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 (duct tape makes a great liner).
I personally prefer solid wheels for hedgehogs. Solid wheels are great because they don't require any extra modification. The Silent Spinner and the Comfort Wheel by SuperPet are both great. I like the Silent Spinner better because the ball bearing construction makes it quieter when hedgie is working out.
Something that you will need to keep in mind if you purchase a wheel for your hedgehog is that hedgehogs tend to potty on the run and their wheels get messy. Expect to clean the wheel one or more times per week.
The easiest way to clean a hedgehog wheel is to soak it in water for at least 15 minutes to loosen up the droppings, then spray the wheel with a hose to remove most of the debris. If you want to disinfect your hedgehog's wheel while it is soaking you can add bleach in a ratio of about 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. That might seem like a lot of work, but think about how hard your hedgehog is working at training for that marathon and you won't mind at all! 😄