Posted: March 13, 2011, 5 a.m. EDT
Q: I'm a freshman in high school, and I'm interested in purchasing a hedgehog. I'm concerned with temperature and was wondering if I can buy something that controls the temperature of a cage. I've taken care of two gerbils and two mice, all of which died (cat got one and we purchased a better lid). My main concerns, though, are temperature control and grooming.
A: Keeping hedgehogs warm is very important because they originate from warm climates. Hedgehogs are most comfortable at temperatures between 73 and 83 degrees Fahrenheit. To achieve this condition, people use nocturnal red light bulbs, ceramic heat lamps, and under-the-cage heating pads and discs. To monitor the floor temperature of the cage, use a digital thermometer placed on the cage bottom. Once the temperature is adequate, then the thermometer can be removed. Hedgehogs often like a fleece pouch in their nest box.
Not much grooming is involved when it comes to hedgehogs. Hedgehogs don’t have any odor, and they keep very clean. On occasion, a hedgehog’s waste might get wedged into its quills, which is not a problem. Wait for it to dry, and use an old toothbrush to scrape it off. If you do need to bathe your hedgehog, a few precautions are recommended. Always use warm water, and try not to get water into the hedgehog’s nose, ears and eyes. Keep your hedgehog in a warm area until it is completely dry.
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