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Heating Your Hedgehog's Cage � Simplified!

354644 Views 376 Replies 160 Participants Last post by  Lilysmommy
Heating Your Hedgehog's Cage - Simplified!

I wanted to write heating for dummies, but it seemed a bit harsh considering none of our members are dummies for wanting to know how to heat their hedgie's cage. :lol: I hope the exaggeratedly basic information and pictures will clear up some of the common questions people have.


Your hedgie has specific light schedule and heating needs. He should be getting 12-14 hours of light each day, and the cage should be kept at 73-78° F (23-25° C) constantly. When they get too cold, our pet hedgehogs attempt hibernation. Because of their original habitat, captive breeding, and other factors, our hedgies are not capable of successfully coming back out of hibernation. After some time, instead of waking up when the temperature is increased, the hedgehog will die in its sleep. Make sure your hedgehog does not get cold!

A consistent light schedule is important too. This is as simple as keeping a light on during the day. This helps your hedgie set an "internal clock"; without it they can become disoriented, attempt hibernation, and have a lower immune system.

Heat - Your Options:

Heat the whole house. This basically means you turn you're home/apartment's thermostat up to keep everything warm.
- - - Pros: heats the air well.
- - - Cons: can be very expensive and many people are not comfortable in such warm temperatures. It can also be hard to keep the temperature consistent from day to night, when things naturally get cooler.
- - - Recommended cage types: all cages.

Space heater. These are highly recommended because they heat the air well and work with all cage types. They heat the air with heat coils and fans, ceramic heaters, or are oil filled.
- - - Pros: heats the air in the whole room, some automatically turn off once they reach a designated temperature, last a long time.
- - - Cons: can be a fire hazard, uses more energy than some other options because they are heating more than just the cage.
- - - Recommended cage types: all cages.

Ceramic heat emitter. These are also highly recommended because they are simple to use (like a light bulb), heat well, and are inexpensive to operate. The CHE screws into a lamp just like a light bulb, but does not produce any light.
- - - Pros: heats the air well, easy and inexpensive to use once set up, reliable.
- - - Cons: initial cost is expensive, requires more parts(lamp, thermostat) than other options, and burn out just like lightbulbs do (they last a long time, but something to consider).
- - - Recommended cage types: all if you are using a thermostat, but please note that they may be dangerous to use with plastic tubs (they may overheat). Always use a thermostat if you're using a CHE.

Heating pad. A heating pad is recommended only to provide additional heat to the cage, not all of it. These are best used under sleeping areas for additional heat. As long as they don't get too hot, they can be placed under the cage (preferably wrapped in a towel/blanket)
- - - Pros: great for older or more needy hedgies for extra warmth.
- - - Cons: may get too hot (which would require a rheostat to keep at a constant lower temperature), some automatically shut off after a certain amount of time, can be a fire hazard, don't heat the whole cage properly.
- - - Recommended cage types: ones with bottoms that will not be affected by the heat underneath.

No matter what you use to heat your hedgie's cage, you will need a digital thermometer. Check it often to make sure the temperature isn't fluctuating.

Equipment Specifics:

Heating the whole house
Up to you and your home's heating system.

Space Heater (below picture is of an older model)

Equipment you will need:
- Space heater (these are examples, please PM me if you know of better products to have listed here)

How to use it:
Usually all you need to do is plug the space heater into the wall and turn it on to the desired temperature level. If yours does not have a reliable built-in thermostat, you can get a thermostat just like you would for a CHE and plug the space heater into that. Set the temp on the thermostat, and turn the space heater on. This way, the thermostat will decide when to turn the space heater on and off rather than having it rely on its built in one.

Bengall77 comments:  Just wanted to point out that you should not use a grounding plug adapter (to convert a three prong plug into a two prong one) with space heaters. Space heaters absolutely have to be grounded, especially if you are going to be running them unsupervised. If you plug the space heater into an extension cord that isn't grounded or into an adapter and there is a short the space heater can catch fire. Always use space heaters with a grounded plug (3 prongs) and if you need to use an extension cord make sure to use a grounded one as well.
Ceramic Heat Emitter

Equipment you will need:
- Lamp
- Thermostat

How to use it:
The CHE plugs into the lamp just like a light bulb. Then that lamp should be plugged into a thermostat - you set the temperature you want to keep the cage at, and the thermostat will turn the CHE on/off to regulate the temp.

Be wary of the clamp grips though, they sometimes slip their way off the bars and can be hard to position the heat lamp properly over the cage. I use zip ties, they are an easy and reliable way to attach the heat lamp to the cage

What wattage should I use? That depends on how large your cage is, and what your lamp's recommended wattage is. 60 is likely too low to heat a properly sized cage. 100 watts is about standard. You can use two lower wattage CHEs on opposite sides of the cage, if the cage is 3+ feet long. The smaller black lamp below is recommended for only 75 watts, the larger silver lamp, 150.

Example lamps:

With CHE:

CHE and small lightbulb size comparison:

Lamp size comparison:


What goes where: The plug on the far right is to power the thermostat. This plugs into the wall. When it is properly plugged in, the green light will be on. The red light turns on to let you know when it is actually heating- when it is not heating (i.e. at the proper temp) the red light just turns off. The thing in the bottom middle is the temperature probe. Place this with care in/next to the cage, where your hedgie cannot get to it. The power strip on the left is where you plug in the things that you want the thermostat to regulate. There are two on one side, one on the other. Everything plugged in will be on/off at the same time.

To set the thermostat's temperature, turn the dial on top. There are digital thermostats as well.

Heating Pad

Equipment you will need:
- Human heating pad
- Reptile/other pet heating pad
- Nursery (young plant) heating pad

How to use it:
You can plug it directly into the wall, or into a timer if you only want it on on the day, etc. The heat pad should be wrapped in some kind of cloth that will not melt/discolor, and then placed under your hedgie's cage. Be sure to run it for an hour or so in the cage *without your hedgie* and test to make sure it doesn't get too warm. You may need to purchase a rheostat to plug it into, which basically turns down how much energy the pad gets (making it less warm).

Light - Your Options:

- Use a light from a window. Be careful about winters, when days get shorter. If your hedgie senses shortening days, he may attempt hibernation. If you rely on natural light you will need to use a light bulb in winter to keep the same hours.
- Use a light that is already set up. Make sure you try to turn it on and off at the same time each day.
- Set up a light on a timer. Great for consistent times and not having to worry about forgetting to turn anything on or off.

Equipment Specifics:

Please follow the directions above from using a CHE.

Light Bulbs
You don't need any fancy type light bulbs - the purpose is to provide light, not heat (not saying that wouldn't be beneficial), "night vision", "full spectrum", or anything special like that. The bulb in your side table lamp would do. I do use a UV light, but there is no specific reason for it. It was on hand, works well, is bright. Don't feel like you need something elaborate for it to be better for your hedgie.

Basic Timer

How to use it:
The above timer plugs into the wall. Set the time of day, and put the pins at the times you want the timer to start (green pin where "day" begins (turns what is plugged in, on) and red pin where "night" begins (turns what is plugged in off)

Digital Timer

How to use it:
The above digital timer plugs into the wall. Then you just plug in what you on during the day, night, and all the time. You have to set the time of day, and what time you want the "day" to start and end.

I recommend putting little tags on the bottom of each plug to keep track of what it what. They are easy to tape on, and tear off when needed. (the below is just an example - it'd be pretty silly to have a heating pad on only at night, lol)

Other Useful Pieces:

Ground plug adaptor - these are especially useful if you need things plugged into other things that don't offer ground plug outlets. You should not use one for a space heater, for fire safety reasons.


3 way adaptor

power strip

extention cord


Suggestions are welcome. I am working on properly resizing the pictures, adding cost estimates, and a part on supplemental heat (microwaveable discs and hand warmers).
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What is your opinion on reptile heating rocks?
What is your opinion on reptile heating rocks?
Bad idea :(
1) In my experience most are not connected to a thermostat, which makes it dangerous.
2) Direct heat from surfaces such at that can cause your hedgehog to burn their paws or other parts of their body.

Heat emmmiters are my favorite to use as a heat source :p
What is your opinion on reptile heating rocks?
tjey need the air warm not a surface. Also, when there is one warm spot they might attemp hibernation or not move from the spot to eat, wheel, and bathroom.
Reptile heating rocks are great for reptiles but are useless for hedgehogs.
They're not even particularly good for reptiles, since most people don't use a thermostat with them. They can burn any skin that comes into contact with them, hedgehog or reptile. I suggest avoiding them like the plague.
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That's true Finnick I didn't think about that part, thank you!
They're not even particularly good for reptiles, since most people don't use a thermostat with them. They can burn any skin that comes into contact with them, hedgehog or reptile. I suggest avoiding them like the plague.
I never recommend them bcuz so much can go wrong so fast. Especially if you dont keep the temperature perfect.
I have searched everywhere and I need some basic help....

I just recently purchased my first hedgie so a lot of information is going through my head. But my biggest concern is all about heating. My room temp is average around 72 which from what I have read is a little cold for a hedgehog. So i purchased a heat lamp and a digital thermometer. I can get the cage to a temp of about 82-85 degrees which is somewhat warm from some websites recommendations and perfect for others.

But my problem comes in when i monitor the temperature of my hedgies sleeping place or her burrow. The temperatures can reach close to 89F and thats way to hot from what i have read. BUT is this normal for her sleeping area to be warmer then the external cage temperature?

I just want my baby to be safe and happy!
I can get the cage to a temp of about 82-85 degrees which is somewhat warm from some websites recommendations and perfect for others.
It varies per hedgehog. The recommended temperature to start out with is mid-seventies (75-76F or so), and raise the temperature as needed. If you find your hedgehog is going "splat" (all limbs out), then it is too hot.

For example, mine prefers 75-76F, anything above 78F will make her uncomfortable and she'll start to splat. She's pretty precise, so anything lower than 72F will have her underbelly be chilly. However, I've also seen threads with hedgehogs who like 78F-80F temperatures, and they will have cold underbellies if it's any lower.

But my problem comes in when i monitor the temperature of my hedgies sleeping place or her burrow. The temperatures can reach close to 89F and thats way to hot from what i have read. BUT is this normal for her sleeping area to be warmer then the external cage temperature?
89F is definitely too hot. You've said in a later post that you have a thermostat; you should try placing its probe in the area that she sleeps and set the temperature using her burrow as the reference point.

82-85F is pretty high up there temperature-wise, so even if you set the thermostat to 80F for her sleeping area and the external cage temperature drops to 74-78F it should still be okay.
3 Level Home

Hi guys,

I am converting an old dresser/cabinet into a 3 level home for my APH (enclosed tunnels for ascent and descent) and I was just wondering how would be best to heat it? I live in England so it's not the warmest, especially during Autumn and Winter!

All advice is welcome :)
Lighting Question

A question about lighting: the daylight is not a problem for us, but our new hedgehog will go into my son's room. He sleeps with the lights dimmed, but it's still on. This sounds like it will be a problem, correct? Could I cover the cage so that it's darker?
Im not really sure but have you also thought about the noise they make at night and the smell of fresh pee and poop during the night?
We are getting our baby next month, and am setting up his/her habitat now. I have a very large plastic bin, can I use the ceramic option safely? Are there options that come with a stand not a clip?
Base Temperature in Room

So I'm planning out my hedgehog set up. I've read all about heating etc, and I'm still worrying about maintaining temp.
The lower level of our house has a large area for a cage, but our downstairs runs 62-68 degrees year round due to winter/air conditioning.
I am very uncomfortable with the idea of using a space heater.

Is a CHE lamp going to be enough to heat the cage to appropriate temp?
It depends on what kind of cage you're planning to use. If it's an open cage like a C&C, no, it probably won't be enough unless you insulate it to be more like a vivarium. If you're using a more closed in viv or mutiple totes connected (which would need more lamps), then you should be able to keep it warm enough.
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