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Florida Hedgehogs

A leading hedgehog breeder in sunny north Florida since 2006 - Formerly Hood Petz

NOTICE

We ask that you thoroughly review our Hedgehog Care page before picking up a hedgehog from us.  This will reduce the time of the pick up meeting.
When meeting with us please bring a pen with blue or black ink and hand sanitizer
(for yourself).  Thanks 🙂


Click for larger view

Hedgehog Owner Checklist

  • Digital Thermometer
  • Heat Lamp/Ceramic Heat Emitter - We recommend a heat lamp with a dimmer switch.
  • 12 inch Wheel - with a solid running surface.
  • Resin/Plastic Hide - 12 inch hides provide room for them to comfortably move around.
  • Cage or Enclosure - with a solid bottom and solid sides.  We recommend Sterilite, Rubbermaid or Hefty storage bins.
  • Food Bowl & Insect Bowl - Shallow and heavy.
  • Water Bottle - 8 oz. or larger.
  • Kibble/Dry Food - See Water, Food & Insects below.
  • LIVE Insects - Never freeze-dried.  Never yard-caught.  We are happy to give suggestions on where to purchase.

Hedgehog Temperatures

While a temperatures from 72°F to 85°F is tolerated by most hedgehogs,
the IDEAL TEMPERATURE RANGE 75°F - 80°F 
(23°C - 27°C).

A thermometer, preferably digital, is absolutely essential for monitoring and maintaining the proper temperature for a hedgehog's enclosure.  Relying on the thermostat in your home is not advised as it may be inaccurate and temperatures can fluctuate greatly from room to room in most homes. 

Hedgehog Heating

The preferred method of heating a hedgehog's enclosure is to use a lamp with a ceramic heat emitter.
It is not recommended to use heating pads, heat rocks or other devices as they can cause serious burns and do not heat the air in the enclosure.

Lamps must have a ceramic socket, not plastic.
It is also recommended that the lamp have a dimmer switch rather than a simple on/off switch, to allow for better temperature control.

Hedgehog Housing

Wire cages can cause injury and make it difficult to maintain proper temperatures.
We strongly recommend clear plastic storage containers such as the Wire cages can cause injury and make it difficult to maintain proper temperatures.
We strongly recommend clear plastic storage containers such as the 100 quart Hefty120 quart Sterilite or 200 quart Sterilite.  These are inexpensive, easily modified, and very easy to clean.

Hedgehogs are solitary animals and should always be housed individually.
Housing hedgehogs together can result squabbling and hedgehogs can cause serious injury to each one another.
Housing hedgehogs together also prevents the owner from being able to monitor how much food/water each hedgehog is consuming and if one produces an abnormal stool, the owner will have to way to know which hedgehog is ill.

The location in your home requires consideration.
Fireplaces
 – Temperatures near fireplaces exceed 90°F.  Smoke and fumes emitted from fireplaces can be lethal to hedgehogs.
Doors & Windows – Entry doors and windows are often drafty and allow marked temperature fluctuations which could result in illness.
Laundry Rooms – Temperature fluctuations and chemical fumes/smells could cause respiratory illness and possibly death.
Kitchens/Dining Rooms – Kitchens could exceed ideal temperatures, fumes/smells can be harmful, noises can be stressful.

Hedgehog Food & Insects

Hedgehogs cannot survive on a vegetarian or vegan diet.  They require live insects and a kibble with animal protein as the main ingredient.
If you are unwilling to feed live insects and animal based foods, please do not get a hedgehog.

After many years of research, living with/observing hedgehogs, and monitoring their health we have come to the following conclusions and decisions.

Kibble
Commercial hedgehog foods are typically nutritionally inadequate and contain ingredients that are not recommended for hedgehogs.
We feed a mix of carefully selected dry cat foods.
The first ingredient of your hedgehog's kibble should be a source of animal protein, not a filler, by-product, starch, or plant.
We strongly advise avoiding artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors in your hedgehog's kibble.
Peas/beans of any kind should not be within the first 3 ingredients of your hedgehog's kibble.
Soy and wheat should not be within the first 5 ingredients of your hedgehog's kibble.

Insects
Live insects are necessary for a hedgehog's health.
A variety of live insects is recommended for optimal health.
Feeding only 1 type of insects could cause nutritional deficiencies such as metabolic bone disease, hypocalcemia. and fatty liver diseases.
We feed mealworms, horn worms, crickets, wax worms, and occasionally black soldier fly larvae, and pill bugs.
Freeze-dried insects can cause constipation and in large quantities can cause intestinal blockage.
Never offer yard-caught insects as they could contain parasites or chemicals such as pesticides or fertilizers.
We recommend feeding insects a minimum of twice a week, a maximum of every other day.

https://flukerfarms.com/live-mealworms/

https://www.rainbowmealworms.net/shop-mealworms/

https://armstrongcrickets.com/shop-worms/

      Insect Nutritional Value.  Click for larger view.

Treats that we consider to be safe infrequently (once a week) and in moderation (dime sized quantity):
Fully cooked and cooled poultry (unseasoned)
Fully cooked and cooled egg (unseasoned)
Meat or poultry baby foods (preferably organic)
Canned cat or dog food (check ingredient list)

Hedgehog Bedding

Some breeders will tell you that you must use one specific type of bedding.  Our feeling is, as long as the hedgehog has no allergies or intolerance to a particular type of bedding any of the following are suitable and you can choose what works best for you.

  • Kiln dried pine.  We use this.
  • Pine pellets.  We use this.
  • Paper pellets.
  • Paper bedding such as CareFresh.  We have used this but always go back to pine.
  • Fabric (fleece/flannel) liners.

NEVER use cedar, ground corn cob, or clay litter of any kind.

NOTE:  Pine or paper pellets work great in litter pans.

Handling Hedgehogs

TAKE IT SLOW!  When bringing home a new hedgehog, it is often best to give them a few hours to get acclimated to their new surroundings.  For less social hedgehogs, 12 - 24 hours may be needed for them to feel secure.  Hedgehogs typically begin to rouse at sundown and that is when they are most receptive to being handled.

When picking up a hedgehog, it is best to slip your fingers under their belly and lift straight up.  In nature, predators attack from behind so if you grab them from behind, your hedgehog will instinctively curl up to protect itself.  This is a sign of fear, not aggression.  If your hedgehog rolls up and huffs, pick him/her up regardless and wait patiently for them to open up.  If you allow him/her to intimidate you, they will continue with the same behavior.  Holding them in the palm of your hand, being very still and quiet, is the best way to gain a hedgehog's trust.

Do not try to restrain him/her. Allow them to walk around freely (within reason.)  If you try to restrain him/her they will react negatively.  If they are going in a direction that isn't desirable, gently place your hand in front of them and corral them back in your direction.

NOTE: Lay out an old towel or equivalent to protect clothing, carpet and furniture in case he/she makes an oops while roaming.

Hedgehog Exercise

An exercise wheel is a must!  Hedgehogs are foragers and can (and do) walk up to 7 or more miles each night.  The exercise wheel provides the hedgehog with a way to satisfy that natural need to walk.  The wheel also helps to alleviate stress and anxiety as well as ensure that your hedgehog maintains a healthy weight.  The wheel should have a solid walking surface to prevent injuries such as snagged toenails or trapped limbs.  Hedgehogs are primarily nocturnal and most of their waking hours are after sundown, so expect to wake up to a "poopy wheel".

Other suitable exercise options include:
Allowing your hedgehog to run around on a protected surface (with your supervision)
Taking a dip in the sink or bathtub (with your supervision and avoiding bathing too frequently)
Strolling around in a runabout ball (must be ferret size and use a protected surface)
Tunnels and tubes for the hedgehog to walk through (must be at least 4 inches in diameter)
An empty toilet paper tube makes a great toy that will give them a little work-out and is funny to watch.
Remember to remove all toys from the cage when you're not around to prevent injury and ensure that they have access to food and water.

Hedgehog bathing and cleaning

Hedgehogs should only be bathed when necessary.  Each bath removes vital oils from their skin and over-bathing will likely result in dry skin issues.

Give your hedgehog plenty of towel time.  He/She should be COMPLETELY DRY when placed back into their enclosure to prevent any bacterial or fungal issues which can be caused by wet skin.

NOTE:  While we offer organic, dye free, fragrance free shampoo, we recommend only using shampoo when necessary.

Cleaning your hedgehog’s enclosure is simple.  Mix 1 part chlorine bleach to 40 parts water and use this to clean the enclosure, and all accessories such as the litter pan, wheel, hide, food bowl and water bottle.  Make sure to rinse thoroughly and drip or towel dry.  This should be done no less than once a week, preferably every 3-4 days.  This will keep down any bacteria growth and odor as well as keeping your hedgie happy and healthy.

Cleaning doesn't have to be a thankless chore.  Spend time with your hedgie while the supplies dry.  By spending time with your hedgehog, then returning him/her to a clean environment, you may strengthen your bond.

Hedgehog Illness

FIRST AND FOREMOST, if you suspect that your hedgehog is ill or injured, seek the medical attention of a licensed vet that is experienced with hedgehogs immediately.

While we are knowledgeable about many hedgehog health issues, we are not medical professionals though we would like to know about health concerns for our records.

Several things can affect a hedgehog’s health. Hedgehogs can develop or suffer from issues such as obesity, skin conditions, respiratory infections, injuries, mites, fungal infections, congenital defects, neurological disorders, etc.  Some of these issues can be researched on the internet and treated successfully at home; however we recommend that you at least consult with a licensed vet before beginning any treatment.

A very common complaint among hedgehog owners is that their hedgehog is wobbling.  Nearly all cases are temperature related.  When a hedgehog is too cool, they will be very  unsteady and will begin to wobble.  Once they are warmed up all issues should resolve.  If not, the hedgehog could have an ear infection but you should seek medical attention promptly.

Dry skin is another common complaint and is typically easily corrected.  Exfoliating with a brush while bathing, to remove dead skin cells and any debris, then applying a mix of vitamin E oil and flax seed oil will often soothe the skin and correct the problem.

Parasites: It is possible for your hedgehog to contract external parasites. Wood shavings can contain mites, and fleas and ticks can be carried in by other animals or even humans.
Signs and symptoms of external parasites could be:
Constant scratching (all animals scratch occasionally)
Dry and flaking skin
Cracked skin or open sores
Excessive quill loss resulting in bald spots
Caked or crusty eyes, ears or muzzle.
If you observe any of these symptoms, contact your vet.  An infestation of parasites will result in health problems that could lead to death. We are always happy to help and will offer advice in many cases.  When a situation appears to be something significant, we will recommend that you seek medical attention from a vet.