General Care Sheet:
All hedgehogs, no matter how friendly will fuss at you when woken up or disturbed. It’s important to be gentle with them. Remove their hiding place and allow them a few minutes to wake up on their own and perhaps go potty. When you are ready, you can gently scoop them up with your hand from under their belly. Hold your hedgehogs with flat palms flat open and away from your body and your hedgie will come out. The more time you spend with your new hedgehog, the more sociable they will become. However it is normal for it to take a couple of weeks for your new hedgehog to warm up to you. Keep in mind their nose is very sensitive and new smells can make them nervous.
Currently your hedgie is eating 2 tablespoons once a day of Kirkland Cat food mixed with Spike’s Delight Ultra Hedgehog food and Instinct Raw Protien. We would ask you continue to feed the food we have given you for at least 1 week and then mix any remaining food 50/50 with the new cat food you choose preferably with out Peas or Pea Protien.
It is also very important that you feed your hedgehogs worms (only purchased at a pet store). At Least 1 teaspoon or about 10 mealworms should be fed daily. Hedgehogs use the chitin found in the exoskeleton of insects as their source of fiber which aids in proper fat and protein metabolism. Hedgehogs DO NOT digest plant matter so PLEASE DO NOT FEED YOUR HEDGEHOG FRUITS OR VEGETABLES.
Quilling In Juveniles:
Just like people lose their baby teeth, hedgehogs shed their baby quills. At about 2-3 months, the hedgehog's baby quills will fall out as their adult counterparts emerge from beneath the skin. This “quilling” is completely normal, although a pet might act a little temperamental when it’s taking place. Continue to gently hold your hedgehog during this time to keep it tame. Bonding sacks are very helpful in comforting your hedgehog (just don't use them as sleep sacks, they should not be placed in the cage).
DO NOT USE OATMEAL SHAMPOO on a hedgehog as an attempt to soothe their skin. It is important to know why we put oatmeal in HUMAN washes. HUMANS have acidic skin and when our skin becomes dry and itchy, the pH lowers and becomes even more acidic. Oatmeal is slightly alkaline and when it Is applied HUMAN skin it "soothes" our dry, itchy skin by raising the pH. The hedgehog has Alkaline skin, MORE alkaline than oatmeal. Using oatmeal on your hedgehog will lower the pH of their skin resulting in dry, itchy skin.
Be careful not to take the word soothe out of context. Oatmeal does NOT soothe painful skin. If you are wanting to help your hedgehog through the pain of quilling, try a warm bath. The warm water will help soften the skin so that the adult quills will emerge through the skin.
Sometimes hedgies will start to climb the inside of the cage after you bring it home, especially if they are smaller. If your baby is a climber, simply fasten 8 inch tall panels of cardboard, acrylic sheets, or chloroplast (corrugated plastic sheets used for sign making) to the INSIDE of the cage. It is easy to fasten the panels with zip ties, cable ties or bread bag twist ties. You should be able to remove these sheets when your baby settles down from the big move.
•Cages: Allow a bare minimum of 2-3 square feet of floor space (bigger is better). Many types of cages can be used - but always avoid wire floors and be cautious about the spacing of wire sided cages - the narrower the better. Plastic commercial cages or even modified plastic storage bins can be used. Clear plastic storage bins can be modified to allow adequate ventilation. The lid can also be modified with a screen. If you choose to use a storage bin, please upgrade to a cage as soon as possible. The humidity from the heat along with the bedding dust really puts your hedgie at risk for a respiratory infection.
•Bedding: Aspen shavings or Carefresh (recycled Paper Bedding) can be used, but avoid cedar and Pine shavings. Cedar is TOXIC to Hedgies. Pine shavings are also a poor choice due to the acids in pine. Some people also use fleece liners to line the cage. Please, do NOT use fleece because when hedgies try to burrow, the small fibers mixed with feces can cut circulation off to their toes and feet. Also, fleece/fabric liners take away your hedgie’s joy of foraging.
•Litter box: A ferret sized corner litter box works perfectly. We use Nature’s Bedding or Dry Den which is used in horse stalls and can be purchased at your local feed store. Recycled paper pellets is not a good idea as the hedgehog will chew them up, spit them on their back and turn themselves into little piñatas. Please do not use cat litter!
•House/Igloo: A Super Pet Igloo (my preferred choice), or some other enclosed hiding place should be provided as a secure haven for your hedgehog.
•Heat Source: A hedgie MUST be kept at 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit. We recommend a ceramic heat emitter. Make sure to monitor the heat source with a thermometer and always heat 1/2 of the cage so the hedgie can move away if he gets too warm. Hedgehogs will hibernate when the temperature drops and is fatal. Signs that a hedgehog is too cold and on the verge of hibernation: staggered "drunk-like" walking or loss of appetite loss. If a hedgehog exhibits these symptoms, warm its surroundings gradually, and consult a veterinarian. NEVER assume a staggering hedgehog has wobbly hedgehog syndrome. It takes months to develop WHS and it is a fairly uncommon disease.
•Exercise: After your baby is 16-20 weeks old you can introduce an exercise wheel. A wheel is helpful in preventing obesity. A solid surface wheel (12 in diameter) is necessary. We like the Giant Comfort wheel by Kaytee (Super Pet). Please do not use bucket wheels unless they have traction in them. Also, flying saucer wheels that are tipped on their side is also a risk for ankle, knee and hip injury. Silent Spinner wheels are also very dangerous to hedgie feet and toes and should not be used.
Hedgehogs poop on the wheel, this is NORMAL they will choose the wheel before the litter box. If you give your hedgehog time outside of his cage, it may be ok to just place the wheel in the cage 2-3x a week to cut down on cleaning the wheel.
•Toys: Hedgehogs like to amuse themselves, so toys should be included in their enclosures. Ping pong balls and hard other hard plastic balls are good toy choices -my favorite is plastic Easter eggs. Toys that can easily be chewed up into little pieces and ingested should be avoided.
Feel free to contact us if you have questions. There is lots of information on our other website pages: