Hedgehog Central banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First, to introduce myself. My name is Andrea and I'm a student majoring in Animal Science with my focus on animal behavior and wellbeing. I currently own a small zoo of three dogs (and a foster), two ferrets, two guinea pigs, a dwarf hamster, and a ****atiel that hates me. There is also a cat that is graciously allowing me to stay in her house. :roll: I've been contemplating adding to the zoo for awhile now, but my main interest is/was rats (love the little boogers...have always wanted some) and as long as I am living underneath my mom's roof there is no way in **** I will ever be able to get any. I also had my eye on STOs, but finding one is proving very, very difficult - I don't want to ship and I would like to meet one in person before I jump right in to ownership.

I don't know what I was doing this morning, but somehow I stumbled across a few pictures of hedgehogs. They were just way too cute for their own good, so I started trying to find more information. In my browsing, I found this site and, well, here I am!

I think I've read a dozen webpages dedicated to Hedgehogs and their care and I think have the gist of what they are like. However, there are a few things I'd like cleared up by first hand experience.

1. How much interaction will a Hedgehog need? I know that daily handling is required to keep them tame, but do they need a lot of stimulation/out of cage time? Floor time is pretty booked between the rotation of the ferrets and the piggies, but I can offer plenty of handling.

2. Exactly how big do they get? I've honestly never met one in person, although I have seen some in at petstores (thus, they were probably not full grown). Smaller than a guinea pig? About the same size?

3. From what I am gathering, Hedgehog food is a no-no, but a high quality cat food (Chicken Soup, Innova, Solid Gold, Wellness, etc.) is good? Should kibble be free fed, and supplemented with fruits and meat? How often should insects be fed, and is there anyway around feeding them? (I hate meal worms and the like. They creep me out. I'll feed them if I have to, but I don't have to like it! :) ) Do they tend to be picky eaters (like ferrets)?

4. Litterbox training...are they a "natural" (aka, will go in one spot like ferrets do, so you just put a litterbox where they go), or is it more like litterbox training a guinea pig (impossible in my book)?

5. Any health issues I should be aware of concerning keeping guinea pigs and hedgehogs in the same area? (I know when I was looking up on rabbits, it was highly reccomended to not even have pigs and buns in the same room, let alone have their cages by one another.) Would smelling the pigs and the ferrets stress the hedgie out?

6. I just donated a lot of my spare cages/supplies to a local guinea pig rescue, so I'll have to start buying things from scratch. A nice, cheap cage is highly appealing. I keep reading about using large storage bins as cages? Or would it be better to just try to find a cheap wire cage? I'm also having a hard time visualizing how much floor space they need. My pigs are in a (roughly) 4'x2' cage. The Hedgie's cage would have to sit on top of the pigs' cage - I'd want something that isn't too heavy or bulky and it can only be about 3' long (as I keep a box of hay up there as well).

7. Speaking of cheap wire cages, if I do go with a wire cage what is the required bar spacing to avoid a loose or stuck hedgie?

8. Purchasing from a breeder is obviously the best way to go for a hedgie, but are petstores a complete no-no if they are well taken care of and socialized? There is a local feed store nearby that I purchased my ferrets from and they tend to take very good care of their animals. I didn't know if petstore hedgies had a greater risk of health problems, or anything like that.

9. If bought from a petstore or breeder, what price should I be expecting to pay for a "normal color", male hedgie? I took a look at various breeders around the country and I saw prices anywhere from $65 to $300.

Annnnnnd....I think that is everything I was having questions about. If you have anything to add about basic hedgehog care or behavior, please feel free to do so!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,963 Posts
1. You'll want to hold/play/interact with your hedgie for at least a half hour each night. It might be better to make the time period an hour, though, especially when your hedgie is first getting used to you. If you end up with a cuddler, it's easy as pie to interact with them, they can just sleep on you while you read, do homework, watch tv, or whatever. Of course, if you get an explorer it'd be fun to watch them play, too.

2. Most are smaller than a guinea pig, though I've heard some people say they have a couple that are up to 900 grams, so I'm not sure if those would be much close to a guinea's size. They're about half to 3/4 of the size of a guinea, though, I'd say.

3. You've gathered right, there's a list in the nutrition forum of good cat foods to feed. It's best to have a mix of two or more of those foods, since they're bad with change, so if one food is discontinued or recalled, their diet doesn't change completely. Most free feed kibble, I count out a certain number of kibble so I can see how much mine eats, but I make sure to offer more than I know she'll eat to make sure she's getting enough. You can give fruits, cooked meats with no flavoring (chicken and turkey are good), and cooked veggies (again no flavoring) as treats. Insects should be fed a few times a week, it's best to include them in your hedgie's diet if they'll eat them. Most hedgies seem to adore mealworms, and they make a good, albeit a bit fatty, treat. If you don't like touching them, many people use tweezers to pick them up. Or if you don't like seeing them squiggle, you can buy canned mealworms. They go bad after being open for about two weeks, though. And yes, hedgies can be very picky eaters. It may take a few trips to the store to figure out which foods they like. If you can buy from Petco, they will accept returned food, even if it's open and partly used, if it's 30 days or less since you bought it, and you have the receipt.

4. It depends on the hedgie. Mine only goes on her wheel or right in front, some go wherever they want. You can try to littertrain, though, by moving any poops into the litterbox to try to give them the idea.

5. I'm not certain on keeping them in the same area. Just make sure they don't come in contact with the guineas, or any other animals for that matter. It won't have any benefit for any of the animals involved, and one or more might even get hurt in the encounter if it goes badly. Best to avoid any possible problems by not letting hedgie play with any of the other animals. They're pretty solitary animals, anyway.

6. You can build C&C cages, you can buy the wire cubes from stores like Target, and then you get coroplast from sign stores. http://www.guineapigcages.com/index.htm I just built one for my hedgehog, it's really easy, and gives them a great sized cage for very little money (comparatively). If you made a cage that was 3' x 2' that sat on top of the guinea cage, it would be a perfect size for your hedgehog. C&C cages are also pretty light, mine's 3.5' x 2' and I can pick it up easily by the top.

7. I believe you want the spaces one inch or less, especially for a small hedgie. You want to make sure that you have solid plastic or coroplast going up the side of the cage for several inches though, to discourage climbing. If a hedgie tries to climb and falls, they can get seriously injured.

8. The problem with pet stores is so many of them DON'T know how to take care of hedgies correctly. There's been three people on the forum lately who purchased female hedgies from pet stores, the hedgies seemed to be perfectly healthy at first. However, they turned out to be pregnant because they were kept in with males. If you buy from a pet store, make sure they know their stuff, and make sure that if any hedgehogs are in together, that they are the same sex and are sexed correctly. Males have a little 'button' on their tummy (penis) and females don't, their parts are down by their tail.

9. It really depends on the breeder or pet store. Pet stores tend to be cheaper, breeders tend to be more expensive. I got my hedgehog for $90, but that's on the cheaper side for breeders. I think most sell for $150-$250.

And I just want to add, welcome to the forum and feel free to go through the posts! I think you'll find lots of great information there, along with on the wiki site (link found on the homepage of this site). :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the welcome and taking the time to read through my novel. I didn't realize I had typed that much. o_O

Hedgehogs sound great! (And they are cute to boot.) Their interaction level sounds about like what I want, as well as their size.

I don't plan on having any of my critters interact with one another. Dwarf hamster + guinea pigs + ferrets = very, very bad. My ferrets rule the room, but the rodent cages are all in a ferret proof location and secure. In four years I have yet to have one of the ferts even attempt to get at the cages. I just wanted to make sure that there wouldn't be any health risks for any of the animals.

I don't mind touching meal worms...I've picked dead and rotting ones from shipments of live worms before and it didn't phase me. But knowing that I have to keep them in my house creeps me out. LOL If I get a live shipment, can I freeze them and then feed them later?

I might make a C&C cage. I've read up on them because of my pigs, but I needed a cage with a solid top for storage and security purposes. Is the size (depth) of the coroplast on the premade C&C cages deep enough to discourage climbing?

And, I have two more questions that just came to mind.

1. Is a water bottle better, or a water dish? Or should I offer both?

2. My room is above the garage and has two walls facing south and east with huge windows. Needless to say, the room gets blistering hot in the summer (farthest away from the air conditioning...) and very cold in the winter. I have a space heater for winter and lots of fans for in the summer, but that still doesn't keep the temperature steady.
How do hedgies do in heat? When it gets really hot I keep a fan blowing on the cages to help cool everybody down, and I supplement with frozen water bottles as needed.
I know that hedgies don't do well in cold temps, so would I be better off getting a heating lamp, a hot water bottle, or a heating pad? Or something else entirely?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,963 Posts
1. Water bowls are considered better by many people because it's a more natural drinking position, and water bottles can chip teeth, which hedgies don't grow back. However, if the hedgehog you get has been on a water bottle and you want to switch to bowl, you can put both in the cage, and if you think he/she has started drinking more from the bowl, you can take the bottle out after that. Make sure you keep an eye on him/her though, to make sure he/she is still drinking. They can quickly get dehydrated.

2. A lot of people like to use ceramic heat emitters, which use a thermostat to turn it on and off and keep the temperature steady. You want to keep the cage between 74-78 degrees Farenheit. If they get too hot, they can go into something called aestivation (I think that's right), which is similar to hibernation, but not as dangerous. It's still not good for them, though, and you want to avoid it. I'm not sure about having a fan blow directly on them, though, that may cause a chill....Might need to get a second opinion on that method of cooling, I haven't found much on cooling methods for hedgies.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,268 Posts
I agree with Kelsey on everything, especially the fan. Fans can cause chills.

I remember reading somewhere, that you can put an ice pack onto of the cage. (remember, heat rises, while cool air sinks). That would be the quickest way to cool off the cage, but I can see it being a pain to do all the time. Is there a way to put the hedgie cage elsewhere? Where the temperature stays moderatly constant?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,963 Posts
By the way, about the mealworms...I'm not sure about freezing them, then feeding, but you can keep them in your refrigerator to send them into hibernation. I don't know if that will still bother you or not, though. You don't want to feed freeze-dried mealies, though, there's been reports of them causing impactions because some hedgies can't digest them. So it's either canned or live. If it's just mealies you have a problem with, you can also feed crickets, either canned or live.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Actually, if we keep the air on this summer then I shouldn't need to cool the cage down. My room, even with the air on, stays about 72 degrees. I've never had a problem with any of my critters overheating. I've never done anything for the pigs besides a fan and I've never had a problem with them. But then, I suppose I don't really know what temps they can handle!

I typically don't have the fans blowing on the cages (except if it is *really* hot and the air isn't on), but I do have it fanning back and forth from the middle of the room to create a breeze in the cages' direction. Still a no-no, or would that be okay?

Is there a "best" brand for the ceramic heat emitters? And do they all have a thermostat control, or is that only on certain types?

Oh, yuck. I did a quick google search to figure out if mealworms can be frozen or not and I came across a site that uses them in human recipies. Mealworm cookies, anyone? *gag*
I think that canned mealworms will be the way to go for me. You can buy them at Petsmart, correct? Or will I need to order them from somewhere?

Does anyone know if any breeders in Indiana? I found two, but one isn't breeding anymore. I sent an email to the other, but I haven't heard back as of yet.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top