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Hedgehog Out-of-Cage Time

Before you take your pet out of the cage, take time to hedgehog-proof a room.

By Audrey Pavia

hedgehog
Hedgehog Puff/© Courtesy L. Diane Lackie
Out-of-cage time gives hedgehogs a chance to exercise.

In the wild, hedgehogs get a lot of exercise foraging for food and excavating their burrows. Domesticated hedgehogs need exercise too, and should get most of it during out-of-cage time.

Before you can let your hedgehog run loose, make a room safe for it. Pick a room that you can easily hedgehog-proof, like a bathroom. Get down on all fours and survey the room from your hedgehog’s point of view. Plug up any holes or crevices with a towel. Remove electrical, computer and telephone wires so they are out of reach, or cover them with flexible plastic tubing, which you can cut lengthwise (available at hardware stores). Be sure the room is clean and no residue from cleaning products is on surfaces the hedgehog touches.

Remove any houseplants, cleansers or anything else your hedgehog might eat that could cause harm. If you’ve chosen a bathroom for your hedgehog’s exercise room, make sure you close the toilet bowl lid.

Another way your hedgehog can enjoy out-of-cage time is with an exercise ball. Purchase a ball that is 10 inches or so in diameter. While it’s inside the ball, your hedgehog can have run of the house as long as you supervise him at all times. Be sure to confine cats and dogs so they don’t chase your pet while it’s playing.

Whether your small pet is playing in a hedgehog-proofed room or running around the house in an exercise ball, keep a close watch on it to make sure your hedgehog doesn’t get into trouble.

 


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Reader Comments
We do not use a ball for our hedgie, Chocolate Chip. We use a clean, plastic, empty barrel from chips and other snacks. It has plenty of room and all of our hedgies have loved it. We drilled 6-10 quarter-inch holes in the lid and the bottom. Turned on its side,it makes a great "ball" for running around in and makes no mess on your floor because vent holes are on the sides. We put our hedgie in first thing in the morning to run around for about 30 minutes to an hour becausee is still awake from the night. He spends nights in a very large play cage with a wheel. In the am, we put Chippy in his barrel with a few strips of newspaper. The paper soaks up any liquid mess and keeps his feet dry. We check him every 15-20 minutes and usually give him a five minute break to get a drink while we wipe out the barrel and put in fresh paper. He knows how to steer the barrel and visits his favorite rooms while zooming around the house. Afterword it's a quick bath and into his smaller sleeping cage for a good rest.
Hannah, Gallatin, TN
Posted: 9/12/2013 1:50:33 PM
Not all hedgies will like the ball. They tend to pee and poop a lot and make a huge mess out of your house and themselves.
Erin, Madison, WI
Posted: 4/30/2013 5:38:50 PM
Alize, If the ball is too small for your hedgie, then he wont be inclined to move a few paces forward to get the ball moving, he needs to think there is more ground inside the ball so to speak to start moving. If the ball is too small, it looks like walls to them and they dont go anywhere... Get the BIG ball at your local store, mine loves it
Jared, San Antonio, TX
Posted: 8/31/2012 8:43:37 AM
Yes, hedgies tend to poo in their balls, because they work up a nice one while they run. A toliet bowl or sink brush and a hose will clean your plastic roll abouts. That is just the nature of the beast. Better than all over the floor. If you let them wheel first, they will go and there is less of a mess. Some hedgies have to be coaxed in the ball by gently nudging them, and they will start to go on their own. Some just never get the hang of it.
Christine, Wilmington, DE
Posted: 2/13/2012 8:02:49 AM
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