Upbringing and Care
African pygmy hedgehog was bred specifically for life at home, there are no such animals like this in the wildlife. Therefore, care after it is special. Other hedgehogs are not as demanding and do not need as much care as it does. In the room you need to have a certain temperature in order to create favorable conditions for your hedgehog. Hedgehog need the same temperature in the room like people - +20-22 at night, +22-25 during the day (degrees Celsius). If the room temperature is low - below 15 degrees, the hedgehog may go into hibernation. The solution is using a heated mat. A heating mat should be under the bottom of the hedgehog’s house.
Regardless of the time of year the day African hedgehog lasts for 12-14 hours. Hence, in times when it gets dark early, you will need to use the backlight. In a nice warm sunny weather, if is is not humid you can go for a walk with your hedgehog, but you need to keep an eye on it. It is quite fast and can catch and eat an insect or an earthworm. If your hedgehog ate an earthworm it may develop a disease capillariasis. Street insects also will not benefit digestion, you can only feed your hedgehog with insects that are grown in artificial conditions. On the grass may be different microbes from which you’d better save it. It is also very important to protect it from cold wind.
Hedgehogs live in special houses, designed for them. From time to time you can let them walk around the flat or the house where you live, but at this time you need to keep an eye on it. At this time it can easily get under furniture and later it may be difficult to find them. Under furniture it can be dusty - it is harmful to the respiratory system of the animal. Unattended hedgehog can injure itself, get trapped somewhere or cause some trouble in the house. In order to feel calm and not to endanger your hedgehog, you need to look after it during its walks around the apartment.
New home, environment, smells - it is a certain stress to a hedgehog. It needs some time to adapt. Put the hedgehog into a cage for the first time after bringing it into the house, you need to give it time to be alone. He is likely to behave quietly and calmly. Do not try to shake it, and you shouldn't keep it in your hands for a long time. For the first day you can take it out for a few minutes, and then put it back into the cage. The period of complete adaptation to a new place is about one week.
Hedgehog’s activity can be mostly at night, since hedgehog is a night-animal. So that it would not disturb the owners sleep, the cage must be put far from the bedroom. Before buying a hedgehog you should think over where to put the cage so that it is always up there. The place should be chosen properly so that the handsome white-bellied would live comfortably. The wrong choice may end with tears. Animal can become sick or even die. It is not recommended to place the cage near the window. Because of this, an animal can get a sunstroke. During the cold period the windows can be blown if they do not close tightly, and the hedgehog might get sick.
In advance, you need to buy a house before bringing the animal into the apartment. You can choose the rabbit house or well built plastic or glass terrarium. Cage should not be opened at all, otherwise the animal will be able to get out of it. The size of the bottom must be at least 60 cm by 60 cm. If the top is open, the side walls should be slippery, otherwise the animal will be able to get out of it. The height of the walls of must be at least 30 cm. The bottom must have a solid surface. It is not recommended the bottom to be made of the rods, because little the animal can get trapped easily. The distance between the bars of the cage should be small. Spiny creature has small size and weight, especially in childhood, so when trying to get out of the house it may get stuck between the bars.
A toilet for a hedgehog can be a usual box with sawdust. Hedgehogs are loved for cleanliness concerning toilets. Sawdust of Aspen or Birch are the best fillers for the toilet. But there are fillers which are not suitable, for example: you cannot use sawdust of wood Cedar, it contains essential oils, that affect badly the health of the hedgehog. You can use paper flakes, they are sold in the shop. They are also used in cat litter. Some owners use corn cob. This is good stuff, but it is not suitable for young hedgehogs.
It is recommended to put something at the bottom of the cage. For these purposes, use flannel, fleece. The material must be flat without any holes. The fabric should absorb moisture well. For convenience, you can take a piece of plastic that fits the size of the cage and then put the material on it. Inside the cage you need to put the sleeping bag for a hedgehog such. It needs the sleeping bag to sleep in at night.
You need to clean your hedgehog so it wouldn’t have any health problems. Once a week is enough. Detergent should be used without aggressive components. Hedgehog needs toys. He likes a variety of toys. Animal often buy the same items that cats play with. Ringing plastic ball is the perfect option. Hedgehog needs training. To do this, set the wheel in a cage for a run. The best diameter for such thing is 28 cm. The animal likes to eat, it often overeats and has a passive lifestyle.
Specially select bowls for food and drink for your pet. Both of them should be sufficiently heavy and stand stable. Otherwise, the animal spills everything. Use nipple drinkers and ceramic bowls for food, their height should not exceed 5 cm in diameter and the width should be 7-15 cm Unfortunately, not all white-bellied beauties know how to use nipple drinker.
Owners do not have to worry about getting food for their hedgehogs.Food for cats is suitable for them. It is recommended to use premium food. Food should be natural, without dyes, additives, and flavorings. It is necessary that there would be no starchy foods such as potatoes, corn and other food. Food should have many components. It is great if it includes meat. The perfect meat is beef, chicken, turkey, and other components in a smaller volume should be fruits and vegetables. It is good to feed your hedgehog with food such as grasshoppers, zoofobus crickets once a month.
There is a list of foods that are bad for the health of your hedgehog.
The animal should never be given dairy products. Grapes can disrupt digestion. Pineapple should never be given because the fruit contains acid that damages the mouth of the animal. Raisins and dried fruits can get stuck in its teeth. Such foods can negatively affect the state of the mouth and teeth. Avocado is contraindicated; there have been cases of poisoning with this fruit. As for the tea-tree oil and cedar, it is dangerous for hedgehogs just to smell it.
Seeds and nuts have a bad affect on the mouth of the animal because they spoil their teeth and animals can get hurt with the shell. You should never give your hedgehog chocolate, crisps, citrus, fast food, garlic, onions. Meals should be exclusively natural without harmful additives; animal health can get damaged because of this food.