Hedgehogs and Hydration: Water Bottles vs. Bowls – Which Wins


Hedgehogs are adorable small mammals popularly kept as pets due to their cute appearance and low maintenance. These small creatures are known for their spiny backs and nocturnal habits, but did you know that proper hydration is crucial for their health and well-being?

In this article, we will explore the different methods of providing water to hedgehogs and which one is the better option for keeping them hydrated.

Hedgehogs mainly obtain water through their food, but access to a clean and fresh water source is essential for their overall hydration. The two common methods of providing water to hedgehogs are through water bottles and bowls. While both have their advantages and disadvantages, it is essential to understand which one is better for your hedgehog’s health.

Water bottles are a popular choice among hedgehog owners as they are less messy and reduce the risk of contamination. However, they can be difficult for hedgehogs to use, especially if they are not trained to do so. On the other hand, water bowls are easier for hedgehogs to access, but they can become contaminated easily and may need to be refilled more frequently.

Signs of dehydration in hedgehogs include dry skin, loss of skin elasticity, and reduced appetite. To encourage hydration in your hedgehog, here are some best practices to follow:

  1. Provide fresh water daily.
  2. Offer a variety of water sources, such as bowls and bottles.
  3. Add water to their food.
  4. Monitor their water intake.

To ensure proper hydration for your hedgehog, it is important to regularly clean and refill their water sources, keep them away from food and litter, and consult with a veterinarian if dehydration is suspected. Ultimately, a combination of both water bottles and bowls may be the best option for keeping hedgehogs hydrated and healthy.

Key Takeaways:


  • Hedgehogs are small, spiky mammals that make great pets for those looking for a unique and low-maintenance companion.
  • Hedgehogs need access to water at all times to stay hydrated and healthy.
  • Both water bottles and bowls have their own pros and cons when it comes to providing hydration for hedgehogs.


What Are Hedgehogs?

Hedgehogs are small, spiky mammals known for their distinctive appearance and behavior. These creatures have a round body covered in sharp spines, which they use as a defense mechanism. Found in various parts of the world, hedgehogs are primarily insectivores but also consume small animals and plants.

Due to their unique appearance and low maintenance, hedgehogs are popular pets. To keep them hydrated and healthy, it is essential to provide them with fresh water daily. When deciding between water bottles and bowls, it is important to consider the hedgehog’s preferences and behavior to ensure they remain well-hydrated.

How Do Hedgehogs Stay Hydrated?

Hedgehogs maintain their hydration by drinking water from bowls or water bottles. Here are some important steps to ensure that your hedgehog stays hydrated:

  1. Make sure to provide fresh water daily in a shallow bowl, as hedgehogs prefer drinking from bowls.
  2. Choose a heavy bowl to prevent tipping and place it in a stable location.
  3. Regularly clean the bowl to prevent the growth of bacteria.
  4. If using a water bottle, securely attach it to the cage and position it at a suitable height for the hedgehog to reach.
  5. Monitor the hedgehog’s water intake to ensure they are drinking enough.

Water Bottles vs. Bowls: Which Is Better for Hedgehogs?

When it comes to providing water for hedgehogs, there are pros and cons to both water bottles and bowls. Consider the following factors to determine which option is best for your hedgehog:

  • Convenience: Water bottles are easier to clean and refill, while bowls require regular cleaning.
  • Hydration: Bowls allow hedgehogs to fully submerge and hydrate, promoting their natural drinking behavior.
  • Safety: Water bottles reduce the risk of contamination and spills, ensuring a clean and dry living environment for hedgehogs.
  • Preference: Some hedgehogs may have a preference for one method over the other. Observe your hedgehog’s behavior to determine their preferred method of drinking.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Using a Water Bottle?

Using a water bottle for hedgehogs has its advantages and disadvantages to consider.


  1. Prevents contamination of water from bedding or droppings.
  2. Reduces the risk of spills or tipping over.
  3. Provides a continuous supply of fresh water for hedgehogs.


  1. Some hedgehogs may struggle with using the sipper tube on the water bottle.
  2. It can be difficult to accurately monitor water intake.
  3. Regular cleaning of the water bottle is necessary to prevent bacterial growth.

Overall, using a water bottle can be a convenient and hygienic option for hedgehog hydration, but it may require careful observation and maintenance.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Using a Water Bowl?

Using a water bowl for hedgehogs has its advantages and disadvantages.


  1. Accessibility: Hedgehogs can easily access water from a bowl, especially if it is shallow and wide.
  2. Natural behavior: Drinking from a bowl mimics a hedgehog’s natural behavior of lapping water.
  3. Hydration monitoring: With a bowl, it is easier to monitor a hedgehog’s water intake and detect any changes.


  1. Contamination risk: Bowls can become dirty easily, increasing the risk of bacterial growth and water contamination.
  2. Spillage: Hedgehogs may accidentally tip over or soil the water bowl, leading to water wastage or a mess in their enclosure.

When considering the pros and cons of using a water bowl for hedgehogs, it is important to weigh the advantages of accessibility and natural behavior against the risks of contamination and spillage.

What Are the Signs of Dehydration in Hedgehogs?

Hedgehogs are susceptible to dehydration and it is important to be aware of the signs. Some common indicators include dry skin, sunken eyes, loss of appetite, lethargy, and dark urine. If you observe these symptoms, it is crucial to take immediate action by providing fresh water and contacting a veterinarian.

It is important for hedgehogs to always have access to clean water, whether through a water bottle or a shallow bowl. Be sure to regularly monitor their water intake to ensure they stay hydrated.

Fun fact: Hedgehogs are native to Africa, Europe, and Asia and have the ability to thrive in a variety of environments.

How to Encourage Hydration in Hedgehogs?

Adequate hydration is crucial for the health and well-being of hedgehogs. As their owners, it is our responsibility to ensure that they have access to clean and plentiful water. In this section, we will discuss practical tips on how to encourage hydration in hedgehogs. From providing fresh water daily to adding water to their food, we’ll cover a range of methods to keep your hedgehog hydrated and healthy. So, let’s dive in and learn how to best quench your hedgehog’s thirst.

1. Provide Fresh Water Daily

To ensure proper hydration for hedgehogs, it is important to provide fresh water daily. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Check the water bowl or bottle daily and replace with fresh water.
  2. Ensure the water source is clean and free from any debris.
  3. Use filtered or purified water to avoid any harmful chemicals.
  4. Place the water bowl or bottle in a location easily accessible to the hedgehog.
  5. Monitor the hedgehog’s water intake and refill as needed.

2. Offer a Variety of Water Sources

To ensure that hedgehogs stay hydrated, it’s important to provide a variety of water sources. This can be achieved by following these steps:

  1. Offer fresh water daily in a clean water bowl.
  2. Place a water bottle in the cage as an additional option for drinking.
  3. Increase their moisture intake by adding water to their food.
  4. Monitor their water intake to ensure they are drinking enough.

Pro-tip: Hedgehogs may have preferences for different water sources, so offering a variety can help encourage hydration.

3. Add Water to Their Food

To ensure hedgehogs stay hydrated, adding water to their food can be beneficial. Here are some steps to incorporate this into their diet:

  1. Soak dry food: Add a small amount of water to dry hedgehog food and let it soak until it becomes soft and moist.
  2. Mix with wet food: Mix the softened dry food with wet food, like canned cat food, which naturally contains water.
  3. Add water to treats: Sprinkle a few drops of water on treats, such as mealworms or fruits, to increase their moisture content.
  4. Provide moist foods: Offer water-rich foods like cucumber, melon, or cooked vegetables to supplement their hydration.

By incorporating water into their food, hedgehogs can stay properly hydrated and maintain their well-being.

4. Monitor Their Water Intake

Monitoring a hedgehog’s water intake is crucial for ensuring their hydration. Here are some steps to effectively monitor their water intake:

  1. Observe water levels: Keep an eye on the water level in their water bottle or bowl to see how much they are drinking.
  2. Note their behavior: Pay attention to any changes in their drinking habits, such as increased or decreased water consumption.
  3. Check urine output: Regularly monitor their litter box to ensure they are urinating normally, as reduced urine output can indicate dehydration.
  4. Weigh your hedgehog: Regularly weigh your hedgehog to track any fluctuations in weight, which can be a sign of dehydration.

By carefully monitoring their water intake, you can ensure that your hedgehog remains properly hydrated and healthy. Remember to consult a veterinarian if you suspect dehydration or have any concerns.

What Are the Best Practices for Keeping Hedgehogs Hydrated?

Proper hydration is crucial for the health and well-being of hedgehogs. But when it comes to providing water for these prickly pets, what is the best approach? In this section, we will discuss the best practices for keeping hedgehogs hydrated and explore the pros and cons of using water bottles vs. bowls. From regularly cleaning and refilling water sources to seeking veterinary advice for dehydration, we’ll cover all the essential tips for ensuring your hedgehog stays hydrated.

1. Clean and Refill Water Sources Regularly

To ensure proper hydration for hedgehogs, it is important to regularly clean and refill their water sources. Here are the steps you can follow:

  1. Clean the water bowl or bottle with warm water and mild soap.
  2. Rinse thoroughly to remove any residue from the soap.
  3. Refill the bowl or bottle with fresh, clean water.
  4. Place the water source in an easily accessible location for the hedgehog.
  5. Monitor the water level daily and refill as needed.

Fact: Hedgehogs need a constant supply of fresh water to stay hydrated and maintain their overall health and well-being.

2. Keep Water Sources Away from Food and Litter

To maintain the hygiene of water sources for hedgehogs and prevent contamination, it is important to keep them away from food and litter. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Place the water bowl or bottle in a separate area from the hedgehog’s food dish to prevent spillage or food debris from contaminating the water.
  2. Ensure that the water source is positioned away from the hedgehog’s litter box to avoid any cross-contamination.
  3. Regularly clean and sanitize the water bowl or bottle to prevent the growth of bacteria or algae.
  4. Monitor the water source regularly to ensure it remains clean and accessible for the hedgehog.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your hedgehog has access to clean and uncontaminated water, promoting their hydration and overall well-being.

3. Use a Combination of Water Bottle and Bowl

To ensure proper hydration for hedgehogs, it is recommended to use a combination of a water bottle and a water bowl. This approach offers multiple benefits and helps hedgehogs stay hydrated. Here are the steps for using a combination of a water bottle and bowl:

  1. Attach a water bottle to the side of the cage, making sure it is at a height that allows easy access for the hedgehog.
  2. Place a shallow water bowl on the floor of the cage, ensuring it is filled with fresh water daily.
  3. This combination provides hedgehogs with options, allowing them to choose their preferred method of drinking.
  4. Monitor both the water bottle and bowl regularly to ensure they are clean and functioning properly.

Pro-tip: Hedgehogs may have different preferences, so offering both a water bottle and a water bowl increases the likelihood of them staying hydrated.

4. Consult with a Veterinarian if Dehydration is Suspected

If you suspect that your hedgehog is dehydrated, it’s important to promptly consult with a veterinarian. Here are the steps to take:

  1. Observe the signs of dehydration, such as lethargy, sunken eyes, dry nose, and loss of appetite.
  2. Offer fresh water and monitor your hedgehog’s drinking habits.
  3. Mist the habitat to increase humidity levels.
  4. Provide wet food, such as canned pumpkin or watermelon, to supplement hydration.

Remember that hedgehogs are prone to dehydration, and it is crucial to seek veterinary care if it is suspected.

Fact: Hedgehogs have a specialized ability to concentrate their urine, minimizing water loss in their bodies.

Helpful Links and Resources

When it comes to keeping hedgehogs hydrated, it’s essential to consider the best method – water bottles or bowls. To assist you in making an informed decision, here are some useful links and resources:

  1. Hedgehog Central (www.hedgehogcentral.com) – A comprehensive website with information on hedgehog care, including options for hydration.
  2. The Hedgehog Welfare Society (www.hedgehogwelfare.org) – Offers resources and educational materials on hedgehog care, including tips on providing water.
  3. Hedgehog World (www.hedgehogworld.com) – Provides a forum where hedgehog owners can share their experiences and advice on the best hydration methods.

Fact: To stay hydrated and healthy, hedgehogs need access to clean water at all times. It’s crucial to regularly monitor their water source to ensure it remains free from contaminants and stays clean.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can hedgehogs safely use water bottles, or are bowls a better option?

This is a hot debate in the hedgehog community, but the large majority of hedgehogs can safely use water bottles. However, there are certain types of water bottles that should be avoided, and bowls are also a viable option.

What are the benefits of using a water bottle instead of a bowl for my hedgehog?

Water bottles are more sanitary, save space in the cage, and allow you to easily monitor your hedgehog’s water intake. They also prevent the risk of drowning, which can occur with water bowls.

Are there any specific water bottles that are recommended for hedgehogs?

The Kordon Oasis Bird Water Bottle is highly recommended by hedgehog experts, as it has an extra-large spout for easy drinking. It is important to compare the spout size to the width of a pinkie finger when shopping for water bottles.

What is the rule of thumb for determining if a water bottle is safe for hedgehogs?

Non-spring loaded water bottles are generally safer for hedgehogs, as they do not have a spring-loaded mechanism that can cause injuries. It is important to choose a water bottle with a spout that is large enough for your hedgehog to comfortably drink from.

Are there any risks associated with using water bottles for hedgehogs?

There have been rare incidents of hedgehogs getting their tongues or eyes stuck in water bottles, but these can be avoided by using the right type of water bottle and regularly cleaning and changing the water.

My hedgehog seems to prefer drinking from a bowl instead of a water bottle. Is this okay?

Some hedgehogs may have a preference for bowls over water bottles. It is important to monitor their water intake and provide both options. If your hedgehog consistently refuses to use a water bottle, it may be a sign of a medical issue and you should consult a vet.

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