It is important to make sure you have done your research before getting a hedgehog & made sure you have the time. So if you’ve decided to get a hedgehog you will be super excited and raring to go… but wait! Are you prepared?
When you collect your hedgehog from your chosen breeder they are likely to have a temporary transport box prepared for you to take your hog home. This will probably be a medium sized box filled with substrate for your hog to nestle down in for the journey. This will be perfect to help to de-stress them as they will be surrounded by the smell of their old home.
If you don’t know for sure that there will be a temporary transport box available on arrival, it is a good idea to make sure you have everything you need to keep your hog safe in the car. Here is a small animal travel box– perfect for taking your hedgehogs on car rides! They have handles so they are easy to carry, a plastic lid so you can see what your hog is up to and are the perfect size. The hog has enough space, but they don’t take up too much room!
An easy way to keep your hedgehog warm in the car is to use a fleece snuggle pouch. My current favourites are from critter comforts or cozy pets. I also make sure I take a heat mat with me. Warm in the microwave for a couple of minutes & they stay warm for up to 12 hours- PERFECT! You can get one here.
There is lots of different advice all over the internet about what is and what isn’t suitable for an African Pygmy Hedgehog home. The rule of thumb is 1) minimum of 3ft and 2) heat! There are lots of different suggestions but the most popular are zoozone cages and vivariums. I would recommend a vivarium as they maintain heat a lot better and I personally think they look a lot nicer in the home. You can get a vivarium similar to the one I have here.
It is also important to have a heat source to ensure that your hedgehog habitat temperature is maintained at around 24 degrees C. This way you can learn what temperature your hog is most comfortable at and turn it up or down depending on their preferences. There are lots of different ways to heat their home including a che with thermostat, a heat mat or heating an entire room. There are also additional heat sources for colder days including a petnap and microwavable heat mat (as mentioned earlier).
It is important to get a few weeks worth of food from the breeder to feed your hedgehog whilst mixing in your mix OR ask for the brand so you can continue to provide the diet they are used to (if suitable). This is important as to not upset your hedgehogs stomach and there is less chance that they will stop eating due to the stress. I will discuss African Pygmy Hedgehog diet in more detail in another post.
It is nearly IMPOSSIBLE to leave your hedgehog alone to investigate their new home- but it’s important that you do. This way you can minimise the stress they are experiencing and make the change as easy as possible for them. A way to start bonding immediately is to put a worn t-shirt in their home so that they can get used to your smell. Then, the next day, as you begin to handle your new pet they will hopefully feel a little more comfortable. Hedgehogs are very likely to be huffy when you first start to handle them but this is normal- after all, they are prey animals and their first line of defence is to spike up in a ball. Try not to let this bother you. Continue to handle your hog with bare hands so that they can get used to you. If you feel as though your hog is having a really hard time, place a snuggle sack on your knee or a blanket and leave them to investigate in their own time. Patience is key.
I hope you enjoyed this post & know some of the most important things to prepare if you decide to let a spikey ball of love join your family.
Kayleigh Rose x
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