For aspiring hedgehog owners, one of the most simple, yet highly important tasks that they need to do is choosing a cage for their pet. A hedgehog’s house, as well as his living condition, will greatly affect his health, as well as the number of years that he can live.
Hedgehogs that live in the wild tend to traverse 4 to 7 miles of land per night. This means that you need to provide them the largest cage that you can possibly acquire. A pet that has a lot of space to explore will be happier and healthier because they can get the adequate amount of exercise and play that they need.
There are a lot of cages that you can select on the market. However, you have to be wary of choosing the right one because not all of them can effectively keep your pet safe. Here is a list of guidelines that you should follow when choosing a hedgehog cage.
Ideal Cage Size
The minimum cage size should be 12 by 12 inches or 2 square feet. However, you may have to purchase a larger cage once your pet grows in size, or if you decided to purchase another hedgehog. Make sure that it is large enough for the animal to explore and move around. In addition, the cage should also accommodate various amenities such as a litter box, exercise wheel, nesting area, and feeding box.
For safety purposes, always choose solid floors. You can choose between wood boards, plastic tiles, or Vellux blankets. Hedgehogs have very little feet that are extremely soft and sensitive. Make sure that the floor boards are not loose and cracked. If they stuck in a small hole, their feet might get extremely injured.
Hedgehogs have an extremely keen sense of smell. It is important to select a cage that has a well-designed ventilation system so that your pet will not be forced to constantly smell his urine and feces. Plastic cages with a wire top are expensive, yet excellent hedgehog homes. The wire frames prevent the scent of the urine and feces from being confined inside the cage.
If you prefer plastic tubs over wire cages, you can fix its ventilation system by poking additional holes in the container’s top. If you wanted to place your pet inside a Vivarium, make sure that you add extra gaps in the container because its Plexiglass window prevents any air from escaping the cage.
Plastic cages with a wire top are one of the most common hedgehog houses that you can see on the market. If you are planning to purchase this container, make sure that its wire spacing is 1 inch or less. Keep in mind that these are very small creatures. If the cages’ wire frames have a large gap between them, your pet might escape. Or worse, its head might get stuck in one of those spaces.
Ideal Placement and Temperature Levels
Hedgehog cages should always be placed in a warm and relaxed environment. Make sure that their living quarters are free from any drafts and they are not exposed directly to sunlight.
These pets prefer to live in warmer temperatures that are somewhere between 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep this temperature constant, and never let it drop below 65 degrees Fahrenheit. A colder room temperature will force your pet to undergo a false hibernation phase. False hibernation is a process wherein an animal undergoes a state of deep sleep without acquiring the sufficient fat supplies and nutrients first. Once they enter this state, it will be very hard to wake them up. Most hedgehogs die during this false hibernation phase because of lack of nutrition.
In addition, a colder temperature can also provide stress to your pet. They become less active, and their eating habits slow down at an alarming rate. Malnutrition and lack of exercise can cause serious health risks to your hedgehogs, so make sure that their living environment follows the recommended temperature levels.
Things to Avoid
There are numerous variants of hedgehog cages. However, not all of them are effective at keeping your pet safe, healthy, and happy. These guidelines will provide you some of the pitfalls that you should avoid when choosing a new container for your little pet.
Good for other pets such as ferrets, multi-level cages are dangerous to hedgehogs.
Some pet owners prefer a multi-level cage because it saves up on space. However, these pet containers pose serious risks to your hedgehogs.
Hedgehogs have the ability to climb. Unfortunately, they are not adept at descending to lower ground. Their short toes prevent them from grasping or holding onto objects. Once they drop, they do not have any means to prevent the impact of their fall.
On the other hand, their legs are utterly small compared to their large and round body. This makes it difficult for them to resist the gravitational forces of the earth. In addition, shorter legs also mean that their body will absorb most of the fall’s impact, causing more damage to their bones and internal organs. If you really wanted to keep a hedgehog, the most ideal cage for him is a container that has vast floor space filled with accessories and toys.
But if you really want to hone their climbing skills, you can buy little climbing toys that have ridges where they can place their feet. These accessories are only a few inches off the ground, so you can ensure that the animals are still safe even when they fall down.
Wire floors are a big no-no when it comes to hedgehog cages. Their tiny feet might get stuck in these wires. If they force themselves to escape, their feet will be greatly injured.
Usually, most pet owners tend to use an aquarium with a 30 gallon water capacity to keep their pet hedgehog. Although it provides adequate space for exercise and play, it is still not an ideal home for your pet.
These containers are only suitable for fishes and small reptiles. Its thick, glass frame cannot ventilate the air properly and will definitely trap the scent of your pet’s waste. The aquarium’s wide mouth will make it easier for your hedgehog to escape. If you try to cover its top with a wire mesh, very little air can enter or escape the cage, making it a dangerous living environment for your pet.
Aquariums are also more expensive compared to the traditional hedgehog cages. The larger the aquarium, the more money you have to spend. They are also heavier and more difficult to transport.
Cleaning them can also be a very daunting task. If you are not careful enough, its glass frame might break apart. If you have other pets and little children who are very active, avoid using a large aquarium so that they will not encounter any accidents.
Beddings that are infused with chemicals
Hedgehogs are very inquisitive little creatures. Oftentimes, they tend to munch on their new beddings in order to satisfy their curious minds. Bedding materials such as pine wood shavings or fleece are safe for them to munch on, as long as they do it in small amounts only. When you buy new beddings, check its composition and make sure that they are not infused with any chemicals that might harm your pet.
I hope that you had a fun time in perusing this article. The next step is to train your hedgehog. These animals are actually very smart and can be potty trained. With the right motivation, they can easily learn any trick that you teach them.