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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
This is my first time using a forum EVER, so please be patient! I've tried searching around here, but haven't found help for what I'm looking for...

I got Loretta a really nice cage, but we're just not loving it :0( I think a vivarium is the way to go, but every site I've found is in the UK! Does anyone know of custom vivs made/sold in the US??

I'm looking for something like this, i love the second story idea for more room and discovery for her! https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.345079955594929.1073741829.345074595595465&type=3
(if that link doesn't work, it's to the Geeky Hog Facebook page)

Thanks everyone!
 

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Sorry you haven't gotten an answer yet!

It is probably pretty difficult to find anything regarding vivs in the US...they're much more popular in the UK. My best suggestion would be to check out some reptile forums - they tend to be popular cage choices for them too. Either snakes or lizards (like bearded dragons) forums might be a good place to ask on. If you can't find anything, perhaps you could check around locally to find any woodworkers or something like that that might be willing to make something if you can show them pictures & explain what you want?
 

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If you end up going for a custom-made by someone who is trying it out for the first time, maybe ask around on the more UK-centric hedgehog forum for tips/tricks/cautions?

My entirely-based-on-extrapolation guesses:

From reading about shavings, I'd say no cedar wood (apparently the oils are irritating to hedgehogs). I don't remember what they say about pine and aspen, but one of them is recommended for shavings?

You'd want to be careful about mites -- again, whatever they say to try to prep shavings to deter mites (baking??) might work?

You'd want to be careful about sealants, and letting it air out like crazy so that fumes don't murder tiny hoglet. Maybe food-safe sealants?

You'd need to be careful about ventilation -- maybe built-in grates at the bottom sides? Make sure that you've got something that allows easy cross-ventilation. This archive post has ideas about netting.

I feel like we've got a few posts in the archives about building vivariums. Someone else tried building with acrylic; maybe they have post-build notes & ideas for you?
 

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I totally posted a response that got eaten by the internet gremlins! Grr...

If you decide to do the custom-construction route and recruit someone without previous vivarium experience, you can probably get good advice via the UK-focused hedgehog forums.

Next, my extrapolation-guesses:
- Any advice that people give about wood shavings (aspen is fine, cedar is baaaad) applies to building a vivarium. Someone in the archives talks about building one with plexi? And another thread suggests any wood is fine as long as it is properly sealed.. This thread discusses sealants & building materials, too.
- Make sure to have lots and lots of ventilation: here's some archives about netting material. I'd make sure to allow good cross-ventillation, not just one side. I don't see it in the archives, but someone else posted about using heating grates.

It does sound like this forum had at least a few DIY vivariums in the past, so hopefully some of those members are still around to chip in with their knowledge.
 

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Those vivariums look really nice! I haven't really seen them much in the US- not nearly as much as when I lived in England. However- my only concern about vivariums is air flow. It seems very very limited. I see what looks like two "vents" on the back of the ones she has, but that's really not a lot (people discourage using aquariums but at least those have the top for air flow) - maybe theres some way for air flow that I'm not seeing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you all so much for replying! :0)
I can't wait to see what links you've come up with, Annie&Tibbers, but I'm thinking I might just build one myself, I was just so concerned about materials (wood and paint) and figured a professionally-built one would already be safe (I've got the worries of a new hedgie mom, can you tell?).
From what I've read, it seems like plywood is a safe option, so i just need to figure out the paint thing... I am of course open to suggestions if you have any!

Also, by building my own i can customize the vents to give lil Loretta more airflow.
 

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I wanted something like a viv when i got my hedgie, but couldn't find anything in the us, so i made my own and used the lowest voc paint i could find to block out water and mites, then sealed the entire inside with shellac non toxic hypoallergenic spray sealer for baby toys that i found at ace hardware for 6$ and it works great! :) to get rid of the paint smell i just mixed vineger and water and washed it:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
WOW, thank you guys so much!!!
I really appreciate all the links and advice, such good info to think about! You all know the stresses of trying to keep your little ones safe, I just want to be sure I give Loretta the safest, happiest home possible :D My non-hedgie friends don't get my, uh, enthusiasm, it's so nice to have a community like this!

With a switch to the viv, I was going to start using cage liners, which seems to either be two layers of fleece, or fleece and flannel sewn together (with hidden seems so nothing gets caught) - has anyone had trouble with their hedgies keeping them flat / is there any way you keep them down? I feel like my gal will try to rumple it up!
She has a litter pan she's good with, but i'm not super happy with the carefresh crumpled paper for the rest of the floor, it somehow gets everywhere and I'm nervous about the dust it leaves behind (also she just pushes it out of the way for the most part!).

Thanks again!
 

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Rumpling up the liners is nicknamed "liner-diving," and yes, some hedgehogs love doing that. A few strategies:
- weight down the corners with something heavy (solid water bowls, rocks...)
- use sticky-backed velcro on the liner & the base, sticking them together
- sew pillowcase-like liners, sliding the base inside so it's impossible to get under
- use multiple layers of liner (like fleece folded a few times) so even when they dive under layer 1, they still have layer 2 under them
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So the viv construction is underway, it's just been a bit of a slow process... I will post pictures and tips when done so other DIYers can have a gage :smile:

does anyone have any thoughts on heating the inside of a painted wooden vivarium?

I've seen the reptile set ups with thermostat sensors and ceramic heat emitters - i thought these would be the way to go, but they all seem to be placed above and pointed into an open-topped viv - is it safe to put in an enclosed box? (The front will be two cabinet-like doors with pet-safe screens, so no worries, there's a lot of ventilation)

I was thinking of installing it in the viv ceiling or high out of reach on a wall, but i just want to be sure this is a safe idea!

Thank youuuu!!
 

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As long as you are using a thermostat (like Amazon.com: Zilla 11939 Temperature Controller, 1000-Watt: Pet Supplies ) you can safely use a CHE.

I would be worried about mounting inside of a viv with the top closed off. The lamp heats up a lot and may burn/pose a fire hazard while in contact with wood. I've seen vivariums with holes cut in the top for lamps to shine down through, perhaps you can do something like that, or go ahead and screen a portion of the top?

The method I recommend and use is heating the whole room the hedgehog is in and not the enclosure directly. A space heater is a great option and can be placed near (but not facing directly) the enclosure. Just make sure you are using the space heater - like any heating element - safely!
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002CZ0J3E/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 

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So I have this dream of making my own viv - I want to use this IKEA loft bed, turn the loft into a cage, and put a reading nook for me underneath. First I need to have room for it, which my current home does not, and I'd need to seal the wood, find a solid bottom that's waterproof (no pee dripping into my reading nook, thank you!) and figure out how much and how to extend the sides up...etc. Lots of things to thing about! But that's my current hedgie cage dream.

Thankfully, I'm tall enough that reaching into the loft bed would be easy for me.
 
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