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Hedgehog Care 101

Welcome to KyTy Critters! We are thrilled to share our expertise on hedgehog care to help you provide the best possible environment for your adorable prickly companion. Whether you're a new, first-time hedgehog owner or just looking to expand your knowledge, this blog post will cover all the essential aspects of hedgehog care, ensuring a happy and healthy life for your pet.

Creating the Perfect Habitat:

The first step in hedgehog care is setting up a suitable habitat.

As we always say here at KyTy..."bigger is better," and that couldn’t more accurate about your new bulbous buddy.  We suggest a large enclosure, measuring 5 cubic feet or more.  Provide your hedgehog with kiln dried aspen or pine bedding.  We do not recommend the use of bedding made out of paper or cedar, but fleece liners can be a great reusable option for your enclosure.   

For enclosure furnishings, you will need an appropriate, lightweight sleeping hut, heavy ceramic food dishes, plenty of toys, and a KyTy-approved, hedgehog-safe exercise wheel.  Lastly we suggest the use of a no-light ceramic heat lamp, which are available on our website. 

Nutrition and Diet:

A well-balanced diet is crucial for hedgehog health. You will need a high protein diet to keep your new baby happy and healthy. At KyTy we use a high protein, insect based pellet, and a variety of treats, including shredded chicken meat, scrambled eggs, live insects, veggies, and more. 

Many people are nervous when they first bring their new companion home, getting worried when they don’t see their new baby eating.  It is not uncommon for your baby to only eat at night, when you aren’t around, and to eat very small amounts while they adjust to their new enclosure.  You may also notice runny or odd colored stools at this time. Much like humans these little prickly butterballs can get nervous stomachs.

Exercise and Enrichment:

Hedgehogs are active creatures that require mental and physical stimulation.  Hedgehog-safe exercise wheels are important, as well as a variety of toys that they can interact with.  Just be sure that their paws or head cannot become stuck in any of the toys you offer.  Playtime outside of their enclosure is also very important to keep your baby bonded to you and to help them remain happy and content. This time should always be supervised, and in a hedgehog safe/proof area of your home.  

Handling and Socialization:

Hedgehogs can be shy, and require gentle handling to build trust and establish a bond.

We suggest beginning the bonding process with your new baby immediately.  You want to show them from the outset that you are part of their new safe space, and help ease them into their new home with patience, love, and calmness. KyTy’s bonding scarves and cuddle sacks can be great to help with the bonding process, and to keep your new baby near you as much as possible. Hedgehogs are also very scent driven critters, so putting pieces of fleece in their enclosure that have spent a day or two in your pocket or laundry hamper can help to speed up this new bond by reinforcing the connection between you and safety. 

To ensure safety, do not leave knit items (like terrycloth or crochet) or anything with exposed or loose stitching in their enclosure, as the threads can snag on their quills or nails and quickly become tangled around a limb or toe causing injury. 

Grooming and Hygiene:

Hedgehogs are generally clean animals, but they still require regular grooming, like baths and nail trimming.  You should bathe your new family member once a week with warm water (about an inch deep) and a bitt of hedgehog body wash (available on our website).  Let your baby play in the water for a moment while dribbling water down their back. You will then use your fingers to work the soap into your babies quills, stomach, legs, and the rest of their body, avoiding the mouth and eyes.  Give them a good rinse, and then wrap them in a fleece blanket for some warm cuddle time. 

Caring for a hedgehog can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your hedgehog lives a happy and healthy life. Remember, each critter is unique, so it's essential to observe their behavior and adjust their care accordingly. For more in-depth information and personalized advice, visit our website www.kytycritters.com, where we are dedicated to providing the best resources for hedgehog enthusiasts like you.


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