How to Set Up Your Hedgehog's Cage
Hedgehogs are relatively low maintenance animals, but there are a few things you should keep in mind when setting up their cage.
Hedgehogs Need Space to Run Around
Hedgehogs need a spacious, clean and most importantly warm environment in order to be happy and healthy. The best way to provide your hedgehog with plenty of space is to get a cage that is at least 3 x 6 feet. This is the bare minimum; it is best to get the largest cage you can so they have lots of room to explore!
Hedgehogs Need a Place to Hide & Burrow
Hedgehogs also need a hiding spot inside their cage as well as a place to sleep. A small wooden Hedgehog house or some type of Hedgehog igloo would work great for this. Hedgehogs prefer to sleep during the day, so they must be provided with a dark and quiet environment.
Hedgehogs Need Proper Light Cycles
As hedgehogs are nocturnal animals, they need a special light cycle to prevent them from going into hibernation. African pygmy hedgehogs require 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness every day. This can be provided by natural sunlight or artificial light, such as from a lamp. It's important to make sure that the light is not too bright, as this can be harmful to their eyes. It is also important to make sure that your hedgehog has a place where it can hide from the light if it wants to. This will help them feel more comfortable and less stressed. A small box or even a paper bag with some holes cut out for ventilation will work well. They love playing and also sleeping in paper bags like these!
Hedgehogs Need Safe Bedding
When it comes to bedding, you want to make sure you go with something that is soft like fleece or paper because shavings can hurt their little feet. I have always used paper towels and my hedgehog was ‘potty trained’ to go on the paper towel, which helped make clean up easy! Make sure you buy unscented, unbleached paper towels so your hedge is not irritated.
Hedgehogs Need A Clean Environment
The cage should be kept clean and free of any strong smells - this means regularly changing the bedding and cleaning the water bowl daily. Hedgehogs are very sensitive to smell and strong odors can stress them out.
Hedgehogs Need a Heat Source in Their Cage
As for temperature, you want to keep the cage between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit. European hedgehogs are naturally wired to hibernate when the weather outside becomes cold in the fall and winter. However, pet hedgehogs - African Pygmy Hedgehogs - cannot hibernate because their metabolism does not allow it. If a pet hedgehog goes into hibernation they will die. It is extremely serious and there is no shortage of horror stories from hedgehog owners who made the grave mistake of not providing their hedgehog with adequate heat. Most homes are not warm enough to meet a pet hedgehog's needs, as most homes are not kept above 75 degrees Fahrenheit year round. This is why you must have a heat source for their cage year-round!
By following these simple guidelines above, you can create a happy and healthy home for your hedgehog!
Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This means I may receive a small commission when you purchase a product from my links, at no additional cost to you.