Hedgehogs are fun little animals that many people enjoy keeping as pets. You might be thinking about getting a hedgehog as a pet sometime soon but it’s certainly good to know more about them before you do.
If you know a bit about wild hedgehogs, then you might know that they like to dig. You will often see wild hedgehogs digging dens in the ground for the sake of protection.
It wouldn’t be unusual to see a hedgehog digging in a garden area either. Does this mean that a pet hedgehog is going to want to dig things up as well?
Keep reading to learn more about hedgehogs and whether you need to take their digging instincts into account. Knowing more might help you to have a smoother experience as a pet owner. This should allow you to get the most out of the experience of owning a hedgehog as a pet.
A Pet Hedgehog Won’t Necessarily Be Able to Dig
The first thing to know is that digging isn’t something that is going to become a problem when you’re keeping a pet hedgehog. For the most part, pet hedgehogs aren’t really going to have the opportunity to dig things up. You’re going to be keeping your hedgehog in a cage so that it can live its life under your care.
Since your hedgehog won’t have an opportunity to dig, this isn’t going to be something that you have to worry about for the most part. However, it is something that could be beneficial to your hedgehog if you want it to be.
For example, it’s possible to create a little digging area in your hedgehog’s cage so that it can play.
Digging as a Form of Exercise
Digging could wind up becoming a form of exercise for your hedgehog if you choose to take the right steps. Hedgehogs that are living as pets need to be able to exercise so that they can avoid becoming overweight.
If you don’t have the right stuff in their cages, then these little creatures can easily pack on the pounds due to inactivity.
Hedgehogs are among the most playful small animals that you will find people keeping as pets. It isn’t unusual at all to see hedgehogs playing around with various things that you put in their cages. This is why creating a little digging area can be so beneficial to your hedgehog in the long run.
Your hedgehog already has a natural instinct to want to dig into the ground. If you provide the hedgehog with some dirt that it can dig into, then it’s very likely going to utilize that and play quite often. You don’t have to use dirt to satisfy your hedgehog’s digging instinct, though.
Many people have created little digging areas for hedgehogs by using small sleeping bags for pets. You can place this in the cage and put little strips of fleece inside. Your hedgehog will happily dig through it so that it can play.
You could also find a large plastic container and fill it with things that your hedgehog can dig through. The strips of fleece really do work out quite well for this because they don’t really make a mess. You can easily place the fleece strips back where they’re supposed to be in the morning.
One reason to avoid using dirt is that the process of digging can get quite messy. Your hedgehog is very likely to sling the dirt around everywhere while it is trying to dig. This could wind up getting your room dirty, assuming that you’re using a standard wire cage as most small animal owners do.
Your hedgehog does have a digging instinct so when you’re handling it, you’ll want to take certain precautions. Long hair could trigger the digging instinct and your hedgehog might try to dig through your hair. Keeping your hair up and out of reach is likely the best idea.
It’s also best to never let your hedgehog dig around outside. You never know what could be out there that could cause your hedgehog harm. It also might be too easy to lose track of your hedgehog even if you think that you have created a proper barrier.
Other Types of Exercise to Consider
Your hedgehog can get other types of exercise if you don’t really like the digging idea. It’s good to consider doing the digging area since your hedgehog has a natural instinct to dig, though. Regardless, you can keep reading to get some other hedgehog exercise tips.
A running wheel is going to be very good for getting your hedgehog lots of exercise. You should buy a plastic wheel that will be safe for your hedgehog to use if you decide to do this. The wire wheels might wind up making it too easy for your hedgehog to get its feet caught up while running.
It’s also possible to place balls and other things that your hedgehog can roll around in the cage. This will be something that your hedgehog will play with quite often if you decide to do it. These little creatures are super playful and you’ll get a kick out of seeing your hedgehog have a good time with its toys.
Hedgehogs can also have a good time when you put areas for them to climb on in their cages. Little climbing towers with slopes and things such as that can be very good for your hedgehog. These are curious little animals who will get interested in the various things that you place in their cages.
If you don’t have a ton of cash to spend on toys, then you can even make your own using household items. For example, old toilet paper rolls can be placed in hedgehog cages because they’re easy for hedgehogs to roll around like balls. You don’t need an abundance of money to be able to help your hedgehog have fun inside its cage.
When you take the time to give your hedgehog plenty of options when it comes to play items, it’ll help the hedgehog to stay in shape. You won’t have to worry nearly as much about your hedgehog getting overweight due to being domesticated.
If you combine the toy ideas above with the digging area, then you’ll be doing very well as a new hedgehog owner.
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.