African Pygmy Hedgehogs

African Pygmy HedgehogsAfrican 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.

To view our range of Pygmy hedgehog cages, just click on the button below, or read on for some useful information and tips on providing a suitable home environment.

African Pygmy Hedgehog Cage with Perspex front

Minimum Cage Size for African Pygmy Hedgehogs

Pygmy hedgehogs are solitary animals, and must be housed in separate enclosures.  They are nocturnal and can often roam for up to 3 miles a night in the wild, so they need as large a home as possible.  The recommended minimum size is 3 feet x 2 feet (90cm x 60cm) but most breeders will recommend a 4 foot x 2 foot (120cm x 60cm) home for an adult hedgehog.  Make sure you choose a home that consists of a single level, with no exposed platforms or ladders as hedgehogs are not nimble at climbing and can easily break a leg.

Our 120cm x 60cm African Pygmy Hedgehog Cage with Perspex front provides 8 square feet of space.  The Perspex front helps retain heat and keep your hedgehog warm (see Temperature below), and it also provides an enhanced view of your pet.  It will also prevent your hedgehog from climbing a mesh front, and potentially hurting themselves.

 

Temperature

African Pygmy hedgehogs are sensitive to cold, and require a constant temperature at all times.  Depending on the room temperature in your house, a heat source may be required to keep the temperature constant throughout the day and night.  A thermometer should be placed within the cage, but out of reach of your pet, so you can monitor the temperature and make sure it remains constant.

There are many heating options, but our advice would be to use the following equipment when using one of our Perspex-fronted Pet Homes.

  1. A ceramic heat emitter (CHE) with a lamp holder bracket that can be screwed securely to the walls as shown in the photo below.  The actual wattage of the heat emitter will depend on the normal room temperature in your house.  A pet shop (local or online) that specialises in exotic pets should be able to help you buy the appropriate heating equipment.
  2. A thermostat will also be essential for regulating the temperature. There are lots of different types of thermostats available, so make sure you get one that works with your chosen heat emitter.

Ceramic Heat Emitter (CHE) with Lamp Holder Bracket

Ceramic Lamp Holder Bracket

Substrate / Bedding for Pygmy Hedgehogs

120cm Hedgehog & Guinea Pig Home with Substrate BeddingWood 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 regular 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, you can replace any part of his home using our Replacement Parts Service.


120cm Replacement Drawer Base

Nesting

Your hedgehog will need a comfortable nesting box to hide in, and sleep, during the day.  The house will need to be of a similar size used for a guinea-pig once he reaches adulthood.Little Hedgehog House

Our Little House for Pigs & Hogs with it’s slanting roof is sized for pygmy hedgehogs to keep them cosy and warm.

 

Exercise

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 Trixie Exercise Wheelyou 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.

 

Other Toys

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.