A hedgehog is a unique yet messy companion. It litters whenever and wherever it wants, which can be a hassle for the owners. But, can you train a hedgehog to use a litter box?
The short answer is yes; you can train your hedgehog to use a litter box as long as you have a lot of patience!
If you want to know the steps on how you can train your hedgehog to use a litter box, keep on reading.
Defecation relocation is an easy way to make your hedgehog use its litter box. This method is ideal for a hedgehog owner who can’t supervise their pet at all times.
For this method, you only need a litter box, litter, and your hedgehog’s urine and droppings. Once you’ve prepared the materials, follow these simple steps:
Before training your hedgehog to use a litter box, you should identify its defecation pattern and the location where it usually defecates. Doing so gives you an idea of where to place its litter box.
However, if it’s defecated in its wheel, you should remove it immediately. There’s a high chance that it’ll become your hedgehog’s habit to defecate there, making training extra hard.
After identifying your hedgehog’s defecation pattern, you can place the litter box in its cage. It shouldn’t be far from the area where your pet often poops or pees.
You can also put the box where you’ve initially placed its wheel.
Next, put the litter in the litter box.
When choosing litter, it should be a different substrate than the one you use for the rest of the cage. For example, if you’re using wood shavings for the cage, you should go for paper or clay litter for the litter box.
Using a different substrate for their litter is necessary because it’ll give your hedgehog an idea of where its bathroom is.
Once you’ve placed the litter box in the cage, you should place your hedgehog’s droppings inside it. If it urinated or defecated in a different area, relocate the droppings again.
Do this constantly for at least two weeks, ensuring you clean the litter box and the cage daily.
Eventually, your hedgehog will understand where its designated bathroom is due to its excellent sense of smell. Still, there are instances wherein your hedgehog will keep urinating or defecating in a different area, so be patient in the process.
Enforcing your hedgehog to use its litter box is another effective way to train it.
This situation often happens when a hedgehog is young because it’s not yet capable of holding in its urine and feces.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to put your hedgehog in its litter box before and after handling it. Then, let it stay there for a couple of minutes.
Ideally, you should train your hedgehog for proper littering the moment you get it. You will have a greater chance of successfully training your hedgehog when it’s young.
Furthermore, hedgehogs aren’t the most intelligent animals, so teaching your pet will take a long time.
When it comes to specific timing, people train their hedgehog when the pet wakes up from sleep. A hedgehog has an instinct to litter when it wakes up because it has already digested the food it ate the day before.
In actuality, it tends to take many hedgehog owners a year before their hedgehogs get litter-trained. It’s a tedious process, and it doesn’t happen overnight.
You’re the only one who can tell if your hedgehog is intelligent enough to immediately pick up what you’re teaching them. That’s why it’s better to enter the training process with low expectations.
Aside from a different substrate, you should also consider the placement and height of your pet’s litter box.
As mentioned earlier, a hedgehog has a strong sense of smell. It’s likely to get turned off by the smell of urine and feces, which can result in it not eating.
So, make sure that the litter box is on the opposite side of your hedgehog’s food and water bowls. Additionally, it’s a measure to prevent your pet from mistaking feces for food.
Moreover, the height of the litter box should be short enough to be accessible to your hedgehog. If it’s too high, your hedgehog might get discouraged from using it.
You can only stimulate your hedgehog’s urination and defecation, but you can’t force it to do it. Giving your hedgehog a warm bath should do the trick.
The warm bath will automatically signal the hedgehog to release all of the urine and feces out of its system. Due to unknown reasons, hedgehogs enjoy relieving themselves in warm water!
After bathing, pat your hedgehog dry and place it in its litter box. It can take a few minutes or even hours before your hedgehog defecates, so you’ll have to wait.
Properly training your hedgehog is rewarding because various benefits accompany it.
Parasites and bacteria live inside the body of a hedgehog. When it defecates, these bacteria come out in its feces.
When your hedgehog knows how to litter in a litter box properly, it reduces the chance of ingesting bacteria that causes diseases and illnesses.
Remember that salmonella is prevalent among hedgehogs. Once the bacteria enter their bodies, they carry it in their droppings.
So, it’s always a great idea to try and limit this bacteria to the confines of a litter box instead of the entire cage!
You won’t need to change the cage’s substrate whenever your hedgehog defecates since its droppings will only be in the litter box.
As a result, it saves time and resources because you only have to replace the litter once it gets dirty.
Now, can you train a hedgehog to use a litter box?
Hedgehogs aren’t intelligent pets, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t train them.
You can train your hedgehog by properly setting up your pet’s litter box and relocating their droppings. It’s a tedious process, but it’ll save you time and resources once you’ve successfully trained your pet.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and over 10 years of experience working in IT. I have a wife and two children and love taking them to the zoo to see all the animals. I grew up with dogs and fish and now have two dogs and two cats. I’ve also played guitar for almost 20 years and love writing music, although it’s hard to find the time these days.