ENRICHMENT


TOYS

Inside the cage, you can use dixie cups, toilet paper tubes that have been cut lengthwise to prevent the head from getting stuck, 4” diameter PVC pipes, fleece “gardens”, and small stuffed animals.

Outside the cage, wicker small animal balls, ferret treat balls, ferret ball pits, live bug dig-bowls, and many more things can be used with supervision. Hedgehogs are burrowers and prefer to be in or under something so give them lots of things to run through and under. Help your hedgie look forward to being out of the cage by providing a fun and interactive environment for them. A small plastic kiddy pool or a collapsible wire playpen with a thick tablecloth base can be used to keep your hedgie from getting into trouble under furniture and will save your carpet from poops. We use “wire cube shelving” available at stores like Target and Walmart. Loosely zip tie the wire panels together to create a huge playpen for a fraction of the cost that pet stores sell them for.


Critter Balls

Click image to buy on Amazon.

Click image to buy on Amazon.

Many hedgehogs love to run freely around the house in a large plastic critter ball. It will keep him/her safe and keep you entertained. They're found in many pet stores as "Run-About Balls" or “Kritter Krawlers”. You'll need the Giant or Mega size (11-13 inches in diameter).  You must supervise them and keep them away from stairs or other situations that could harm them while in the ball. Recommended use time: 30 minutes at a time. Extended periods of time could be hard on their lungs as the balls do not provide adequate ventilation for long term use. These are not necessary to have. As long as you keep an eye on them, they should be okay to roam freely in the house for a bit.

Please make sure you purchase the large sized balls for your hedgehog. The accompanying product is a 13” ball, which would be a good size.


Socializing Your Hedgehog

If your new hedgehog is a sharp-quilled ball of hissing, popping, and clicking attitude, don't despair. This happens ALL the time and will not last forever. Your hedgie will be well-socialized when you get it, but will still need to adjust to the new home. Hedgies act defensively out of fear, and it may take weeks or months to be comfortable. Daily handling is important. Let your pet sit on your lap while you watch TV or work on your computer. Make sure they have something they can hide under/in. Keep your hand available, but let the hedgie make the first move. Speak softly to the hedgie, and try to offer a favorite treat. You can also take an old tee-shirt that you've worn or sleep with one of your hedgehog's blankets before putting it in their sleeping area. This way they will learn to associate your scent with security. Above all else, be patient. There are some hedgehogs that prefer not to be snuggled and will at least put up with being handled. This doesn't mean that they still won't make a wonderful companion. You need to respect their boundaries, and not push them.