How to Keep a Pet Hedgehog

A hedgehog is a small spiny mammal that is not related to porcupines, despite the similarity in appearance. They are more closely related to mole rats, shrews and tenrecs. The European hedgehog and African Pygmy hedgehog are the two species commonly kept as pets, but possession of the European species is illegal in the United States. The following steps will show how to keep a pet hedgehog.

Select the right housing. The best choice is generally a clear plastic storage bin with at least two square feet of floor space. The container should have a lid to protect the hedgehog from other pets and holes in it to allow for proper ventilation. The cage should have a solid floor to prevent injury to a hedgehog's feet.

Maintain a temperature of at least 75 degrees to prevent your hedgehog from trying to hibernate. Hedgehogs are originally from Africa and need a high temperature to remain healthy. A reptile heating pad can be placed in part of the cage to allow your hedgehog to cool off if needed.

Feed your hedgehog a varied diet. Hedgehogs are normally insectivores and there is no single source of prepared food that will meet their nutritional requirements. Two or even three different selections should be used. Choose foods that are high in protein and fiber but low in fat with few fillers.

Provide some toys for your hedgehog to play with. Many small objects are acceptable as long as they don't have sharp edges or loose ends and a rubber ball is an excellent choice.

Place an exercise wheel in the cage. This is essential because hedgehogs are prone to obesity. The wheel should be about one foot in diameter with a solid floor.

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