We have a new member in my family. His name is Oliver. Oliver is an African Pygmy Hedgehog. He’s about a year old and the cutest little lap cactus you will ever meet. If you are like me and Tik Tok convinced you that you need a cute little hedgehog or your kiddos are begging for one, let me share with you what I wish I knew before getting Oliver.
Where do I get my Hedgehog from?
First, while they are not hard to come by there is only ONE breeder that I found in the entire state. She is based in Ponchatoula. You can find more information on her hedgie babies here. We got Oliver from a cute little pet store in Covington. In my endless Google searches, I found that most of your “big box” pet stores will not carry hedgehogs.
What kind of enclosure does my hedgehog need?
Oliver lives in a cage similar to the one you would have for a guinea pig. The options for hedgehog enclosures are endless. Glass aquariums, connected cube storage, clear storage totes. With the proper insulation, they can all make a wonderful home for your hedgie.
What goes in their enclosure?
Bedding of course! They have small delicate feet, so you are going to want something soft for them to walk on. Oliver’s cage is lined with fleece for three-quarters of its length. The other quarter is lined with wheat pellet bedding. His wheel is also on top of this bedding. Yes, a wheel, just like a hamster. Fun Fact: Hedgehogs can run up to 7 miles a day. This is his potty area. He only goes while running and this is due to their short digestive system.
He has a food and water bowl. Oliver eats dry hedgehog food. Hedgehogs can also be fed wet or dry cat food. They do not eat a lot, about a tablespoon at a time. I prefer to free-feed Oliver, so he always has his food in there with him.
His hide is his safe place and where he sleeps during the day since hedgehogs are nocturnal. I keep small pieces of fleece in there for him to snuggle with.
The most important enclosure need is a heat source, a small animal heating pad, or a heat lamp. Hedgehogs need to stay between 75-78 degrees. If they get too cold, they could go into hibernation and potentially die.
We have only had Oliver for a few weeks, so we do not have any toys for him just yet beyond his wheel, but toy options are endless as well. Dig boxes, tunnels, small felt stuffed animals are some things we will be adding soon.
I will say this they are like cats in the respect that if they fit in a space, they are going to get in it. This is how Oliver got stuck in a hidden hole in my bathroom cabinets for half of the day one Sunday. After many tears and lots of laying on the floor trying to coax him out, he was eventually retrieved safely later that evening. I do not see them as particularly high maintenance pets in respect to cost, just one that will need your time and lots of love.
We are happy to have our new quilled baby in the family and look forward to all the new experiences he will bring.