Heating Advice Needed:Our family has adopted a new family member, Norman the hedgehog - Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 12-15-2015, 03:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Heating Advice Needed:Our family has adopted a new family member, Norman the hedgehog

Hi, we are looking for advice on keeping our newest family member warm as new owners of Norman, an almost one year old male hedgehog. I had planned on using the same methods as the previous owners did on keeping him warm, most resources tell you on acceptable temp range but not the how to achieve that, until I gladly found your site. Norman is healthy, but the previous owners heated him with a human heating pad under his cage plus an electric blanket at times (Northeast cooler climate) as well. Based on everything I've read, that is not at all good for him. I have ordered the 100W ceramic light, 10" globe and thermostat recommended on here, they arrive tomorrow from Amazon. My questions are:
1. Where is the best place to put the thermometer probe to measure his cage temp? (Right now we are getting his cage to 74-76 with a regular animal heat bulb and a few regular blankets and the temp probe is placed in the center of his sleeping/heated half of cage area).
2. I'm assuming the thermostat will come with a temperature probe as well, where is the best place to put that?
3. Seeing that he is used to much hotter than needed temps with how they warmed him, will he adjust okay to temps that he should be in? What is ideal temp for the ceramic/thermostat set up please?
4. Room temp-if the cage is warm, can surrounding room temp be 68-70? Or lower?
5. How long can be be out playing, being cuddled before he gets too cold? Can he be out only in evening or daytime okay too?
6. Any suggestions on ceramic set-up that I should also be aware of?

He's been a little less active than what they described, not sure if it's due to colder temps than what they had him at or if it's adjusting to a new home or both.
He's a cute little guy, starting to adjust to our daughter's scent, then the rest of us will phase in.
We are working on adjusting his food-they were feeding him 5-7 super worms a day which I have also learned is too much, too fatty, probably why he didn't eat much of his pellet food prior. We are weaning him off the super worms slowly to mealworms. We are learning he drinks better from a dish too, so helping him with that.
VERY appreciative of any and all guidance, our kids are older and adore him, we want to be sure we have the temp right, especially as temps drop more in the Northeast/New England states and as compared to how they were heating his cage. Thank you very much!
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Old 12-15-2015, 07:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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1 & 2. I usually put the thermostat probe on the front wall, in the middle of the cage, and the thermometer probe on the back wall or one of the ends, to make sure the whole cage is staying at the right temperature. I used two different thermometers with Lily so that I could have one in the middle of the cage & one on the ends, to double check the thermostat & also make sure the whole cage was about the same.

3. Most people aim for 75F or so, and most hedgehogs seem to be pretty comfortable with that. He should be fine with the change. If he's too warm, you'll notice less activity, possibly more drinking, and he may "splat" out on his stomach to cool off. If he's still not warm enough, again, less activity, he'll stay in his bed more, and you may notice shaky/wobbly walking or that he has a cool belly. If there's a cool belly, that's a hibernation attempt & he needs to be warmed up right away on a heating pad on low or against your body (which I prefer).

4. It can be, but you'll have to see how that works with the cage. Especially with more open wire cages, it can be hard to keep the cage to the right temperature if the room is too cold. CHE set ups can usually only heat a cage to 5-10* above the room temperature, depending on the openness of the cage.

5. It's best to stick to evening for active playtime & exploring time, as that's more natural for him. If you want to take him out during the day, it's best to let him sleep & if he doesn't seem comfortable, just let him be in his cage during the day. Most hedgies don't mind sleeping on their humans during the day though! If he's cuddled up on someone, I wouldn't worry much about him getting too cold. If he's down on the floor, it might not be a bad idea to make sure the temperature is at least 70F & keep an eye on him. Hibernation attempts usually take a couple hours to actually take effect, I think, but he may not want to be very active if it's too chilly in the room for him.

6. Biggest thing I can think of for the CHE set ups is most people know not to let anything touch the bulb, which is logical enough. But make sure no blankets, clothing, etc. fall on the lamp either - it gets quite hot & I had a lamp melt a hole in a fleece blanket once. Scary!

Superworms are actually fine for him - they're lower in fat than mealworms, if I remember correctly. He may not need 5-7 of them a day since they are rather large, but you don't need to take them away completely. A variety of insects really is best. Some other low-fat options you can try out with him are crickets, dubia roaches & other feeder roaches, silkworms, and phoenix worms.

What is the pellet food that they were feeding him? Do you know the name of it?

Oh, and last note - you mentioned he's less active. Is the heating bulb you're currently using one that gives off light as well? If so, that's likely why he's less active. Contrary to what a pet store will tell you, those colored light/heat bulbs are visible to a lot of animals & can affect their behavior by not giving them a proper day/night light cycle. But since you already have the right stuff about to arrive, it'll be fine to keep using until you can get the CHE set up going.
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Old 12-16-2015, 03:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you so very much for taking the time to reply Lilysmommy. Great information! Greatly appreciated you covering and helping with all of my questions. Sorry about your Lily. Yes, the bulb does give off the purplish light, so that may add to his lessened activity. Hadn't though of that. I'm reassured to know we are doing well with the heating. I was concerned with how hot he must have been with all they were doing to heat him but I had learned that was too much, so needed to do different. His belly has been a good temp. He was far more comfortable out playing last night so I think he's getting used to our scents more and acclimated. We just adopted him this past Sunday. They were using hedgehog food called Brown's, and we are trying Spike's brand right now. Open to another other brand ideas. He ate the Spike's the first day, but not much since. Thank you for all of your help!
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Old 12-16-2015, 11:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Spike's is a definitely improvement on Brown's, but hedgehog foods in general aren't great. Most of them have poor ingredients, and some are downright dangerous. Spike's is considered the best of the bunch, but IMO, it's still comparable to medium-quality cat foods, and it's more expensive than a lot of high quality cat foods. We usually recommend feeding a mix of two or more high quality cat (or dog) foods. There's a lot of information on what to look for in the Nutrition section if you're interested in reading once you have a chance!
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Old 12-17-2015, 05:28 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Okay great, thank you again for taking all this time to help. I will research those posts and get that all set. Thank you!
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