Once you’ve begun to prepare for your new hedgehog, it’s time to learn how to take care of him! In this section, we’ll discuss all of the areas of hedgehog care, including diet and food, cleaning, and play and exercise.
Hedgehogs are quite sensitive to temperature, certain foods, and even smells. Because of their sensitivities, it’s important to become familiar with the right foods and diet for your hedgehog, as well as proper bathing, cleanliness, and care techniques.
Hedgehog Food and Diet
Hedgehogs are insectivores, and in the wild, their diet is composed primarily of insects (thought they aren’t too picky and will each plenty of other foods). Luckily, domesticated hedgehogs do not rely on a diet of insects. Instead, the majority of their diet typically consists of 1-2 tablespoons of cat food per day!
Hedgehogs do like to eat different foods for snacks to bring some variety into their diet, but also have several dietary restrictions that you should be aware to avoid giving them foods that may harm them. To learn more about proper hedgehog diets, click here.
Bath and Grooming
While hedgehogs do not to be bathed frequently, they do not a bath when they become dirty, typically once a month or less. Fortunately, hedgehogs are very good swimmers and typical enjoy their bath time.
They do have sensitive skin, so we’ve outlined the best ways to bathe your pet hedgehog as well as the highly recommended shampoo options on our hedgehog bath and grooming page, here.
Another topic we cover on the grooming page is nail clipping. It’s important to clip your hedgie’s nails about once every two weeks so that they don’t get caught on any fabrics or materials and injure the hedgehog.
Hedgehog Cage Cleaning
It’s important to keep your hedgehog’s cage clean to eliminate the germs from their living area and to keep them from becoming too dirty. It’s recommended that you spot clean his “business” from his cage daily, and that you do a full clean and replacement of his cage liner, shavings, and blankets once per week.
Learn more about the best ways to clean your hedgehog’s cage, here.
Play and Exercise
Hedgehogs can become obese quite easily, so one important aspect of taking caring for a pet hedgehog is ensuring that he gets the proper amount of exercise and play.
The best way to make sure your hedgie gets enough exercise is to get him a small animal exercise wheel for inside his cage. Many hedgehogs will run miles a day on their wheels, keeping them healthy while having some fun.
You should take your hedgehog out of his cage for about a half hour or more per day to allow him to socialize, relax with you, or get some extra exercise.
For more tips on play and exercise for your hedgie, click here.
Hedgehog Care for Different Personality Types
As you become more comfortable with caring for a pet hedgehog, you will begin to become familiar with your hedgehog’s personality and temperament.
In our article about hedgehogs as pets, you can read about the different hedgehog personalities. You’ll find out that hedgehogs can be very different; some are social, while some are generally grumpy, etc. The amount of care you’ll have to provide for your hedgehog depends a lot on their personality, because grumpy or antisocial hedgehogs prefer to less socialization than the more energetic or friendly hedgehogs.
Some hedgehogs love to explore outside their cage, which is great as long as you make sure to keep a close eye on him! Other hedgehogs are very cuddly and will enjoy spending their play time cozy on your lap.
Some hedgehogs can be quite grumpy and would much prefer to be left alone inside their cage. In this case, try your best to get your hedgehog accustomed to you and being taken out of his cage, but don’t force him to be too social if he appears uncomfortable.