African Pygmy Hedgehog Care Sheet

Home Sweet Home

The easiest off-the-shelf solution for hog housing is buying a plastic pet cage, the kind used mainly for indoor rabbits and guinea-pigs. Most keepers choosing this sort of cage go for a “Zoozone 2” available in pet shops, online and on Ebay. With smooth plastic floors, sides and a metal top grill to allow for adequate ventilation, they are an ideal choice.

Zoo Zone 2 (Large Size)

Currently they cost around £45-£49 to buy.

Hedgehogs will also require a “house” of some kind, where they will spend their time sleeping during the day. Many different types are available including plastic igloo style houses, wooden bridges or houses or fleece pouches which are proving popular with owners because they are easy to wash, are re-usable and make handling and snuggle time with hogs easier. If not using a fleece pouch, some form of bedding will need to be supplied such as shredded newspaper for them to snuggle into.

Hedgehog Fleece Pouch

The floor of the cage must be covered in some kind of substrate; again many different options are available. Whatever you choose ensure it is dust free. Newspaper is an inexpensive option but will require a complete change daily. Wood shavings can also be used. Finacard is shredded cardboard which is totally dust free and is quite an economical solution.

Finacard - click to find out more!

Provide a litter tray for your hog. A rectangular kitten size tray is best. Again this can be lined with newspaper, kitchen roll, shavings or Finacard. Cat litter should not be used as it can clump and stick to your hog’s bottom.

Toys are an important part of your hedgehog’s home. An exercise wheel is essential – in the wild hogs can run up to 5 miles every night! The best kind, favoured by most APH owners, is the Silent Spinner pictured below. These can be expensive but can be found on Ebay for around £16.

Silent Spinner Wheel (Large Size 12")

Other toys will provide your hog with plenty to do such as plastic or cardboard tunnels, small cuddly toys or cat play balls. Toilet roll tubes can be used, but they must be cut down the middle first to stop your hog getting stuck!

Finally, your hedgehog’s home should be kept at a constant temperature of 22 degrees Celsius. They like to be warm! As a rule of thumb if you feel ok in a t-shirt it will be warm enough for them too. Ensure that even through the night the temperature will be maintained. We use a thermostatically controlled electric heater.

 What’s on the Menu?

African Pygmy Hedgehogs are usually fed on a staple diet of cat biscuits, supplemented with cooked meats, vegetables, fruit and mealworms. When choosing cat biscuits it is important to find one with 30% protein and 10% fat. Most owners feed a combination of different brands to provide a bit of variety for the hogs. (Please note only feed poultry / chicken flavoured biscuits.) Currently we are using a mix of Go-Cat and Whiskas Chicken. This should always be available in your hog’s cage.

Whiskas Adult with Chicken

Chicken and mince should be given as a supplement. Scrambled egg, without milk, can also be given. Nothing should be added to these when cooking. Most fruits and vegetables can be offered as treats such as banana, apple, strawberry and melon. Grapes or raisins should never be given as they can cause liver failure. Supplements can be offered three times per week in addition to cat biscuits.

Mealworms are commonly fed as a treat to encourage bonding and as a reward. Dried worms or live worms can be fed. However, due to their high fat content only a few should be given per day.

Mealworms

Fresh water should be available at all times. An earthenware, or ceramic, bowl is ideal to prevent spillages and tipping. Water bottles should not be used as they can damage teeth.

Playtime

It is essential to spend at least an hour a day with your hedgehog in order for them to become, and remain, tame. Simply having your hog on your lap while you watch TV or work on the computer in a pouch or on a fleece blanket will help with bonding. In time your hog will become accustomed to your smell and will feel brave enough to explore and begin interacting with you. Lots of hints and tips on handling can be found on the African Pygmy Hedgehog forum. Patience and perseverance is the key to successful bonding with your hoglet!

Wishing you lots of fun and happy times with your new hoglet!

Playtime in the Paddling Pool

Please remember to email info@hebhogs.co.uk if you have any further queries or questions.

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