Q:

How do you care for a hedgehog?

A:

Quick Answer

Buy a flat-bottom cage that is at least 4 square feet. Buy the largest cage you can fit in your home. Make sure the cage has plenty of ventilation and lighting, without being exposed to excessive direct sunlight, and that the walls are high enough to prevent escape.

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Full Answer

Place a cloth cage liner at the bottom of the cage, ideally fleece, flannel or corduroy. Change the liner on a daily basis. Provide a heavy food bowl that is no higher than 3 inches, and no wider than 6 inches. Make sure there is always clean water available in a bowl. Add places for the hedgehog to hide, such as additional bedding, hiding logs or commercial toys. Provide small pieces of fabric for nesting, and a small litter box with shredded paper towels as litter. Give the hedgehog an exercise wheel that is at least 12 inches in diameter.

Hedgehogs may require supplemental heating in cool areas. Hibernation can kill the animal, so keep the temperature above 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Feed the hedgehog dry, low-fat cat formula, and provide additional nutrition with foods such as mealworms, crickets, fruits, vegetables or meat. Be sure any food products are cooked. Give a new hedgehog at least one day of privacy to adjust to its new surroundings, and only hold it briefly until it becomes comfortable.

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