Hedgehog Care Sheet
(Provide fresh food and water daily)
The first thing you will need is a habitat for your new pet. For hedgehogs, give them as much room as you can, the more space the better, we recommend an absolute minimum of 2.5 to 3 square feet of floor space for your new pet. Your hedgehog will need a lot of room to exercise each night. We use large sterilite bins. But the wire cages that are made to house guinea pigs or ferrets do not make a good choice for your new hedgehog. (We have witnessed severe injuries and even death, with hedgehogs that were housed in wire cages.)
Make sure the walls are high enough so that your new pet can't climb out. Remove feces and clean urine daily! All bedding should be removed and cage sanitized with bleach water (at 2 oz. per gallon) at least once per week. Again we use sterilite plastic totes (minimum 105 Qt.) Your hedgehog will need an exercise wheel to run on ( THIS IS A MUST HAVE ). We use 10" bucket wheels, wheels with solid floors are your best choice. Try to avoid mesh or wire wheels, or any other type of wheel that your hedgehog might get their feet or toenails stuck in, which may cause serious injuries. Your pet will also need a food dish, a water bottle or bowl, they will also need some type of hut to sleep in. Hedgehogs are shy but inquisitive creatures and like checking out new things, so alternating things in their cage like rocks to climb on, pieces of drift wood to climb under and push around or even tunnels made of PVC pipe to run through or hide in. These are all good choices to help keep your hedgehog active, happy and healthy.
Bedding will be your next concern, you will need some sort of bedding to line your pet's cage. Wood chips, aspen, pine shavings, old newspaper, cotton fabric or fleece are all good choices and are commonly used as bedding. NEVER USE CEDAR as the aromatic oils have been known to cause respiratory problems, that over time can become fatal. If you decide to use wood chips or pine shaving, Try to use products that have been kiln dried. What we use for our bedding is the kiln dried pine shavings.
You will need to develop a relationship with your new hedgehog. Devoting as much time as possible is essential and helps to create a trusting bond. Hedgehogs by nature are shy and timid creatures, so you will need to interact with your new pet on a daily basis. Setting play time aside each day will help your hedgehog become a custom to you and his/her new surroundings. Especially if your bringing home a new baby. With young hedgehogs ( just weaned ) at 6 weeks of age, they will start their quilling process which last's until about 3 months of age. Interaction with your hedgehog during this time, we think is the most important. The use of hedgie bags are very helpful during this time. Remember be patient, it may take 2 to 3 weeks for your hedgehog to get adjusted to it's new environment.
Hedgehog nutrition is a much debated subject. There are a few things that most breeders agree on. Hedgehogs require a diet fairly low in fat, and some what high in protein, along with vitamin supplements. Because they burn more calories baby hedgehogs to 3 months of age require a little higher fat and protein content than do adults. What we feed our hedgehogs a combination of 5 different high quality cat foods, hedgehog complete, meal worms and hedgehog vitamin supplements. As a snack or treat we give our hogs, boiled chicken, cooked rice or hard boiled eggs with shell. Cook all with plain water, no salt or butter.
NOTE: We do not recommend feeding free choice, adult hedgehogs without enough exercise can become obese in a very short time. Most healthy hedgehogs will eat between 1 and 2 Tbs. of food per day
Taking your hedgehog to the vet for a healthy pet check within the first week or two of arriving home is a good idea no matter who you get your hedgehog from. Hedgehog health care is pretty straight forward. They don't need any immunizations. Although they are prone to fatty liver disease, cancer and obesity, with the proper diet and exercise they can live a long and happy life. Parasites (mites) are easily controlled with the use of Revolution. Revolution is the only topical medication that is recommended.
Hedgehogs are susceptible to bacteria. In most cases they obtain it through either there water source, unsanitary cages, treats or snack food left too long in there cages. We recommend giving a drop or two of yogurt with active yeast culture to your hedgehog to clear there system out. Usually the signs of a bacterial infection are loose green stool.
Hedgehogs need to be warm. We recommend temperatures between 76-78 degrees. We do not recommend heat lamps of any kind, if additional heat is needed use a human heating pad set on low under the outside of the cage.
Your pets hygiene is also very important. When bathing your hedgehogs, we recommend using baby shampoo, a moisturizer such as oatmeal, coco butter or olive oil, and as a precaution we always use a capful of puppy or kitten flea shampoo. We use a soft bristle baby brush to wash their quills, a toothbrush to scrub their feet and toe nails. This is also a good time to clip their toenails if needed.
This is only a basic care sheet
For any additional concerns or questions
please feel free to contact us by phone at: 716/298-5025 or email us at: