Home /

Hedgehogs

/ Hedgehog Care: How to Care for & Keep Hedgehogs

Hedgehog Care: How to Care for & Keep Hedgehogs

Misfit Animals is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn More.

Hedgehogs are low-maintenance pets but they aren’t legal to keep everywhere in the world. To provide proper care to a hedgehog, you need a cage, a source of heat, a clean environment, to meet their dietary needs, and more.

Do you love animals? Do you love hedgehogs? And are you considering getting one as a pet?

If so, you need to know how to care for hedgehogs. 

In this artile, you will learn everything you need to know about taking care of hedgehogs, from feeding them to keeping them healthy and happy. 

You can also read about cage requirements, dietary needs, and needed supplies.

How to Care for a Hedgehog

To take care of a hedgehog, you need to provide the following: housing, heat, cleanliness, the right food, exercise, grooming, vet care, and various supplies for the cage.

Hedgehogs make great pets. They are relatively low-maintenance and are generally very calm animals. 

But, they do have their needs. Here are the things you need to know about how to take care of a hedgehog.

Related: Can You Keep a Pet Hedgehog?

ItemNeeds
HousingMinimum of two by two feet cage.
Temperature75 to 80°F (23.5 to 26.5°C)
CleanlinessClean the cage once a week.
DietHigh-protein diet.
ExerciseProvide a running wheel or let them out of the cage every day.
GroomingHedgehogs need to be brushed once a week.
Vet careTake your pet hedgehog to the vet once a year, or when needed.

Housing

Hedgehog Housing (1)
Image Source

One of the most important things to consider when caring for a hedgehog is its housing. 

Hedgehogs need a spacious cage that is at least two feet by two feet. The cage should also be tall enough for the hedgehog to stand up in. 

A good way to provide enrichment for your hedgehog is to include hiding places and climbing structures in its cage.[1]

Source of Heat

Hedgehogs need a source of heat in their cage. African Pygmy hedgehogs, which are the most common types kept as pets, are native to Africa. They don’t do well in colder temperatures. 

A good way to provide heat for your hedgehog is to use a heat lamp or a ceramic heat emitter. 

The temperature in the cage should be kept between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cleanliness

Hedgehog Cleanliness

It is important to keep the cage clean. Hedgehogs are clean animals and will not use a dirty litter box. 

The cage should be cleaned at least once a week.

Diet

African Hedgehog Diet
Image Source

Hedgehogs are carnivores and need a diet high in protein. A good diet for a hedgehog includes dry cat food, canned cat food, and live insects. 

Hedgehogs also need to have access to fresh water at all times.

Exercise

Hedgehogs need to exercise daily. 

A good way to provide exercise for your hedgehog is to let it out of its cage for a few hours each day. Hedgehogs also enjoy running on a wheel.

Grooming

Hedgehog Grooming

Hedgehogs do not need to be bathed, but they do need to be groomed. Hedgehogs should be brushed at least once a week. 

This helps remove any dirt and debris from their spines. Hedgehogs also need their nails trimmed on a regular basis.

Veterinary Care

Hedgehogs should see a veterinarian at least once a year. They are susceptible to a number of health problems, so it is important to have them checked by a vet on a regular basis. 

Common health problems hedgehogs suffer from include the following: 

  • Respiratory infections
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Mites.

By following these basic guidelines, you are sure your pet hedgehog is healthy and happy. 

Hedgehogs make great pets and are relatively easy to care for. But, it is still important to do your research before getting a hedgehog to make sure that they are the right pet for you.

Ideal Pet Hedgehog Habitat

Pet hedgehogs need a proper enclosure or cage setup. This includes the right size, type, bedding, hideouts, toys, and easy access to food and water.

Hedgehogs have specific environmental needs in order to stay healthy and happy. 

By creating an ideal cage and habitat setup for your pet hedgehog, you can provide them with the best possible chance for a long and healthy life.

Related: Hedgehog Supplies

Hedgehog Cage Size

Pygmy Hedgehog Cages
Image Source

The first thing you need to do when setting up a habitat for your pet hedgehog is to choose the right size enclosure. Hedgehogs are small animals, so they do not require a large amount of space. 

A good rule of thumb is to provide at least 2 square feet of space for every hedgehog. 

If you plan on housing more than one hedgehog together, you will need to provide additional space.

Hedgehogs are solitary animals. It is not recommended to keep multiple together in the same cage.

Type of Cage or Enclosure

The next thing you need to consider is the type of enclosure you will use. There are a variety of different types of enclosures available on the market, so it is important to choose one that is appropriate for your pet hedgehog. 

A good option for a pet hedgehog is a metal cage with bars. This enables proper ventilation. You can also use an aquarium or a smooth-sided plastic container. If you go with one of these options, remember to make holes for ventilation.

The enclosure should also have a tight-fitting lid to prevent your hedgehog from escaping.

Hedgehog Bedding

Hedgehog Cage Bedding
Image Source

Once you have chosen the right size and type of enclosure, you need to fill it with the appropriate substrate. 

The substrate is the material that you use to line the bottom of the enclosure. This is also called bedding

There are a variety of different substrates available, but the best option for a pet hedgehog is a soft, absorbent material. Good options include newspaper, paper towels, or special hedgehog bedding.

Hideouts for Hedgehogs

The next step in setting up your pet hedgehog’s habitat is to add some hiding places. 

Hedgehogs are shy animals that like to have a place to hide away when they feel scared or stressed. 

A good way to provide hiding places for your hedgehog is to use cardboard boxes or plastic tubs with holes cut into them. You can also purchase commercially-made hiding places specifically designed for hedgehogs.

Hedgehog Toys

Hedgehog Toys

After you have added the substrate and hiding places to the enclosure, you need to add some toys and accessories. 

Hedgehogs are curious animals and they love to explore their surroundings[2]. To keep your hedgehog entertained, you can add a variety of different toys and accessories to their habitat. 

Some good options include balls, tunnels, and chew toys.

Food and Water

The last step in setting up an ideal habitat for your pet hedgehog is to provide them with a source of food and water. 

Hedgehogs are omnivorous animals, so they need a diet consisting of both plant and animal matter. 

A good diet for a pet hedgehog includes the following:

  • Fresh vegetables
  • Fresh fruits
  • High-quality dry cat food
  • Hedgehog pet food

It is important to provide a clean and fresh water source for your hedgehog at all times. A water bottle with a built-in water dish is a good option.

How to Pet a Hedgehog

When choosing a hedgehog as a pet, it is important to know how to properly handle and pet them. 

Here are a few tips on how to pet a hedgehog:

  1. Always wash your hands before handling your hedgehog. Hedgehogs are very sensitive to smells and will not want to be handled if your hands smell like anything other than their usual scent.
  2. Approach your hedgehog slowly and calmly. If you come at them too fast or make sudden movements, they may get scared and try to run away.
  3. Let your hedgehog sniff your hand first before trying to pet them. This will help them get used to your scent and let them know that you are not a threat.
  4. Gently pet your hedgehog on its back. Hedgehogs are not used to being touched on their stomachs, so it is best to avoid this area.
  5. If your hedgehog seems uncomfortable or starts to squirm, stop petting them and let them go. It is important to respect their wishes and not force them to do anything they do not want.

Where Do You Get a Pet Hedgehog?

Hedgehogs are becoming increasingly popular as pets, and there are a few different ways that you can go about getting one. 

Here are some of the most common:

  • Pet shops
  • Breeders
  • Local vets
  • Adoptions
  • Surrenders

Pet Shops

Hedgehog Pet Shops

This is probably the most obvious option, and pet shops will typically have a good selection of hedgehogs to choose from. However, it’s important to do your research before buying from a pet shop, as some of them may not be reputable.

Breeders

If you’re looking for a specific type of hedgehog, then going to a breeder is probably your best bet. However, be prepared to pay a bit more than you would at a pet shop.

Local veterinarians

Some veterinarians will keep hedgehogs on hand, and this can be a good option if you’re looking for a healthy pet.

Adoptions

There are often hedgehogs up for adoption, and this can be a great way to find a pet that needs a good home.

Surrenders

Sometimes people end up with hedgehogs that they can’t take care of, and they will surrender them to a rescue or shelter. This is another option to consider if you’re looking to adopt a hedgehog.

FAQs

Can You Keep Hedgehog as a Pet?

Yes, you can keep hedgehogs as pets. However, hedgehogs are prone to health problems, so it’s important to consult with a veterinarian before bringing one home. Hedgehogs can suffer from mite infestations, respiratory infections, and gastrointestinal issues.

How Much Do Hedgehogs Cost?

Hedgehogs typically cost between $100 and $300. The exact price depends on factors like the hedgehog’s age, health, and temperament. You also have to pay for things like food, bedding, and cage accessories.

What Does a Hedgehog Look Like?

The average hedgehog is about six inches long and weighs around two pounds. Hedgehogs have short noses and small eyes. Their mouths are located at the bottom of their faces. Hedgehogs have spines that cover their backs and sides. These spines are made of keratin, which is the same material that makes up human fingernails.

Are Hedgehogs Easy to Take Care Of?

Yes, hedgehogs are relatively easy to take care of. They are small animals that don’t require a lot of space, and they are low maintenance in terms of grooming and exercise. Hedgehogs are also relatively quiet, so they won’t disturb your peace and quiet at home.

The main thing you need to do to take care of a hedgehog is to provide it with a clean and comfortable environment. This means cleaning its cage regularly, providing fresh water and food, and making sure the temperature in its cage is warm enough.

About Misfit Animals Staff

The Misfit Animals staff consists of animal lovers, pet enthusiasts, veterinarians, zoologists, and other animal experts. Our goal is to provide people with information on proper animal care.

Looking for something?

Try searching our website!