Hedgehogs are mammals which are present for millions of years. By taking care of the hedgehog in captivity, its life can be prolonged. The age of the hedgehog will not be more than 3 years in the wild. The life will be double the life in the wild. You should bring a baby hedgehog after attaining 6 weeks. If you bring a young hedgehog, it will be bonded very easily. By proper hedgehog care, the life expectancy will be more than 7 years. In this process, you will want to provide proper care, diet and housing. If you are new to hear about hedgehog care, you should go through the guide where complete information about its care will be provided.
How to care for a hedgehog
The temperature should be about 72 degrees Fahrenheit so that there will be great comfort for the pet. If you can offer ideal space for sleeping, it will enhance its health. As part of its care, you should also provide means for physical exercise. The wheel arranged in the cage will help it to make physical movements very easily. They will get protection from predators with the pointy spines on its body. Parts of the body such as stomach, legs and face do not have spines and the pet will cover them efficiently while sleeping. To take care of the pet in the best possible way, you should know about its hobbies, likes and dislikes. Most of the hedgehogs will be very active during nights and they will sleep during the day. Hedgehogs use their ears and nose to sense the environment. The eyesight of these pets is very poor. Even though they have the capability to swim and climb, they remain on ground in most of the cases. If you are interested in unique and entertaining animal, you should want to go for hedgehog.
Hedgehogs eat a variety of animal and plant matter. When they live in wild, they might suffer from food poison. There are chances to be trapped as well. As hedgehog is an active animal, a large cage is required to give better care. There are various types of cages available in the market. You should choose the most appropriate cage to fulfill the needs of the hedgehog. As the animal is not aggressive, you can take care of the animal very easily. Before bringing it home, you should bring the cage and the cage should be decked with necessary provisions. The cage length should be at least 4 feet and its width will be at least 2 feet. If you would like to increase the space for the pet, you should go for multi-level cage. To offer best care, the bedding should be prepared in the best possible way. You can choose a bed made up of recycled pulp or paper. If there is a hide area, the pet will feel safe and secure. Please take a look at our detailed article about choosing available hedgehog cage, to choose the best habitat for your hedgehog.
Quality food and proper habitat will influence the lifespan of a hedgehog. You should provide means for its happy and healthy living. You should procure the required food as well so that best care can be provided without any issues. There should be enough of protein and fat in the hedgehog diet. You should ensure that its food contains low fat. The dry cat food formula will serve its needs without any issues for a short periods of time. The food offered to the hedgehog should contain vegetables, fruits, crickets and meal worms. Various treats which can be added to enhance the flavor include worms, crickets, hamburger, chicken and eggs. The moist dog food and cat treats can be offered to the pet time from time as well. Take a look at our detailed article about choosing best hedgehog food for your pet.
A small litter box should be provided to offer best hedgehog care. The pet should be trained to use the litter box in a very efficient way. During training, you should treat it for using the litter so that it will understand the purpose of the litter box. The other arrangements that you should make for the pet include water bottle, couple of bowls, exercise wheel, and variety of toys.
You should keep the décor as per the needs of the pet so that it will be entertained. The décor that you can use for its entertainment include pipes, tubes, ramps, ledges, balls and bells.
The exercise wheel should be made with solid material so that it will not be injured. If your hedgehog cannot use water bottle, you can place a small bowl. Hedgehog care includes taking care of the pet by offering nutritious food.
To entertain your pet, you should provide a variety of toys. Toys are required to keep the pet active. The toys which can be provided in the cage include balls, bells, chew toys, and bird toys. You can use a playpen when you bring the pet out of the cage. The playpen facilitates additional movement of the pet. If it is lost, you can trace it very easily.
You can take care of the hedgehog very easily as it is not a smelly animal. The waste should be removed from the cage on a daily basis and you will want to clean the bowl and water bowl as well. The bedding should be replaced on weekly basis. You can use warm soapy water to clean the bottom of the cage, toys and accessories. The wheel should be cleaned regularly (at least once in a week) or per the usage of the wheel by the pet. Before replacing the bed, the cage and accessories should be dried.
You should be aware of the common illnesses that affect the hedgehog. These illnesses include cancer, ear infections, eyes, feet, fleas & ticks, hibernation, foaming at mouth, obstructions and respiratory infection. Hedgehogs will get skin diseases due to mites. The symptoms include hair loss or quill loss. There will be flaky or dry skin and excessive itching if your pet is sick.
Hedgehog lifespan can be increased through better handling and grooming. To pick it up, you should scoop it from the belly. You should not feel quills and should feel fur only while handling the pet. You should hold it with one hand and offer support on the back with the other hand. You should not wear gloves while handling the pet. If the pet is in agitated mode, you should be patient and should remain calm until it settles down.
Hedgehogs don’t mind handling. However, some are indifferent. Hedgehogs work hard to stay clean. If you keep the cage in good condition, the grooming requirements will be low. If bedding, dirt and other foreign matter is lodged in quills, the pet will appear dirty and it should be cleaned in the best possible way. To clean the hedgehog, you will want to take the help of a towel, toothbrush and a sink. You can use a couple of drops of cat shampoo if the dirt cannot be removed very easily. To give bath to the pet, the sink should be filled with warm water. The pet can be kept inside the water and you can use a toothbrush to scrub its quills. The eyes, ears and face should not be exposed to water. They should remain dry. After the completion of the bath, the hedgehog should be removed from the water and it should be placed in a towel. With gentle drying, the water should be removed on regular basis. The pet should be dried completely before returning to the cage.
As part of the hedgehog care, you should take care of its nails as well. Toenails should be trimmed on regular basis. The nail clippers used by humans can be used for the hedgehog as well. You should grab one foot at a time and should take time until it settles down. The nails can be trimmed when it is in relaxed condition. Even though your hedgehog is very stubborn, you should be very patient to accomplish the task. The nails should not be clipped too deep. There will be bleeding if you cut into the pink area of the nail. You should apply corn starch or flour or styptic pencil to control bleeding.
You should also consult veterinarian to offer best care to the pet so that it will live long and you will have great happiness.
How long do hedgehogs live
Hedgehog lifespan is based on species and the care given to the animal. You should understand the fact that there are ten different kinds of hedgehogs. The smaller species life span is about 2 to 4 years. The largest species can live up to 7 years in the wild. With the hedgehog care in captivity, its life will be very much enhanced. The exposure to predators will be prevented in captivity and they will have access to food at all times. There were some hedgehogs that even lived for 10 years in captivity.