If you are considering adopting a hedgehog as a pet, one of the key things you will need to do is set up a cage for it. In this article, you will find all the necessary information for setting up a hedgehog cage properly.
Hedgehog cage setup entails getting a cage of the right size and which is made using suitable materials. It also entails putting all the necessary items into the cage, placing the cage in an appropriate spot, maintaining an ideal cage temperature and maintaining cage hygiene.
Setting up a hedgehog cage is an undertaking that requires quite a bit of thought and effort. How healthy and happy your hedgehog will be depends, to some extent, on how you go about setting up its cage.
Therefore hedgehogs cage setup needs to be taken with the seriousness it deserves.
You should aspire to have the best hedgehog cage setup – and nothing less. As much as you can, you should avoid compromising on the key hedgehog cage requirements that we shall be looking at shortly.
How Do You Set Up A Hedgehog Cage?
The hedgehog cage setup process can be visualized as having five key steps.
In the first step, you build up the actual cage. (Alternatively, you can buy a readymade hedgehog cage, as many people usually opt to do).
In the second step, you identify an appropriate spot where you are to keep the cage. This should be a quiet spot and one that is away from direct sunlight (but where the hedgehog can still be able to differentiate day and night).
So you identify an appropriate spot, then actually take the cage you will have built (or bought) to that spot.
In the third step, you introduce the various items that need to be in a hedgehog cage. These include an exercise wheel, a food bowl, a water container, hideouts toys and perhaps a heating lamp or a heating pad.
It is also in this step that you introduce bedding material or substrate into the cage. This may be fabric bedding, wood shavings bedding or paper bedding.
In the fourth step, you introduce the actual hedgehog into the cage.
And in the fifth step, you create a hedgehog cage care routine, to ensure that it remains hygienic.
So, in a nutshell, that is how to set up a hedgehog cage.
What Should A Hedgehog Cage Be Made Of?
Wherever there is a discussion on hedgehog habitat setup, one question that will always come up is on what a hedgehog’s cage should be made of.
There are many materials that a hedgehog’s cage can be made of.
You may, for instance, opt to make a DIY hedgehog cage using cardboard. Therefore if your interest is in setting up a DIY hedgehog habitat, this is a suitable material.
A hedgehog’s cage can also be made using plastic panels (as long as they are not chewable by the hedgehog). Most plastic cages – usually in the form of playpens – are bought readymade.
This is because the average person may not have what it takes to do a DIY hedgehog cage setup from scratch using plastic. In other words, it may be hard to figure out how to make a hedgehog cage from scratch using plastic panels.
But if you buy a readymade plastic hedgehog’s cage, you can proceed with the other aspects of the set up by yourself.
Further, we also have metallic hedgehog cages.
There is also the option of having a wooden hedgehog’s cage.
And if you can afford it, a glass hedgehog aquarium is also an option. And in this case, if you do the hedgehog aquarium setup properly, you can actually turn it into some sort of terrarium.
So you effectively end up with a hedgehog terrarium.
So we see that a hedgehog’s cage can be made of cardboard, plastic panels, metal or even glass (as in the case of an aquarium).
The general guideline is to ensure that the cage material is one that the hedgehog can’t chew.
Otherwise if you build a cage using a material that the hedgehog can chew, it may attempt chew it. Then it would easily turn into a choking hazard.
How Tall Should A Hedgehog Cage Be?
A very important question, when it comes to hedgehog cage setup, is on how tall the cage should be.
And the answer is that the cage should be tall enough to ensure that the hedgehog doesn’t climb out. This is especially important in cages without lids: for instance, playpen cages.
It should also be tall enough that the hedgehog doesn’t feel as if it is imprisoned in a low roof cell.
Ideally then, the cage should be at least 14 inches tall.
If you are building your own hedgehog’s cage, you need to ensure that it is at least that tall.
And if you are seeking an hedgehog cage setup for sale, you should also ensure that it is at least that tall.
This applies even if what you are undertaking is an African pygmy hedgehog cage setup. The African pygmy hedgehog (which most people keep as a pet) may look small. But it is still capable of some remarkable climbing.
The last thing you want is a situation where the hedgehog climbs out of the cage, and then ends up in spaces it shouldn’t venture into: potentially endangering itself.
Therefore ensure you go for a reasonably tall cage.
How Big Should A Hedgehog Cage Be?
With regard to hedgehog cage size, it should be as big as possible. The minimum for one hedgehog is around 4 feet by 2 feet. That is, a cage which is 4 feet long, 2 feet wide and at least 14 inches high.
If you can get a custom hedgehog cage that is bigger, that would be even better.
While undertaking hedgehog bin cage setup, there is one thing you need to keep in mind. And that is the fact that, in the wild, hedgehogs run for many hours a night.
They require lots of space, for running and for their other mischief.
If you keep a hedgehog in too small a cage, depression may set in. So the hedgie becomes generally unhappy. That may then affect its immunity, making it prone to all manner of illnesses.
In the end, a hedgehog in a very cramped cage may even end up not achieving its full potential in terms of life expectancy.
For these reasons, the best cage setup for hedgehog should prioritize size. The cage should be big enough for the hedgehog to move freely, and even do some real running in it (through the exercise wheel).
What Should Go In A Hedgehog Cage?
This, in other words, is a question on the necessary hedgehog cage kit. So, what do you need for a hedgehog setup?
Building up (or buying) the cage is just one aspect of hedgehog cage setup. The other key aspect of hedgehog setup is that of kitting its cage.
There are at least seven essential things that need to go into every hedgehog cage.
Firstly, a hedgehog’s cage needs bedding. You can opt to buy commercial hedgehog bedding: typically made of fabric and hence reusable.
Alternatively, you can opt for DIY hedgehog bedding. This may entail the use of wood shavings or small bits of paper.
Secondly, a hedgehog’s cage needs a food bowl. Ideally, this should be a food bowl that doesn’t tip over easily.
Thirdly, a hedgehog’s cage needs a water container. This may be a water bottle or a water dish.
Fourthly, a hedgehog’s cage needs an exercise wheel. In the absence of this, boredom may set in, to the detriment of the hedgehog.
Fifthly, a hedgehog’s cage may need some toys. These can occupy the hedgehog’s time, and ensure that boredom doesn’t set in.
Sixthly, a hedgehog’s cage may need a heating lamp or heating pad. These are essential for heating my hedgehog cage setup – so that, among other things, the hedgehog doesn’t go into hibernation.
Seventhly, a hedgehog’s cage will need to have hideouts. A cage without hideouts will feel unnatural for the hedgehog.
You can buy a readymade hedgehog hideout. Or you can opt for one of those hedgehog hideout DIY enthusiasts make for themselves.
A properly made DIY hedgehog hideout can work just as well as one bought readymade from a shop.
Just ensure that there is some sort of hideout in the cage.
Where Should You Put A Hedgehog Cage?
There are two key things to ensure, while selecting the spot to put your hedgehog’s cage.
Firstly, it should be a quiet spot. Remember, the hedgehog is nocturnal, meaning that it will be sleeping during the day.
If you put its cage in a place where there is lots of activity, it may not get to sleep well. That can potentially affect its health.
Secondly, the spot shouldn’t be facing direct sunlight. But it should nonetheless be a spot from where the hedgehog can observe day and night changes, and regulate its circadian rhythms accordingly.
You need to understand that the hedgehog will be active during the night, running and making all manner of noises then. Therefore the spot you select for the cage should be one where the hedgehog won’t interfere with your own sleep.
If you want your visitors to be admiring your pet hedgehog, then you need to place the cage in a place where this is possible. For many people, that is an essential aspect of pet hedgehog cage setup.
What Temperature Should A Hedgehog Cage Be?
You need to ensure that the temperature in your hedgehog’s cage never drops below 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
You also need to avoid a situation where the temperature in your hedgehog’s cage goes beyond 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
The most ideal range is actually 75 degrees Fahrenheit to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Even if the temperatures do drop below 75 degrees Fahrenheit, ensure by all means that they don’t go below 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
The danger there is this: if the temperatures drop below 72 degrees Fahrenheit, the hedgehog may start going into hibernation mode.
But most of the hedgehogs we keep as pets are unable to complete hibernation with success. Most lose their lives, when they attempt to hibernate.
That is why the temperature in your hedgehog’s cage should never go beyond 72 degrees Fahrenheit. And if you watch most hedgehog cage setup YouTube videos, you see that the narrators are at pains to emphasize this point.
So it is a very key aspect of hedgehog habitat hedgehog cage setup.
On the other end, if the temperatures in your cage go beyond 90 degrees, the hedgie may start getting uncomfortable.
Do Hedgehogs Like Multi Level Cages?
Hedgehogs are inquisitive pets. They like to explore. For that reason, they like multi level cages. However, these multi level cages are not always ideal for them.
The reason why such cages are not ideal for the hedgehogs is simple. Hedgehog eyesight is not very good. This means that a hedgehog that is on the higher level will often end up tripping, and often incurring injuries.
Moreover, whereas hedgehog’s ability to climb is good, their ability to descend is questionable.
Therefore whereas hedgehogs may like multi level cages, it is best to avoid keeping them in such cages.
Yet nowadays, if you look at the typical hedgehog setup for sale in the market, it will tend to have a multi-level structure.
In fact, in some places, finding a single level hedgehog cage setup for sale is not easy.
The truth of the matter ultimately is that the multilevel cages can be harmful to hedgies. So it is best to avoid them. It is best to stick with hedgehog cage setup ideas that are based on single level structures.
If you search hard enough, you can still find cute hedgehog cage ideas to implement with single level structures.
Can You Have More Than One Hedgehog In A Cage?
Ideally, you should have only one hedgehog in a cage. A hedgehog is an animal that prefers its own company. If you have more than one hedgehog in a cage, you may end up with frequent quarrels.
If you really have to put more than one hedgehog in a single cage, then it is best to ensure that they are females.
Should you put two males together, they may start trying to dominate each other: with nasty results.
And if you put a male and a female together, there may be breeding (which may not be what you want).
How Often Should You Clean A Hedgehog Cage?
You need to subject the whole cage (the cage structure itself, and the items in it) to thorough cleaning at least once a week.
But some items in the cage require daily cleaning. Those include the exercise wheel (which the hedgehog often poops on), the food bowl and the water container.
The bedding may require changing twice or thrice per week. This may entail removing the old bedding material, introducing new bedding material, then making the bed again.
So before embarking on it, you may need to first learn how to make a hedgehog bed.
Hedgehog Cage setup Dos
Firstly, you need to ensure that you set up a cage of the right size and one made using the right materials.
With regard to the cage design, you may need to peruse through several hedgehog cage setup examples, in order to understand what an ideal structure looks like.
There are lots of DIY hedgehog cage ideas you can get on the Internet, to assist you here.
Secondly, you need to see to it that you set the cage up in a quiet place. This should not be facing sunlight directly. But it should nonetheless be a spot from where the hedgie can observe day and night changes.
Thirdly, you need to kit the hedgehog cage properly. Start by understanding what hedgehogs need in their cage. Then ensure that you put in place all the necessary items.
Fourthly, you need to maintain proper temperature and hygiene conditions in the cage, on an ongoing basis. This is in order to ensure the hedgehog’s wellbeing.
Hedgehog Cage Setup Dont’s
Firstly, you need to avoid cages that are too cramped. Hedgehogs need to have adequate space to move about. You generally need to avoid cutting corners, while setting up hedgehog cages.
Secondly, you need to avoid having more than one hedgehog per cage. Having multiple hedgehogs per cage is often a recipe for incessant conflict.
Thirdly, you should generally avoid multi level hedgehog cages. Yes, they provide lots of space for the hedgehogs to explore. But they can be harmful: as hedgehogs have a tendency to fall while climbing down from such multi level cages.
Final Verdict – Hedgehog Cage Setup
The long-term wellbeing of your hedgehog will depend, to a certain extent, on how well you set up its cage.
You have the option of building your own hedgehog’s cage from scratch, on DIY basis. Alternatively, you can buy a readymade hedgehog cage.
All in all, ensure that the cage you set up is of an adequate size, and made using appropriate materials.
Also ensure that you kit it well, that you place it in an appropriate spot, and that on an ongoing basis, you maintain proper temperature and hygiene conditions in it.