A Hedgehog Friendly Cage
- Must NOT have wire floor, be made of wood, or contain anything a hedgehog can fall off of like a ramp or shelf.
- Do not try to use glass tank as this does not allow for proper ventilation (especially once a heating until is added), allows too much moisture to collect, collects odor, and is simply not easy to clean.
- The idea cage is around four square feet as you want at least two square feet of room for your hedgehog to walk around.
- Good materials include C&C cages or clear sterilite tubs.
ZooZone cages are widely recommended but many people have not been satisfied with the ventilation, size (hard to fit a wheel in), or durability.
Appropriate Cage Liner or Bedding
Many people like to use fabric cage liners as they are easy to change, reusable after a trip through the washing machine, soft, less expensive, and less messy. The main drawback of using a fabric liner is that your hedgehog’s bodily functions are more obvious (a plus for some people who use this as a method to monitor health) and that one’s hedgehog cannot burrow and make tunnels. Some people fix this problem by cutting fleece fabric into strips (which allows for digging) and placing them in a box in the cage. Do not be alarmed if you find your hedgehog likes to burrow under the liner. This is normal. If you really want to discourage this behavior place double-sided carpet tape on the underside of the liner. This should keep the liner stuck down, yet still be easy to remove when it comes time to clean.
You will want anywhere from two to four liners depending on how often you want to do laundry and how messy your hedgehog is. Choose black if you do not want to be able to see urine stains and white if you do (good for monitoring health and litter box training status.)
A Method for Keeping Your Hedgehog Warm
Hedgehogs must be kept at a steady temperature between 73-76 degrees Fahrenheit at all times or they risk going into hibernation – which is life threatening. Most inexperienced hedgehog owners make the mistake of thinking a heating pad will work to keep the cage warm enough. This is not true. All of the air in the cage, not just the floor, needs to be warm. In fact, the contrast between the cold air and warm floor will be especially uncomfortable for your hedgehog.
The simplest option is to heat your entire room housing the hedgehog to this temperature – your current heating system may or may not allow for this. If this is not going to work for you, then you need to get a heat source either for that corner of the room (like a space heater) or a heat source just for the cage. Most hedgehog owners swear by ceramic heat emitters (look like laps but do not light up.)
Heating pads meant for reptiles can get too warm for hedgehogs and cause burns. Overhead heat lamps will be too warm for a hedgehog in an aquarium and can also be a fire hazard if they get knocked over.
An exercise wheel is a necessity for a hedgehog. Without proper exercise your hedgehog will have a tendency to gain too much weight and become generally inactive. There are primarily two excellent wheel choices – a homemade wheel made out of 5-10 gallon buckets or cake covers (you do not have to make this yourself – many breeders and rescues offer them for sale), or a couple models made by either Ware or Superpet. Just remember – do not get a wire wheel. Just like wire cage bottoms – these are not safe for your small pet as their legs can easily slip through.
Here is an example of a specialty hedgehog cake walk wheel:
The best retail wheels (always buy the largest size – 12in diameter):
Silent Spinner (Superpet)– Good but some people have noticed it is a little noisy. Attach to the side of the cage using zipties otherwise there is the possibility it can tip over.
Comfort Wheel (Superpet)- Same notes as above.
Flying Saucer Wheel (Ware) – Quiet and easy to clean. You want the largest size. Flying Saucer Wheels also have the tendency to tip over when used by larger sized hedgehogs. Be sure to secure.
Good options include:
- Plastic igloos on top of a small cat bed
- Large PVC pipe joints
- “Hedgiebags” (or make your ownjust like a pillow case out of fleece fabric)
- Over turned boxes with a door cut out
Avoid wood as many people have problems keeping wooden huts clean enough.