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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi Everyone! I started building/hacking this IKEA Besta cabinet a couple of weeks ago in anticipation of getting a little hedgie. I’ve been researching them for months and so I’ve got the basics of what they need but now I’m trying to make it work in this design.

This is 70 x 15 x 30 and I was planning on hanging a Flukers 100w with 8.5 in hood under the middle shelf. Wheel on the left bed/ hide on the right with some two story structure above it but not using the shelf. This will bring it to a little over 8 ft.eFood and water and part of the spiral stairs will go in the middle. I planned on leaving the shelves so that I could put toys and stuff up there in little bins. I removed glass from the doors and replaced it with plexi that goes up to the height of those shelves and is open on the top you can see in the close-up picture. I’ve lined the whole base and protected the door hinges with coroplast but I’m going to build something a little more solid around them I think.

My issue is that those middle sections are IKEA so they are essentially made of cardboard protected by like a PVC/vinyl covering and I used some peel and stick vinyl wallpaper over white duct tape to seal the edges after I cut it. The doors are now plexiglass. Will a CHE hanging in the middle of this enclosure with thermostat and thermometer be enough to heat this here in cold Maine and will the plexiglass and interior survive the CHE? Does anyone else have a hacked IKEA cabinet and still use a CHE?

TYIA for any guidance!! 🦔❤🦔

Rectangle Wood Flooring Hardwood Gas

Wood Rectangle Flooring Floor Hardwood


Rectangle Wood Shelf Ceiling Gas
 

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Hi! I do not have answers for all of your questions unfortunately. I will say though that your enclosure looks really cute!! I love the colour of the edges :)
One thing I would recommend is having two heating lamps! As it is a pretty long space you want to make sure all edges are heated. I've found trying to heat bigger enclosures with one lamp often means that while the middle is the perfect temperature, the edges are too cold for the little hedgies. With your setup I would recommend having the lamp you were already thinking of in the middle, and adding a less powerful one over the sleeping area. Unless your hedgie takes to sleeping under the wheel and you need to heat there, it's best to avoid heating overtop of the wheel. I had plexiglass on the front of my enclosure and it held up well, though I can't say for certain how it would do with a closer range to the heat lamp (mine was about 15.5" away from the plexiglass).
While your setup sounds like it would be okay for heat, I would 100% test everything out before you get a hedgehog set up in there. I am not an expert so please be careful!! As long as the lamps are a good distance away it should be okay but definitely test everything out beforehand! Better to find issues now rather than when there's a little guy inside.
Best of luck to you, I hope you're able to find all the answers you need and good luck with your hedgehog!!
 

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Yep, basically, use multiple lamps. At least two, but you might need three. Start with one on each end and see what your thermometer comes up with in each section of the cage. Use a thermostat that you can plug them all into so they're all set the same. The style cage you're using should hold the heat just fine, so I wouldn't be worried about that too much, but you could attach foam board underneath and on the backside to help hold in heat better. You'll probably have to do some clever rigging of the lamp, but I think it's doable. Don't be afraid to change the shelves. Wire closet shelving is relatively cheap and easy to get and might make having the lamps in there easier. You could even hang them lower in the cage and have the lamps simply sit on them rather than having to hang the lamps themselves.

I am, however, concerned about the lack of ventilation. As important as keeping the environment warm is, it's also important to have really good ventilation. A hedgehog produces more waste than you'd think. You don't want them having to live with that smell with nowhere for it to go and no fresh air coming in. That's just asking for respiratory issues. If you've got the tools and the diy expertise, I would pop a number of smaller holes in the plexi at various heights. Not too low as you don't want the hedgehog using the holes to try to climb, but not so high that the air flow misses the lower end of the enclosure. I would add in at least a few small holes on the sides as well.

Good luck. Can't wait to see what else you wind up doing with it. The cabinet looks really cute. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi! I do not have answers for all of your questions unfortunately. I will say though that your enclosure looks really cute!! I love the colour of the edges :)
One thing I would recommend is having two heating lamps! As it is a pretty long space you want to make sure all edges are heated. I've found trying to heat bigger enclosures with one lamp often means that while the middle is the perfect temperature, the edges are too cold for the little hedgies. With your setup I would recommend having the lamp you were already thinking of in the middle, and adding a less powerful one over the sleeping area. Unless your hedgie takes to sleeping under the wheel and you need to heat there, it's best to avoid heating overtop of the wheel. I had plexiglass on the front of my enclosure and it held up well, though I can't say for certain how it would do with a closer range to the heat lamp (mine was about 15.5" away from the plexiglass).
While your setup sounds like it would be okay for heat, I would 100% test everything out before you get a hedgehog set up in there. I am not an expert so please be careful!! As long as the lamps are a good distance away it should be okay but definitely test everything out beforehand! Better to find issues now rather than when there's a little guy inside.
Best of luck to you, I hope you're able to find all the answers you need and good luck with your hedgehog!!
Thank you so much! I did a test run today with one heat lamp and the middle was 101 degrees and the ends were 72 yikes. I did have the thermostat in one of the ends set at 75 but that was a fail and I can smell the adhesive I used in the plexiglass and the peel and stick wall paper. EEEK back to the drawing board. I think I am going to try the ProProducts heat panels. They are supposed to be safe on all types of materials. Definitely more pricy but not too far off the cost of a dome and a CHE.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yep, basically, use multiple lamps. At least two, but you might need three. Start with one on each end and see what your thermometer comes up with in each section of the cage. Use a thermostat that you can plug them all into so they're all set the same. The style cage you're using should hold the heat just fine, so I wouldn't be worried about that too much, but you could attach foam board underneath and on the backside to help hold in heat better. You'll probably have to do some clever rigging of the lamp, but I think it's doable. Don't be afraid to change the shelves. Wire closet shelving is relatively cheap and easy to get and might make having the lamps in there easier. You could even hang them lower in the cage and have the lamps simply sit on them rather than having to hang the lamps themselves.

I am, however, concerned about the lack of ventilation. As important as keeping the environment warm is, it's also important to have really good ventilation. A hedgehog produces more waste than you'd think. You don't want them having to live with that smell with nowhere for it to go and no fresh air coming in. That's just asking for respiratory issues. If you've got the tools and the diy expertise, I would pop a number of smaller holes in the plexi at various heights. Not too low as you don't want the hedgehog using the holes to try to climb, but not so high that the air flow misses the lower end of the enclosure. I would add in at least a few small holes on the sides as well.

Good luck. Can't wait to see what else you wind up doing with it. The cabinet looks really cute. :)
Thank you so much! I was a little worried about the ventilation too. I'm glad you mentioned it. The tops of all of the plexiglass are open but I was thinking about popping a couple of 3 in round vents in each side once I sort out the heating. I did a test run with one heater today and it was a fail. I am going to try two next like both of you suggested but it is definitely creating a burning, adhesive smell in there and that would definitely not be good for the little hedge! I might have to resort to a regular cage set up like a critter nation or something. That would make me so sad. lol! I ordered two Pro Products Heat Panels after talking to the guys at PP. I am very hopeful that they will work great and they can safely be used on any material! I was also thinking about a way to create water based radiant floor heating in there from a water heated blanket! I might not end up getting a hedgehog for another year at this rate lol lol! Thank you again for all of your help!
 

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Were you using CHE bulbs? Those have quite a strong smell when they're brand new. They need to be used for a bit for the smell to dissipate. Could that maybe have been what you were smelling? Hopefully the panels you ordered will do the job. Floor heating is honestly probably overkill and may have the same potential problems as using heating pads, so I wouldn't bother going down that road.

As for the ventilation, hedgehogs are shape changers and can fit themselves into surprisingly small spaces. When you drill the holes, err on the side of caution with the size. You don't want your hedgehog to try squeezing through it only for them to get stuck part way. Or even being successful and escaping. You can always make a hole bigger if that's what it needs, but making a hole smaller is more challenging. Also, you need to work out the heating and ventilation issues together. If you get the temp perfect and then drill holes, you may have to figure out the heating again to account for the new air flow.

Keep us posted! I think once you get the details sorted out, it's gonna be a great cage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Were you using CHE bulbs? Those have quite a strong smell when they're brand new. They need to be used for a bit for the smell to dissipate. Could that maybe have been what you were smelling? Hopefully the panels you ordered will do the job. Floor heating is honestly probably overkill and may have the same potential problems as using heating pads, so I wouldn't bother going down that road.

As for the ventilation, hedgehogs are shape changers and can fit themselves into surprisingly small spaces. When you drill the holes, err on the side of caution with the size. You don't want your hedgehog to try squeezing through it only for them to get stuck part way. Or even being successful and escaping. You can always make a hole bigger if that's what it needs, but making a hole smaller is more challenging. Also, you need to work out the heating and ventilation issues together. If you get the temp perfect and then drill holes, you may have to figure out the heating again to account for the new air flow.

Keep us posted! I think once you get the details sorted out, it's gonna be a great cage.
If it wasn't for the heating, I would have a cute mr or mrs prickles already lol. Living in Maine is a challenge plus I am a little selfish in that I am VERY hot blooded and like to keep my house around 68. Very good point about the two going together. I was going to drill them above the climb zone and put the little vent grates but with screen on the back side so that it wouldn't be able to get it's little feet caught in it or escape. I think to your point, I am going to wait and see how the heat panels do before I do anything more to it besides stock it with cute hedgie essentials. Who knows maybe down the line I will turn it into a bioactive enclosure/terrarium that would look awesome in there too and probably be way better for hedge. I can't thank you enough for your advice!
 

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I'm glad I can be helpful. I'm actually in the middle of making a few upgrades to my current setup. I lost my girl in August, so I'm taking advantage of the opportunity to make the cage even better for the next resident. I'm planning on laying down insulation on the floor and then placing a brand new floor on top of it. Should help the cage retain heat even better and hopefully help save my electric bill a little bit. Also, the floor has warped a little over the years due to not being installed quite as nicely as we were hoping for. So this should make it nice and level. Don't underestimate the power of good insulation. I could not get the temp in the right place until i added insulation (i used a purple foam board i got at home depot). I used it along the back and side of the cage. I'm using a 2x4 C&C cage, so it has tons of ventilation too.
 
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