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Accessories

Exercise Wheel
Hedgehogs are foragers and often walk 1-7 miles each night.  Exercise wheels provide hedgehogs with a way to satisfy their natural need to walk.
Wheels also aid in maintaining a healthy weight and can help to alleviate stress and anxiety.

FACT:  Nearly all hedgehogs will poop on their wheel as they run.  In most cases, wheel cleaning is needed daily.  Many hedgehog owners place a litter pan under the wheel.

NOTE:  Do not apply sandpaper to the surface of the wheel.  This can severely injure a hedgehog's feet.

The wheel should have a solid running surface, no wire mesh.  Some examples of acceptable wheels are:  Click an image for details on each

Hide / House / Hut
Having a hide is important to hedgehogs.  It provides hedgehogs with a place of their own where they feel a sense of safety and security.  Whether it is a snuggle sack, igloo style, or something you make yourself, it should be 100% washable material.
Wood is not recommended as it allows fungal and/or bacterial growth and cannot be properly cleaned.
Plastic is ideal as it can be bleached.  Fabric is suitable as it can be washed in hot water and some can be washed with bleach.  Hides should be sanitized at least weekly and more often if needed.  It is important to wash snuggle sacks to remove dead skin debris and any loose fibers.
Check hedgehog feet regularly to ensure that snuggle sacks do not shed fibers (human hair is also problematic) that can become wound around legs, feet, and toes and cut off circulation.
The hide should be large enough for the hedgehog to enter and turn around with ease.  If the hedgehog cannot exit the hide, they will be unable to access food and water.  Hides that are 12 inches or more in diameter are generally adequate.

Food Bowl
The kibble bowl should be somewhat shallow and heavy.  Ceramic, Pyrex glass, crocks, etc. tend to be ideal.  Hedgehogs are burrowers and may try to burrow under their kibble bowl, and end up flipping it.  This is especially frustrating when you've just filled the bowl but it is just something that is in their nature.  The bowl should be washed and thoroughly dried daily to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.

Insect Bowl
Many breeders recommend that you have a bowl specifically for insects.  This bowl should differ greatly from the kibble bowl because hedgehogs can distinguish the difference between the bowls and will typically make a mad dash to the insect bowl and consume their insects more quickly.  This should be washed and thoroughly dried with each use to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.

Water Bowls vs Water Bottles
This has been a much-debated topic among hedgehog breeders for many years.
Some breeders will only use water bowls and insist that nozzles of water bottles can chip teeth and even entrap a hedgehog's tongue.
Some breeders will only use water bottles and say that they have never had a single issue and bottles are the only way to provide clean water at all times.

Whether you choose a bottle or bowl here are a few things to keep in mind:

Water Bottles with a standard nozzle

  • Water bottles should have a gravity-fed nozzle rather than spring-loaded.  To check if a nozzle is gravity fed, tip it and the ball should roll freely up into the nozzle.  If it does not, it is spring-loaded and you should not use it for your hedgehog.
  • Water bottles need to be properly cleaned, with hot soapy water, and thoroughly rinsed before the first use.
  • Water bottles need to be disinfected, especially the nozzle, at least once a week to remove any bacteria.
  • Wide mouth bottles are easier to clean as they allow for the use of a bottle brush.

​FACT:  Some hedgehogs will bite the nozzle while drinking.  This could result in tooth damage if they bite aggressively enough.

Water bottles with a poultry nipple

  • Water bottles need to be properly cleaned, with hot soapy water, and thoroughly rinsed before the first use.
  • Water bottles need to be disinfected, especially the nozzle, at least once a week to remove any bacteria.
  • Wide mouth bottles are easier to clean as they allow for the use of a bottle brush.
  • Many hedgehogs have to be repeatedly shown how to use these if they have never used one.

​Bowls

  • Water bowls should be heavy and shallow enough for the hedgehog to drink.
  • Bowls should be checked every few hours to ensure the availability of clean water at all times.
  • Water bowls need to be disinfected daily to remove any bacteria.
  • Bowls need to be large enough to contain at least 1/2 cup of water but not so large as to allow the hedgehog to climb into the bowl.

FACT:  If given a water bowl many hedgehogs either dump it, fill it with bedding, or defecate in it.  This leaves them with no access to clean water.

Litter Pan
Many hedgehogs can develop a habit of using a litter pan.  Some hedgehogs pick one spot to "go" and tend to stick with it.  You can often place a litter pan with pelleted litter (pine or paper) in the area and coax them to use it.  Clay litter is NOT recommended.  An ideal sized litter pan would be 8" X 8", 6" X 9", or similar, and 2"-3" deep.  Keep in mind that the pelleted litter expands greatly when it gets wet so never fill the pan more than half full.  You need only to fully cover the bottom.
If you find that your hedgehog is reluctant to use the litter pan, you can use a paper towel to pick up the poop and place it in the litter pan.  This trick sometimes works but there are some hedgehogs that are just plain stubborn.

Toys
Hedgehogs are all unique when it comes to personality.  Some will play with toys, some will not.  Some are attracted to toys that make noise.  Some will give chase to toys that roll.  Owners have to experiment to see what their hedgehog will show interest in ... and some never show interest in any toy.
To ensure that toys are safe you need to consider a few simple things.

  • Is this a scented toy?  If yes, it is best to not offer it to your hedgehog.
  • Do the materials contain chemicals that could be toxic?  If the label says no chemicals but it has a chemical smell it is best not to offer it to your hedgehog.
  • Is there a chance that the hedgehog could get their mouth or feet stuck in it?  Hedgehogs have been known to get their mouths stuck on cage-style cat balls.
  • Would it be possible for the hedgehog to tear a part off and ingest it?  In addition to a choking hazard, it could cause toxicity or blockage requiring immediate vet care.

Some hedgehogs like dig boxes (containers filled with rocks and/or various toys) because the items in the box make noise when they dig through them.  Some hedgehogs seem to like a variety of textures.  Keep in mind that they may urinate or defecate while in the dig box and you will need to sanitize it.

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