Hector's Hedgehog Rescue

Located in Alberta

Basic Hedgehog Care

Water

Fresh water daily - in a water dish, not a bottle.  The dish should be low enough and the water level high enough that your hog can easily chug down.

Food

High quality, low fat cat food is suitable for most hedgehogs.  Look for whole ingredients (not by-products or "meal") and check for chicken, turkey or salmon in the first few ingredients.  This kibble should be provided fresh daily (check expiry dates as well) but should also be supplemented with a small (tablespoon serving) of unseasoned chicken or salmon and a fruit or vegetable.  Fresh and ripe bananas, papayas and melons, as well as steamed unseasoned carrots, brocolli, green beans, sweet potatoes, yams and pumpkin also help foster good nutrition.  Not all hedgehogs will take to anything other than kibble but many will appreciate mealworms (available from your local pet store).  Though higher in fat, and requiring some moderation, most hogs will definitely appreciate these as treats.  Be sure to get mealworms (not superworms which can injure your hog and not kingworms which have been given growth-hormones).

Cage

There are lots of ideas of different cages that are suitable.  Main attributes:

  • 6 square feet of space (most animals with more space live longer, hedgies are no exception, besides the wheel alone takes up a lot of real estate)
  • Solid floor, lined with either kiln dried aspen shavings or a corduroy or flannel liner (my preferred choice as it is environmentally friendly, cheap and limits the mess).  Absolutely NO cedar or cob bedding.
  • Escape proof (lid, bars that aren't too far apart, etc).  These little guys are expert escape artists and have been known to climb on occasion!
  • Somewhere safe and warm to hide - igloo, hut, hedgie sleeping bag (smal bag made out of flannel or corduroy with no exposed threads, these guys love to dig), shoe box

Exercise

A definite hedgehog must!   Some hedgies like to run on the floor in a safely secured area under supervision.  Most will love an exercise wheel.  An appropriate exercise wheel will have a solid bottom and be at least 10" in diameter.  It should be stable against falling over (preferably secured to the cage) and easy enough to get onto. Bucket wheels and calk walk wheels are ideal choices.

Heat and Lighting Requirements

Domestic Hedgehogs (African Algerian) must have a constant temperature of 72F - 76F.  Anything colder could cause illness and/or hibernation (hibernation in this type of hedgehog can lead to death and must be avoided).  As a general rule, hedgehogs need at least 9 - 10 hours of light per day (this is when they sleep).

General Health

Buy a small scale (for measuring grams such as those used in a kitchen to weigh food portions) from any department store.  Keep track of your hedgie's weight, a significant change can be a good indicator of illness. 


Regular nail trims and the occasional bath (wading depth to clean feet) are likely also required.


Find an exotic vet and keep their information, hours of operation etc. handy.  A wellness check is a good start and helps your vet become familiar with your hedgehog before illness strikes.

Love

Every hedgehog is different. Some want lots of attention, some will tolerate you, others will not.  Some may be biters, some may be lickers.  Some like to cuddle, others don't want to be touched but love to explore instead.    Be content to let them be themselves.  In many cases, daily handling will help and a warm, calm, still lap and blanket may, in most cases, be appreciated.