Caring for your Hedgehog
We feed our hedgehogs Purina Pro Plan cat food. The food you choose to buy your hedgehog should have chicken as the first ingredient (not corn, chicken or meat by-products, etc). Purina One has Chicken as a main ingredient and our hedgehogs love it. They have maintained good weights and remained very healthy since they have been on it. Be sure to watch your hedgehog's weight. If a hedgehog can no longer form into a ball, it’s too heavy. Hedgehogs should eat around 100 calories or 1-2 tablespoons of dry cat food per day. Treats can include mealworms, boiled chicken, scrambled/hard boiled eggs, cottage cheese, veggies and fruits and many more. High protein snacks are great. Remember they are insectivores, so vegetables and fruits are not to be a main part of their diet.
There are many types of bedding that you can use for your hedgehog. We recommend kiln dried pine or aspen shavings. We use kiln dried pine shavings from Walmart. We have also in the past used the kiln dried pine shavings from Tractor Supply. We prefer Walmart brand because the shavings are a finer consistancy than Tractor Supply's thus making them softer and more cushion like in texture. Do not use cedar, because of the respiratory illnesses, and oils associated with it.
The cage and igloo need to be cleaned at a minimum of once every week. Wheels, and food/ water dishes should be cleaned as needed (every 2-3 days). It is very important to keep everything clean to keep a healthy hedgehog and to prevent odor in your home. We add clean pine shavings to cages every 3 days to prevent odor. Typically if you keep this schedule you will not smell your hedgehog habitat!! We have also found if you soak your wheels in a bucket of water face down submerged for 10-20 minutes, they are very easy and quick to clean!!
Hedgehogs need a safe and secure home that they can not climb out of, squeeze through the bars, or get their feet caught. The home should provide adequate ventilation/circulation, but not be drafty or left in a drafty place. It should be large enough to provide needed exercise. A minimum of a 16” x 24” habitat is recommended. Hedgehogs do not have good depth perception and can walk right off of things making tall ferret cages dangerous for them. One level cages are recommended.
We are fans of keeping things as natural for our hedgehogs as possible. Therefore, we keep them in a room that gets sunlight during the day. We keep them out of the direct sunlight, however, because we do not want them to run the risk of overheating. Hedgehogs need around 12-14 hours of sunlight, either natural or artifical, per day. We recommend keeping the room your hedgehog is housed in between 72-80F degrees at all times, however, 74-78F degrees is the ideal temperature. If you keep the temperature in your home lower than what is recommended, you can purchase a small animal heating pad and thermometer to ensure your hedgehog is not getting too hot or too cold. Hedgehogs can die by both getting too hot or too cold.