Posted: March 13, 2012, 6 a.m. EDT
Q: I’ve read that hedgehogs are able to be litter-trained. My family is ready to train him now, but I wanted to double-check with you on whether or not we really can do this. How should we go about starting litter training? Also, is it safe to let a hedgehog roam around outside (with supervision) or should it be kept indoors due to bugs it might catch?
A: A litter-trained hedgehog can be a blessing. It sure makes clean up a lot easier. If you are going to give this a try, the first thing to do is get a small litter box, such as one made for ferrets. These boxes can usually be anchored to a corner of the cage. You might also use a heavy, 2 inch high container. Remember hedgehogs like to root so make sure that the litter box cannot be turned over.
Next add a pet-safe bedding, such as Carefresh or Aspen shavings, inside the litter box. Never use clumping or clay cat litters, as these can be harmful for hedgehogs.
With a clean cage, let your hedgehog pick a spot to relieve himself. Then place the litter box in the established area, filling the box with some of the hedgehog’s droppings along with some clean litter. Don’t give up if your hedgehog goes outside the box. With persistence, your hedgehog will catch on and continue to use the box.
It is OK to take your hedgehog outside for some fresh air. Make sure that the grass is free of pesticides and that your hedgehog does not eat any outdoor insects. You might not have pesticides on your lawn, but you do not know where an insect has been. If you cannot supervise your hedgehog, make sure that he is safely in a cage out of the reach of predators and direct sunlight.
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