hedgehog care in boston, ma

6 Things to Know About Hedgehog Care

Are you thinking about getting a hedgehog? Do you want to find out more about how to care for your hedgehog? Are you trying to determine whether you’re able to provide adequate care for this type of exotic pet? If any of this sounds like, then you’ve come to the right place!

In the article below, you’ll find a quick list of information you need to know before bringing home a hedgehog for the first time. With the help of this guide, you should have a better idea of what to expect from your hedgehog pet, as well as how to prepare for this type of unique animal in your household.

1. Keep the Temperature Up

Your hedgehog needs to be kept at a temperature of 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit to stay healthy. Keeping them too cold may increase the risk of respiratory infection, while keeping them too hot may increase the risk of heatstroke. The ideal temperature is typically room temperature for most homes during the summer months, but you might need to consider a space heater for your hedgehog’s room during the winter months.

Make sure you don’t overheat your hedgehog by keeping them too close to the heat source. You do not need to use a heat mat directly on the hedgehog’s cage, and in fact, this is very dangerous and should be avoided.

2. Provide Insects

Hedgehogs are insectivores, which means you will need to be prepared to feed your hedgehog live insects every day. They prefer crickets, but it is also possible to feed your hedgehog mealworms and waxworms, among others. Some hedgehogs will eat dead and dried crickets, but this is not very commonly seen in captive-bred hedgehogs.

If you are uncomfortable handling insects or having live insects in your home, then a hedgehog is not the right pet for you. These pets need to be fed insects and do not have any other alternatives when it comes to proper feeding, nutrition, and care.

3. Set Aside Enough Space

Hedgehogs need a cage of at least two feet by three feet, but more space is always better. Although your hedgehog may be able to climb, they cannot climb as well as a hamster, and so they do not necessarily need a lid on the cage. They will need need high enough walls to deter them from climbing out, however.

Hedgehogs need more horizontal space than vertical space. They can go up ramps, but make sure the platforms and ramps are not more than a couple of inches off the base of the cage, so the hedgehog does not fall and hurt themselves.

4. Prepare to Trim Nails

Hedgehog toenails need to be trimmed regularly to provide adequate health care for your pet. You will need to learn how to trim your hedgehog’s nails, or plan to take them to an exotic vet or groomer to have them trimmed about once per month instead.

Trimming your hedgehog’s nails isn’t too complicated, but it may take some practice. You may also want to wear gloves the first few times you try, as your hedgehog may become frightened and curl into a ball, which can potentially poke you and break your skin in some instances.

5. Do Not House Together

Although you may be tempted to have multiple hedgehogs at once, it is important to remember that these creatures cannot be safely housed together. Male hedgehogs will fight to the death, but even females may bully each other badly enough to cause injuries.

If you plan to adopt more than one hedgehog, make sure you have enough room for each one to have its own cage. You will want to use a lid on cages if you have multiple hedgehogs, or you may risk them trying to escape and fight with—or mate with—each other.

6. Avoid Wire and Mesh

Hedgehogs may risk hurting their feet if they are allowed to walk on wire or mesh floors or wheels. Avoid this type of cage as well as any wheel or other toy with a wire or mesh bottom.

Instead, opt for a cage with a solid floor or pan so that your hedgehog does not risk getting their foot caught in the wire. Use a solid wheel or—ideally—a saucer-style wheel instead.

Call Boston Veterinary Clinic for Your Hedgehog’s Care

With the help of the information outlined above, you should have a better idea of what to expect when you bring home a hedgehog for the first time. Keep in mind, however, that every hedgehog is different, and it’s important to consider your individual pet’s needs when setting up the proper space for your unique new friend. Hedgehogs are not for everyone, so it’s a good idea to consider all aspects of hedgehog care before deciding to adopt this type of pet.

Once you adopt a hedgehog be sure to book an appointment online at Boston Veterinary Clinic to ensure your pet stays healthy and happy!

Looking to learn more about exotic pets? Listen to this podcast from Dr. Brian Bourquin and Dr. Jessica Clay at Boston Veterinary Clinic.