Hedgehog Care: Housing and Feeding

Adding a hedgehog to the family? Here’s what you need to know about housing and feeding your prickly new friend.

When it comes to cages, the bigger the better. Your hedgehog needs a minimum of two to three square feet of floor space. You can use just about anything for a cage — wire cage, aquarium, plastic cage, or even a plastic storage bin — provided there is enough ventilation. Wire floors and walls can cause problems if the spacing is too big, allowing your hedgehog to escape.

You can line the cage floor partially or totally with outdoor carpeting. For bedding, wood shavings are a good choice — just avoid cedar shavings, as they can cause health problems. Your hedgehog will appreciate an enclosure; you can make one from a small cardboard box by cutting a doorway in one side. For exercise, your hedgehog can use an open-sided wheel. If you have the cage space, your hedgehog may appreciate ramps to climb on.

Hedgehogs, like rabbits, tend to pick one spot to serve as bathroom. You can place a small litterbox or pan filled with litter in that bathroom area to make your clean up easier. Avoid clumping litter and litters with deodorant crystals, as they can cause health problems.

Your hedgehog can eat high quality cat food as a main diet; however, commercial hedgehog diets are also available. Hedgehog food may be easier to find online than in pet stores, for the time being. Insectivore diets are another good alternative, as a hedgehog’s natural diet is mainly insects.

Whatever you decide to feed your hedgehog as a main diet, be sure to supplement it. Variety is good for your hedgehog’s health! Crickets and mealworms are good treats. Offer fresh fruits and vegetables daily. You can also offer hardboiled eggs or baby food as treats.