Hedgehog Care

Hedgehogs are an exotic species requiring specific care. You can find the basics here. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us with further questions!

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Enclosures

Traditional small animal cages are not ideal for hedgehogs. While there are many different options, over the years we have found bin cages to be the best for hedgehog health and safety. The plastic is easy to sanitize, it retains heat well and there are no bars for a hedgehog to climb and potentially injure themselves. We have custom Bin Enclosures available as part of our Cage Kits. C&C cages are also another popular choice among hedgehog owners! They’re customizable and can be configured to give hedgies a larger space to play. This post explains how to build your own C&C cage. Note that the chloroplast pieces must be made high enough so that the hedgehog can not reach the bars to climb. Particulate bedding or non pilling fleece liners can be used. For particulate bedding, kiln dried pine shavings or paper bedding can be used – both are good choices!

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Food

Boston Hedgehog’s Pro-Blend contains several different sources of quality protein, designed to mimic a wild hedgehog’s diet. Fruits and veggies are great in small amounts as treats, but larger quantities can be difficult for them to digest. You can view the list of safe and dangerous snacks for hedgehogs here.

 

You can also purchase meal worms, super worms, horn worms, dubia roaches and other feeder insects from a pet store or Rainbow Mealworms. Use this link to receive 10% off your order! We do not recommend feeding dried insects as they have been known to cause G.I. impactions.

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Food

Boston Hedgehog’s Pro-Blend contains several different sources of quality protein, designed to mimic a wild hedgehog’s diet. Fruits and veggies are great in small amounts as treats, but larger quantities can be difficult for them to digest. You can view the list of safe and dangerous snacks for hedgehogs here.

 

You can also purchase meal worms, super worms, horn worms, dubia roaches and other feeder insects from a pet store or Rainbow Mealworms. Use this link to receive 10% off your order! We do not recommend feeding dried insects as they have been known to cause G.I. impactions.

It is also recommended to track and record your hedgehog’s weight using a weight log and a kitchen scale (one comes with the Deluxe Kit!). Weight should be recorded 1-2x daily for a week and then bi-weekly to ensure your baby is thriving. Please remove the exercise wheel from their enclosure until the hoglet weighs a minimum of 250 grams.

Water

The options for offering water are bowls, bottles or a Hedgehog Sipper bottle! Some owners prefer bowls, however, they don’t stay clean and must be refreshed often to keep waste and bedding out. Damp bedding in the enclosure for a prolonged time can also put your hedgehog at risk for respiratory infection. Small animal bottles can work, but many hedgehogs will bite down on the metal, which can fracture teeth! The BEST option we’ve found is a Hedgehog Sipper! It has a bottle to keep water clean, and a small nippler that drips water when licked by your hedgehog, but is too small to bite! We include them with our Cage Kit options!

Temperature

Your hedgehog’s ideal environment is between 75°F and 80°F. If the temperature falls below 75°F, your hedgehog could attempt to hibernate, which is very unhealthy and life-threatening for your hedgehog. Monitor your hedgehog’s environment with a thermometer and keep it warm using a ceramic heat emitting bulb. CHE bulbs don’t rely on light, allowing your hedgehog to maintain its normal daylight pattern.

Quilling

Young hedgehogs go through a process called quilling. Baby quills fall out and gradually get replaced by adult quills. Young hedgehogs can become grumpy while this process occurs as it can cause discomfort and they may require extra patience from you during this time. You’ll likely find shed baby quills in their enclosure. It is possible for adult quills to be darker or lighter than the baby quills.

Bonding

The best part of caring for your hedgehog is bonding! Spending time with your baby daily is highly recommended. Hedgehogs don’t have the best eyesight, but they do have a fantastic sense of smell. For this reason, hedgehogs might require a “warm up” period when first picked up to identify your scent. Please don’t use scented soaps, lotions and perfumes prior to handling! It’s helpful to put a piece of your clothing into its enclosure to snuggle. If your hedgehog really likes a smell, it might “self-anoint”. Your hedgehog will taste something it likes, create a frothy foam, and lick its back. This peculiar behavior is one of the highest compliments a hedgehog can give, although it might take a while to get used to.

Hedgehogs can be sensory sensitive to loud noises and fast movements and should be handled in a calm and quiet setting until they have had time to adjust to their new environment. They are also nocturnal! The evening hours are the best time to interact with your hedgehog

Bathing

Hedgehogs are prone to dry skin so over-bathing should be avoided. We recommend bathing them when they’re dirty and/or no more than once per month. The water level should never exceed chest deep for your hedgehog. A gentle soap and soft brush should be used, or ideally, the Hog Wash that comes in our Bath Kits which is specifically made for hedgehogs. Soap-free warm water foot baths can be given more frequently if needed. Bath time is also a good time to trim nails! Nails grow at different rates for each individual hedgehog. They should be checked bi-weekly and trimmed when they’re long. Check out this how to video for tips!

Enrichment

Enrichment is an incredibly important part of your hedgehog’s life. One source of vital enrichment and exercise is the wheel. Every hedgehog must have a wheel. Hedgehogs require a 12″ wheel with a solid running surface. They will run for miles per night! Another great enrichment option is a dig box. Dig boxes help hedgies to exercise their natural burrowing instincts. Fleece forests are easy to make and create another element to a hedgehog enclosure! (Dig Boxes and Fleece Forests will be offered on the supplies page soon!) Handling your hedgehog often, utilizing play pens, taking hedgies outside in warm weather to explore, providing live feeder insects, and giving them toys and tunnels all lead to a busy, happy hedgehog!

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Vet Care

Hedgehogs are exotic animals and require specialized care. Not every veterinarian will have the knowledge to properly care for a hedgehog. Due diligence is needed when searching for a vet to care for your pet. Be sure to ask not only if they treat hedgehogs at their practice, but also how many they usually see per year to get an idea of their experience level. Hedgehogs do not require vaccinations and at this time routine spaying and neutering is not suggested. We recommend a wellness exam be performed annually.