How to Care for a Hedgehog [HHAR] - Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
Hedgehog Central GalleryForum Archives Facebook Link

Like Tree12Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 03-28-2016, 04:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
Member
 
Petlover500's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 86
Default How to Care for a Hedgehog [HHAR]

This is an article that I wrote for my animal rescue website. The link can be found in my signature.
Please critique!! I want it to be 100% accurate and helpful.
Editing the article will take place on my website, not on this topic
Thanks!


How to Care for Hedgehogs

Introduction
Hedgehogs are exotic and unique animals that are related to the shrew family. They can be very fun animals to have as pets, but are often more work than one may think at first glance. They can live for 3-7 years if cared for and fed correctly. Hedgehogs are naturally nocturnal creatures, but living in captivity they seem to convert to crepuscular activity. Crepuscular means that they are most active at dawn and dusk, so if you want a hedgehog be prepared to be able to play with them in either early morning or late at night. The African Pygmy Hedgehog is the most common hedgehog that is kept as a pet across the US, so we are going to be referring to that particular species in this article.

Habitat
A hedgehog’s cage should be 4ft long x 2ft wide x 2 ft tall (1,152 sq. inches floor space) at minimum, not including levels. Remember, bigger is always better! Their cage should be well ventilated. Bin cages are often recommended for hedgehogs because they are easy to make and you can buy a very large cage for a fairly cheap price. Bin cages can be easily built with a large storage bin (that are above minimum cage size), and all you have to do is cut out large sections of the plastic and secure wire mesh around it. And voila! There you have it- a very cheap and large cage that allows your hedgehog to run and play with plenty of space and air circulation.
Your hedgie is also going to need a food dish. Most pet owners find that ceramic food dished works well because it lasts a long time, it’s easy to clean, and it takes much more effort for your hedgehog to push it over than a plastic dish.
Hedgehogs also tend to love snuggle sacks and fleece pouches to sleep in, and can make a nice addition to the cage.

Bedding
A hedgehog’s habitat requires bedding material. They don't tend to dig burrows with it, but it is still good to have because it absorb pee, holds down wheels and toys, and it provides a soft flooring. They should have a minimum of 2” of bedding in their cage at all times.
A list of good beddings include: Kaytee Clean & Cozy (unscented), which is my favorite, but there is also Boxo, aspen and other soft paper based beddings (unscented).
Never buy the following beddings: Cedar shavings, pine shavings, dust based bedding, any kinds of scented bedding, bedding with baking soda in it, cotton bedding, pellet bedding or clay bedding. All of these beddings are harmful to your hedgehog. Pine, cedar, clay and bedding with baking soda or dust in it can cause respiratory issues. Scented bedding can hurt your hedgehog’s nose or harm their sense of smell (as their noses are very sensitive). Cotton can wrap around your hedgehogs’ limbs and cut off circulation or amputate their limbs. Pellet bedding can cause paws to blister or sores to form on your hedgehog’s feet.

Wheel
Hedgehogs require large wheels because of their size. They need a 12” wheel or larger. Carolina Storm Bucket wheels and Silent Spinners are often popular choices among hedgehog owners, but other large wheels such as Comfort Wheels can also be used.
The wheel must not have a mesh or wire bottom. Your hedgehogs’ feet or toes could easily get caught in the holes, and if he runs on the wheel too much it can give him bumblefoot.
Never use any of the following wheels because they are unsuitable: Wheels with mesh or wire bottoms, wheels with sharp edges, or wheels under a 12” measurement.

House
Hedgehogs love to curl up to sleep for most of the day, so providing them with a hidey house is a great idea. You want to make sure the hide is big enough for your hedgie to comfortably move around in and make a nest. A few good options would be igloo houses, hedgehog-safe wooden hides, a bend-a-bridge bent into a shelter shape, and also some commercial and ceramic hides can be fun for your hedgehog.

Cage Cleanliness
You should keep your hedgehog’s cage clean so they can enjoy their environment. Hedgehogs often pick a specific corner in their cage to pee in, so you can either put a potty box there with bedding in it (not litter) and clean it out every day, or “spot clean” his pee spots every day. Spot cleaning helps keep the cage clean and also helps it stay smelling clean as well.

Diet
A hedgehog’s diet needs to compose of a variety of foods. First off, they need a mix of good quality & high protein dry adult cat foods daily. This is the main part of their diet. Hedgies can also have meats, insects, and fruits and vegetables, but not more than 4 times a week.
Stay away from: raw meats, seasoned meats, & canned meats.
The best insects to feed are mealworms and silk worms. Keep the worms in the fridge to keep them in hibernation. Stay away from: bait-shop worms (as they can contain toxic chemicals) and wild-caught worms.
Stay away from: grapes and raisins, and be careful when feeding sugary or watery foods like strawberry or cucumber.
Do not feed your hedgehog milk or milk-based products such as cheese or yogurt, as hedgehogs are lactose intolerant.
Your hedgie should have fresh water available at all times. Water in a dish is the best choice, even though it can get dirty from the bedding. Water bottles are not recommended because hedgies have long tongues and their tongue could get caught in the water bottle spout and cause serious injury. Your hedgehog’s water should be changed every few days.

Quilling
Young hedgehogs do something unique, called quilling. Quilling is when a hedgehog sheds lots of its quills and replaces them with new ones. Quilling takes place when the hedgehog is 6 weeks, 8 weeks, and 12 weeks old. It can also sometimes take place at 1 year as well. When your hedgehog goes through these stages they will most likely be grumpy and irritable, so you have to be extra patient with them.
Please do not confuse quilling with mites or a bacterial infection. Quilling does not take place if the hedgehog is over one year old. If your hedgie is losing his quills when he is over 1 year, it can be because of mites, infection, or stress.

Baths
Hedgehogs are usually quite clean animals, but they often benefit from a bath about once a month. You can bathe them in the sink, with only about 1/2 inch of water. Place a washcloth in the sink and then set your hedgehog on top of it. You can then use a toothbrush to gently stroke his quills and remove any dirt/debris from them.
Never use more than 1” of water (or your hedgehog is at a risk of drowning), and do not give your hedgehog a bath more than once every 3 weeks.

Time
Hedgies require about 30 minutes of time a day, 45 on cage-cleaning days. Daily, you have to make sure they have food, water, and that their bedding is clean. You also should take the time to make sure your hedgie is healthy. Every time you handle your hedgehog you should make sure that their eyes and nose have no discharge, their ears are clean, that their body has no lumps or bumps, and that their nails and teeth are healthy.
Hedgehogs also benefit from out-of-cage time, so you should let them run around outside of their cage at least 3 times a week.

Home
You should inform everyone in your home on proper hedgehog care so they do not hurt your hedgehog. Everyone in your household should learn how to gently pet and hold a hedgie, and what is okay and not okay to feed it. Children under the age of 14 usually do not make suitable hedgehog owners, but sometimes there are exceptions. Hamsters prefer people with calm & kind personalities that are patient and gentle.

To sum it all up, here is a checklist of things that you need for a hedgehog:
A proper sized cage – 1,152 sq. in. or larger
A wheel – minimum of 12”
Proper bedding
A water bottle
A food dish
A hidey house
Proper diet
A hedgie-safe owner and family
$$ for monthly bedding and food purchases
The time and patience needed to own a hedgehog
Extra $$ in case your hedgehog needs to go to the vet
__________________
Happy Hearted Animal Rescue
http://happyheartedanimalrescue.weebly.com/

Momma of Clementine, an albino hedgie <3
Petlover500 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 03-28-2016, 07:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
Administrator
 
nikki's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Manning, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 8,483
Default

Silent Spinners are dangerous and shouldn't be used.
Pine shavings are safe as long as they are kiln dried.
Fleece liners are wonderful for bedding.
In the list of supplies should say water bowl not bottle.

You completely forgot heating and lighting.
__________________
Retired breeder and active HWS rescue station

http://www.quillsnthings.webs.com
nikki is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-29-2016, 01:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
Member
 
Petlover500's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 86
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by nikki View Post
Silent Spinners are dangerous and shouldn't be used.
Pine shavings are safe as long as they are kiln dried.
Fleece liners are wonderful for bedding.
In the list of supplies should say water bowl not bottle.

You completely forgot heating and lighting.

Oh my, I can't believe I missed all those things!!
Thank you (:
__________________
Happy Hearted Animal Rescue
http://happyheartedanimalrescue.weebly.com/

Momma of Clementine, an albino hedgie <3
Petlover500 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-29-2016, 01:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
Member
 
twobytwopets's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 2,553
Default

Quote:
Your hedgehog’s water should be changed every few days.
No, every day.

Your bit on quilling not happening after a year old... they still shed quills out, just not at the rate they do during quilling. And, just because a hedgehog is under a year old doesn't automatically mean quill loss is from quilling.

Baths, less is best with full baths. Foot baths weren't mentioned, but can be done daily.

Home... Hedgehogs not hamsters.

That's what stood out apart from what Nikki mentioned.
Petlover500 likes this.
twobytwopets is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-29-2016, 02:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
Member
 
Petlover500's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 86
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by twobytwopets View Post
No, every day.

Your bit on quilling not happening after a year old... they still shed quills out, just not at the rate they do during quilling. And, just because a hedgehog is under a year old doesn't automatically mean quill loss is from quilling.

Baths, less is best with full baths. Foot baths weren't mentioned, but can be done daily.

Home... Hedgehogs not hamsters.

That's what stood out apart from what Nikki mentioned.

Thank you (:
__________________
Happy Hearted Animal Rescue
http://happyheartedanimalrescue.weebly.com/

Momma of Clementine, an albino hedgie <3
Petlover500 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-29-2016, 02:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
Member
 
Sarahgx__'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Maine
Posts: 86
Default

Really good article to educate people! I believe I am right when saying that you should also add that hedgehogs should be taken out to "play" for socialization and bonding DAILY for at least 30 minutes.
Petlover500 likes this.
Sarahgx__ is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-29-2016, 02:21 PM   #7 (permalink)
Member
 
Petlover500's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 86
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarahgx__ View Post
Really good article to educate people! I believe I am right when saying that you should also add that hedgehogs should be taken out to "play" for socialization and bonding DAILY for at least 30 minutes.

Thank you Sarahgx! (:
__________________
Happy Hearted Animal Rescue
http://happyheartedanimalrescue.weebly.com/

Momma of Clementine, an albino hedgie <3
Petlover500 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-30-2016, 03:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
Member
 
EmersonTheHedgehog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 57
Default

Nice article! Nothing else needs to be revised. Very informative!
Petlover500 likes this.
__________________
-Emerson
EmersonTheHedgehog is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-31-2016, 10:39 AM   #9 (permalink)
Member
 
Petlover500's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 86
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by EmersonTheHedgehog View Post
Nice article! Nothing else needs to be revised. Very informative!

Thank you so much!! That means a lot!
__________________
Happy Hearted Animal Rescue
http://happyheartedanimalrescue.weebly.com/

Momma of Clementine, an albino hedgie <3
Petlover500 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-09-2016, 07:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
Member
 
Petlover500's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 86
Default

Updated. I would love more critique!
Added a whole new section- hibernation.

http://happyheartedanimalrescue.weeb...ehog-care.html
__________________
Happy Hearted Animal Rescue
http://happyheartedanimalrescue.weebly.com/

Momma of Clementine, an albino hedgie <3
Petlover500 is offline   Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in




Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Hedgehog care daily routine Charlotte.the.hedgehog General Questions 2 12-07-2015 02:49 PM
Hedgehog Care Video :3 SpiritWolves1 Off Topic 0 02-02-2013 10:09 PM
Hedgehog Babysitter's care book KatelynAlysa General Questions 11 02-15-2012 12:37 PM
General Questions about new hedgehog care Kenzy General Questions 4 05-23-2011 08:15 AM
General Hedgehog Care FAQ LizardGirl General Questions 0 08-28-2008 10:20 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:09 AM.



Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.1
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2020 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
PetGuide.com
Basset Hound Forum Doberman Forum Golden Retriever Forum Beagle Forum
Boxer Forum Dog Forum Pit Bull Forum Poodle Forum
Bulldog Forum Fish Forum Havanese Forum Maltese Forum
Cat Forum German Shepherd Forum Labradoodle Forum Yorkie Forum Hedgehog Forum
Chihuahua Forum Cichlid Forum Dart Frog Forum Mice Breeder Forum