Heating the Cage

     Hedgehogs must be kept at temperatures between 73-80° F. Different hedgehogs prefer different temperatures, so a bit of trial and error is needed to find your hedgehog's optimum temperature. If it is too cold, your hedgehog is at risk of hibernating, which is fatal to pet hedgehogs. If it is too hot, you may see your hedgehog "splatting" on their stomach in the cage, or not being as active as usual. 

    To regulate your cage temperature, you have several options:

 

  • Space heater with a thermostat

    • For use in a smaller space

    • Work easily for all cage types

    • Some types use more energy than others

 

  • Ceramic heat emitter (preferred method)

    • Simple to use, inexpensive to operate, heats the air well

    • A bit costly to set up, but bulbs will last you a long time

    • To use this method, you will need a ceramic heat emitter bulb, lamp, and thermostat.

      • The CHE bulb wattage depends on your cage size, I would suggest 100 or 150 watt bulbs. Two CHEs can be used on opposite sides of the cage if the cage is 3+ feet long. Make sure your clamp lamp can handle the wattage of the bulb you buy! Buy on Amazon

      • The dome lamp should be CHE safe, and the size should be 8.5 - 10 inches. A wider lamp spreads the heat out more throughout the cage, as does a solid lamp rather than a wire one. Make sure the socket of the dome is ceramic and not plastic, to avoid any melting and fire hazards. Buy on Amazon

      • A thermostat must be used to regulate the temperature by turning the heat bulb on and off when needed. Make sure your thermostat can handle the wattage of your bulbs. Buy on amazon 

      • You can also buy a digital thermometer to double check the temperature of the cage. You can buy a cheap probe type thermometer off of ebay or amazon, or you can use a point and shoot type thermometer which is useful for quickly finding temperatures in different parts of the cage.

 

  • Heating pad

    • Heating pads are less reliable at heating the air than a CHE setup, so should only be used with a more enclosed cage, like a bin. They should be used with a thermostat, with the probe set at hedgehog level. Make sure to monitor the cage to make sure it is reaching an adequate temperature - BEFORE bringing your baby home. 

  • Heating your house

    • Some people tell me their house is always at the proper temperature... I just find this hard to believe! ​Your thermostat may be in a totally different area than your cage, some rooms are colder than others, get more drafts... I would not trust your home's heat to work for your hedgehog.

Lighting the Cage

     Hedgehogs need 12-14 hours of consistent light each day. Without a consistent schedule, your hedgehog may become disoriented, attempt hibernation, and have a lower immune system leading to health problems.


     Lighting Options:

 

  • Natural Light

    • Saves energy.

    • Not always reliable, and you will need to use a light on darker days. If your hedgehog senses the days getting shorter in the winter, they may attempt hibernation.

 

  • Lightbulb

    • ​Easy to use; simple.

    • You must remember to turn the light on and off at the same time every day.

 

  •  Light on a timer

    • Provides consistent schedule and is easy to use. This can be as simple as a lamp.

    • You can now buy smart bulbs at Walmart for $15 that you can set to turn on and off on a schedule!