So you are thinking about getting an African Pygmy Hedgehog? Read through some of the basic questions and answers about basic hedgehog ownership.
What supplies do I need for my hedgehog? The main necessities for owning a hedgehog are a cage, method of heating, hidey house, pine bedding, hedgehog food and water bottle.
What sex is my hedgehog? Hedgehogs are easy to sex. Males have a prominent “belly button” (the penile sheath) located about half way up the abdomen, whereas females do not. Both sexes have nipples.
Are there differences between male and female? Besides anatomical differences, male and female hedgies are pretty much the same. Each individual hedgehog has its own personality. No particular gender is a better pet.
How do I pick up my hedgehog? The best way to pick up a hedgie is to scoop him up with both hands under the belly. Keepin your hands very flat they will unroll- do not touch the quills if they are erect.
My hedgie is foaming at the mouth and spreading on his quills! This is called “self-annointing”. When a hedgie finds a new smell, or one they just like, they will froth at the mouth, contort themselves, and spread the saliva mix on their quills. Some hedgies do this often, some, never at all. Hedgies especially like to do this with new smells.
How do I trim my hedgehog’s nails?- Nail trimming can be a challenge. If you have a well-behaved hedgie, you should be able to simply grab each foot and cut the nails. This can be done when hedgie is on his back, standing, however you find comfortable. Many hedgies don’t like nail-trimming time, and will ball up. The best thing to try is to give his a warm bath, because they can’t ball up in water. You should be able to grab each foot and trim from there. If you can’t finish all the nails, don’t worry! You got this far, and just try getting the rest later.
How do I give my hedgehog a bath? Hedgies don’t need baths very often, but do get dirty feet from running on their wheel. If this is the case, a foot bath is better than a whole bath. To give a foot bath, simply run an inch or 2 of warm (not hot) water in the sink or tub, and let hedgie walk around. This will loosen and wash off the residue. You can use coconut oil in the water for cleaning and you can splash the water on the baby if they need further cleaning.
What should I use for heating my hedgie’s cage? A heat pad under the cage is the best option for heating the baby. Heat lamps are too hot and dangerous.
What temperature should my hedgie be kept in? Proper temperature would be 73-78 degrees F. This needs to be consistent around the year.
My hedgehog has a bald spot on his head! There are no quills there because there are muscles which help the hedgie roll into a ball.
Should I use a water bottle or a dish? There is some debate over whether a dish or bottle is better. The bottle is the only acceptable means to give your hedgehog clean water. Using a bowl is not sanitary, the hedgehogs will step in the water or can push shavings in which can contaminate the water.
Does my hedgie need light? No, an artificial light should never be used. They are nocturnal and will hide completely during the day and come out only when it is dusk or dark. Do not keep your hedgehog in a darkened room or closet during the day. They will adjust to regular room lighting and will develop a proper sleep schedule for the day.