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- It is important to have a complete physical exam by your veterinarian on your new pet and then annually.
- Your veterinarian will examine the eyes, ears, teeth, heart, and lungs and will palpate the abdomen and examine the genitalia.
- A plastic bottom cage with narrow wire walls or a 30-gallon aquarium may be used with a minimum dimension of 2 feet by 3.5 feet.
- A hiding place made of PVC pipe or a wooden or cardboard box should be provided.
- Recycled newspaper bedding is the substrate of choice.
- A litter box can be offered but sand or clumping litters are not recommended because they can cause problems with the skin, urinary tract, and respiratory tract.
- Supplemental heat will probably be necessary for your hedgehog because they require a temperature range from 75 to 85 F.
- Low humidity is also important in keeping hedgehogs healthy.
- Because they are extremely active having supervised exercise is advised as well as having a solid wheel in the cage. Wheels with slates can cause foot damage/fractured legs.
Diet and Nutritional Supplements
- The majority of the diet should consist of commercially prepared hedgehog food or high protein (30-50%) moderate fat (10-20%) canned or dry dog/cat food.
- Treats can be varied including meat mixtures, hard-boiled or scrambled eggs, pinky mice, and vegetable or meat baby foods.
- Dairy products should be avoided because lactose intolerance has been reported.
- If insects are offered they should be commercially produced, gut-loaded (see cricket care guide), and dusted with a calcium supplement and be less than 5-10% of the diet.
- Water should be available at all times and changed daily. Most hedgehogs will learn to drink from sipper bottles.
Common Medical Problems
- Cancer of the mouth and other organs is quite common in hedgehogs and with early veterinary intervention, the outcome greatly improves.
- Other common problems that can be prevented in hedgehogs are external parasites