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Hedgehog Housing and Accessories FAQ

Welcome to the world of the pet African Hedgehog! Please read the pinned topics in each section before asking a question. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions concerning housing and accessories.

-What kind of cage should I use for my hedgie?-There are many suitable cages for hedgehogs. Make sure to stay away from wire floors, wood, cages with shelves or ramps (unless completely enclosed, hedgies will fall off and get hurt), and glass tanks. Tanks or aquariums will retain moisture, do not allow adequate ventilation, and are heavy and difficult to clean. A suitable cage will have 2 square feet (preferable more) of free space after the wheel, dishes, igloo, etc. have been put in the cage. Total space should be at least 4 sq. ft. There should be good air flow, and be easy to access and clean. Common cages are plastic bottomed-wire topped cages such as for guinea pigs, C&C cages, or plain sterilite tubs. The C&C cages need a lid as a hedgie can climb right out.

-How often should I clean the cage?-You should clean the cage completely about once a week or bi-weekly. This means washing/replacing all bedding, cleaning the wheel, scrubbing dishes, cleaning toys… Liners and shavings should be spot cleaned daily. Fresh food and water should be offered daily, and any uneaten treats should be removed the morning after offered. The wheel should be cleaned as often as needed, which is likely to be daily or every 2-3 days.

-What can I use for bedding?-You can use fabric liners, kiln-dried pine or aspen shavings, or a no-dust paper product, such as Carefresh or Yesterday's News. Don't use corncob bedding, it will get uncomfortably stuck in private places.

-Are shavings/other or liners better?-Liners are the best bedding to use.

-No dust or chance of harbouring mites
-Easy to change
-Comfortable for hedgie
-Saves lots of money in the long run
-No shavings scattered on the ground
-Easy to monitor hedgie's bodily functions so you can know when something's wrong

-Your hedgie can't dig like they can in shavings. This is easily remedied by offering fleece strips to dig in.

-Hedgie can dig and burrow

-Can be dusty
-Can harbour mites
-Difficult to see hedgie's bodily functions (some may find this a plus)
-Pieces can get caught in private parts
-More expensive than liners
-Shavings can scatter outside the cage and onto the floor

-Do hedgies need a wheel?-YES! Wheels are an absolute necessity.

-What kind of wheel should I use?-There are many wheels out there, commercial and handmade. The highest quality, safest, and most silent ones are handmade by other breeders/rescues/owners. Here are some common ones.

Silent Spinners- Made by Superpet. These have a tendency to tip over and be noisy. They also have slits in the running surface that can catch nails and rip them off. They are not a safe wheel for hedgehogs and should be avoided.

Comfort Wheels- Made by Superpet. You would need the large size. They are also said to be noisy and rattle a bit. They should be attached to the cage.

Flying Saucer Wheels- Made by Ware Manufacturing. The largest (12") is the right size. These, in my opinion, are fine wheels. They are easy to clean, quiet, and the hedgies don't seem to have any trouble running on them. However there is the possibility of them tipping with larger hedgies. Hedgies over 400 grams (appx.) would probably be too big, and could cause it to tip.

Wodent Wheels- I have not used one, but they look like an okay wheel. They do look difficult to clean. Also, when the hedgie relieves itself on the wheel, the enclosed nature may keep the smell inside. No hedgie wants to breath that!

Quality Cage Wheels- Also a decent wheel. They seem simple to clean, but do have supports/crossbars of the sides, which can pose a risk to the hedgie since they often like to look out from the wheel or dismount while the wheel is still in motion.

Bucket/Cake Walk Wheels- These are the best and most commonly used wheels. Made out of 5 or 10 gallon buckets or cake covers, they are removable from their PVC stands. They have solid, easy-to-clean surfaces, and often have replaceable parts. The can often be customized to different sizes, heights, angles, etc. And also may be available in a variety of colours.

-Does my hedgie need a hiding place?-Yes. Hedgies need a hiding place, whether it be an igloo, PVC elbow tube, tissue box, or simply a pile of fleece scraps. You can also us a pocket-like hedgiebag or hat. Just make sure he has a safe and secure place to hide and sleep. Many hedgies like to burrow under their liner.

-Can I have a loft/ second floor in my hedgie's cage?-It is possible, but you have to do a lot of alteration. The entire thing needs to be enclosed, from the ramp up to the loft itself. A hedgie falling only a few inches can get badly injured.

-My wheel rattles a lot when my hedgie runs on it. How do I stop this?
-The best way to stop the rattling is to put a hair scrunchie on the back, so it is in between the wheel and the piece it is rattling against.

-My hedgie is always burrowing under his liner. Can I discourage this?
-Lots of hedgies like to sleep under their liners. They feel more secure that way. The best you can do is put weights (such as heavy river stones, smooth and clean) around the edges, or Velcro the liner down. (using the sticky Velcro on the cage, and sewing on coordinating pieces on the liner) I tried this, and Inky just pulled up the Velcro and moved the rocks. I ended up letting him sleep wherever he likes.
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