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Basic Hedgehog Care

November 1, 2015
Are you considering adding a hedgehog to your family? These adorable critters can make wonderful pets for the right family. Learn about their basic care below from your Pickerington, OH veterinarian.

Cage

Your hedgehog’s cage will need to be big enough to provide plenty of living space and house food and water dishes, a sleeping area, and hiding spots. Of course, more than one hedgehog living in the same cage will require additional space. Also make sure the cage doesn’t have an open top, as hedgehogs are good climbers. Hedgehogs can overheat if their cage is placed in an area that receives direct sunlight. Be sure to put your hedgie’s cage in a neutral area that will remain between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bedding

Pick up a hedgehog-safe wood-shaving bedding, available at pet supply stores and some retail outlets. Most hedgehogs prefer about two inches or so of bedding lining the bottom of their cage. Ask your vet to recommend a bedding if you need help.

Diet

Hedgehogs need a high-quality pellet food to make up the bulk of their diet; these are widely available in vets’ offices, pet supply shops, and retail stores. Hedgehogs’ diets must also be supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables, crickets, mealworms, and the occasional scrap of cooked meat. For more information on hedgehogs’ dietary requirements, contact your veterinarian’s office.

Grooming

Hedgehogs take care of most of their own grooming, and shouldn’t need regular bathing or brushing of any kind. The occasional nail trim will be necessary, though, since hedgie’s nails can get too sharp and long after a while. Again, talk to your veterinarian for help and advice on clipping your hedgehog’s claws—it may be most prudent to set up regular appointments at your local pet hospital to have nail trims done by a professional.

Handling

The best way to get your hedgehog acclimated to human contact and prevent anxiety on their part is to handle them often—scoop your hedgehog up gently from under the belly when holding them. Contrary to popular belief, hedgehogs’ quills aren’t very sharp, and it’s unlikely that they’ll cause injury. Still, do your best to avoid contacting the quills directly. Before purchasing a hedgehog, do more research on the details of their personality, handling requirements, and general care. Also make sure to talk with your Pickerington, OH veterinarian to find out more about owning a hedgehog.
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