Pet cages with a floor area measuring 5 cubic feet (3.75 ft2 of floor space) or more are suitable for pet hedgehogs. Cages with wired floors are dangerous for hedgehogs because they can easily slip and get a limb caught in the wire. Multi-level ferret or rabbit cages can allow a hedgehog more room to explore without taking up extra floor space, but when using multiple levels, keep in mind that a hedgehog has poor eyesight, can climb easily, but has difficulty descending and often does not seem to understand heights, so it is highly recommended that ramps and levels be completely enclosed to prevent a fall. We recommend the Hedgehog Home, which is also available with a starter package for hedgehogs. See all hedgehog cages.
Some people use large glass aquariums but these can be heavy and awkward to clean and offer little ventilation. Very large sterilite storage bins are a common DIY cage and are inexpensive, easy to clean, and versatile, but they must be of a considerable size and must be ventilated properly.
Another popular do it yourself cage is a "C & C" cage made out of cubes and coroplast, also called corrugated plastic. C & C cages can be made larger than store-bought cages and can be built one on top of the other to house multiple hedgehogs vertically without the need for shelving.
An exercise wheel is necessary to provide hedgehogs with physical activity. Some hedgehogs refuse to run in a wheel, so other forms of exercise must be substituted. When choosing a wheel, it must have a solid floor. If an open-wire wheel is used, the hedgehog will continually fall between the bars and possibly break a leg. Wheels with crossbars can also cause facial injuries as hedgehogs have been known to look sideways out of the wheel while running. For this reason "bucket" type wheels are preferred by many hedgehog owners, and they are available from many breeders. DIY articles are also readily available for those wishing to attempt making one themselves. We suggest either the Silent Runner 12" WIDE or the Treadmill Wheel 11" wheel.
Polar fleece blanket material is preferred for bedding by many because it does not fray and is easy to clean up. This is a plushy velour-like material often used for hotel blankets. Strings from frayed edges on blankets have been known to wrap around hedgehog's legs, causing amputation, so any frayable fabric that is to be near the hedgehog must be checked thoroughly to avoid problems. Fleece blankets can also be used, but the edges should be sewn so that there are no stray threads in which a hedgehog could catch itself. Recycled newspaper beddings are also popular. Cedar and pine bedding have wood oils that are dangerous to hedgehogs and can cause lung issues and even sores. However aspen shavings contain no such oils and are safe for use in hedgehog enclosures. Some beddings can be dangerous due to dust content or propensity to clump up on the hedgehog, others may even get stuck in the hedgehog's genitals. Careful research is necessary before using any unusual bedding materials.
The enclosure should be kept above 70 degrees F or the hedgehog will attempt to hibernate.
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Please Note: Exotic Nutrition is not in a position to provide specific health and care guidelines on an individual basis. Please visit our animal info tabs or consider purchasing a care guide book for additional information. If you have a health or pet emergency issue, please notify your veterinarian or a specialized technician.