keep any hedgehog busy!  Small balls with bells in them, toy cars, etc. They love anything small they can push around with their nose!

    Hygeine:

    Hedgehogs don't need to be bathed often, only when they appear dirty. Fill up a tub or sink with warm water and gently place the hedgehog in. I use baby Aveeno and just put a small amount on my hands and rub it over their quills, but you can also use a toothbrush and brush the quills-down, never up. Be careful to avoid getting water over their face and ears. Rinse the soap off and place the hedgehog in a towel until completely dry.

    You will have to trim the nails regularly. As with any pet, make sure not to trim to far and into the quick. Some of my hedgehogs hate having their nails trimmed and it's alot easier for me to do it under the water while I'm giving them a bath. They will not ball up in the bath!

    Hedgehogs can sometimes get mites. Symptoms are constant scratching, loss of quills, and you may notice what looks like dry, flaky skin on the face and ears. This can usually be cleared up with an oil bath. Place them in  tub or sink with warm water and pour a small amount of olive oil over the quills. I will put some oil on my finger tips and rub onto the tips of the ears also. Then rinse the oil off and dry your hedgehog. You will also need to clean the cage and everything in it! If you do not, then then the hedgehog will coninue to get mites again and again. Sometimes mites can come from wood bedding, or any other pets in the home.  

    Food:

    Hedgehogs need a staple diet of dry cat food. It should be in their bowl at all times. I give mine Purina One Chicken and Rice, and will send a bag of food home with every baby. No matter what food you choose make sure it is a higher quality, and has chicken as the first ingredient- no byproducts, meal, etc.

    As a treat 3-4 days a week you can give your hedgehog cooked veggies, fruits, cooked chicken or salmon, mealworms and crickets. 

    Water should be available at all times. Water bottles are preferred over bowls. With bowls, the hedgehog can get its bedding into it or knock it over.

     

    Other:

    The ideal temperature for a hedgehog is between 72-85 degrees. Be sure not to allow the temperture to drop below 72. Hedgehogs can go into hibernation and can also die as a result.

    Annointing- Whenever hedgehogs encounter a new smell or taste they may bite or lick the area and create a foamy saliva in their mouths and put it on the quills using their tongue. It's quite interesting to watch!

    Quilling- Hedgehogs will go through a quilling process around 6-8 weeks old and several other times during its life. This is the shedding of old quills and new ones growing in. Most hedgehogs become grumpy and uncomfortable during this time. Think of it as a baby teething, those quills are pushing up through the skin just like a new tooth pushing through a babys gums. Ouch. Putting your hedgehog in the bath with some warm water may help.

    Things toxic to hedgehogs: grapes and raisins, avacado, dairy products, chocolate and any junk food (for the same reasons they are bad for humans), tea tree oil. If you are unsure about a food, do not give it to your hedgehog!

    Most importantly your hedgehog needs love! You should hold your hedgehog every day to socialize and bond with it. If you do not, it may become unfriendly and hard to handle. The first few weeks you have your hedgehog are the most important. Take this time to bond with your hedgehog, letting it learn your scent and the smells and sounds of your home.