I get a lot of e-mails and phone calls when temperature begins to fluctuate, especially during the Fall and Spring months. It seems that hedgehogs are not really happy when the temperature isn’t fairly stable for them. It can really stress them out and lead to things like quill loss, grumpiness, loss of appetite, weight loss and more serious things such as respiratory infections and attempted hibernation.

Hedgehogs enjoy burrowing down into their bedding. If you think about it, a heated pad under the cage is the most natural way for them to get some extra warmth. In the wild, hedgehogs burrow down to a temperature that is comfy for them. In captivity, heated lamps or space heaters are not the best solution for heat. The heat is more difficult to keep stable and hedgehogs do not go out in the sun to bask like reptiles. For that reason, heated lamps are best suited for reptiles.

In the wild, hedgehogs are out and about during the coolest part of the day. It can actually get chilly in their natural habitat during the nighttime. For this reason, I feel it is important to create a warmer sleeping spot. If you place a small animal heated pad under their igloo, they will really appreciate it.

I recommend the K & H Small Animal Heated Pad.


How I make my hedgehog wheels.


Keeping Hedgie Warm in a Power Outage

hand_warmer.76125344I thought I should do a post about power outages, since we have 32.5 inches of snow on the ground here and many are without power. Luckily, our power has stayed on and my hedgehog room has remained a steady 78-80 degrees. We have a generator, so I do not get as nervous as I did years ago when our power would go out, but I do keep a supply of hand warmers in case of an emergency. The hand warmers can keep your hedgehog warm for many hours or even days if necessary. I activate the warmer and slip it into a sock and tie the end. The warmer is placed in the hedgehog’s hideout and it keeps the area warm for 7+ hours depending on the type of warmer. Having some of these warmers on hand could possibly be a life saver. :)


allergies_080417_mnAre hedgehogs hypoallergenic?

The simple answer is – Yes!

Definition

hy·po·al·ler·gen·ic
adj.
Having a decreased tendency to provoke an allergic reaction.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary

The definition of hypoallergenic may surprise some people. Hypoallergenic does not mean non-allergenic. Hedgehogs are not very likely to cause an allergic reaction, but it has been known to happen. Hedgehogs produce very little dander, which is the usual culprit for animal allergies. It is extremely rare that hedgehog dander produces any sort of reaction. Allergic reactions to hedgehogs are usually from small pricks of the hedgehog’s quills that have been contaminated with an allergen. (more…)


Loving Your Hedgehog… to Death?

treats

So, of course you love your hedgehog. Who wouldn’t? But, can you love your hedgehog too much?

Possibly.

Imagine a family with a child who loves hot dogs and chips. What child does not love hot dogs? It is not too hard to imagine. Now imagine that the parents give the child hot dogs and chips every single day.

Obesity

Obesity is one of the leading causes of death in hedgehogs. Treats shouldn’t be fed every day. A basic healthy staple food should be the majority of every pet’s diet. Treats should only be fed sparingly. I’d recommend no more than a few times per week (e.g. a few mealworms at a time).

Over the years I have heard many pet owners tell me how spoiled their pets are and how they are given treats all the time. Just as often I see overweight and unhealthy pets. Our pets depend on us to provide a healthy diet, just the same as children depend on their parents.

We as pet owners sometimes feel that a pet’s diet is boring and monotonous, so we want to spice it up by adding lots of treats. Ultimately, the health of the animal should be more important. (more…)


Hedgehogs and Mites

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009 | Posted in Care Tips, General Advice | 2 Comments »

miteHedgehogs are prone to mite infestation. If your hedgehog starts losing patches of quills, mites are probably to blame.

Source

The bedding that you buy may be contaminated with mites or they could be transferred from another pet in your house. Whatever the case, your hedgehog will need to be treated.

Treatment

Many people confuse fleas with mites. Fleas are pretty uncommon in hedgehogs. Most flea treatments are dangerous for hedgehogs, so avoid trying any over-the-counter flea treatments. Mites can be treated with Revolution (prescribed by a vet).

Ivermectin can be used topically/ or orally to treat hedgehogs, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you have had good results with it in the past. I do use it on rabbits, but hedgehogs are smaller making it harder to get the dosage correct and you will need to administer 3 doses at 2 week intervals. I have also heard of cases of hedgehogs dying from Ivermectin, possibly from overdosing or  fatal injections. Revolution clears it up in just one dose, so I’ll be sticking with that.

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Feeding Your Hedgehog

Thursday, July 30th, 2009 | Posted in Care Tips, Frequently Asked Questions, General Advice | 1 Comment »

cat_beyond_chicken_package-bowl

There are so many commercial foods out there. You may be confused by the selection and quality of hedgehog food. When I first did my research, I was naive and believed that if it was labeled for a hedgehog, it must be a perfect diet. I was completely wrong. Unfortunately, the hedgehog diets on the market are not well suited for hedgehogs. Since hedgehogs are a fairly new exotic pet and are even illegal in many states, many animal food companies still do not have a handle on the nutritional requirements of a hedgehog. If you ask most breeders, they will give you a variety of different cat foods and hedgehog foods that they have tried. I have tried a good many of the ones labeled for hedgehogs, but I’m still most happy with the cat foods.

What do they eat?

Hedgehogs are insectivores. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be fed to your hedgehog in very small amounts from time to time, but treats should mostly consist of live insects. Other good treats would be: cooked chicken, cooked eggs and cottage cheese, to name a few. My hedgehogs have really liked Sunseed Hedgehog food as a treat, too.
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What Can I Expect From a Pet Hedgehog?

Friday, July 17th, 2009 | Posted in Care Tips, General Advice | 9 Comments »

Iggy the HedgehogI’m sure you have decided that they are just absolutely adorable, but what kind of pets do they make? Hedgehogs are not a perfect pet for just anyone. But, they are a wonderfully unique choice.

Hedgehogs are mostly nocturnal, which means they sleep much of the day and are most active in the evening through morning. If you are planning to provide your hedgehog with a wheel and keep him in your bedroom, you might not get much sleep!

Can I pet my hedgehog like a dog or cat? Well, obviously no, but they do enjoy a little petting on their soft underbelly. Baby hedgehog quills are very pointy and can break the skin. I actually get a tiny allergic reaction to the baby hedgehog quills, but nothing that bothers me. It just gets a little bit red and itchy. Once the duller adult quills come in, you shouldn’t have those troubles. Young children may have trouble trying to hold hedgehogs due to their quills. For this and many other reason, hedgehogs are best in a home without young children.

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