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Old 03-04-2012, 08:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
moxieberry
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Port Orchard, WA
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Default Re: Thinking about getting a Hedgie

Liners are actually considered the best choice. Aspen shavings are acceptable, but have some downsides. Water bowls are a better choice, instead of bottles, because the bottles have a small risk of chipping a tooth or catching the tongue, and in general they tend to not drink as much with bottles.

As for fruits/vegtables and mealworms, plenty of people include these every day, and some people feed their hedgehogs only holistic diets. A mix of high-quality cat foods will satisfy their dietary needs, but there's no need for the produce and mealworms to be limited to only a few times per week. I'd have to look at that particular version of Blue Buffalo, but the wilderness BB tends to be too high in protein. Their food should be under 15% fat (except for especially active hedgehogs, pregnant females/nursing mothers, or babies) and 25-33% protein. If the protein is too high, it can cause liver problems. Blue Buffalo is a good quality cat food overall, but depending on the exact percentages, it might have to be combined with something else so the overall percentages are in the right range. Most people use a mix of 2-4 different kibbles.

The cage needs to be warm. Generally 74-80 is the normal range of what's good for hedgehogs, though there shouldn't be that much actual variation in the cage's temperature. Some will like it more on the warm side or the cool side, it depends, but around 75-76 is a good place to aim for.

Generally they don't have much smell. The poop and urine can smell, but if the cage is cleaned regularly, there's not really much odor overall. There's no difference between males and females except for boys being inclined to engage in 'boy time', as well call it.

They're not rodents, so no, their teeth don't continuously grow, nor do they chew things the way rabbits and guinea pigs do. They do fine with normal hardness cat kibble, though their teeth can get worn down by it sometimes.

They shouldn't have hammocks. Any lofts in their cages have to be enclosed. Hedgehogs like to climb, but they're no good at coming down, and they also have poor depth perception. Because their feet and legs, especially, are very delicate, even small falls can do a lot of damage. They use various hideaways/houses on the floor of the cage, such as igloos, sleeping bags, etc.

I would definitely suggest looking around the forum, especially at the stickies in the various forum sections. Don't hesitate to ask any other questions you have! :]
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