Articles on basic care and considerations for new or prospective owners.
Articles pertaining to health, nutrition, and veterinary care.
Articles and pictures about hedgehog breeding, growth, and development.
Articles for people who already own a hedgehog or want to know more than just the basics.
Learn more about hedgehog colors!
Wondering where to buy a hedgehog? Start here!
Where to purchase hedgehog supplies and collectibles.
Meet the hedgehogs of Hedgehog Valley!
Meet the other critters that call or
have called Hedgehog Valley
I have often wondered if hide and seek is
hedgehog's favorite game. Hedgehogs are accomplished escape artists and
it is really scary to find an empty cage where you expect to see a
little bundle of quills snoozing away! Fear not, though… here are a few
tricks to help you win the game!
You can reduce potential risk by hedgehog
proofing your house before your hedgehog makes a daring first escape.
Make sure there is nothing dangerous in the room that your hedgehog may escape into (stoves, recliners) or
out of (dryer vents, doggie doors). This can be done by placing foam
blocks, cardboard, or wooden barriers across any areas that look like
they might be risky. You will want to get in the habit of closing the door
to rooms with potential hazards. If your hedgehog cage is in an area
that you can close the door and keep it in one room, you minimize how
far your hedgehog can roam if it escapes.
If you discover that your hedgehog has
escaped, DON’T PANIC! Calmly check areas that might want to use to take
a nap. Our first hedgehog was free
ranging and we learned from her that laundry piles, closets, and dark
areas under upholstered chairs have particular hedge-appeal. Hedgehogs
may also hide behind boxes or shelves.
If you check all of the obvious places and you still can not find your hedgehog, the next thing to do is to place a food and water dish near the cage area. Hedgehogs are creatures of habit and will often retrace their steps. If you see that food and water is missing, it’s reassuring to know that your hedgehog is alive and well, just A.W.O.L.
If you have a large house, you can close off
each room and place a food and water dish in each, to narrow down
where the hedgehog is hiding. Hedgehogs are not particularly shy about
people and will eventually waddle right out in front of you! Some people
have reported placing paper lunch bags on their side, with food in the
back, so that the rustling will alert them when the hedgehog goes in the
bag to eat the food.
No article about hedgehog hide-and-seek would be complete
without legends of our truly talented hide-and-seek
artists. Our first hedgehog, Nanny Ogg, would play this game with me daily
since she was free ranging. The funniest places I ever found her were in
the bottom of one of my boots, sleeping in a t-shirt belonging to a
house guest who had left his clothes next to the couch when he retired
for the night (He was sure surprised when he picked it up(, and sleeping
in the leg of a pair of sweat pants. I picked up the sweat pants and
there were four little flailing legs stuck out of the bottom while her
body kept her from falling out!
A hedgehog named Dachande gave me a
scare at a very memorable time. I ran to get a phone call in
the middle of cage cleaning and when I returned, I found that I had not
latched it well enough and she was gone! I put out
food and water but did not find her that night. I was determined to
look for her the next night, but then I went into labor and delivered
my beautiful baby girl the next night. Two nights later I got home from
the hospital to see that Dachande had been eating and drinking the food
that was left out for her, but no Dachande. I was starting to
worry about how long she had been gone, when the next night I practically
stepped on her when walking into the hedgehog room.
Boy was I happy to see that wiggly little nose pointed at me!
Our most daring escape distinction goes to Lily-of-the-Valley. She
was residing in a sterlite container with a wire panel on the side,
which was placed on a shelf that is eye-level to me. She was due
to have babies and when I went to check on her, much to my horror, she was gone!
Somehow the lid hadn’t been snapped on entirely tight and she must
have shimmied up the wire, pushed up the lid with her nose, leapt to the
cages below, and from there to the floor. I decided to check the obvious
places before panicking and lo and behold, she had 3 newborns that
she’d birthed beneath an unused garbage bag that sat in the center of the
room. Mom and babies were returned to the cage and the rest of their
childhood went without incident.
Our most clever escape award goes to Miss Gizmo, a 5 year old rescue
hedgehog who reportedly never escaped in her life, even though she’d
been kept in a cage with sides that most of my hedgehogs would scale in
a heartbeat. Within 48 hours of moving
to our home, Gizmo was escaping that cage on a nightly basis. I moved
her to a blow-up wading pool, figuring that would give her room to roam
and that it would be too high to scale. Five months went by without event, then
one day she managed to scale the wading pool and was gone! I put her
food and water in the bathroom,
slightly under the cabinet ledge where I wouldn’t knock it over, and
waited. Two nights went by and I couldn’t find her in any of the
obvious places, but she was eating,
drinking so I knew she had to be there. Much
to my surprise, on the third night I was sitting on the floor, next to
her food and water, when she suddenly appeared, as if out of thin air! Clever Gizzy had found that there was a gap under the bathroom cabinet (I sure
didn’t know it was there) and had been living in the cabinet the whole
The wading pool finally met its demise with the hilarious escape of Zinnia. Zinnia was an overweight hedgehog who needed extra room to roam. I figured she was too fat to scale anything. One morning I found that the top ring on the pool was popped and Zinnia was gone! And, for extra measure, she had taken her hedgebag with her! I quickly located her hiding in her hedgebag, behind the chest freezer. I figured it would be okay to shut the door to the room and let her roam the room until I got home that night. When I got home I found Zinnia back in the pool, curled up in her hedgebag, patiently waiting by the now empty food and water dishes!
I have now had several hedgehogs demonstrate their mountaineering skills
by making it up our carpeted stairs to the upstairs bedrooms.
In conclusion, hedgehogs do sometimes escape. Planning ahead can
prevent tragedies if and when escapes do occur. If you have taken
reasonable precautions ahead of time, then it is just a matter of
figuring out where the hedgehog is hiding or waiting
until he or she decides to show up. Most of all, don’t panic!
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