How To Take Care Of a Pet Hedgehog?

If you’re considering getting a hedgehog, you must educate yourself on the proper care and feeding of these little creatures.

It might seem like hedgehogs are easy to take care of, but that is far from the truth. Hedgehogs require plenty of attention and quality food to live long and healthy lives.

Follow this guide to learn more about what goes into properly caring for your new friend:

Diet

Your hedgehog will need to eat a high-protein diet. Insects are an ideal source of protein for your hedgehog and can easily be found at local pet stores or online.

Additionally, insects are cheap and easy to find.

Hedgehogs also need vitamins C and D in their diets. Vitamin C helps strengthen the immune system, while vitamin D is necessary for absorbing calcium from food sources into their bones and teeth.

As such, you should provide clean water in a water bottle for your hedgehog, so it can drink as needed.

Housing And Environment

Regarding housing, your hedgehog should have a comfortable space where it can rest during the day and sleep at night.

A large glass terrarium like those used for guinea pigs or other small animals makes an excellent home for your hedgehog and provides plenty of room for exercise and play.

You can use a small plastic box or an aquarium if it has proper ventilation and doesn’t get too hot or cold inside.

Hedgehogs prefer to sleep in a nest of hay or straw, so you will need to provide one in its cage if you don’t want your pet sleeping directly on the flooring material (which may cause respiratory problems).

Add some shredded paper towels as well because this provides extra warmth during colder months by insulating against drafts coming through cracks around windows/doors, etc.

But do not use shredded newspaper because ink particles could irritate your hedgehog’s lungs.

Hedgehogs are nocturnal creatures who spend most daylight hours hiding away from predators, so they should be kept in quiet, dark rooms during these times.

However, if you plan on taking yours outside daily, light-colored cages with mesh tops (like bird cages) will help keep them safe from predators while letting sunlight into their habitats.

Bathing And Nail Trimming

Bathing Your Hedgehog

Hedgehogs are clean animals, but they still need to be bathed regularly. You can use a mild or baby shampoo in the bathtub or shower, although it may be easier to bathe them outside the tub with a small cup or bowl.

Add lukewarm water and gently massage the shampoo into their fur. Use a soft brush to remove loose fur before rinsing thoroughly with warm water.

Gently dry your hedgehog off with a towel before putting them back in its cage on a dry surface (such as paper towels), so they don’t get chilled from being wet for too long.

Cleaning Their Ears

Clean out your hedgehog’s ears using cotton swabs dipped in warm water once per month. If you notice any build-up there, schedule an appointment with your vet immediately.

Nail Trimming for Your Hedgehog

Nail trimming is one of the most important things you can do to keep your hedgehog healthy. If you don’t trim their nails, they can get ingrown and infected, which is painful and potentially deadly for your hedgehog.

Here’s how to do it:

  • First, put your hedgehog in a towel or a box where they can’t see you. Then grab some nail clippers or scissors—the kind meant for humans is perfect. If you don’t have those on hand, use something sharp like a knife or razor blade.
  • Next, put the towel over the top of your hedgehog, so they can’t see what’s happening. Then hold them firmly but gently by their chest area with one hand and use the other hand to cut off about 1/4 of an inch from each nail on each foot—be sure not to cut too much off, or it could hurt them. It may take a few tries before you get used to doing this without hurting them (but don’t worry—they won’t mind.).
  • Next, once all four feet are done, let them out of their cage or box and give them lots of hugs and kisses.

Personality

The first thing to know about hedgehogs is that they are very friendly and curious. They love to explore their surroundings and are quite mischievous.

They can be quite vocal, especially during the evening hours when they become active during the evening (nocturnal).

They also have a distinctly quirky personality. For example, hedgehogs like to run in circles in their cage and then stop abruptly at the end of their run as if they were surprised by something.

This behavior is called “doing laps” by some owners who enjoy observing their pets’ antics.

Hedgehogs do not hibernate, so you’ll want to keep them indoors during cold weather unless you live in an area where temperatures regularly drop below freezing overnight (32 degrees F).

In warmer climates where temperatures stay above 40 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, it’s safe for your hedgehog to go outside occasionally—but make sure there’s plenty of shade available because these critters need warmth just like we do.

Health

If you have a pet hedgehog, you should know the most common issues they face.

Knowing what to look out for and how to deal with these problems can help keep your little friend happy and healthy.

  • Constipation – Hedgehogs are naturally prone to constipation, so it’s important to ensure they get enough fluids in their diet (about 50% water by volume). In addition, adding some fresh greens or other fruits and vegetables will help keep them regular.
  • Diarrhea – This is often caused by feeding too much fruit or vegetables without enough fiber in the diet, as well as stress due to moving house or moving around too much at night when they’re sleeping during the daytime hours when they’re usually asleep on their wheelie chair. That’s why we recommend always keeping one handy near any doors outside, so you don’t wake up after work having forgotten where it was left the last time we moved house again, which was just yesterday.

Get Him Checked Over.

  • Your hedgehog should be checked over by a vet soon after you get him home to ensure he’s healthy.
  • The vet will check for parasites, mites, and fleas, which are common causes of itchiness in hedgehogs. It is also possible for your vet to prescribe medication for these conditions if the treatment is needed.
  • You will also want to check your pet’s ears as they can become infected or infested with ear mites which can cause irritation and discomfort.
  • Dehydration is another issue that needs to be monitored closely. Hence, it’s important that you provide plenty of fresh drinking water and ensure that his cage has adequate ventilation at all times (heating pads aren’t recommended).

Brush His Coat.

Brush your hedgehog regularly but gently. You can use a soft brush like a toothbrush or the rubber end of a comb to remove dead skin and dander.

Just be careful not to pull out too much hair—the last thing you want is for him to be bald.

Take His Temperature.

You must check his temperature to determine if your hedgehog is ill. You can use a digital thermometer found at most pharmacies or pet stores.

An average hedgehog’s temperature ranges between 78 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit (26-28 degrees Celsius).

An abnormal temperature could indicate that your pet needs medical attention right away.

If you notice any signs of illness in your pet hedgehog, take him to the veterinarian as soon as possible to treat him properly.

Check His Ears.

You need to check your hedgehog’s ears regularly, just like you would with your own.

The first step is to look for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, discharge, and odor.

If you find any of these signs (or if he seems agitated), it’s best to take him to the vet immediately.

But if everything looks normal—it’ll be easy enough to tell since hedgehogs are little balls of fluff—you can clean his ears with a cotton ball soaked in warm water.

Feed Him High-Quality Food.

As with any pet, your hedgehog needs high-quality food. While you may be tempted to give him cat food or dog food, this will not be good for him.

Cat and dog foods are high in protein but low in fat—and even more important, they often contain substances that can make your hedgehog sick.

You should also avoid feeding your human hedgehog foods such as cheese or chocolate, which can kill him.

The best kind of food for a hedgehog is one that’s high in protein but low in fat; the most famous brand is Purina Nature’s Recipe, which comes in both solid and watery forms so it can be used by all types of hedgehogs (some prefer solid while others enjoy the liquid).

Give Him Enrichment Toys.

Hedgehogs are solitary creatures who spend most of their time foraging for food and sleeping. If you’re going to keep a pet hedgehog, it’s important that you provide it with enrichment toys.

They can include small plastic tanks and puzzle boxes, plush toys with holes he can squeeze through and then retrieve by himself, tunnels and other hidden places, chewable objects like dried pasta or uncooked rice (which will help keep his teeth trim), or other materials like leaves or paper towel rolls.

These items stimulate the hedgehog’s mind by encouraging problem-solving and exploration.

You should change your hedgehog’s toys regularly, so they stay fresh, once every two weeks is ideal.

You can also make new ones out of old cardboard boxes if you want something more exciting than just some empty cardboard tubes lying around.

If you don’t have any enrichment toys but still want to give your pet some entertainment while he’s in his cage during the day (to prevent boredom-related behaviors such as chewing on things), consider giving him some extra treats outside of mealtime.

Identify Common Health Issues

Taking good care of your hedgehog will help it live longer and stay healthy. You should ensure that your pet is eating, drinking, and active.

It is also important to keep an eye on your hedgehog’s weight and body temperature.

If you notice any changes in behavior or appearance, contact a veterinarian immediately for advice.

Hedgehogs are known for their ability to curl up into a ball when they sleep or feel threatened by predators, but they can also bring this trait out at other times if they need to protect themselves from harm (like being dropped).

In addition to curling up into a ball, hedgehogs sometimes roll around without knowing why; this could be because they’re trying to get comfortable, or something isn’t right with them physically (such as arthritis).

Proper Care Prevents Health Issues in Hedgehogs.

Proper care is a significant factor in preventing health issues in hedgehogs. Regular checkups and proper nutrition are the best ways to keep your pet healthy, happy, and safe.

Please make sure you schedule regular visits with your vet so they can monitor your hedgehog’s health and advise on how to stay up to date on their needs.

A healthy diet is also important. Hedgehogs need a balanced diet consisting of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins (including vitamin C).

It would help if you always fed these nutrients separately from one another to avoid gastrointestinal problems later down the line.

You should also provide playtime enrichment toys to help exercise their muscles and encourage exploration.

Finally—and most importantly—ensure that you provide them with an environment free from stressors like loud noises or sudden movements that could cause anxiety attacks leading to illness/experience discomfort over time.

Our Final Thoughts

Take your hedgehog to the vet for a checkup when bringing him home. This will help ensure he has been vaccinated and is healthy.

The vet can also evaluate whether your pet needs any special medication or supplements to keep him happy and healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Long Does a Hedgehog Live as a Pet?

Hedgehogs are best known for their prickly quills. However, their short lifespan as pets is mostly due to improper care. A hedgehog can live 4-10 years.

Are Hedgehogs Better pets than Hamsters?

Hedgehogs, also known as spiny tails, have longer lifespans, better memories, and more active personalities than hamsters. Both hedgehogs and hamsters provide hours of entertainment, Kids enjoy all movements with hedgehogs and hamsters, but hedgehogs have a few advantages over hamsters.

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