• Supplies and Accessories

    Does my hedgehog need a wheel?-
    Yes. Hedgehog appropriate wheels encourage exercise in hedgehogs, and play a major part in keeping a hedgehog entertained. Wheels are especially important in smaller cages, and with hedgehogs that are not offered frequent out of cage exercise time.

    What kind of a wheel should I get for my hedgehog?-
    There are many styles of wheel available for hedgehogs. The very most important factor in considering a wheel is the running surface. Running surfaces for hedgehogs should be completely solid, and not made of mesh or wire grids. It is preferable to get a wheel in the 12-15 inch size range, so the hedgehog can stretch out and run comfortably. When possible, look for a wheel with no side bars attached to the moving wheel area. There have been cases of hedgehogs severely injuring their faces or eyes by being smacked with the sidebar of the wheel when they are looking around the side or jumping on or off of a moving wheel.

    What kind of den or hiding spot should I provide for my hedgehog?-

    This varies widely among hedgehog owners and breeders. A hiding spot can be as simple as a cardboard box, or something home made like a small sleeping sack, or something specially purchased such as a "pigloo" (plastic igloo shaped hut available in pet stores). Just make sure that it is roomy enough that the hedgehog can sprawl out and relax, and that it is either easily washed or cheap enough that it can be disposed of when messy.

    What kind of bedding should I use?-

    There are many options of bedding available for small pet caging. Your preference is completely up to you, however there are some guidelines that you should remember. NEVER use Cedar bedding. Cedar contains oils that make it very fragrant and pleasant smelling, however, these same oils are responsible for many cases of illness where the hedgehog ends up with severe chemical burns on the skin, or even in the respiratory tract from contact with the oils. The skin burns can be very severe, but if caught rapidly enough, can typically be treated. The respiratory damage on the other hand, can often prove fatal. NEVER use clumping litters. These are designed to stick together in the presence of moisture. Fine and dandy when the animal is not in close contact with the clumping litter, but with hedgehogs, their genitals and faces are consistently so close to the surface that they pick up the litter, and can end up with clumps of litter blocking their genital openings or impacted in their mouths. NEVER use corn cob bedding. Corn cob based beddings can mildew easily, which can cause them to be toxic to your hedgehog. Also, many corn cob beddings are the perfect size to get stuck in the genitals, especially in the sheath of male hedgehogs. Be careful about beddings that are strongly aromatic, dusty, or that sour or mildew easily.

    What kind of toys can I offer my hedgehog?-

    Probably the most commonly offered toy for hedgehogs is the common toilet paper tube. This is definitely not the only option though. Use the same rules to choose hedgehog toys as you would to choose toys for a small child. No sharp edges. No loose pieces. Large enough that it won't fit into the mouth. No loose threads. Basically, if a toy fits within these guidelines, and a hedgehog can push, pull, carry, drag, or climb it, it is worth trying.

    What kind of water container should I use?-
    This is an individual preference issue as well. The most popular choice is probably water bottles that are available in any small pet section. The benefits of these are that they contain quite a bit of water, that is essentially pollution proof. The negative is that some hedgehogs have damaged their teeth by grabbing the bottle spout too aggressively. Another option is water bowls or a similar open topped water container. These are more natural drinking position and style for hedgehogs, which is beneficial, but on the other hand, are very easy to tip over and spill or to fill with bedding, fecal material, or other pollutants. Whichever you prefer, make sure you check the source frequently to make sure that the water is available, clean, and fresh.

    What kind of food container should I use?-
    Whatever kind is easily available to you, as long as it is large enough to contain a full day's supply of food, and is made of a food safe material. Be aware that some of the crockery bowls that are sold for pet food use contain a suspected dangerous glaze that can be toxic to animals.

    Can I use an exercise ball for my hedgehog?-

    Exercise balls can be used for hedgehogs, as long as they are plenty large (the basketball sized ones work well) and the hedgehog is carefully supervised during use. It is possible for the balls to pop open during vigorous running, which can free the hedgehog to run loose in areas where there are potential dangers. Exercise balls are NOT a completely adequate alternative to a hedgehog wheel, as they are for short term use only, and not an option for free- use by the hedgehog. However, they can be a great added bonus to allow your hedgehog to explore your house in a safer manner.