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Tucson Hedgehogs

Is that a baby porcupine?? They look very similar, but they are not even related. An african pygmy hedgehog is an insectivore, not a rodent like the porcupine.

 A hedgehog's closest relative is actually the shrew. An average African Pygmy Hedgehog will fit in an adult man's cupped hand. African Pygmy hedgehogs have a thick coat of spines, varying in color. There is no fur under the spines, but soft white or dark fur covers the belly, neck, face, and legs. Sight is relatively poor, but hearing, smell, and taste are very well developed in most pet hedgehogs. 


Hedgehogs are easy going, non-aggressive and not attention seekers. They are great pets that can be handled by anyone and well adjusted hedgies go to strangers with ease. If you are going to be gone on vacation for a week they normally won’t be depressed or angry. When you come back they will willingly go to you as if you never left. 


They are easy to keep as pets, all the supplies you need for them can be found at any pet store. We have placed many of them in schools as classroom pets because they are such cool animals that children are very intrigued by and can learn a lot from. They can make good "first" pets for kids  with adult supervision

How Do I Care For My Hedgehog?

The Cage

Hedgehogs by nature are active little guys, they need the room to move around. A single hedgehog will require a large enclosure that has appropriate ventilation, a solid bottom, and is hedgie escape-proof.

This cage should be as large as possible, our minimum size requirement is 8sq ft (LxW). The Cage you have chosen needs open ventilation, such as screen or metal bars – but under no circumstances should a hedgehog be housed in a reptile or fish terrariums.

Your cage floor should be solid, rather than wire, The wire flooring or wire ramps are super dangerous to all hedgehogs as their tiny feet can slip between become trapped. We have seen broken feet and arms due to improper flooring in the hog’s habitat. Your hog’s habitat will also need about a 2-inch lip on the edges to keep your bedding inside. Your hedgie needs to be able to have access to burrow in at 1-2 inches of wood chip or paper bedding.


The Bedding

Wood shavings, such as Aspen or Pine is the preferred bedding, we use in liter training babies. We suggest using a shredded newspaper or other paper-based bedding ONLY after your hedgie is no longer having “accidents” outside the litter area. In years of hedgie litter training, we find that the paper-based bedding will form a solid papier-Mache type ball on the bottom of the cage, when your baby hedgie urinates on it.

Your Hedgie is a burrowing animal, so fleece lined cage bottoms are not recommended. We also do not recommend the cedar (TOXIC), the hemp based, or recycled plastic pellets, as they can indigested and then leading to potential gastrointestinal obstruction and other serious health issues.

The Litter and Poo Area

Litter Boxes can be offered with regular clay cat litter. Your litter area needs to be big enough to hold your running wheel and a small area in front for your hedgie to use when needed. Hedgehogs are naturally clean animals. When litter training your hog, the bigger the litter area the better. Also, allowing the “dirty area” to

Food and Water Bowls

Hedgehogs need a untippable bowl for food and a bowl for water. While some state that a hedgie can use a rodent drinking water bottle – We have seen too many broken teeth in the emergency room to agree. Hedgies are smart little creatures and have no issues drinking fresh water from a fresh, clean bowl. We like ceramic, porcelain, steel, or even plastic. Fresh water and insectivore food (NEVER FEED CAT FOOD) needs to be offered daily. Preferably in the PM right before your hedgie wakes for the day.


Hog Diet

Your hedgie is an insectivore. This is the main reason, we do not under any circumstances recommend feeding your hedgehog cat food.

 Tucson Hedgehogs does have an amazing food mix that is available to be mailed directly to your address. This specific insectivore food is made with the main ingredient being insects with a sprinkle of veggies and fruits.

 If you’re a brave one, you can also offer a live variety of bugs such as a super worm, meal worms, phoenix worms, ect.


The Entertainment and Enrichment–Exercise Running Wheel

All hedgehogs should be provided with a smooth-sided wheel to run on. This wheel is NOT a wire wheel- these are not hedgie approved as their tiny toes tend to get caught. This wheel needs to be the Jumbo 12’ size wheel.

Rodent roaming balls are not recommended. Your hedgehog’s back is not meant to be as flexible as a chinchilla. 

Your hedgie can free roam with supervision. During free roam time, it is recommended to have a small container of litter available for your hedgie to use, if the circumstances should arrive.

Other fun enrichment are things that encourage your hedgie to use the “hunt” instincts. We love using the treat shuffle mats and creating mazes with treats. A treat can be as simple as a dried mealworm.

Other forms of bonding is in the physical contact time. Holding your hedgie on your person created a fantastic and unbreakable bond. We love using the snuggle scarfs, hedgie bags, a sweater hood, or even a pocket to carry your hedgie in and include them on your daily activities.

The Sleeping Snuggle Zone

Your hedgie is a prey animal. They are naturally shy and need a safe hiding spot. This can be achieved with a plastic “igloo”, Fleece snuggles sacks, a wooden hutch, ect.

Mainly this hiding spot needs to be just big enough to house your entire hedgie, completely stretched out. We have found over the years that when offering a too big of a hide house may be rejected.

Cleaning and Maintaining Your Hog Cage

  • Daily

    • Spot Clean Bedding

    • Litter scoop Poo

    • Wipe down running wheel

    • Fresh Water and Food

  • Weekly

    • Change out bedding

    • Change out litter

  • Monthly

    • Nail Trims

    • Full cage wipe down

    • Bath Time – Beware of Dandruff

    • Enrichment toy rotation


       Finding the perfect home for your new pet!  

We as pet owners want happy, healthy pets .....  as they bring happiness into our lives.  One huge key to a hedgehog's happiness is finding the right habitat.  Hedgehog's, while small in size, require a lot of space as they can run 3 - 5 miles a day!   A minimum 8 square feet is recommended.  There needs to be room in his / her new home for a 12" wheel,  a food and water bowl,  a sleepy home or igloo along with some space to do laps and go thru some tunnels and tubes.   

Pet stores typically carry small cages for guinea pigs, chinchilla's, and hamster's and  unfortunately those cages are approximately 3' x 18" so about 1/2 the recommended size.  Hedgehogs that live in a cage too small can often suffer from anxiety, depression and fear.  They primarily stay in their igloo and become afraid of people.  Often times it leads to obesity and even hibernation out of boredom.  The pet is soon forgotten about and then possibly re-homed.  I strive to find forever homes for my babies and I believe the right home makes a happy pet.


There are other options to consider as well.   Over the years,  I have either made or seen many habitats that I love.  Re-purposing furniture can be a fun project and allows for the new pet to join the family in an inconspicuous habitat.

Click Here 2 See 


Hedgehogs need their temperature to be between 73-80 degrees.

You may need a heat source when running your Air Conditioning in the summer months, and when the temperatures drop in the fall. Here in Arizona we have some extreame temperature fluctuations, and having a heat source available is recommened.          

Tucson Hedgehogs Heat Source Options 


Hedgehogs like to burrow so add a thick layer of bedding to your habitat.

We highly recommend a wood chip variety such as Aspen, pine or even the paper shavings are another great choice. 

Tucson Hedgehogs uses pine shavings with all our hedgehogs as we find it easy to clean, inexpensive and smells great. Also side note, you will enjoy watching your hedgehog burrow, roll and play in the fresh clean shavings.

*Cedar shavings should be avoided as they are toxic to hedgehogs* 

WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND NOT USING A CARPET LIKE BEDDING.  Hedgehogs are buroughing animals, and will have anxiety in the cage If you choose to use fleece. Fleece can be used in your cage or play area if you choose to cut up your fleece in 2inch or larger squares and make a large pile to give your hedgehog a fun interactive burrow. 

The fleece burrow squares must be spot cleaned daily, and washed every 1-2 days.  

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