Hedgehog Shopping List

Below is the Shopping List of items that we recommend buying for your hedgehog:

These items can be purchased at stores other than the ones listed, but we have found these stores to have the best prices and are found in the most areas in the United States.

Required Items:

You do not need the exact items listed below, but something comparable is required to properly house and care for a hedgehog.

Cage Options ~

There are several options for cages depending on the situation (single or multiple hedgehogs per cage) and your budget and needs.

Large Super Pets Cage

Large Super Pets Cage

Large Wire Cage – This is the largest of the Super Pets brand cages. It is sold at PetSmart and many other pet stores. The cage is 40.5″ long and is the cage that we recommend the most if your budget and space allows. As you can see in the picture to the left there is plenty of room for a hide house, food dish, and exercise wheel. This gives a single hedgehog plenty of room for exercise and to have a separate potty area. If you intend to house 2 females together, this would be the size you would need. Any smaller would be too small!

Medium Super Pets Cage

Medium Super Pets Cage

Medium Wire Cage – This is another cage option – the Medium Super Pets brand cage and is 30″ long. This is a good size for a single hedgehog, although if your budget and space allows we recommend the larger cage shown above. It is also sold by PetSmart and many other pet stores. As you can see in the picture to the right, this cage has room for a wheel and all the other necessary items, but would be too small for more than one hedgehog.

Sterilite Container-Clear

Sterilite Container-Clear

Storage Container Cage – If a wire cage is out of your price range or you just want something that is super easy to clean then a good alternative is a Sterilite or Rubbermaid type of storage container (clear or solid is fine). The size needed is at least 30″ long and at least 13″ deep if a lid is needed to accommodate an exercise wheel. To give proper ventilation the top may be cut out and window screen hot glued to fit the opening. But the lid may be left off completely as long as the container is deep enough to prevent the hedgehog from climbing out (with a hiding house inside that depth would need to be at least 10″ above the height of the house). Also, if you own cats, dogs, small children, or other pets that are allowed to roam the house then a lid would be needed. DO NOT DRILL HOLES IN THE SIDE OF THE CONTAINER EVEN IF YOU NEED A LID BECAUSE A HEDGEHOG WILL USE THE HOLES AS A LADDAR AND CAN EVEN PUSH A LID OFF TO ESCAPE.

Items Required for Inside the Cage ~

Medium Sized Igloo

Medium Sized Igloo

Hiding Place – The product pictured is the “Super Pet Igloo” and is sold at PetSmart and many other pet stores. This is the medium sized one that would fit an adult guinea pig. Do not buy the smaller ones that are for hamsters – a hedgehog may fit in the small size as a baby, but will quickly out grow it. There is also an oval or rabbit sized one that they will fit into, but we have found that hedgehogs do not like this size because it is too spacious and does not give that closed-in feeling that they prefer (and the cage must be larger for it to fit into). Another very inexpensive option would be just to use a shoe box without the lid, turned upside down, and with a hole cut in the side for the hedgehog to enter. You just need to change it out every month or so as it becomes dirty.

 

16 oz Water Bottle

16 oz Water Bottle

8 oz Oazis Bell Water Bottle with Holder

8 oz Oazis Bell Water Bottle with Holder

Water Bottle – The one pictured to the left is a 16 oz “Guinea Pig” size that can be bought at PetSmart. We use the largest size (32 oz rabbit size) for our cages with mothers and litters since they will drink a lot more than a single hedgehog. A smaller 8 oz size would be fine for one hedgehog. We like bottles that are fairly see-through so that the water level and the cleanliness of the bottle can be seen easily. When using water bottles always remember to tighten the lid adequately to prevent dripping which would saturate the bedding. Also, make sure that the “ball” rolls easily to the tip of the nozzle or the hedgehog will not be able to get water easily – tap the tip while it is hanging in the cage to make sure water drips out easily. The Oasis brand “8 oz Bell” water bottle pictured to the left can be bought with a metal hanger that is a good choice if you plan to use a plastic storage container for a cage. Make sure to get the 8 oz size since the 4 oz is shorter and won’t be long enough to hang at the proper height for a hedgehog to reach.

We have owned and bred hundreds of hedgehogs over the years and have never had one break their teeth on a water bottle as some other breeders suggest can happen. These breeders recommend using water dishes. If you use a water dish it must be cleaned and refilled more than 3 times during the night since they are so active and will walk right through their dishes tracking droppings or bedding into the dish which contaminates the water. The chances of the dish being spilled early in the night and the hedgehog having no water the rest of the night are also very high. We do not recommend using water dishes at all!

Stoneware Pet Bowl

Stoneware Pet Bowl

Crock Style Food Dish

Crock Style Food Dish

Food Dish – The one pictured to the left with the hedgehog is 2″ tall and 4″ wide. It was bought at PetSmart and similar ones can be found in the small animal section or the cat sections of the store. The food dish does need to be heavy enough to prevent the hedgehog from repeatedly tipping it and wasting their food. If the dish is too deep the hedgehog can not reach the food. We have found that all plastic types of food dishes are too easily tipped and food is wasted, so it is best to start with a heavy crock type dish from the start Also, don’t use ones that are smaller than 3″ in diameter because those can be tipped too easily as well.

Comfort Wheel

Comfort Wheel

Exercise Wheel – The one pictured to the right is a brand called the “Comfort Wheel”. PetSmart sells this brand, as well as, many other pet stores. They come in an assortment of colors and sizes. The size needed for hedgehogs is 12 inches or larger in diameter and can be found in the chinchilla section at PetSmart. Many people mistakenly buy the smaller, hamster sized ones which are much too small for an adult hedgehog. We like this brand because it has a raised grooved surface, are easy to clean, and do not warp like the bucket wheels do. They also do not squeak like an all metal wheel will, although, they do make a “whoring” sound similar to a clothes drier…It can be disruptive to light sleepers and for that reason we do not recommend housing a hedgehog in a bedroom since they are nocturnal and like to run the most at night. Our second favorite wheel would be the “Silent Spinner”. It is not any quieter than the “Comfort Wheel” and is harder to take out of the cage since the hardware must be unscrewed every time. And the curved design makes it a little harder to clean. The other wheel that is on the market now is the “Flying Saucer” wheel and is supposed to be silent. We have found that it is too stiff and does not “run” well for a hedgehog. A larger, stronger animal like a chinchilla would be better suited for it (although it is plastic and would be chewed up in a matter of a week by a chinchilla). Also, the wheel can not be attached to the cage so it moves around the cage too much while the hedgehog is trying to run on it and can be flipped over very easily. Our hedgehogs that run non-stop on their Comfort Wheels gave up within minutes trying to use it. We also have concerns that prolonged use of this wheel could cause leg problems due to the angle that the wheel is positioned. This wheel also takes up a lot of cage floor space, so it not the best option unless you are getting the 40 inch cage for one hedgehog. We do not recommend the “Bucket Wheels” since they are very hard to clean and provide no gripping surface for the hedgehog to run on. Out of the hundreds of hedgehogs we have owned we have never had any rub their feet raw on the “Comfort Wheel’s” raised, grooved surface, but we have had several hedgehogs develop leg problems from not being able to run well on the Bucket Wheels. We also feel that the “Comfort Wheel” is very safe for hedgehogs and can easily be taken off the stand and fastened to a wire cage with the clips that come with the wheel. It also can easily be attached to a Plastic Container cage with some modifications made to the side of the container.

Kiln Dried Pine Shavings

Kiln Dried Pine Shavings

Bedding – We have been using kiln dried wood/pine shavings for many years with no problems (NOT CEDAR!). But there are many other good options for bedding. Some of those options include, recycled newspaper products, such as CareFresh and Yesterday’s News’. Aspen shavings are also another good wood product choice and it does not need to be kiln dried.  We buy our pine shavings from Tractor Supply (pictured to the left) and it is Kiln Dried even though it does not say it on the bag – Walmart’s similar bag is not Kiln Dried, so I would not recommend buying from there.

Digital Thermometer with High/Low Recorded Each Day

Digital Thermometer with High/Low Recorded Each Day

Thermometer – A thermometer should ALWAYS be used to keep track of the temperature near your hedgehog’s cage since hedgehogs are very sensitive to temperature changes. House temperatures can vary as much as 10 degrees from room to room even with central air/heating, so it is always a good idea to use a thermometer at the cage location at all times. DO NOT RELY ON YOUR HOME’S THERMOSTAT! We like the digital types that keep track of the high and low temperature for a 24 hour period of time and then reset. The one pictured to the left if from Wal-mart and is only about $9. A floating fish thermometer can be used temporarily to take a reading inside the cage where the hedgehog sleeps, but should never be left in the cage because the glass can break and mercury can spill out. A thermometer with a probe that can be run under the sleeping area so that this exact temperature is known at all times is also a good option. However, the probe and attaching wire should be securely taped to the bottom of the cage tray to prevent entanglement which does make changing the cage a little more awkward. When using additional heating sources, like heating pads or heat lamps, an additional thermometer MUST be used to make sure that the proper temperature is maintained. Even if you are using a thermostat or rheostat an additional thermometer is a must. IT IS A GOOD IDEA TO PURCHASE A THERMOMETER BEFORE YOU BRING YOUR HEDGEHOG HOME OR IF YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT GETTING ONE TO SEE IF YOUR HOME’S TEMPERATURE WILL BE COMPATIBLE FOR A HEDGEHOG! Try it in the location you are planning to keep the cage to see if this area will be warm enough or if you will need an additional heat source… I CAN NOT STRESS ENOUGH HOW IMPORTANT KEEPING THEM WARM IS TO THEIR HEALTH AND WELL-BEING! If you do need an additional heat source see the below items for different heating options.

Other Required Items ~

Purina One - Chicken & Turkey Flavor (Adult Cat Food)

Purina One – Chicken & Turkey Flavor (Adult Cat Food)

Food – We have been feeding Purina One Adult Cat Food – Chicken & Turkey Formula as the primary diet for our hedgehogs for the past 10 or more years with excellent results. (Supplement any pre-made diet with fresh veggies and small amounts of fruit and mealworms to provide variety to the pet’s diet. See our Feeding Hedgehogs page for further information about feeding hedgehogs properly.)

 

 

Small Rubbermaid Travel Cage with Lid Closed

Small Modified Rubbermaid Travel Cage with Lid Closed

Small Rubbermaid Travel Cage

Small Modified Rubbermaid Travel Cage with Lid Off

Travel Carrier – The one pictured to the right (side-by-side photos) is a small Rubbermaid container that we drilled holes into. Hedgehogs actually feel more secure when traveling in a solid cage compared to a clear plastic one, so we don’t recommend purchasing a clear storage container for travel purposes. It is a good idea to keep something on hand at all times in case of emergency when you might need to transport your pet to a vet or anywhere else quickly. It is also handy to keep something around to put your pet into while cleaning the cage. A large shoe box with air holes punched into it will work just fine as well, but don’t forget the lid – even a baby hedgehog can climb out of a shoe box. If driving alone or for an extended period of time it is recommend to use a large rubber band or string to secure the lid to prevent an escape in the car which could end up being traumatic for both hedgehog and new owner.

Airline Approved Pet Carrier - X-Small Size

Airline Approved Pet Carrier – X-Small Size

Soft Sided Travel Pet Carrier
Soft Sided Travel Pet Carrier

Also, cat carriers or other small animal carriers that most pet stores sell will work great, too. And don’t forget to line the travel cage with bedding of some kind. Hedgehogs especially like fleece fabric to snuggle into and this is a safe thing to use since there are no strings to get their feet or toes caught in. Shavings can be used, but often make a mess in the car. Other things like shredded newspaper (not too shredded, though) and layers of paper towels will work nicely as well. To help them adjust to your smell it is nice to add a T-shirt that you have recently lightly worn to their travel cage.

But remember NOT to leave them unattended with any fabric that has stitching of any kind to prevent entanglement of the legs!

Leather Gloves

Leather Gloves

Leather Gloves – Because almost all hedgehogs will put up their spines when you first wake them up, we recommend picking them up at first with leather gloves or anytime that they have their spines up. Please see the Handling Hedgehogs page for more information about wearing gloves. We recommend suede leather over any other type of gloves. The ones pictured to the right are sold at Lowe’s year round and Wal-mart during the warmer months and are washable. Lowe’s also usually sells them in children’s sizes.

Toe Nail Clippers

Toe Nail Clippers

Toe Nail Clippers – Hedgehogs need their nails trimmed about 2 – 3 times a year. We like to use large human toe nail clippers instead of any type of clippers made for animals. The ones pictured to the left (bought at Wal-Mart) are very large and have a rubber coating making them very easy to use.

 

 

 

Required Items for Keeping your Hedgehog Warm ~

Heat Lamp Fixture with Ceramic Socket

Heat Lamp Fixture with Ceramic Socket

Heat Lamp Fixture – If your home does not stay about 72 degrees at all times and you do not want to use a space heater to heat the room the hedgehog is kept in, then we recommend using a heat lamp over the cage. You need a fixture pictured to the left and a bulb like the ones shown below in combination. The fixture must be bought at a pet store to make sure that is rated to be left on all the time. A reptile/pet rated heat lamp fixture will have a ceramic socket that will prevent it from starting a fire. DO NOT RISK USING A CHEAPER TYPE WITH A PLASTIC SOCKET THAT COULD CATCH FIRE! Also, make sure that the fixture is rated to handle the correct amount of wattage for the bulb that is needed. The one pictured to the left can be purchased at PetSmart in the reptile section.

Ceramic Heat Emitter

Ceramic Heat Emitter

Ceramic Heat Emitter – Instead of using a light bulb in the Heat Lamp Fixture shown above, we recommend using a Ceramic Heat Emitter. They cost more initially than a light bulb, but will last much longer (bulbs often must be changed every month or two and the heat emitter can last more than a year or two). Ceramic Heat Emitters do not put out any light, only heat, unlike a light bulb. Since hedgehogs need heat 24 hours a day and especially at night in most homes, using a light bulb would prevent them coming out and running on their wheels or exploring as much as they normally would if the room were dark at night. This can cause a hedgehog to become overweight quickly. If you do use a light bulb, at least use a red bulb. And if you do use a light bulb it must be an incandescent or halogen type bulb and not the newer, energy-saving Compact Florescent bulbs which don’t put out much heat.

Ceramic Heat Emitters come in different wattages like a light bulb, so the wattage needed in your home will depend on how much you need to raise the temperature. We recommend buying the heat emitter at a local store and keeping the packaging and receipt so it can be exchanged if the wattage needs to be different. Remember to use a thermometer to monitor the heat at all times.

Thermostat for Heat Source

Thermostat for Heat Source

Remote Sensor Thermostat – To keep the temperature more consistent a thermostat can be used. It will turn on and off at the set temperature – a separate thermometer is still necessary to monitor the actual temperature. However, if the wattage is too low on the heat source then it will stay on all the time. Hedgehogs are comfortable up to 82 degrees, so it is better to go a little warmer than not warm enough. It can be used with the Heat Lamp above and the Heating Pad shown below.

Small Animal Heating Pad

Small Animal Heating Pad

Small Animal (Mammal) Heating Pad – The 25-watt 9″ x 12″ heated pad can be used inside the hedgehog’s cage or under it depending on how cold your house is kept. The pad is durable and easy to clean and comes with a 5’6″ cord with steel chew-guard. It is not normally sold in PetSmart store and is not on their website consistently, but you can find them on Amazon and other website. We prefer the pad be placed under the cage, but the weight of the cage should NOT sit on the pad or it can start a fire. Slats of wood or books can be placed under the cage to elevate it so the pad can be slid under the cage.

This pad should only be used if the temperature needs to be brought up a couple of degrees above 72. If the temperature is below 72 degrees or needs to be brought up more than that, then another heating method should be used as described above or on the Hedgehog & Temperature page of this website.

NEVER use a reptile heating pad under or in a cage with a plastic bottom. Reptile heating pads get much hotter than mammal heating pads and can melt a plastic cage. Please read all the safety warnings and directions of any added heat source you buy for your hedgehog.

Fleece Material
Fleece Material

Fleece Material to add to a Hiding Place – We recommend buying a yard of fleece material from a fabric store and then cutting it into 12 inch squares. Put one or two pieces of the fleece in the hiding place. This will help keep your hedgehog warm and helps him/her feel extra safe and secure. Do NOT use any type of material or stuff sack that has any stitching of any kind in the cage while the hedgehog is not being directly supervised. This is due to the risk of their legs becoming tangled in lose strings which often results in the amputation of the limb (we hear far too many sad stories of this happening every year for us to not give this warning).

Optional Items:

These items are not required to care for a hedgehog, but are nice to have.

Sleep Sack

Sleep Sack

Sleep Sack – This a great place for a hedgehog to hang out while you hold them to watch TV, etc. But never leave cloth materials that have been stitched with any sort of thread/string inside the hedgehog’s cage since their little legs can easily become entangled in loose threads resulting in circulation being cut off and amputation of the limb may be necessary. A towel can also be used while holding your pet to provide a safe feeling place for them to take a nap while you hold them. Listed below are 2 websites you can order them from directly since we do not sell them here at  Tranquills Sleep Sacks or Cozy Quills, but there are many other websites that sell them as well.

Small Animal Playpen

Small Animal Playpen

Example of a Playpen Set-up

Example of a Playpen Set-up

Small Animal Play Pen – A secure way to let your hedgehog explore and get some exercise. Having a play pen is especially good if there are younger children in the household who would be better off just watching the hedgehog scurry around rather than actually handle them. A play pen can be set up on the floor temporarily and folded up to store out of the way when not in use. Or it can be setup more permanently in a corner of the room or on a table or desk top, but it should be secured to the table, so that the hedgehog does not push the sides over the edge and then fall off the table through the opening. We also recommend putting a plastic liner under the area to protect the floor and make cleaning up easier. A folded shower curtain works great for this purpose. We also put a piece of fleece that can be washed over the plastic to help the hedgehog walk easier than on plastic or a slick floor. There are many different kinds of playpens on the market. Make sure the one you purchase has vertical bars most of the way up to prevent climbing. Some brands have many horizontal bars all the way up which would be a perfect ladder for an adventurous little hedgehog to climb out of.

PVC Tube

PVC Tube

PVC Tube – Another option for housing or to use in a play area. We do not use these in our cages since the hedgehogs seem to prefer the igloos when both are put in the cage. But they like to crawl through them while in the play area. It also can be more difficult to pick up a nervous hedgehog out of the tube without just “dumping” him out causing him to become more upset obviously.

Cat Toys

Cat Toys

Cat Toys – The toys with bells inside are fun for hedgehogs to push around, but they don’t usually use them for long, so save them for special play time instead of leaving them in the cage. Toys with holes or slits in them should never be left inside the hedgehog’s cage or anytime the hedgehog is not directly being supervised by an adult. Their legs or jaws can become caught in them resulting quickly in their circulation being cut off and amputation of the limb or surgery to repair damage may be needed. There are some solid balls and other types of toys that would be suitable to leave inside the cage, just be sure to examine anything you leave inside the cage carefully for durability and small parts that could be a choking hazard as well.

Digital Food Scale

Digital Food Scale

Digital Food Scale – A Digital Food Scale can be helpful to keep track of a hedgehog’s weight as they grow and to determine if an adult hedgehog is loosing or gaining weight. Try to find a scale that measures in grams since this is the more accurate way for small animals like hedgehogs to be weighed. When weighing a hedgehog on a scale it is easiest to put them in a lightweight, plastic mixing bowl. Place the bowl on the scale and then hit reset, so the scale is not registering the weight of the bowl before you place the hedgehog inside the bowl on the scale.

Soft Cat Brush

Soft Cat Brush

Soft Cat Brush – A soft cat brush is a good thing to have to bath the hedgehog or to brush them to get shavings out of their spines. With a young baby that is quilling and is still losing many of its baby sized spines, using a cat brush will help keep most of the spines from ending up on your floor and eventually pricking your feet. When you first get the baby hedgehog out of the cage, hold him/her over a trash can, sink, or even its cage and use the brush to help loosen as many of the baby spines that are ready to come out. An old toothbrush can also be used in place of purchasing a cat brush.

 

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