African pygmy hedgehogs are gaining popularity as a pet in the UK, helped by their petite size and general cuteness. They are, however, delicate little animals, and require time and effort to take care of them properly.
Our company also make Pet Homes for Pygmy Hedgehogs. If you want to view our range, just click on the button below, or read on for some useful information and tips on providing a suitable home environment.
Minimum Cage Size for African Pygmy Hedgehogs
Pygmy hedgehogs are solitary animals, and must therefore be housed in separate enclosures. They are nocturnal and can often roam for up to 3 miles a night in the wild, so they appreciate as large a home as possible. The minimum size is 3 feet x 1.5 feet (90cm x 45cm). The cage should consist of one single level only, with no exposed platforms or ladders, as although hedgehogs will attempt to climb, they are not as nimble as hamsters, and can easily fall and break a leg.
For those of you looking for a suitable vivarium for your hedgehog, look no further! Our 120cm x 60cm African Pygmy Hedgehog Cage with Perspex front provides 8 square feet of space and is the ideal size giving your hedgehog plenty of room to run about and explore. The Perspex provides enhanced visibility of your pet, but more importantly, it helps retain heat and keep your hedgehog warm (see Temperature below). It will also prevent your hedgehog from climbing a mesh front, and potentially hurting themselves.
African Pygmy hedgehogs are sensitive to cold, and require a constant temperature of between 23 degrees Celsius and 24.4 degrees Celsius at all times. Depending on the room temperature in your house, a heat pad may be required to keep the temperature constant throughout the day and night, but should only be used on one half of the cage, so if your hedgehog gets too hot, they can move to the other side. A thermometer should be placed within the cage, but out of reach of your pet, for you to monitor the temperature and make sure it remains constant.
If using a heat pad, it should be placed underneath the base of our Hedgehog Home, with the cage elevated above the pad using a couple of wooden slats. This will ensure the pad is not in direct contact with the base of the cage, and avoid the risk of overheating, and creating a potential fire hazard. The website link below has a very good section on options for heating your hedgehog’s home, and gives good advice on using electrical heating equipment safely.
Substrate / Bedding for Pygmy Hedgehogs
Wood shavings are probably the most readily available substrate, but even dust-extracted shavings can irritate your pet’s skin and eyes. Pygmy Hedgehogs are prone to upper respiratory problems and dust will make this condition worse. Animal cardboard bedding makes a good substrate layer for a hedgehog, such as FinaCard (pictured opposite), or alternatively you can use a fleece liner.
African pygmy hedgehogs are rather messy animals, although they can be litter trained, so and you will need to clean their cage and contents on a daily basis to keep them happy and healthy. Our homes have a removable base, coated with 2 coats of clear, matt, pet-safe varnish, so this will help prevent the bottom from getting soaked and stained. If, however, your hedgehog’s home does get soiled or damaged in any way, you can replace any part of his home using our Replacement Parts Service.
Our Little House for Pigs & Hogs with it’s slanting roof is sized for pygmy hedgehogs to keep them cosy and warm.
Once your hedgehog reaches about 10-12 weeks old, he will need a large exercise wheel (around 30cm or 12″ in size), similar to the kind you can buy for hamsters, but with a solid bottom. It can be made from wood or plastic, but not mesh or wires, otherwise your hedgehog may catch his feet and risk breaking a limb.
He will also need regular time out of his enclosure to run and explore, exhibiting natural hedgehog behaviour.
To keep your African pygmy hedgehog happy, toys, such as cardboard boxes, tubes, balls, material to burrow in, should be introduced to his home for him to play with. We offer a small selection of natural wooden toys, but you can also check out your local pet shop and the internet for inspiration.