How To Care For A Hedgehog
Do you need a cute pet that will follow you the whole day? What about a hedgehog? If you are new to hedgehogs, or their potential as pets, the following points should be remembered for taking care of a hedgehog. They need well-balanced food and a proper place to remain healthy and live long. Make sure to take one to a hedgehog vet regularly as this goes a long way towards overall hedgehog pet care.
Although small in size and stature, this animal is very much agile and needs a considerable amount of space to move around. Accordingly, it is recommended to have a cage with the following features:
- Multiple blocks or levels in a cage for easy movement
- A proper place to hide and rest
- Should have several items like toys for it to play around
- A well-fitted litter box which can be made from recycled paper
- Well designated bowls for drinking water and moist foods
- Bedding should be in a portion of the cage and can be made from recycled papers
- Exercise wheel for exercise
How Big Do Hedgehogs Get?
Most of these pets easily fit into an adult’s hand. The sizes can vary by the breed, but they mostly grow between four to twelve inches.
How Long Do Hedgehogs Live?
The normal lifespan of this animal is around four to six years; however, it can live up to ten years in captivity.
By nature, these pets are very serene, quiet, and often love to live alone. They are less active during the daytime and spend most of the time sleeping, however, become active at dusk, and need sufficient space to move around.
Breeds Of Hedgehogs
There are quite a few varieties of this animal, and all of them make great pets. Some are quite commonly found, while a few are exotic. If you have an exotic pet, make sure to read our PetAssure review.
This variation from Europe is the most common type and is found widely across large areas of Europe and Scandinavia. They are known to survive at varied terrain and habitats.
African Pygmy Hedgehogs
These African pygmy hedgehogs are commonly kept as a pet. They are cute little mammals that have a long snout and are most popular among all its contemporaries.
These long-eared versions are often found in the Middle East and some of the Central Asian countries.
Hedgehog Care Sheet
Taking care of your pet is pivotal. Follow this hedgehog care sheet for the best results:
A proper habitat is very important for this type of pet. Accordingly, the cage should be sufficiently big for a hedgehog to move around, and there should be ample space for it to hide.
Separate bowls should be kept for drinking water and as well as for food.
The cage should have bedding; ideally, for a multi-level cage, there could be a provision of having a separate area for bedding.
Although this pet is typically very clean and not at all smelly, regular cleaning is important. Clear and clean the waste daily and the bowls. Toys should also be cleaned regularly with warm soapy water, and the beddings should be changed weekly.
Toys & Enrichment
These pets really enjoy toys in the cage to play around with. They can also be provided with other items like wheels, tubing, PVC pipe, ramps, ledges, and tunnels.
What Do Hedgehogs Eat?
The ideal food should be high in protein. Cat or dog food can be used and apart from this, they are fond of several fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots, beans, etc. These pets are also very keen to have insects like mealworms and crickets. You can also try with some cooked foods like chicken, eggs, or even burgers.
Common Health Issues In Hedgehogs
Common diseases in hedgehogs are as follows:
- Cancer - This is a common ailment, and often, tumorous growths are found in different parts of their bodies.
- Ear Infections - Fungal infection and wax build-up are common.
- Eyes - Hedgehogs sometimes scratch or accidentally poke their eyes against any sharp object in the cage resulting in cloudy or swollen eyes.
- Feet – These pets often injure themselves by rubbing their claws against rough, uneven surfaces of the cage causing bleeding and even tearing off their nails.
- Fleas & Ticks - They are prone to infection through ticks and fleas and result in itching and redness of the skin.
- Foaming at the Mouth - Foaming at the mouth is fairly common given these pets always try to chew something till it starts foaming around their mouth.
- Hibernation - Hibernation can be fatal and should not be allowed in captivity.
- Nose - Scratching is another common reason for your pet having a bloody and scratchy nose.
- Obstructions – These animals have a habit of swallowing anything, even if it is not a food and which often gets stuck in their intestine resulting in vomiting and other symptoms and which can be fatal as well.
- Respiratory Infection – Prolonged exposure to cold environments often leads to respiratory distress.
- Skin - Skin problems are quite common, and sometimes these are caused due to miles resulting in itching and red skin and hair/quill loss.
- Teeth & Gums - Teeth and gum problems are also common mostly due to their tendency to eat dry crunchy foods which results in swollen gums and bad breath.
For more, explore the common health issues in hedgehogs.
This hedgehog care guide should help you to manage your pet perfectly. Still, for added protection and assurance, an exotic pet health insurance can also be of great assistance in times of stress.