Hedgehogs have become pretty popular as pets over the last several decades. These prickly little creatures are very cute overall, and they make interesting companions.
If you’re thinking of getting a hedgehog to keep as a pet sometime soon, then you might be curious about what they need. What do hedgehogs need to have in their cages so that they can thrive?
Keep reading to learn more about the things that most experts recommend that you put in a hedgehog’s cage. This should allow you to get prepared to take care of your new hedgehog friend to the best of your ability.
You’ll learn about the essentials as well as things that you need to keep your hedgehog happy. If you follow this advice, then you’re going to have a much better time keeping a hedgehog as a pet.
These are interesting animals that you’re going to love having as a part of your family.
1 – Bedding
Of course, your hedgehog is going to need some type of bedding that it can lay down on. There are actually many different types of bedding that you could consider.
Some pet owners like to keep things cost-effective by using recycled newspaper or torn up white paper. Others will use something a little fancier such as aspen shavings.
You can go with just about any type of bedding that is meant to be used by small animals. Just avoid using any type of bedding that has cedar in it.
You see, cedar is well-known to cause respiratory issues in hedgehogs. This means that using bedding with cedar could potentially be very harmful to your hedgehog friend, and it could even cause them to die.
When you’re at the pet store, you’ll be able to buy various types of small animal bedding. Just ensure that none of the options contain cedar before you make any purchases. It should be possible to ask the clerk to point you in the right direction.
If you want something that will be comfortable for your hedgehog, then try to use aspen shavings. This is a high-quality type of small animal bedding that is soft and doesn’t give animals slivers. You can easily buy it from reputable pet stores at an affordable price as well.
2 – Food and Water Dishes
Another essential thing to remember is that your hedgehog is going to need a dish for food and a dish for water. You want to make sure that the dish that you’re using is easy enough for your hedgehog to use.
If you make sure that the dishes are low enough, then the hedgehog won’t have to struggle to get to the food and water. There are lots of little bowls that are designed to be perfect for small animals such as hedgehogs.
When it comes to the water bowl, you should likely use something that is similar to whatever food dish you chose. However, you do have the option of going with a water bottle instead. Lots of people like the water bottle method because it holds more water and you don’t have to mess with it quite so often.
The hedgehog can easily use a water bottle that is attached to the side of the cage just like any other small pet. Just go with whatever you think will be easier for you unless your hedgehog already seems to have a personal preference.
Some hedgehogs do like bowls a little bit better, but you can always observe your hedgehog and make changes if something isn’t working out right.
If you notice that they are not drinking water, here are some things to look for.
3 – A Wheel
You’ve probably seen tiny wheels that people keep in hamster cages, but you might not have known that they’re essentials for hedgehogs as well. Hedgehogs really like to run, and this means that they need an outlet for all of that energy.
If your hedgehog has a wheel in its cage, then it’ll be able to get lots of exercise. You don’t want to forget to give your hedgehog a wheel because it really wouldn’t be as happy without one.
It’s also going to be good to take the time to pick out a wheel that will work well for your hedgehog. Experts advise using a plastic wheel that has a flat bottom design for hedgehog cages. You’ll be able to find lots of these at your local pet store since they’re so commonly used for hedgehogs and hamsters.
You can also opt for a starter package like this one on amazon that includes a wheel, hideout, treats, and multi-vitamins.
The plastic wheels are supposed to work better than the wire wheels that are also sold on the market. Sometimes hedgehogs will get their feet stuck in the wire ones, and you don’t want your pet to get injured while it’s running and playing.
This is something that will see a lot of use, and it makes sense to want your hedgehog to be able to run safely on the wheel.
At this point you may be wondering if a hamster ball would be a good idea for your hedgehog to use outside of its cage. While some hedgehogs do enjoy a stroll in the hamster ball, it’s not always a good idea.
4 – A Shelter That Provides Cover
Your hedgehog is also very much going to appreciate a little “home” inside of its cage. These little pets like to feel secure, and they will enjoy being able to hide inside of a covered shelter of some sort.
You can easily make one for your hedgehog if you have minor woodworking skills, but you can also just buy hedgehog shelters at the pet store. These have tiny circular openings that hedgehogs can fit into very easily.
One of the reasons why this is so important for hedgehogs is that they like to escape if things get a bit loud in your home. This gives them somewhere to hide that helps them to feel safe.
There are a lot of cute hide options out there too! Can you imagine your hedgehog hiding away in this teddy bear nest?
If you don’t have a little place like this for them, then hedgehogs won’t be quite as happy in their cages. These are essential items that need to be placed in hedgehog cages.
5 – Ensure That Hedgehogs Can Stay Warm in Their Cages
Warmth is necessary for hedgehogs to be able to survive without health issues. Some small animals go into hibernation during the cold months of the year, but this is not the case for hedgehogs.
The best thing that you can do for your hedgehog is to ensure that its cage is nice and warm for them. Some people need to add additional bedding or blankets to the sleeping area to keep their hedgehogs comfortable and warm.
They sell things known as sleeping sacks at pet stores that can be used for hedgehogs. It’s a warm little environment that hedgehogs can sleep in at night.
No matter what option you go with, it’s important to keep your hedgehog comfortable. If you have your hedgehog cage in your bedroom, then keeping the temperature in your room at a reasonable level that will be comfortable for your little hedgehog friend should also be just fine.
If your bedroom regularly dips below 72 degrees Fahrenheit, then that could be problematic. In this case, you’re going to want to have a little space heater or something nearby. This could help you to keep the temperature by your hedgehog warm enough so that they don’t encounter issues.
Hedgehogs really like the temperature to be between 74 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. That can be a little too warm for some people, which is why 72 degrees Fahrenheit is a good compromise. See what you can do to keep your hedgehog comfortable and safe.
6 – Various Toys
Toys can also be a lot of fun for your hedgehog to play with, and you’re going to want to ensure that your hedgehog has plenty to do. You might not know this, but hedgehogs are incredibly playful animals that like to use toys all the time.
In fact, hedgehogs are creative enough that they will turn normal household objects into toys. You could put toilet paper rolls in the cage and your hedgehog will roll it around to have fun.
If you’re short on cash, then you can use household objects in lieu of normal toys. However, it should be noted that you can buy lots of cool hedgehog toys at your local pet store.
There are plenty of options to consider when purchasing toys for your hedgehogs. They like to play with small balls, logs, climbing structures, and tubes. Just take some time to peruse the various options that are available at the pet store to see what catches your eye.
Hedgehog Cage Size Tips
Your hedgehog is going to need to have a cage that is the right size if you want it to thrive. Most hedgehogs are going to want a cage that has a minimum of 2.5 square feet to explore. You’re probably best off buying a cage that has 3 square feet of space, though.
The easiest thing to do will likely be to purchase a little wire cage from your local pet shop. They should have quite a few options that fall within the proper size range. If you’re a handy individual, then you could always try to build your own hedgehog cage, too.
Either way, it’s just important to focus on giving your hedgehog enough space to move around. You need to be able to fit all of the hedgehog toys as well, and it makes sense to want a little extra space, assuming that you have the room for it.
If you take the time to get a good hedgehog cage, then you’re going to have a better experience overall.
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.