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Hedgehogs/Hedgehog Care !


hello ! i'm currently reading and asking around for hedgehog information since im getting one soon. can you help me and answer some of these question if not all ?

1. i know hedgehogs need proper temperature for them to survive or else they'll go into hibernation or get a heatstroke. i live in a country where its hot and humid throughout the year and the average temperature is 22-32 celcius. do i need to do anything extra for my hedgehog's temperature needs ? like should i use heat lamps ? in my opinion i dont think i should since its usually pretty warm. what should i use as a cooling technique for a hedgehog if i do need it ? i am not aware of any cooling techniques for pets besides cooling mats/pads for dogs. btw when the temperature reaches the lower ranges its usually during the rainy season so i dont think it will affect the hedgehog since im keeping it indoor. but you're the expert.

2. when i leave the hedgehog in its cage when i go to sleep at night should i turn all the lights off so it'll be completely dark for the hedgehog or do i need some lighting for it ? and does it affect them if i dont provide them lighting during the night and how ? btw i am planning on covering most parts of the cage with a blanket during the night.

3. i am aware that i have to clean the hedgehog bedding every week or so but how do you suggest i do that ? im planning to use fleece so do i wash it by hand or do i toss it in the washing machine ? and can i use normal detergent or is there a special detergent that i have to use ?

4. i am aware that they use their wheel at night and poop/pee on it and i have to clean it every day or so. do i have to use soap to clean the wheel or do i just wash it with water? is there any kind of cleaning product that i should avoid?

5. i read somewhere that this hedgehog owner put charcoal in their hedgehog's cage to prevent nasty odors. is it safe for us to do that or is it toxic to the hedgehog ? and is it even effective ?

6. i heard about this thing called the oatmeal shampoo which is a shampoo that some of the local hedgehog owners use for hedgehogs that have been infected with mites or if their hedgehog have dry skin. if my hedgehog is not infected with mites or have dry skin, can i still give it the oatmeal bath or should i just give it a normal bath with water ?

7. water bottle or water bowl ?

8. im going to get a young hedgehog probably 6 weeks-12 weeks old. should i feed it mealworms and how many per day is recommended ?

9. im planning to use fleece as bedding for the whole cage, a c&c cage, this bedding for the litter part of the cage (around the wheel area), im planning to feed it this cat food (some of the local hedgehog owners also feed their hedgehog this and or this can you please help check out which is better ?) and mealworms as treats. i'll also provide a wheel, hideout spaces, digging spaces and toys. anything i should add or change ?

thank you in advance ! i really want to provide the best care for my hedgehog !

Hi, Jasmin:

Your questions are of such breadth and depth that (1) I do not have time to adequately answer all of them and/or (2) I do not trust myself to remember each and every thing you asked.  Also, many of the answers to your questions are a matter of controversy.

That said, I will try to give you some answers and suggestions of additional resources.

1.   I have never kept a hedgehog in an environment less than 23C, but I’m sure most could easily get by okay at 22C.  If your hedgehog attempts to hibernate, warm him/her up and seek to increase the temp of the room or habitat space where they live.  Most hedgehog fanciers use a heating pad or microwave-heatable disk for this purpose.  (Heating lamps present more of a safety hazard.)  Basically, hedgehogs are usually fine in any temperature that is comfortable to humans (unless you really like it chilly).  I’m assuming you have air-conditioning to handle the high end of temps.

2.   Hedgehogs prefer darkness (they burrow), but I would suggest that you provide a small night light unless the hedgie is housed in your bedroom and the light keeps you awake.  The hedgehog will become adjusted to having some low light, and this will make it easier to observe him/her if you need to.  You can provide the hedgehog with an upside-down cat bed and/or layers of blankies so that s/he can better control light exposure.  The blanket over the habitat at night is a fine idea, though not necessary.  It kind of depends on your hoggie!

3.   Do not use “fleece” as base bedding, if by that you mean fabric that has easily accessible threads.  Hedgehogs love to dig and will get their nails caught in those threads.  I use Velux liners cut from blankets.  The one downside of this arrangement is that you have to change and wash the liners frequently.  How frequently depends on how messy your little quilly kid turns out to be.  I would toss both liners and fleece blankies in the washing machine.  If you end up with a hedgie who poops a lot (or messily), you will learn why.  I would use detergent that is unscented.

4.   I would recommend that you use liquid dish soap and a dish-washing brush to clean bowls, toys, exercise devices, etc.  I use Dawn brand anti-bacterial.  A really good exercise device (and one that is both safe and easy to clean) is the “saucer wheel.” Goggle under:
Don’t use nasty (harmful or poisonous) products to clean the wheel/saucer;  save those for the basin you wash them in, esp. if it is your sink!

5.   I do not have the necessary direct experience to answer this question.

6.   I would recommend oatmeal shampoo for all hedgehogs.  It is helpful for irritated and/or dry skin, but it is also soothing to any hedgie’s skin, unless the individual happens to be allergic (which I have not experienced or heard of).  (Note: It is not a treatment for mites!)  

7.   I use ceramic bowls, myself.  Some people like the plastic water containers that can hold water for more than a day.  And other people like the bottles, because they are convenient and less easy to spill than bowls.  I have heard of hedgehogs breaking their teeth on the metal tubes of water bottles, which is why I prefer bowls.

8.   I don’t have the direct experience to answer this question.  If you do feed mealworms to a young hedgehog, be sure that that the mealworms are not too large and overwhelming for your little one.

9.   See my comments on question 3. You can buy these online from Wal-Mart or Macy’s:

I am not familiar with the litter or with most of the specific food products you mention, and looking them up on a website will not allow me to comment on the nutritional value of the food. (One exception: kitten food is fine for a hoglet, but you should not continue to feed this as your hedgehog matures; it contains too much fat and too many calories.)  No one knows yet what the best diet is for hedgehogs.  My suggestion is that you research this questions and your other questions on the internet.  I would also suggest that you join some online hedgehog bulletin boards, such as:

Good luck with your new quilly companion!

Hedgie Blessings,



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Laurel Sedgwick


Can answer care, health, & behavioral questions, as well as basic breeding questions. Can help questioner figure out if a hedgehog is the right pet for them.


Have had hedgehogs since 2001 - 16 so far. I have no experience with non-weaned babies, and limited experience with breeding and with pregnant hedgehogs. I have had too much experience with WHS (Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome). I would rate myself "expert" at syringe-feeding, and as "advanced" at performing SubQs. Two of my hedgehogs have injured an eye to the point that it had to be surgically removed. I have had a lot of hedgehogs who suffered from cancer, some who had surgery and some who didn't. Some of my quilly kids have had abcessed teeth; one guy lost all of his teeth but one! I have had multiple female hedgehogs who suffered from bleeding, who had to have surgery for uterine cancer, which was in most cases successful. Temperamentally, I have had very timid hedgehogs, persistently grumpy hedgehogs, biting hedgehogs, and very friendly hedgehogs whom I took with me as "ambassadors" for educational presentations.

I am a Certified Judge for the IHA, and run a rescue station for the HWS. My application to be a rescue station for the IHA is pending.

I read everything I can get my hands on. Have read the best of the books, Dawn Wrobel's THE HEDGEHOG and Tig M-Burleson's THE HEDGEHOG PRIMER. I am a member of the International Hedgehog Association (IHA) and Hedgehog Welfare Society (HWS), and have been a member of various online bulletin board groups since 2002.
I have attended many hedgehog shows and have served as a judge in IHA conformation shows.

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