Being that they originated in Africa, hedgehogs have unique temperature
requirements. To be healthy, hedgehogs need the temperature in and around their
cage to be at least 74ºF (24ºC). Some hedgehogs
need an even higher temperature. To be safe, the temperature should remain at a
constant 75-76º. If a hedgehog's cage does not remain at this temperature, the
hedgehog will try to hibernate. To make sure that the temperature in your hog's cage remains at a constant high, you should have at least one, if not two, thermometers in the cage. One should be put at the point of greatest heat (ie. near the heating pag/lamp) and the other as far away from the heat as possible so that you know it is a good temperature in all of your hedgie cage. Hedgehogs also need at least 12 hours of light a
day (it can be natural or artificial) or they may try and hibernate.
Although some people will tell you otherwise,
hedgehogs should not be allowed to hibernate. Unlike bears, bats, frogs
and snakes, it is very dangerous to a hedgehog to hibernate. Why? Hibernation
attempts weaken their immune system. Every time they hibernate it is easier and
easier for them to get sick. If left in a hibernation state to long, they will
die. If you think your hedgehog is attempting to hibernate (isn't moving, seems
listless), pick it up and feel its stomach. If it is cool/cold, your hog is most
likely hibernating. Immediately warm it up by holding it in a blanket. It should
start to warm up within 15 minutes or so. Even if your hedgehog becomes active
again, it is a good idea to raise the temperature. If a hedgehog tries to
hibernate once, it is very likely that they will try again soon. For the next
few weeks you should keep the temperature high and keep close watch over your
hedgehog to make sure it is okay.
How Do I Keep the Cage Warm?
There are a few different ways to keep a
hedgehog cage and the area surrounding it warm.
1. Keep the temperature of your house (or
room, if possible) at or above 75º.
2. Space heater. Space heaters are
inexpensive, easy to find, use little electricity, and work very well at keeping
a room warm. Here is an example of one from
Walmart. I personally have one and I highly recommend it.
3. Ceramic Heat Emitter. Heat emitters
can be expensive, but work well. They use very little electricity, and produce
heat without producing light. They only keep a cage warm, not an entire room.
Here is an example of one from
A wire frame is usually needed to hold one, and it can be purchased where you
buy your heat emitter. I use a heat emitter for my cage, and it works well. For
my cage, a 100 watt works well, but different cages types and sizes may require
Quick Fixes: These are good things to
have around in case of a power outage or an emergency vet visit. They are not
appropriate to use to keep a cage warm for long periods of time. Snuggle Safe Heat Disk: The Snuggle Safe heat
disk is a good quick fix for a vet trip. It doesn't work well during power
outages because it needs a microwave to heat it up. Therefore, you can't heat it
up during a power outage. The only concern you should have is that your hedgehog
may get too hot. Make sure that your hedgehog has plenty of space to get away
from it if it gets too hot. It usually won't fit to well in a carrier, but if it
is the difference between a warm or cold hedgie, better to be safe. If your
carrier isn't big enough to hold the disk and still allow the hedgehog plenty of
room away from it, you may want to consider one of the other quick fix options.
It can be bought at
Petsmart, or online, such as
here. Either way, you will probably also have to buy a covering for it to
slide into after it has been heated up. Heating Pad: Human heating pads are a good quick
fix when some extra heat is needed. In fact, they are sometimes used as a main
heat source for a cage. Please remember though, that is you use a heating pad,
you need to make sure that your hedgehog can not get to it. It is safest to put
it under the cage. Also make sure that your hedgehog has plenty of room to get
away from it if it gets to hot. The only problem with heating pads is that they
usually only heat the cage itself, not the air in and around the cage.
Therefore, the bottom of the cage may be plenty warm, but the top is cold. When
choosing what kind of device to use to heat your cage, I would recommend using a
heat emitter or space heater over a heating pad. Hand/Foot Warmers: These are a great quick fix
when you just need some extra heat. They can last anywhere from 5 hours to 24
hours each, and they are inexpensive and work well. They can be bought at
sporting good stores. Here is a page where they can be ordered directly from the
manufacturer. [Holders for hand and foot
warmers can be special ordered from "The Hedgie Den" (go to the