Hedgehog care can be as simple or as complicated as you make it, but they do have very specific and predominant needs that you should commit yourself to before imprisoning him in your home. He is a very active and playful creature, with nutritional, emotional, and territorial needs that must be met in order to fulfill his full life expectancy of 4 to 7 years in a happy and healthy way. His needs in captivity will be a little bit different from those that he forages for in the wild, and understanding this aspect of hedgehog care will make life for the both of you much more pleasant and enjoyable. Some of the things that you can do to make him happy may surprise you, but he will thank you for them greatly.
The first and most important step to proper hedgehog care will be to find a cage and play area that is suitable to his larger than life personality. The hedgehog is very vocally expressive, and having him purr with glee or happy curiosity is one of the most fulfilling and pride swelling things that you can hear, but you must be sure that he stays safe, entertained, and stimulated by what’s in his home environment. Of course, he will not get the exercise that he would in the wild, so giving him plenty to explore and play with will help him to keep true to his instincts.
He will need a nesting or sleeping cage, preferable one which opens p into a boxed in foraging and entertainment area. You can use a medium sized pet taxi for this, and place it inside of an empty child’s play pool or a wooden box enclosure. Use aspen or non wood shavings as comfortable bedding material, but never cedar or standard pine, as he is prone to respiratory ailments and these strong oils could perpetuate this condition. A hamster wheel, large pvc piping, and overturned boxes with holes cut in them are great tools for proper hedgehog care and comfort. He will play and sleep beneath and between these things, much as he does with roots, logs, and rocks in the wild. He is nocturnal, so be sure that you watch him during the late evening and early morning hours for some hardy laughs.
Hedgehog care when it comes to feeding time is a matter of some confusion for some, but you don’t have to worry too much about it. Insects are the hedgehogs first and most valuable source in the wild, but they are loaded with fat, and as such should be kept to a minimum for captive and less active hedgehogs. Offer him a couple of live crickets or grubs twice per week as a special treat, and use a high quality, high protein kitten food for his daily nutritional needs. Fruits can be offered sparingly, as well as a shallow pan for water.
For tips on agama lizards, a dutch hound and other information, visit the Interesting Animals website.