Hedgehog Cage Setup – What To Put In A Hedgehog Cage
Essential part of your hedgehog’s life is their environment. This is why your hedgehog cage setup must be tailored to their needs.
Hedgehog Cage Setup
As your hedgehog will be spending majority of its time in the cage or enclosure, it’s essential you know how to build the perfect home for it.
With that said by knowing what to put in a hedgehog cage, you’ll be giving your hedgie a place where it can thrive and most importantly be safe and feel safe.
In this article, you will be able to find out more about the perfect hedgehog cage set up looks like. With that said, the first thing you must get right is the cage for your hedgie.
What Type Of Cage or Enclosure
To have a happy and healthy hedgehog, you must provide it with a suitable enclosure or cage. This is extremely important for its well-being.
By providing your hedgehog with a cage, they would be able to roam around freely. In addition, it would also remove the risk of escaping and hurting themselves around your house, for example ingesting something that can kill them or make them feel unwell.
Tips For Selecting Hedgehog Cage
- For your hedgehog to move around freely,it needs at least 1 metre or 8 square feet. In the wild, hedgehogs walk few miles every night to hunt for its food. Therefore, it would need sufficient cage space to use up the same amount of energy.
On the other hand, if it doesn’t have enough space to roam around, the hedgehog can become depressed and develop other health problems subsequently
- Another suitable option is guinea pig enclosures and so are vivariums
- In the case you decide to go with a cage that is not made out of glass but from metal wires, you’d probably have to use heat pads or heat lamps to make sure your hedgehog remains warm enough
- Avoid getting wired cage bottoms as its feet can get caught. As a result, the hedgehog can get hurt and panic. Therefore, solid bottom cages are recommended
- Ideally, the hedgehog cage setup should be on one level. On the other hand, if you opt in for multi-level option, you should use steps that are flat such as slides, so your hedgehog doesn’t fall and hurt itself
- You should ensure your hedgehog can see outside its cage. Otherwise, it could become depressed. On the other hand, you’d also need to be able to see your hedgehog easily, to make sure it’s ok as they require to be checked up on often
- Hedgehogs are master escape artists. Therefore, you must ensure that the cage has a lid that’s securely shut
- Finally, the perfect hedgehog cage setup also includes sufficient ventilation
Cage Placement And Conditions
On of the most important things for your hedgehog’s well-being is the cage which is ultimately its home. Before looking into what to put in a hedgehog cage, you must know where the cage should be placed in your house.
Moreover, the cage placement is imperative to your hedgehog’s health and if not in the right place, it can result in many health problems.
It’s extremely important that you know where is the safest location for your hedgehogs cage. Moreover, hedgehogs feel the most comfortable at around 72ºF (22.2ºC) to 80ºF (26.6ºC).
Anything warmer can result in heat stress and anxiety. On the other hand anything cooler, can lead to hibernation and subsequently – death.
With that said, the cage should be placed in a location that is away from the following:
- Air conditioners
In addition to the temperature of the room, hedgehog’s health can be compromised by other factors. Avoid placing it in loud areas of your house such as:
- Above/below TV or stereo
- Away from vacuums
- Kids playing
- Any loud noises
Be aware of your hedgehog’s sensitive hearing as loud noises can make them anxious and stressed. In addition, this anxiety can cause them to be afraid and not want to come out to play or eat.
Finally, the hedgehog’s home should be placed where the hedgehog can experience light. Although, hedgehogs are nocturnal, being able to see day light is also important for its health.
What To Put In A Hedgehog Cage
After selecting the right type of cage or enclosure for your new spiky pet and finding the safest location in your house, it’s time to start thinking what to put in a hedgehog cage.
Your hedgehog cage set up should consist of the following:
- Water bowl
- Food bowl
- A litter tray
- Hiding spot
- Exercise wheel
- Heat lamp or heat pad
Water Bowl or Bottle
When thinking about what to put in a hedgehog cage, water supply for your hedgehogs is of upmost importance. There are two options available.
As your hedgehog needs a source of fresh clean water, you can install a water bottle as a part of the hedgehog cage set up. Usually, the available water bottles are made out of plastic, glass or metal and can be hung on the side of the cage.
Firstly, the water bottle must be placed safely, so the hedgehog can’t climb on it and therefore fall and hurt itself.
Secondly, if you go for this option, it’s important to observe your hedgehog. In some cases, hedgehogs won’t like drinking from a water bottle. If that’s the case, you must switch to water bowl immediately as hydration is essential for your hedgehog’s well-being.
Finally, if your observe your hedgehog chewing on the metal tip of the water bottle, you must again switch to a water bowl. The reason for that is, your hedgehog can severely damage its teeth by doing this.
If you decide to use a water bowl for your hedgehog’s water supply, you must ensure the following:
- The water bowl must be made of heavy material. The reason for that is to prevent spilling
- You must change the water daily, so it stays fresh. The reason for that is, hedgehog poop or urine can get inside
When planning on what to put in a hedgehog cage, food bowl is of the upmost importance. Moreover, you must ensure your hedgehog is fed regularly and has easy access to its food.
With that said, your hedgehog’s food bowl should have the following characteristics:
- Usually, pet food bowls can be made of several types of materials. Some of those materials include ceramic crocks or ramekins, stainless steel or glass bowls. Most importantly, the bowl must be free from heavy metals and other dangerous toxins, as that can have a negative effect on your hedgehog’s fragile organs
- The food bowl should be heavy to prevent spilling or you should be able to secure it to the cage
- The size of the bowl should be around 4 inches in diameter
- It shouldn’t be too deep, as that can be a hazard to your hedgehog
- Finally, it’s recommended to have two food bowls in the hedgehog cage setup – one bowl for dry food and one for wet food
Overall, you want to provide your hedgehog with a food bowl that’s made of safe materials and its heavy enough to not tip over.
In the wild hedgehogs get plenty of exercise. For that reason, you must provide your hedgehog with something where they can use up that energy otherwise the hedgie runs the risk of becoming obese and even depressed.
As hedgehogs spend most of their time in the cage, adding an exercise wheel to your hedgehog cage setup is essential to their health and happiness.
Follow these recommendations when picking your hedgie’s exercise wheel:
- Avoid wire type exercise wheels as hedgehogs can get stuck and hurt themselves
- The wheel should be made of a solid body without any wires or mesh
- It’s recommended to get a see through wheel to improve your hedgehog’s experience but it’s not mandatory
Usually, hedgehogs do most of their pooping and peeing whilst on the exercise wheel, so you must be prepared to clean it daily. Even better – get a spare exercise wheel, so you can have it soaking during the night whilst the other one is in use.
On what to put in your hedgehog cage, litter tray or litter pan is especially important if you want to minimise bad smells coming from your hedgehog cage. Unfortunately, not all hedgehogs will learn to use the litter pan but it’s definitely worth a try.
Furthermore, you should teach the hedgehog this behaviour from a young age. Look for the following when buying a litter pan:
- It should have a low front, so it’s easy access for your hedgehog and it prevent any tripping
- It’s recommended to get a corner shaped litter pan
Learn more about how to neutralise bad hedgehog smells by clicking here Do Hedgehogs Smell And How To Neutralize It
With buying a litter pan for your hedgehog cage set up, comes the next thing necessary which is the litter. With that said, there are many choices of what litter you can get. However, the following is recommended for hedgehog litter:
- Avoid using clay, clumping cat litter, sawdust, hay, straw, soil or gravel as hedgehog litter
- Pick a chemical-free option such as recycled paper or pellet-type materials
- A great recommendations is to use absorbent litter or even better you can use pine pellets, which are very absorbent, and great at neutralising the odour
Another important thing for your hedgehog cage setup, is hiding spot. As hedgehogs tend to be nervous animals, they need a place where they feel safe and can hide away.
Furthermore, the hiding spot is supposed to substitute hedgehog’s sleeping spots live in the wild such as burrows and other dark, enclosed spaces.
With that said the following is recommended when choosing your hedgehog’s hiding spot:
- Usually, igloo type pet-safe builds made from a reinforced fabric material or foam are a goof choice
- Also, more options include half-log shaped builds such as wooden boxes, or tubes
- However, keep in mind that hedgehogs struggle to back out of places, so it will require enough room to be able to go in/out and turn around
As another important part of the hedgehog cage setup, is the bedding. It’s imperative you provide your hedgehog with suitable bedding in the cage. Your hedgehog should feel secure when it sleeps. As there are many bedding options for pets, below there is a detailed list on what you should avoid and what’s the best choice for your spiky pet.
You should always AVOID the following types of bedding
- Cedar or chips bedding
- Hay or straw type
- Avoid using any fabrics with small loops or holes as hedgehogs can easily get their toes stuck and the string can cut off the circulation to their feet and toes
- Try to avoid wood shavings since some can be harmful to your companion
Bedding options that are well-suited for hedgehogs include:
- Pelleted newspaper or recycled paper/paperboard
- Natural products like Cell Sorb Plus
- Fabric pieces, especially those made from Vellux or fleece
- Fluffy bedding made from recycled paper or pulp
Toys and Accessories
Hedgehogs need an environment that would provide them with enrichment and stimulate them. In addition to the exercise wheel, a variety of toys and accessories can provide entertainment and happiness to your hedgehog’s daily routine.
The following is a list of toys that are suitable for hedgehogs and that you should avoid.
Toys suitable for hedgehogs:
- Most toys for young children will also be a good choice for your hedgehog
- Small rubber balls, solid plastic toys or chew toys are all good choices
- As some toys can be toxic to your hedgehog, buy toys that come from reputable chains in the US as they go through rigorous testing. Especially, if the toys are meant for young children
- Other items include tubes, PVC pipe, tunnels, ramps, ledges, etc
- An accessory that can be added to the hedgehog cage setup, is a heating lamp to keep your hedgehog warm during cold nights
Avoid the following:
- Stay away from toys that have loose or small parts that the hedgehog can choke on
- Avoid toys with sharp edges or anything else that can result in your hedgehog hurting itself
- Stay away from cheap toys that have paint or other surface coatings on them as that can be toxic to your hedgehog
With all of that said, remember not to overcrowd the cage’s floor with too many toys and accessories, as they need enough room to be able to move around.
Ideas For Custom Made Cages
Cleaning The Cage
Firstly, you tick off everything from the list of what to put in a hedgehog cage. Secondly, it’s all set up and ready to use. Finally, you need to ensure there’s a cleaning schedule that you follow to keep your hedgehog’s cage and everything in it clean.
Hedgehogs are not smelly animals but their poop and pee can smell. Moreover, if not litter trained, the waste will be sprayed all over the cage and exercise wheel. Therefore, a proper maintenance of the cage is essential not only to avoid bad smells but also to keep your hedgehog healthy.
Read more about how to clean a hedgehog cage by clicking here Do Hedgehogs Smell And How To Neutralize It
The hedgehog cage is its home and where it will spend most of its time. Therefore, it’s imperative you do a proper hedgehog cage setup, so your spiky pet has a space that provides it with enrichment and where it feels secure.
The following is a list of what should be included in a hedgehog cage setup:
- Water bowl
- Food bowl
- A litter tray
- Hiding spot
- Exercise wheel
- Heat lamp or heat pad