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What Kind Of Cage To Use For A Hedgehog
A Review of Various Cage OptionsThere are many different cages on the market for hedgehogs and sometimes it's a little confusing to try to figure out what will work best. This article will help you identify the pros and cons of different cage types so that you can purchase a home that will be safe, secure, and comfortable for your hedgehog.
When purchasing a cage, the three main things you will want to consider are safety, space, and security.
To be safe, a cage needs to have a solid bottom. If there is wire suspended over a solid floor, it will not be safe because hedgehogs have small feet that are not suited to balancing on wire. They are also at risk for falling through the wire and breaking a limb. The second safety concern is ventilation. Does the cage have enough airflow for hedgehog to have fresh air at all times? Finally, if your cage has ramps, is there something to protect hedgie from falling? If it doesn't, you will want to add some type of barrier to keep your hedgehog from falling off the edge. Hedgehogs don't rely on vision and are prone to walking right off of the edges of things.
Another safety consideration is ease of cleaning and disinfecting. You need to be able to clean and disinfect regularly for your hedgehog to be healthy and safe.
The above cage can be used for hedgehogs, but you may want to create a barrier so that your hedgehog doesn't go over the ledge.
I have seen two square feet commonly listed as a minimum amount of space for a hedgehog. I think that is definitely a bare minimum as hedgehogs like to run and roam. Roughly three square feet or more is going to be much happier for your hedgehog. If your cage is on the smaller side, please consider adding a wheel and making sure hedgie gets plenty of out of cage time with you so your hedgehog can run and explore.
The main question for hedgehog cage security is, "Can my hedgehog escape?" If there's any chance that it can, make sure that anywhere hedgehog can go once escaped is going to be safe.
If you are going to use a glass aquarium, 20 gallon long or larger is best. One problem with glass aquariums is lack of ventilation and the potential for mildew growing due to the lack of ventilation. Aquariums can be easily escaped if there is no lid, as hedgies are very skilled at shimmying up the water bottle to escape. A wire lid that allows or good ventilation is best. Another problem with aquariums is that they are very heavy and that makes them difficult to handle when cleaning. The benefit of glass cages in that they are easy to find, being standard stock in pet stores.
Wire cages:Only wire cages with solid bottoms are acceptable. There are a wide variety of these available, typically they are marketed for guinea pigs. Most of these will have plastic bottoms and wire sides. If the top is not secure, the hedgehog can climb the wire and escape. They can also scare the heck out of you when they climb up and hang from or near the cage ceiling. If you are raising babies, you will need to make sure that there is a "baby guard" or that the wire is no larger than about 1/2" x 1" or you may end up with young 'uns on walkabout. Wire cages have the benefit that they are lightweight and easy to clean and disinfect. Galvanized wire can have sharp edges so look for cages with coated wire. Sometimes hedgehogs will try to fit through wire that is 1" x 2" and who end up with abscessed noses from trying to push themselves through. The biggest plus for wire cages is that they are well ventilated and allow in plenty of light, but you need to make sure not to put it in a drafty area.
Both of the wire cages above can be used for hedgehogs. Our experience with them has been that even though hedgehogs can escape, they usually did not.
Acrylic cages:Acrylic cages, such as the ones made for reptiles, look very nice and can be easy to clean and disinfect. In the past, acrylic cages were extremely expensive and that was definitely a deterrent. I am currently working with a manufacturer to obtain a source of gorgeous, secure acrylic cages that include a port for a heat lamp (it can also be used for a red bulb, so that you can see hedgie in the dark, but hedgie can not see you). We hope to have these available by the end of December, 2018.
We expect a shipment of this cage, in white or green, around 12/15/18
Hand built wooden cages:My first hedgehog cage was a handmade wooden cage and I have seen gorgeous cages made from scratch or made from repurposed furniture. The bonus of handmade wooden cages is that the imagination is the limit! The important thing to remember is to finish all wood surfaces with waterproofing and to allow the waterproofing enough time to dry and to ventilate before putting hedgehog in the cage. I put a linoleum floor in mine for ease of cleaning. The possible problems of hand built wooden cages are that they tend to be bulky and difficulty to maneuver when cleaning.
Kennel Cabs:When I first got hedgehogs, kennel cabs were the recommended housing of choice because it was believed that hedgehogs needed darkness. Since then, we have learned that total darkness is not what hedgehogs need or prefer and that the darkness of kennel cabs is a drawback. The good things about kennel cabs are that they are easy to obtain, can be inexpensive if you shop around, are lightweight, and are very easy to clean and disinfect. They definitely make great travel cages.
Sterlite/Rubbermaid Cages:Large sterlite or rubbermaid containers can be easily modified into hedgehog cages. These have a number of plusses, being inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to clean/disinfect. It is very important to make holes for ventilation. I use a 1/2 inch bit on a drill to make holes for ventilation and a smaller to create holes for placing the water bottle on the outside. If you hang the water bottle inside and don't have a lid, your hedgehog can escape. However, if you choose to put a lid on, holes alone really aren't adequate ventilation. To make ventilation in the lid, use a blow dryer to heat the plastic and then cut out a panel using a utility knife. The ventilation hole can be quite large; you are trying to create a lip that blocks the hedgehog from escaping.
C & C Cages:C & C cages are made from coroplast (corrugated plastic) and storage grids. You can make your own or you can purchase them premade. C & C cages have the benefit that they are cost effective for the size. They are easy to clean and disinfect. They also can be made or bought in a wide variety of color choices. The potential problem with them is that they are very easy to escape if they do not have a lid, so be sure to put a lid on yours!
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