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My Hedgehog Has Mites- What Now?

Mites are a very pesky but treatable problem that sometimes happens with pet hedgehogs. I am not a veterinarian and this article is not a replacement for your veterinarian. You will want to consult with your vet before using any medical treatment for your hedgehog. This article is meant to give you some idea of what options have been evaluated for hedgehogs, as well as what things we have heard people say about their experiences. This will help you to work with your vet to make a decision about care that is based on as much available information as possible!

When I first started working with hedgehogs, in the mid 1990s, topical Ivermection was typically recommended as treatment for mites (reference: personal exeperience; https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4612-3626-9_19). Participating in the few hedgehog groups/mail lists that existed at that time, I heard people complain that Ivermectin made their hedgehog sick or that it wasn't very effective (reference: personal e…
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Skin Reactions to Hedgehog Prickles

While it is not common, some people find that they get skin rashes or welts after handling their hedgehog. In general, hedgehogs are considered to be low dander and have been recommended as pets for people with allergies as they don't shed dander in a way that tends to trigger wheezing, sneezing, or watery eyes. Fairley, Suchniak, and Paller (1999) examined three case studies and reviewed literature, and came to a conclusion that there are several likely reasons for skin reactions to hedgehog handling:
1) When you get pricked by a hedgehog, dander can get under your skin. It has been found that people who have allergic reactions to cats are likely to have an allergic reaction to hedgehog dander. In this condition, there is generally no reaction to the hedgehog unless prickled. So, if you are allergic to cats, you will want a hedgehog that is calm and generally doesn't raise its prickles, and to be cautious if handling a hedgehog whose prickles are up.

2) Hedgehogs tend to self…

How Can I Keep My Hedgehog Warm?

The hedgehogs that we keep as pets come from warm parts of Africa and need to be maintained at warm temperatures. You can tell that the temperature is good for them because they will eat, drink, stay active, and behave normally. A hedgehog that is too cold becomes sluggish and cranky, and it will ignore its food and water. Sometimes it will curl in a ball and not hardly respond to you at all, and it will seem cool to the touch.

     In general, a temperature 70 and up will keep your hedgehog happy and healthy. Hedgehogs are at risk during times of the year when we experience rapid temperature fluctuations, such as in the spring or fall, when we humans can adjust by throwing on an extra blanket or sweater, but hedgehogs are vulnerable. It can also be a problem for them if the overall temperature is warm, but their cage is in a draft or near a window or door where the cold seeps through. Hedgehogs who are very young, elderly, or ill are also more at risk because they can't ther…

How Much Space Does A Hedgehog Need?

Hedgehogs are busy little creatures who love to run! When hedgehogs first entered the pet trade, people often kept them in small kennel cabs or 10 gallon aquariums, or even hamster cages! This turned out to be disastrous for the hedgehogs because, without room to roam or explore, they tended to become bored, unhappy, unhealthy, and obese.

Fast forward to 2020 and there is a current trend toward enormous cages, which is awesome! If you have the space, by all means, go as big as you can! I have gotten emails from people who are worried about living in a small apartment and not being able to provide their hedgehog with a mega mansion.  They wonder what their options are for keeping a hedgehog happy and healthy.

Here are the guidelines I recommend for choosing a cage that is big enough keep your hedgehog happy and healthy:

1) The cage should have sides that are tall enough that the hedgehog can't just stretch and get up and out.

2) The cage should have enough floor space that you can …

What Kind of Toys Do Hedgehogs Like?

Hedgehogs are very curious creatures who love to explore and stay active. Like most small animals, they do better when they live in an enriched environment with plenty of things to do and explore.

One of the things that hedgehogs really love to do is run around with toilet paper tubes on their head. Nobody really knows why they do this, but almost all hedgehogs will! You might think the hedgehog is stuck, but if you take the tube off of the hedgehog's head, it will give you a disgruntled look and go back into the tube! There have been hedgehogs who even learned to eat and drink through a tube. I had one who escaped and I found him because he was making a racket with a wrapping paper tube he was expertly winging around on his head!! We have used tubes made of craft foam with our hedgehogs, when there weren't enough TP tubes to  go around.


Hedgehogs also enjoy toys that they can crawl in, on, under, or through. In the pictures below, you can see quite a few different toys in thi…

Do Hedgehogs Make Good Pets for Kids?

Hedgehogs can make good pets for kids. Here are four main points to help you decide if a hedgehog will be a good pet for your child:

1) The child is not afraid of the hedgehog. If the child is afraid, more than likely the hedgehog will sense the nervousness and will act nervous or aggressive, making the child more afraid. This isn't good for the child or the hedgehog. It's okay if your child needs canvas gloves or a hedgebag to have confidence to pick the hedgehog up because eventually, both hedgehog and child will get more comfortable and they will both relax.

 2) The child knows how to take care of the hedgehog and has adult backup support. If the child has not done their research, they won't know how to take good care of it. Hedgehogs are pretty easy to care for, but they do still have some specific needs that most other small animals do not have, like needing to stay warm. Hedgehogs are also not rodents and have very different care requirements that standard small anima…

What Kind Of Wheel Do I Need For A Hedgehog?

One thing that we definitely know about hedgehogs is that they LOVE to run! Hedgehogs are reported to run about 1.8 to 8 miles per night and can run in short bursts of up to four miles per hour. One researcher did the math and figured out that a hedgehog running these distances would be like you or I running a marathon every night!! This gives me tremendous respect for my prickly little buddies because I only walk 3 to 5 miles per day at an average of 3 to 4 miles per hour!

Hedgehogs are generally very happy to run laps in their enclosure, or to run in hedgehog proofed areas of the house. However, they do also like to run in wheels and it's very fun to watch hedgehogs running, running, running on their wheels.

An appropriate wheel for a hedgehog is 11" or larger in diameter. When you choose a wheel, it should have a surface that is not going to cause hedgie to slip and get caught or break a leg as the wheel spins on. The wire wheel below can be used as is or with a liner (du…