The vast majority of existing literature considers the basic diet of an African Pygmy Hedgehog to be a good
quality dry cat food which is high in protein and also has the advantage of allowing the hedgehogs to exercise their
teeth thus preventing dental problems.
I currently use a mix of Pets at Home Purley, Royal Canin and Go Cat
It is advisable to offer a varied diet as much a possible.
The main diet can therefore be supplemented with the following items:-
- Cooked Chicken, Mince, Lamb or Beef
- Boiled or Scrambled Egg
- Vegetables - Carrots, Sweet Potato,
Peas, Sweetcorn, Stewed Apple
All of my hoglets have been offered the above items in order to prevent “fussy” eaters.
In addition, live foods are also warmly welcomed by most hedgehogs which include:-
It is important to highlight that these foods should only
be offered as a treat, perhaps once or twice per week as they are high in fats.
vegetables may also be offered in the form of apple, tomato, peas, mashed potato and broccoli. However,
many hedgehogs generally tend to show little interest in such foods. A way round this problem is to combine
food items e.g. a little cooked chicken with vegetables.
This ensures that the hedgehogs
are consuming healthy foods which also provide a valuable source of vitamins.
Fresh water should always be available to the hoglets. My hedgehogs drink from small ceramic
bowls as these are easier to clean and they seem to find this less difficult than drinking from a water bottle
However, if you decide to introduce them to a water bottle, please ensure that a bowl is also available
until you are certain that he/she is drinking a sufficient amount from the bottle.
African Pygmy Hedgehogs are solitary animals in nature and
only meet up together in order to mate and so it is advisable to house them separately. However, a small
number of hedgehog keepers have claimed to keep a small number of females together without experiencing any problems providing
ample space is provided.
Keeping more than one male together in the same cage will almost certainly
lead to fighting.
The cage should be placed away from drafts and direct sunlight
to avoid stressing the hedgehog. Varying types of caging is used by many hedgehog keepers and breeders.
The most common of these are indoor cages designed for guinea pigs or rabbits (e.g. Ferplast Duna and Zoozone Cages)
I use padded fleece liners in my hedgehog hogs and either snuggle sacks or cut up pieces
of fleece in their nest boxes.
It is important to provide a secure hiding place
for your hoglet to sleep in - I use wooden log cabins for my females and my males have large plastic pigloo castles.
Toys are warmly welcomed by hedgehogs. The
best investment would be a large exercise wheel. I use two wheels - silent spinners and Bucket Wheels
made by Carolina Storm Wheels.
Wheels provide an important source of exercise for our
hedgehog, and help to prevent boredom and health problems such as fatty liver and obesity.
do ensure that the wheels are solid as many hedgehogs can catch their feet in the bars of those without a solid base.
In addition to exercise wheels hedgehogs also like tubes and balls which they can push around their cage
with their noses. Small toys available for cats or ferrets containing bells are especially favourable for
hedgehogs. African Pygmy Hedgehogs are adventurous in nature and also enjoy exploring tunnels on any kind
whether they are plastic or cardboard. I usually place small amounts of food around the cage in the evenings
(in tunnels etc) to provide some stimulation for the hedgehogs and keep them occupied.
African Pygmy Hedgehogs are best
kept at around 70-75 degrees (that of a comfortably heated house). If the temperature is significantly
lower than this, hedgehogs will attempt to hibernate (something that should not be allowed as it can prove to be fatal for
the hedgehog). During the colder months or if all round heating is a problem, small heat pads can be placed
underneath the sleeping quarters of the cage or you can use a Ceramic Heat Emitter and Temperature Controller.
Never use Infra Red Heat Bulbs as these can cause Skin Cancer.
I clean my hedgehogs out thoroughly
once per week. In between such times, any heavily soiled areas can be scooped out. I
currently use washing up liquid for general cleaning and a non-scented disinfectant for heavily soiled areas.
Please note that any cleaning products with a heavy smell can upset the hedgehogs.
BRINGING YOUR HOGLET
The journey home combined with a change in environment can be a stressful
time for your hedgehog.
I have provided you with some of your hoglets regular food in order to try and keep the
stress levels to a minimum. Even with such measures in place it is highly likely that your hoglet will
be very shy or even grumpy, and may even go off its food for the first few days (this is to be expected).
In addition, your hoglet is around the age to start quilling which
can unfortunately sometimes make them a little irritable. Baby hedgehogs will shed their baby “spikes”
which are replaced by adults ones around 8/12 weeks of age. You may notice your hoglet scratching a little,
as it can be quite itchy for them (don’t worry – this is a natural process).
It may take a couple of weeks before your hoglet has settled in properly, and your patience is required (however,
it is worth the wait).
It is important to continue handling them during this period –
even if they may seem unwilling. This is best done in a quiet environment in the early evening (when your
hedgehog begins to wake up).
I hope that you enjoy your hoglet and that this information
will help you as you embark on your own adventure with your African Pygmy Hedgehog
For more information on care
- please join our Prickly Critterz Forum