Our hedgehogs are in 105qt clear plastic totes. While they may not be the most aesthetically pleasing enclosure, we feel they work best for our hogs. A plastic tote enclosure is inexpensive, has a solid, easy to clean bottom, and it is safe!
I was able to purchase them in a 3 pack on Amazon.
If you want to use the lid on the tote, you will need to alter it to provide proper ventilation.
Cutting out the middle section of the lid and zip-tying a piece of hardware cloth works perfectly. There are many DIY videos available on YouTube if you are looking for directions on how to do this.
A C&C (cube and coroplast) cage is another inexpensive option. There are many videos that can be found on YouTube detailing different ways to build them. They are made with coroplast board (basically plastic cardboard) and wire interlocking storage cubes. The one thing to avoid when making a cage like this is to NOT add the upper level that some DIY videos will show. Hedgehogs are not the most coordinated creatures and ramps/second stories can lead to falls and injuries. Wire cages can be dangerous however as some hedgehogs are climbers and broken legs from bars are not uncommon. Always observe your hedgehog in a new enclosure.
Hedgehogs need well ventilated cages. Aquariums/tanks DO NOT make good cages for hedgies. Aquariums were designed to hold water and/or humidity which can lead to respiratory illness.
Hedgehogs MUST have a constant heat source. If not kept at the proper temperature hedgehogs will attempt to hibernate, which can be fatal if not fixed.
They must be kept at an ambient temperature of 75-80 degrees.
Heat pads ARE NOT SAFE! Heat pads are unable to raise the ambient temperature high enough and could cause severe burns to your hedgehog.
The following two options are the only safe ways to provide your hedgehog with adequate heat;
1.) Ceramic Heat Emitter (CHE)
A CHE is a bulb that screws into a dome lamp. It is important to note that CHEs do not produce light. Regular heat bulbs that produce light will disrupt the hedgehogs natural sleep cycle.
When using A CHE, you will also need a ceramic dome (plastic dome lamps are not rated for a CHE and could melt), probe thermometer and a thermostat to control the temperature.
Ceramic Heat Emitter
2.) Electric Space Heater
The other heating option is to heat an entire small room to the appropriate temperature using an electric heater.
When using an electric heater, you will need a digital thermometer to make sure that the room and cage is staying at the correct temperature.
Having a dome that is rated for a high heat ceramic bulb as well as a thermostat and thermometer, will help you ensure the temperature is appropriate in your hedgehogs habitat.
When shopping for a substrate for your hedgehog you will be met with a lot of options and a lot of opinions. The following substrates are acceptable to use. We currently use Boxo Comfort bedding in our hedgehog enclosures.
DO NOT use cedar shavings! It is TOXIC to hedgehogs!
A litter pan can make cage maintenance a little easier. They are shallow pans that are placed under the wheel. Disposable tin cake pans are a good option.
Tin Cake Pan
Corner litter pans for ferrets and other small animals do not work well for hedgehogs.
DO NOT USE CAT LITTER!!
Use bedding from the list of safe beddings above.
INSIDE THE CAGE
Hedgehogs need a place to hide and sleep. Plastic igloos make great hides. You can also make or purchase fleece snuggle sacks for your hedgehog. Our very good friends at Prickly Potato Hedgehogs make a variety of fleece products for your hedgehog! Shop their Facebook store here!
Hedgehogs can run long distances in the wild. Your hedgehog can run ALL night! Without a wheel they will get very bored, destructive, and overweight.
Wire and mesh wheels are NOT acceptable. They are known to cause severe injuries that can lead to death! The wheels MUST have a solid bottom!
Saucer Wheels aren't recommended as they are intended for smaller animals and often break. The Silent Spinner wheel is also not recommended as it has a space down the middle of the wheel and has been known to pinch off toes.
I have linked two safe wheel options below.
Carolina Bucket Wheel
Kaytee Comfort Wheel Link (Must be the Giant 12" size)
CHECK OUT OUR BLOG POST ON SAFE WHEELS
Your hedgehog will also need shallow dishes for food and water. Hedgehogs love to tip over their water dish so you will need to check it frequently! You can also use water bottles if your hedgehog will use one. Willy refuses!
If you find yourself thinking your hedgehog enclosure is looking a bit cluttered... add a few more things and they will be happy! Hedgehogs love toys and clutter! Cardboard tubes (cut down the side so they don't get stuck) or PVC Tunnels, stuffed toy balls, crinkle balls, small stuffies, rubber duckies... PetStages mint sticks are also popular.
Small Plush Cat Toy
PVC Elbow 4"
PVC Trio 4"
I do not recommend commercial hedgehog diets. Hedgehog diets are usually very poor quality. A high quality cat food is a much healthier choice. There are many suitable dry cat foods available. Look at the ingredients! Dry cat food should be under 34% protein and under 15% fat.
As a main diet I recommend mixing 2 or more high quality cat foods that meet the protein and fat requirements.
Some easily accessible options are listed below.
Chicken Soup For The Soul Indoor Hairball 13% fat/32% protein
Chicken Soup For The Soul Salmon and Legumes 14% fat/32% protein
4Health Untamed Duck and Lentil 13% fat/30% protein
Nutro Indoor Adult 14% fat/33% protein
Blue Buffalo Indoor Health 14% fat/32% protein
Canidae Life Stages Indoor 14.5% fat/30.5% protein
Fromm Gold Mature 10% fat/30% protein
Our herd is currently eating a mixture of the following:
Hedgehogs also like BUGS! Insects should make up a portion of their diet. Mealworms, super worms, roaches, or crickets are popular choices.
Too many bugs can lead to an overweight hedgehog so feed sparingly.
Pieces of fruits and veggies, hard boiled egg, cooked bits of chicken, cooked hamburg, chicken baby food, and canned cat food can be used as treats if your hedgehog likes them. It is not something that they require, and most don't care for it.
BRINGING BABY HOME
Handle your hedgehog often. Etsy has adorable hedgehog bags, hoods, and scarves to carry your baby around in. Confident handling is key to a friendly hedgehog.
Remember, hedgehogs are nocturnal. You may find they are more handleable and social later in the evening.
You can bathe your hedgehog with a mild baby wash without fragrance.
Not too often! Hedgehogs are prone dry skin. If you are noticing that your hedgehog has flaky dry skin you can add organic coconut oil to the bath.
Nails will need to be clipped! Small cat nail clippers or cuticle clippers work well.
Clean soiled bedding weekly to prevent odor and bacteria build up. Spot cleaning where your hedgehog is using the bathroom daily will help with odor control as well.
If you don't like daily wheel cleaning, fleece liners for Carolina storm and Kaytee comfort wheels can be found on Etsy which can make cleaning much easier.
If you suspect your hedgehog may be sick you will want to get them to a licensed veterinary clinic that specializes in exotic pet care, specifically hedgehogs. Signs your hedgehog may be sick can include, but is not limited to, the following symptoms;
Lack of appetite
Reluctance to move
Discharge from the eyes or nose
Panting or labored breathing
If your hedgehog is exhibiting any of these things contact your nearest exotic vet. Follow this link to a list of Veterinary Hospitals.
HEDGEHOG VETERINARY HOSPITALS