Domestic hedgehogs (also called African Pygmy Hedgehogs) are insectivores and in the wild they spend much of their time either eating or hunting for food. When kept in a home, they are curious animals who love to explore their environments.

 

Housing

Hedgehogs do well in large aquariums or wire tanks with solid bottoms (wire bottom cages can allow their legs to slip through and cause injury.) Hedgehogs need lots of space to explore and exercise. You can also provide them with an exercise wheel to ensure that they don’t develop obesity. 

Your hedgehog’s house should be kept between 72 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use an under tank heater, or a ceramic heat emitter to maintain this temperature. 

 

Inside the tank

You will want to clean their wheel daily, and their tank weekly to ensure that odors are kept to a minimum and your hedgehog stays happy and healthy. 

You should use a nontoxic, absorbent and dust free bedding. Cedar or pine shavings can cause respiratory issues for hedgehogs, but shredded paper and paper beddings are soft, absorbent, and easy to clean. 

Your hedgehog will need a shelter in their enclosure in which to hide and sleep. Make sure your hide is easy to clean, and allows fresh air inside such as the Kaytee Igloo.  Items such as paper towel rolls, and hard plastic balls are also great toys for hedgehogs to play with. 

 

Food

In the wild, hedgehogs are insectivores, but they’re also opportunistic eaters and will consume not only insects, but also worms, snails, small animals and plants. There are commercial diets available that are formulated just for hedgehogs  but you can also use high quality cat food, and supplement with crickets, mealworms and earthworms. 

 

Handling

Hedgehog quills are sharp. They give them protection in the wild and you will notice that when your hedgehog becomes frightened it will curl up into a sharp little ball. When trying to hold your pet, you should approach it calmly and quietly. Lift your hedgehog from underneath, where they are soft and furry. Hold them in both hands and be sure to handle them every day for at least a few minutes to ensure that they stay friendly and social, and you’ll have a spiky little buddy who doesn’t mind playing with you!