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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…

What Do Newborn Hedgehogs Look Like?

Most of the time I do not handle infant hedgehogs because it upsets the mothers and can cause the mother to hurt, kill, or abandon the babies. Sometimes mothers are already hurting or abandoning the babies and I have to touch them to remove them for their safety. When this happens, the first choice is to put them with a foster mother. If a foster mother is not available, then I try to hand feed.

When hedgehog babies are born, they have a sac and fluid around them. The quills have not emerged yet, at the time of birth. The mama licks each baby to remove the sac, then moves them into her nest. Once, I was watching the birth when a mama left a baby in the middle of the cage and went into her nest box with the other babies. The baby began to turn gray and I assumed it was stillborn. After a few minutes it seemed clear that mama was done and not coming back so I picked up the baby to remove it. It looked so sad and sweet, still in the sac, and I gave it a gentle pet. To my surprise, it see…

When Do Hedgehogs Sleep?

Hedgehogs are generally considered to be nocturnal, which means "awake at night" or crepuscular, which means "awake at dusk and dawn." This does not mean that you will never see your pet hedgehog if you are not a night owl.

Our experience is that our hedgehogs are most active after sundown to around midnight, then many take an extended nap, waking up an hour or three later to stay active until about 6 or 7 in the morning. They will generally wake once or more during the day to get a drink, eat a bite, run a few laps, and then settle back down to sleep.

Most pet hedgehogs will be grouchy at first, when you wake them up during the day. You really can' blame them- I'm pretty grouchy when woken from a dead sleep, too. Once the hedgehog realizes that it is safe, most will calm down and take the opportunity to eat, drink, explore, and then look for a place to sleep after they have had their fill. This is a great time to provide a hedgebag in your lap for some qu…

Can Hedgehogs Climb?

Yes, hedgehogs climb!

In spite of their funny little feet that have no actual toes for grasping, hedgehogs are amazing at figuring out how to climb up and out of cages. We have had hedgehogs escape from cages with solid plastic walls and a lid on top, leading us to seriously wonder if hedgehogs can also teleport.

We have had hedgehogs make it upstairs in our house, in spite of the height of each stair being taller than a hedgehog's reach. We suspect that the carpeting on the stairs helped them to get some sort of purchase to help them climb up.

Hedgehogs can not grasp on to things to climb up like a mouse or squirrel could climb up a rope, but they certainly do have the ability to climb many things.


Hedgehogs As Holiday Gifts: 5 Tips To Make It Successful

Giving a hedgehog as a holiday gift? You will want to make sure that this is a wonderful experience for both the hedgehog and the person receiving the hedgehog. Here are some tips to make sure that your gift is successful!

1) Make sure the person wants a hedgehog! This might sound like a no brainer, but it does happen. If the person doesn't really, really, really want a hedgehog, it isn't fair to the hedgehog or the person. Buying a hedgehog as an impulse gift is almost always a very bad plan.
2) Make sure the person is prepared for the hedgehog. If you aren't also giving the cage and all of the basic supplies make sure that the person already has the cage set up.
3) Don't pick just any hedgehog. Make sure that the hedgehog you are choosing is healthy and has a personality that will be a good match for the person you are buying it for. If you are uncertain,  give a hedgehog collectible to unwrap on the holiday and take the person with you to pick their own favorite hed…

Hedgehog Handling: Four Tips to Help Make it Easy

As you can see from the hedgehogs I am handling in the three pictures below, hedgehogs can be easily handled when they are relaxed! Here are a few of my best tips for handling hedgehogs:
1) After you wake your hedgehog up, give it a few minutes to fully wake up before handling. I am cranky if woken up from a dead sleep, and hedgehogs seem to feel the same way!
2) Scoop the hedgehog from underneath. If they don't feel like they can get firm footing, they will not relax very quickly.
3) Be confident! They smell your fear (or confidence). If you are nervous, put on some light gloves so that you can be confident.
4) Remember- the anticipation of getting prickled is generally way worse than any prickling you might get from your hedgehog so relax!