Necessary supplies Please note, as I am from Quebec, English is not my first language.
The cage Hedgehogs need a minimum of 3-4 square feet of floor. You have several different options for your hedgehog.
Tote bin: The best tote bin's are 105 L to 115 L. They are big enough to contain the wheel, the hiding spot, the litter box, the water and the food bowl and some toys. They are great to keep the warmth inside and are easy to clean out. During Holidays, you can even get the Christmas tree tote bin, which is a great habitat for a hedgehog.
C&C Cage: With Corrugated Plastic Sheets, sold at Home Depot, you can build your own cage, the size and the shape you want. The main advantage of this kind of cage is the designs you can make, and the space that it gives to the critter. They are still easy to clean, but not as much as the tote bin. Because of the big opening, it tends to let the heat out more easily, so you may need to use a lamp with a CHE bulb as an additional heat source.
Cage: Small hamster cage are not appropriate. If you decide to go with a wire cage, you should choose a "rabbit" cage. Ferret nation for rats or ferrets are not good either. Hedgehogs don't have a good sight and can fall easily on ramps and get seriously injured. You should choose a cage with vertical wires, so that he could not climb them. Hedgehogs like to climb, and their little feet can get stuck between wires. If they fall and the feet get caught, it may become seriously injured. With all the other choice of housing that we have for hedgehog, we would recommend to avoid any type of wired cages.
Modified dresser: For the handy ones, the modified dresser is a beautiful option. You give your hedgehog a nice and cozy place to live in and the dresser can be an attractive piece of furniture in a living area of your house.
This modified dresser have been made by Monica Wattigney LeBeau. Thank you for sharing it with us!
The bedding: You have different options for bedding.
Fleece: They are economical and ecological. You cut them the size of your enclosure and you wash them at least weekly. We use fleece bedding in all of our cages.
Paper-based substrate bedding like "Carefresh": We use this kind of bedding for our nesting box. It's really easy to clean out the dirty spots. If you choose this option, make sure to choose the white bedding. It will be easier to notice any health problems, like blood in urine.
Wood shaving: Only the aspen wood shaving is recommended. Pine and cedar shaving are dangerous for any critters when they get in contact with urine. Personnally, we would not recommend aspen bedding. We used it once, and a small wooden chip got stuck in the genitals of one of our males. That was the first time we were using it and the last time we used it. Of course, you can make your own decision on this bedding. This is only our experience.
The hiding spot: You have many choices for the hiding spots. You can buy an Igloo at your local pet store, or make a wooden one! You can use a Kleenex box that you will change regurlarly, or use a snuggle sack that you will make or buy from an Etsy shop! Choices are unlimited! We use different things as our hiding spot: snuggle sacks than we made, some Igloo, pasta boxes and kleenex... It also depends of the personnality of your baby. Some of them may ignore any hiding spot and decide to be fleece diver. You may want to make them a special digging box with strip of fleece as a bedroom. But no matter what, your critter will need an hiding spot to relax and sleep.
The food and water: Two small ramequin type of bowl are ideal for your hedgehog pet. They are heavy enough to not get bumped, and small enough that he will not lay down in his food bowl, causing contamination of food. We recommend using a water bowl and not a bottle. Hedgehogs bite when they drink, and bottles are usually metal. We experienced a hedgehog losing a fang because of the bottle. Since then, we only use water bowls. Also, it is way more natural for them to drink from a bowl than from a bottle.
The wheel: It is the absolute necessity for your pet. The wheel need to be 11.5 to 12 inch diameter, not less. Your hedgehog needs to run. And he will run all night long! Some wheels are not recommended, some are better, and in the Hedgehog community, some others are the "must have". A litter tray can be put under the wheel. We made a chart of our recommendations about the wheel.
The toys: Hedgehogs are really funny little animals when it comes to them playing! Don't be confused, they won't bring you back the ball... But they are really cute. Use small cats toys as little balls and little plushies. PVC tubes from the plumber aisle are really good for them to play and push. For some hedgies, toilet paper tubes cut at each end are a really interactive game!
The heat source: Hedgehogs need to be kept warm. That means a minimum of 25 to 27 degrees Celcius (78 to 80 Farenheit). Put a termometer in your room or in your cage, you will be able to see how warm your place is. If your room has an independent heat source, that is great, you can decide to heat this room more than your other rooms. If you cannot control the heat of this room, you can use either a space heater or a CHE (Ceramic Heater Element) bulb lamp. The CHE bulb lamp can be found on web (i.e.: Amazon, Ebay...) or at your local pet store. Just make sure that it is not with light, because your hedgehog needs its night time. Having a portable generator would be a bonus in case a power outage happens, which is pretty usual during our winter. Please remember that hibernation is the #1 killer for them, so we want to avoid any situation that can put them at risk.
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