Inland Northwest Hedgehogs
African Pygmy Hedgehog Breeder
Located in Spokane, WA
Copy right Inland NW Hedgehogs
Hedgehogs are prone to obesity so their diets should be monitored carefully. Captive diets based on nutritionally balanced commercially available cat food with moderate levels of protein (30%–50%, dry basis) and low fat (9%–15%) are suitable.
It is not advised to feed hedgehogs peas or pea fiber due to the high levels of Phosphorus which will inhibit calcium absorption as well as cause kidney damage. We recommend using Kirkland All stages cat food (available at Costco).
Currently our Hedgehogs eat a mix of Kirkland cat food and spikes delight.
Please also avoid foods that contain the following preservatives as they are either TOXIC or are KNOWN CARCINOGENS:
Sodium Nitrate / Sodium Nitrite
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) / butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)
Benzoic Acid / Sodium Benzoate /Potassium Benzoate
In addition to cat food, hedgehogs need bugs or meal worms in their diet. According to the Journal of nutrition, Hedgehogs have enzymatic ability to digest chitin from insect exoskeletons as a dietary fiber source, but they do not seem to digest cellulose (plant
matter)efficiently. Fiber in the diet is important for proper fat and protein metabolization. Therefore, it is important to add at 1 tsp. of fresh or freeze dried mealworms or other insects to your hedgehog's diet daily.
DO NOT FEED YOUR HEDGEHOG FRUITS or VEGETABLES. According to the Journal of nutrition hedgehogs do not digest
plant matter. Feeding the African Pygmy Hedgehog fruits or veggies can put your hedgehog at risk. A local breeder has a recent
necropsy report on a hedgehog that died from eating a strawberry. The necrotic intestines were full of strawberry seeds.
NOTE: Feeding your hedgehog the following will VOID the health guarantee: fruits or vegetables, commercially prepared hedgehog food or using food that contains Peas or pea fiber in the first 5 ingredients.
Cages: Cages with a 30 in. x 18 in. base is acceptable if your hedgehog gets daily out of the cage time.
This is the MINIMUM size cage as the cage accessories will not fit in anything smaller. Many types of cages
can be used - but always avoid wire floors and be cautious about the spacing of wire sided cages - the
narrower the better. NO ramps or levels or cages taller than 20 inches tall to avoid injury. Plastic base
commercial cages is a good choice for housing.
Modified plastic storage bins can be used as temporary housing. Clear plastic storage bins (CLEAR, not solid colored bins) can be modified to allow adequate ventilation by drilling the lid (the lid can also be modified with a screen). The minimum bin size should be 105 qt (30 in. x 18 in. x 16 in.) and should have enough room for the cage accessories. Although bins are a good temporary home, they do not allow enough airflow and should be upgraded to a cage as soon as possible. Aquariums are NOT suitable as they do not allow adequate airflow, which causes too much humidity and that can cause repertory infections. As well as the size you would need is generally too heavy for one person to lift and keep clean.
NOTE: A baby will not go home unless the MINIMUM cage/bin requirement is met. An inappropriate cage will VOID the health guarantee.
•Heat Source: A hedgie MUST be kept at 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit. We require a 150w ceramic heat emitter
with an 8.5 in lamp (ceramic socket) Along with a digital thermometer. A reptile heating pad or human heating pad are not acceptable, as it heats
the floor but does not maintain very good ambient temperature in the cage. You CANNOT use anything that
emits light! Hedgehogs are color blind and this is why the red, purple or any other color bulbs are not a safe choice for hedgehogs heat source. Hedgehogs are nocturnal but need heat 24 hours a day. Make sure to monitor the heat source and
always heat 1/2 of the cage so the hedgie can move away if he gets too warm.
Heating the room is also not an acceptable method of keeping your hedgehog warm. The temperature in which a
hedgehog is comfortable is too warm for humans to live comfortably and does not guarantee an accurate ambient
temperature in the cage.
Hedgehogs will hibernate in nature when the temperature drops, and often even fatal. Signs that a hedgehog is too cold and on the verge of hibernation are staggered "drunk-like" walking and appetite loss. If a hedgehog exhibits these symptoms, warm its surroundings gradually, and consult a veterinarian. A HEDGEHOG BABY WILL NOT BE SENT HOME WITHOUT PROOF OF A HEAT SOURCE.
NOTE: NOT using a heat source IN THE CAGE or an inappropriate heat source will VOID the health guarantee.
You must show proof of heat source before hedgie can go home.
•Bedding: Aspen shavings or Care Fresh (recycled Paper Bedding) can be used, but avoid cedar and pine shavings. Cedar is TOXIC to Hedgies. Pine shavings are also a poor choice due to the abietic acid that burns their respiratory tract. Some people also use fleece or fabric liners to line the cage, this is also NOT a good choice. The fibers still get around toes and mixed with feces it turns into "boots and mitts" and is harmful to delicate feet. Fleece liners also cause rug burn and urinary tract infections. In Africa, hedgehogs did not have fabric liners in their habitat. They are also burrowers so they like to push the bedding around.
NOTE: The use of cedar, pine or fleece or fabric inside the cage will VOID the health guarantee.
•Litter box: A small shallow pan with wood pellet cat litter can be provided and may become the hedgehogs primary bathroom area. Do not use clumping cat litter! Cat litter is a very small granule and gets stuck in the urogenital tract. We like to use Nature's bedding or Dry den which is a wood pellet used in horse stalls to soak up urine. It is available at your local feed store. It may be sold under another brand name, but if you describe its original use to the feed store they will be able to assist you. You will NOT want to use recycled paper pellets!!! Hedgehogs like to chew them up, spit them on their back and turn themselves into paper mache piñatas! The ink dyes their quills and it takes hours to scrub off.
NOTE: The use of an inappropriate cat litter in your litter box will VOID the health guarantee.
•House/Igloo: A Super Pet Igloo (not smaller than 12" x 10.5" x 6.25") , faux tortoise shell or some other enclosed hiding place should be provided as a secure haven for your hedgehog. Fleece "sleeping bags" should never be used or kept in the cage. Hedgies try to burrow through them and microfiber can tangle their toes, cut off circulation which causes the toes to fall off.
NOTE: The use of fleece or fabric inside the cage will VOID the health guarantee.
•Exercise: A wheel provides great exercise and helpful in preventing obesity. An open sided, solid surface wheel is necessary, and should be at least 12 inches. Homemade bucket wheels are not the best choice unless you put some type of traction in the wheel to avoid hip and knee dislocation or injury from running in slippery poop. Hedgehogs have stool very similar to SOFT kitten poop and it smears onto the wheel. Thus, making the slick plastic of a bucket wheel a very dangerous surface for a hedgie to run on without any added traction. Flying saucer wheels that sit at an angle are also BAD for hedgehog hips, knees and ankles.
NOTE: The use of bucket wheels without traction or wheels that sit on an angle will VOID the health guarantee.
•Toys: Hedgehogs like to amuse themselves, so toys should be included in their enclosures. Ping Pong and hard plastic Easter eggs are good toy choices. Toys that can easily be chewed up into little pieces and ingested should be avoided.
•Water*: Clean, fresh chlorine-free water should always be available to a hedgehog. Offering hedgehogs water from a bottle is the only acceptable method, because it’s more sanitary - hedgehogs tend to fling pieces of substrate into water bowls and tip them over. While a hamster size bottle for a baby is sufficient, a guinea pig sized bottle should be offered to an adult. We have also found that the Oasis BIRD water bottle with the red nylon balls in the spout work incredibly better. Your baby has been raised on this bottle and we HIGHLY RECCOMMEND purchasing this type of bottle. They are a little expensive and hard to find. We have these in stock.
NOTE: The use of a water bowl will VOID the health guarantee.
*Water must be 100% free of chlorine and heavy metals. We recommend that you use unflavored bottled drinking water or bottled natural spring water. Boiled tap water or well water is acceptable. Do not use distilled water, which can cause severe medical problems, since it lacks minerals that are essential to important body functions.
Quilling In Juveniles:
Just like people lose their baby teeth, hedgehogs shed their “baby quills.” At about 2-3 months, the hedgehog's baby quills will fall out as their adult counterparts emerge from beneath the skin. This “quilling” is completely normal, although a pet might act a little temperamental when it’s taking place. Continue to gently hold your hedgehog during this time to keep him social. Bonding sacks are very helpful in comforting your hedgehog (just don't use them as sleep sacks, they should not be placed in the cage).
Hedgehog Health Care:
A growing number of veterinary practices have developed small animal specialties, so finding a qualified professional should be relatively easy. Like many small animals, hedgehogs are good at masking symptoms. In many cases, they will not show signs of an illness until it has progressed to a serious level. Some of the most common general indications that a hedgehog is not doing well include:
•Loss of appetite: A hedgehog suddenly eats less, or hasn’t taken food in 1-2 days or hasn't drank water for 24 hours, a veterinarian should be consulted immediately.
•Unresponsive and cold to the touch: This is a sign that the hedgehog is in a pre-hibernation state. Try warming the animal by filling a water bottle with very warm water and wrapping it with a towel, or wrapping it in a warmed cloth. If this doesn’t help within 30-60 minutes, call a vet.
•Runny nose, discharge from eyes: This can be a sign of a respiratory infection, and needs to be seen by a veterinarian.
•Discolored feces: Green feces in particular can be the sign of an intestinal infection. Bring a fecal sample and the hedgehog to the veterinarian.
•Stiff, uncertain walking: This can be the sign of Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome or some other serious disease. A veterinarian should be consulted promptly.
•Dry Flaky Skin : Along with the loss of quills in an adult hedgehog, this can indicate a fungal infection or mite infestation. Veterinary treatment is needed. Babies often get dry skin during their quilling stage.