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Choosing the Best Hedgehog Cage: 8 Factors to Consider

brown and white hedgehog rolled into a ball, it's face staring straight forward

There has been a lot of debate in the pet community about the appropriate habitat for a hedgehog. This is largely sparked by the products marketed to new owners that fail to provide the necessary requirements for a safe, healthy hedgehog. There are 8 important factors that should be considered when selecting the best hedgehog cage.

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Bringing home a new pet is always an exciting experience, whether you’re a first-time pet owner or adding further to your family.

However, there are many things to consider as you prepare for your new pet.

Some of the biggest decisions that you will make as a hedgehog owner relate to the habitat that your new pet will be living in.

This includes their bedding, food dishes, litter box and, of course, the cage!

It may be tempting to purchase the cheapest cage that states ‘hedgehog’ in its product description but doing so could lead to big problems throughout your hedgehog’s life.

NOTE: A product marketed to a specific pet does NOT mean that it is the best choice available.

Betta tanks are a well-known example, often providing FAR less space than the fish will require to flourish. This also occurs with small animal cages.

Always take the time to do your research, ask questions and assess products yourself.

While there are many GREAT companies in the pet industry that truly care, there are also those who are focused first and foremost on making money.

Do your due diligence!

If you want to raise a happy, healthy hedgehog (and I’m sure you do), then there are a few specific aspects that you should consider when shopping for the best hedgehog cage.

The following points address potential safety concerns, ease of use, basic needs and more.

If at any point you are concerned about the health and safety of your hedgehog, contact your veterinarian.

small white and brown hedgehog standing in an enclosure on top of wood shavings

8 Important Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Hedgehog Cage

Cage Size

Hedgehogs require far more room than most first-time pet owners realize.

There are differing opinions on the minimum cage size necessary, however, most veterinarians and experienced hedgehog owners that I have spoken with state that the cage should be at least 4 feet by 2 feet.

This will provide the space necessary for everything that your hedgehog needs while still providing space to place and explore.

Obesity is a common struggle faced by hedgehogs.

In order to prevent this, you will need to provide daily exercise outside of their pen as well as space for your hedgehog to explore and exercise when they are in their cage.

Risk of Escape

This may seem like an obvious point, but I can’t list the requirements of safe habitat for your hedgehog without mentioning it.

Check any doorways to ensure that they latch securely and cannot be opened.

Consider the spacing in the sides of a wire cage.

Larger wire cages may be constructed with a larger animal in mind, meaning that your hedgehog can slip out between the bars.

Bars on a wire cage should be no further apart than 1 inch (or less, preferably).

If there is an open top on part or all of your pen or enclosure, you want to be sure that the walls are high enough to prevent your pet from climbing out.

Hedgehogs are skilled climbers!

Related: ‘6 Phone Numbers Every Pet Owner Should Have On Hand

Ventilation

Your hedgehog’s habitat should provide for adequate airflow.

This helps to prevent the build-up of potentially dangerous odours, such as ammonia as well as keeping the humidity levels in check.

If you are purchasing a wooden or plastic enclosure or building one yourself, you want to ensure that it provides plenty of holes for ventilation purposes.

However, be cautious of holes that are large enough for your hedgehog to get their head stuck.

Wire sided enclosures are often recommended (especially for newer owners) as they are the best option for ventilation.

Surface Construction

Take a careful look at the construction of the floor of your hedgehog’s new habitat.

Wire mesh flooring often leads to injuries, as your pet may get his/her feet or legs stuck while they are moving about.

Instead, they should be provided with a flat surface so that they can safely move about.

Plastic surfaces are preferred to metal due to the fact that metal will require additional consideration in terms of managing the temperature of the habitat.

Metal surfaces often hold the cold during the cooler months, requiring extra heating. However, when exposed to heat, they may also heat up too much in the warmer months.

Many professionals will advise against cages with second levels or ramps due to the risk of falling.

However, if your hedgehog’s cage does have a ramp, check to make sure that the surface will not become slippery with use.

Another great safety consideration would be to stick with enclosed ramps.

Temperature Control

In order to stay healthy, hedgehogs need to stay relatively warm.

Your pet’s habitat should be no lower than 72 degrees Fahrenheit. The optimal temperature is 75 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

If a hedgehog’s body temperature drops too low, it may result in a hibernation attempt.

This may not seem alarming as we have learned about many different animals that hibernate successfully in the wild.

Unfortunately, for a hedgehog, hibernation can be fatal.

Consider adding a heating source that is specifically constructed for small animals like hedgehogs, such as a heating pad or ceramic heat emitter.

Note: Heat lamps that emit light and heating pads designed for humans or reptiles are NOT safe for use in your hedgehog’s enclosure.

Lighting

In order to provide a habitat that encourages good physical and mental well-being, your hedgehog’s space needs to be well lit.

Most experts recommend approximately 12-14 hours of consistent light for your pet each day.

Shorter light during the cooler months can also contribute to a hibernation attempt.

Consider providing light with a lamp or overhead light near the cage.

If you are concerned about the use of electricity, you can use a timer in order to allow you to control when the light is on even when you’re not home.

Access to Your Hedgehog

As we previously discussed, your hedgehog should be provided the opportunity to exercise outside of his/her cage daily.

Furthermore, it is recommended that your hedgehog be exposed to at least 30-60 minutes of ‘hands on’ time each day to allow you to bond with your pet and build a relationship.

For this reason, you want to select a cage that makes it easy access and pick up your hedgehog.

This may mean choosing a cage with multiple doorways or access points.

Related: ‘What Is the Best Pet for Apartment Living?

Ease of Cleaning

Your hedgehog’s cage needs to be spot cleaned daily, removing not only any waste from their litterbox and cage floor, but also leftover food debris.

Once a week, the full enclosure will need to be cleaned with all bedding removed and replaced.

For this to be maintained, you want to select a cage that you can clean and care for yourself.

An overly heavy cage or one that is awkward to move about may discourage you by turning cleaning into a difficult process.

Instead, the best hamster cage for you and your hedgehog will be one that is easy for you to take care of.  

brown and white hedgehog rolled into a ball, it's face staring straight forward with text announcing the 8 factors for selecting the best hedgehog cage

Hedgehog owners, what factors did YOU consider when selecting the best hedgehog cage? Did I miss anything that you believe is important?

About Author

Britt is a digital/social media marketer and the owner of The Social Alternative. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending her time with her ‘pack’ which includes her husband John, their 2 dogs Daviana and Indiana and their 2 cats Pippen and Jinx. A proud pet mom, she shares all her pet-related tips, tricks and funny pet antics on Shed Happens.

30 Comments

  • Sarah
    October 20, 2020 at 8:49 am

    I would love to have one as a pet but already have cats abs guinea pigs so not an option! xx

    Reply
    • Britt
      October 20, 2020 at 9:14 am

      I have always loved them and want one, but there’s just no space in our house with the dogs and cats here lol

      Reply
  • Lucy
    October 20, 2020 at 5:39 pm

    This was such an interesting read Britt, I love hedgehogs, they’re incredibly cute and I always feed them if I see them in my garden x

    Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk

    Reply
    • Britt
      October 21, 2020 at 7:34 pm

      They are such cute little animals!

      Reply
  • Shyla Elza
    October 20, 2020 at 6:05 pm

    I for one have never owned a hedgehog, but have always been very curious about them and their needs. My daughter is getting older and is wanting to be responsible for a pet of her own. We currently have a housecat, but perhaps someday down the line we may find a furry friend like a hedgehog for her. If we do get one I will be referring to your site for advice as well as consulting our vet!

    Reply
    • Britt
      October 21, 2020 at 7:31 pm

      The best advice that I have for someone interested in potentially adopting a hedgehog is to seek out a veterinarian with experience specifically in hedgehogs. Many vets will see maybe 1/year, which means that they simply aren’t as familiar with the latest research and developments because it’s not their focus.

      Reply
  • Jenny in Neverland
    October 22, 2020 at 7:04 am

    I’ll be completely honest and I didn’t realise that Hedgehogs could be kept as pets! But I bet they’d make lovely pets and this is really helpful for anyone considering a hedgehog as a pet x

    Reply
    • Britt
      October 22, 2020 at 3:48 pm

      They are adorable pets and do really well in the right home!

      Reply
  • Sophie Harriet
    October 22, 2020 at 7:20 am

    My friend has hedgehogs and they are so cute! I’d love to have one one day and this post is a valuable resource for all potential hedgehog owners! xx

    Reply
    • Britt
      October 22, 2020 at 3:43 pm

      They are adorable, aren’t they? A friend of mine lives too far away for me to visit regularly, but I love when she shares pictures of her hedgehog online lol

      Reply
  • Ming Qian
    October 22, 2020 at 8:40 am

    Hey Britt, we’re not legally allowed to keep hedgehogs as pets where I’m from, but I have a guinea pig and I used to have a hamster too. I think as someone who lives in an apartment, we’re always conscious about space, and we tend to go for the “minimum cage size” or tank size for fishes.

    It took me years to realize that pets do better with larger spaces. If they have to be confined in a cage, then there should be more playtime outside of the cage for them.

    That said, I don’t think I can bear to keep another small animal if I can’t afford the space for a larger enclosure for them. Just my thoughts! Great blog post and I love how some of these principles apply to most pets in general too. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Britt
      October 22, 2020 at 3:27 pm

      Yes, there are a few areas around the world where hedgehogs aren’t allowed for a variety of reasons. There are also some places where you can only keep certain types of hedgehogs! I agree with you in that I wouldn’t be able to keep a small animal if I knew that I couldn’t provide them with the space required to keep a happy pet.

      Reply
  • Lori Bosworth
    October 22, 2020 at 9:54 am

    I did not know that people had hedgehogs as pets! They are super cute. That is very helpful info re buying a hedgehog cage!

    Reply
    • Britt
      October 22, 2020 at 3:21 pm

      They aren’t anywhere near as common as many other pets, and they are banned in some places, but there are quite a few out there!

      Reply
  • Rosie Ireland
    October 22, 2020 at 11:45 am

    Hedgehogs look so so cute, I’ve actually never seen one in real life! I never knew that you could keep them as pets or inside the home. This post is really informative, it has plenty of info for novices like me!

    Rosie

    Reply
    • Britt
      October 22, 2020 at 3:12 pm

      They make really cute pets as long as the owner takes the time to educate themselves on what they need to be happy and healthy 🙂

      Reply
  • Lyosha
    October 23, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    I have never considered a hedgehog as a pet seriously but they are so cute. my pups would freak out though if I was to bring it over. my younger pup is afraid of them (we have a lot in local park)

    Reply
    • Britt
      October 23, 2020 at 3:04 pm

      They are so adorable! I would love to have one, but we just don’t currently live a lifestyle where caring for one would fit into everything else.

      Reply
  • Di Hickman
    October 23, 2020 at 7:58 pm

    Wow I didn’t know there were people keeping hedgehogs as pets? Seems like these are better animals in the wild IMO. They are gorgeous creatures. My sister in law has a few that visit her yard each night.

    Reply
    • Britt
      October 24, 2020 at 12:12 pm

      There are some areas where they are considered illegal, but they do make adorable pets. They can be quite affectionate with their owners too, showing that they really do make a connection and live a happy life with the right care.

      Reply
  • Indya | The Small Adventurer
    October 23, 2020 at 11:30 pm

    Hedgehogs are SO darn cute! I would love one as a pet – they seem like a great considering their tiny size – but I honestly don’t know if you can even get them over here in Australia? If I ever manage to look into getting one, I’ll be sure to come back here and learn more about the best cage to get for them though!

    Reply
    • Britt
      October 24, 2020 at 12:09 pm

      Unfortunately, I believe that Australia is pretty strict when it comes to hedgehogs. Last I checked, they were classified as ‘exotic pets’ and it was illegal to bring them into the country.

      Reply
  • Nkem
    October 24, 2020 at 5:19 am

    Once again, I’ve learned a lot! Thanks for sharing. I didn’t realize how important temperature control was for hedgehogs!

    Reply
    • Britt
      October 24, 2020 at 12:07 pm

      Very, very important and far too often overlooked!

      Reply
  • Elena Toma
    October 24, 2020 at 10:08 am

    I always wanted a hedgehog as a pet. i find this little creatures not just adorable but also quite magical. But with 2 cats I was afraid he might be in constant danger, now that I see these cages I am really reconsidering to get a hedgehog as a pet, I just love these little sweet creatures ! Great tip about the heating pad and the light bulb, never knew they need that!

    Reply
    • Britt
      October 24, 2020 at 12:05 pm

      There are definitely ways to own hedgehogs AND cats together safely. Be careful with any cage or pen with an open top, as your cats may choose to climb in.

      Reply
  • Clarice
    October 24, 2020 at 12:41 pm

    We are actually planning on getting a hedgehog so this is something that is good to know. Thank you for sharing this tips on how to choose the best hedgehodge cage. Bookmarking this for future reference.

    Reply
    • Britt
      October 24, 2020 at 5:27 pm

      That’s super exciting! I can’t wait to hear all about your new family member when that time comes.

      Reply
  • Ivan Majhen
    October 24, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    I have never thought of having a hedgehog as a pet. I bet it is so exciting. MY daughter and I were talking about getting a new family member anyway, but now you gave me an idea to have a hedgehog at home. However, don’t know that I have seen a hedgehog in a petshop where I live tho

    Reply
    • Britt
      October 25, 2020 at 4:36 pm

      First, I would start by researching the laws and bylaws in your area. Hedgehogs are considered exotic pets and are banned in some areas. After that, I would look into breeders that specialize in hedgehogs versus a pet shop. They are a very unique pet that many people aren’t familiar with.

      Reply

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