Hedgehogs require a temperature above 73*F / 23C. For some hedgies this is STILL too cold. There have been hedgies that have been known to attempt hibernation at anything lower than 78F. Get to know your hedgehog and what temperature range is comfortable for it.
-Sudden drops in temperature can trigger hibernation attempts. Try to keep a consistent temperature.
- The temperature (73*F min) must be the ambient air temperature. Having a heating pad on a sleeping area WILL help, but it will not warm up any other part of the cage that your hedgie ventures. The whole cage environment needs to be warm. Space heaters or ceramic heat emitters work well for providing a suitable temperature. A heat emitter must be used with a thermostat to control the heat output or it may get too warm.
Link to Ceramic Heat Emitters
Link to Ceramic Base for Ceramic Heater
Discussions about Ceramic Heat Emmiters
-Make sure your hedgie is getting at least 12-14 hours of light every day. This is especially important in fall winter and spring when the days are shorter. This is as easy as leaving a light on by the cage.
-Keep hand warmers etc around in case of emergencies (Ie trips to the vet, power outages). These have been life safers. They are cheap, and readily available at hunting stores, and Walmart. Each pouch last up to 10 hours - all you have to do is shake it to activate. They reach a maximum temp of 158*F (70*C)- so do NOT put them directly against your hedgehog. Make sure you either wrap them in something, or buy a special cover for it.
If your hog does attempt to hibernate:
- WARM THEM UP IMMEDIATELY! There are a couple of ways to warm the hedgehog. You want him to warm up slowly. You can put him under your clothing and let your body heat warm him. Set a human heating pad on you on low and cover with a towel. Sit with hedgie on the heating pad but NEVER leave him unattended. If there is no response within 40-60 minutes of warming, he needs to see a vet immediately.
- DO NOT put your hedgie in warm water. This is too sudden a warming. Most hedgehogs do not like water and will make the situation worse.
Once a hedgehog has attempted hibernation there is a good chance he will do it again within a week. His cage environment needs to be kept warmer and care must be taken to ensure he does not get cool again. Each hibernation attempt lowers the hedgehog immune system which leaves them at risk for illness.
Signs of Hibernation:
-A cool belly
-Curled into a ball- and unable to uncurl
-Unable to stand or hold up head
-Lethargy, not eating as much, not as active as they once were. These may be signs that the temperature is too cool for them to function normally, but not cool enough to induce hibernation. Bump up the temp.