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Florida Hedgehogs

A leading hedgehog breeder, est. 2006. Located in north Florida.


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ATTENTION:  If you have previously contact us by phone/text, our number has changed .  Please email us for our new number.  Thanks!


 

Temperatures  |  Heating  |  Housing  |  Feeding  |  Bedding  |  Handling  |  Exercise  |  Cleaning  |  Illness


 

Hedgehog Owner Checklist

The items below are items that all hedgehog owners need to have.

✔  Digital Thermometer
  Heat Lamp/Ceramic Heat Emitter 
We recommend a heat lamp with a dimmer switch.
  12 inch Wheel We recommend one with a solid running surface.
  Resin/Plastic Hide We recommend 12 inch or equivalent.
  Cage or Enclosure We recommend a solid bottom & solid sides.  100+ quart Sterilite, Rubbermaid, Hefty storage bins are excellent.
  Food Bowl & Insect Bowl We recommend shallow and heavy.
  Water Bottle We recommend 8 oz or 16 oz gravity-fed.
  Kibble/Dry Food See Hedgehog Food & Insects section below.
  LIVE Insects We strongly advise live only and never yard-caught.


 

Hedgehog Temperatures

While temperatures from 72°F to 85°F are tolerated by most hedgehogs, the
IDEAL TEMPERATURE RANGE
75°F - 80°F (23°C-27°C).

A thermometer, preferably digital, is absolutely essential for monitoring and maintaining the proper temperature for a hedgehog's enclosure.  Relying on the thermostat in your home is not advised as it may be inaccurate and temperatures can fluctuate greatly from room to room in most homes. 


 

Hedgehog Heating

The preferred method of heating a hedgehog's enclosure is to use a lamp with a ceramic heat emitter.
It is not recommended to use heating pads, heat rocks or other devices as they can cause serious burns and do not heat the air in the enclosure.

Lamps must have a ceramic socket, not plastic.
It is also recommended that the lamp have a dimmer switch rather than a simple on/off switch, to allow for better temperature control.


 

Hedgehog Housing

Wire cages can cause injury and make it difficult to maintain proper temperatures.
We strongly recommend clear plastic storage containers such as the Wire cages can cause injury and make it difficult to maintain proper temperatures.
We strongly recommend clear plastic storage containers such as the 100 quart Hefty120 quart Sterilite or 200 quart Sterilite.  These are inexpensive, easily modified, and very easy to clean.

Hedgehogs are solitary animals and should always be housed individually.
Housing hedgehogs together can result squabbling and hedgehogs can cause serious injury to each one another.
Housing hedgehogs together also prevents the owner from being able to monitor how much food/water each hedgehog is consuming and if one produces an abnormal stool, the owner will have to way to know which hedgehog is ill.

The location in your home requires consideration.
Fireplaces
 – Temperatures near fireplaces exceed 90°F.  Smoke and fumes emitted from fireplaces can be lethal to hedgehogs.
Doors & Windows – Entry doors and windows are often drafty and allow marked temperature fluctuations which could result in illness.
Laundry Rooms – Temperature fluctuations and chemical fumes/smells could cause respiratory illness and possibly death.
Kitchens/Dining Rooms – Kitchens could exceed ideal temperatures, fumes/smells can be harmful, noises can be stressful.


 

Hedgehog Food & Insects

​When transitioning to a new home:

  • Hedgehogs may be reluctant to eat typical quantities.  They may just nibble at their food for the first several days.  This is normal.  They are nervous about their new surroundings and will begin eating more as soon as they feel comfortable.
     
  • Hedgehogs may have loose, green stool for a couple of days.  It is a stress reaction and will likely resolve itself within 48-72 hours.
     
  • Start with only a spoonful of kibble in the bowl.  If you fill up the bowl and the hedgehog only eats a few pieces of kibble, you won't be able to tell that they have eaten.  Starting with a spoonful will help you keep track of how much he/she has consumed.  If they eat all of it, offer another spoonful.

Kibble

We have spent years researching animal diets & digestion.  Our research is continuous as pet foods and the information about them change fairly regularly.
We have lived with hedgehogs since May 2005 (we began breeding them in 2006) and through observation and experience, we have learned a great deal about their health and habits.  This experience and knowledge has led us to the following conclusions; and choices about what we offer to our own hedgehogs:

  • Some of the seemingly-popular, and often less expensive, commercial hedgehog foods are nutritionally inadequate and/or contain ingredients that are harmful to hedgehogs.
     
  • A mix of quality and carefully selected dry cat foods, along with live insects, provides most hedgehogs** with ideal nutrition.  The reason that we recommend a mix rather than one single type is that the variety keeps them interested and having additional foods often allows you to offset undesired nutritional values.
     
  • It is advised to avoid foods that have artificial preservatives, colors and flavors.  These chemical based additives are unhealthy to all pets but especially hedgehogs.
     
  • Hedgehogs cannot survive on a vegetarian or vegan diet.  They require a daily staple food (kibble) that contains animal-based protein as the main (first) ingredient.  Hedgehogs also require live insects a minimum of a few days a week for proper nutrition and digestion.
    If you are unwilling to feed live insects & dry foods that contain animal products, please do not get a hedgehog.
     
  • Brands/Formulas/Recipes of kibble that contain plant matter such as peas, beans, wheat, corn, beet pulp, rice, potatoes, carrots, etc. within the first 2 listed ingredients should be avoided.  If you choose to use a food that has a plant based ingredient within the first 2, there should be no less than 2 additional brands/formulas/recipes added in to offset that high plant content.
     
  • Hedgehogs eat approximately 1 - 3 tablespoons of kibble per day.  Hedgehogs also drink approximately 1 - 3 tablespoons of water per day.  These quantities depend on age and body condition.  Babies, ill, and geriatric hedgehogs may consume less.

** In cases of illness or obesity, the diet may need to be adjusted or supplemented to provide ideal nutrition.

Insects

Live insects are necessary for a hedgehog's health and proper digestion.  A variety of live insects is recommended.  Feeding only 1 type of insects could cause nutritional deficiencies such as metabolic bone disease, hypocalcemia. and fatty liver diseases.

We feed isopods, mealworms, horn worms, crickets, wax worms, and occasionally black soldier fly larvae.  These should always be sourced from a reputable vendor to ensure that they are free of parasites, diseases, and growth hormones or other harmful chemicals.
NEVER offer yard-caught insects!

Freeze-dried insects can cause constipation and in large quantities can cause intestinal blockage.

We recommend feeding live insects a minimum of twice a week, a maximum of every other day.  A fairly typical insect schedule would be mealworms twice a week and crickets twice a month.  It is great to work in a few other insect in addition to that.

A great source to purchase insects would be a local reptile shop and/or online insect farms.
 

https://flukerfarms.com/live-mealworms

https://abdragons.com

https://armstrongcrickets.com/shop-worms

https://www.buckeyeorganics.net

https://www.joshsfrogs.com

https://www.hornworms.com

https://www.premiumcrickets.com

      Insect Nutritional Value Chart.

 

Treats

Treat items that we consider to be safe, infrequently (no more than once a week) and in moderation (dime sized quantity):

✔  Fully cooked and cooled poultry (unseasoned)
✔  Fully cooked and cooled egg (unseasoned)
✔  Meat or poultry baby foods (preferably organic)
✔  Canned cat or dog food (check ingredient list)


 

Hedgehog Bedding

Some breeders will tell you that you must use one specific type of bedding.  Our feeling is, as long as the hedgehog has no allergies or intolerance to a particular type of bedding any of the following are suitable and you can choose what works best for you.

  • Kiln dried pine.  We use this.
  • Pine pellets.  We use this.
  • Paper pellets.
  • Paper bedding such as CareFresh.  We have used this but always go back to pine.
  • Fabric (fleece/flannel) liners.

NEVER use cedar, ground corn cob, or clay litter of any kind.

NOTE:  Pine pellets or paper pellets work great in litter pans.


 

Handling Hedgehogs

TAKE IT SLOW!  You are a stranger and hedgehogs are exotic animals.  They are not domesticated and you need to have realistic expectations about their behavior.

When bringing home a new hedgehog, it is often best to give them a few hours to get acclimated to their new surroundings.  For less social hedgehogs, 12 - 24 hours may be needed for them to feel secure.  Hedgehogs typically begin to rouse at sundown and that is when they are most receptive to being handled.

When picking up a hedgehog, it is best to slip your fingers under their belly and lift straight up.  In nature, predators attack from behind so if you grab them from behind, your hedgehog will instinctively curl up to protect itself.  This is a sign of FEAR, NOT AGGRESSION.  If your hedgehog rolls up and huffs, pick him/her up regardless and WAIT patiently for them to open up.  Holding them in the palm of your hand (fingers slightly curled to prevent falls) and being very still and quiet, is the best way to gain a hedgehog's trust.
ATTENTION:  If you try to force them to interact with you or to open up they will resist and it will take even longer to gain their trust.

Do not try to restrain him/her. Allow them to walk around freely (within reason.)  If you try to restrain him/her they will react negatively.  If they are going in a direction that isn't desirable, gently place your hand in front of them and corral them back in your direction.

NOTE: Lay out an old towel or equivalent to protect clothing, carpet and furniture in case he/she makes an oops while roaming.


 

Hedgehog Exercise

An exercise wheel is a must!  Hedgehogs are foragers and can (and do) walk up to 7 or more miles each night.  The exercise wheel provides the hedgehog with a way to satisfy that natural need to walk.  The wheel also helps to alleviate stress and anxiety as well as ensure that your hedgehog maintains a healthy weight.  The wheel should have a solid walking surface to prevent injuries such as snagged toenails or trapped limbs.  Hedgehogs are primarily nocturnal and most of their waking hours are after sundown, so expect to wake up to a "poopy wheel".

Other suitable exercise options include:
Allowing your hedgehog to run around on a protected surface (with your supervision)
Taking a dip in the sink or bathtub (with your supervision and avoiding bathing too frequently)
Strolling around in a runabout ball (must be ferret size and use a protected surface)
Tunnels and tubes for the hedgehog to walk through (must be at least 4 inches in diameter)
An empty toilet paper tube makes a great toy that will give them a little work-out and is funny to watch.
Remember to remove all toys from the cage when you're not around to prevent injury and ensure that they have access to food and water.


 

Hedgehog bathing and cleaning

Hedgehogs should only be bathed when necessary.  Each bath removes vital oils from their skin and over-bathing will likely result in dry skin issues.

Give your hedgehog plenty of towel time.  He/She should be COMPLETELY DRY when placed back into their enclosure to prevent any bacterial or fungal issues which can be caused by wet skin.

NOTE:  While we offer organic, dye free, fragrance free shampoo, we recommend only using shampoo when necessary.

Cleaning your hedgehog’s enclosure is simple.  Mix 1 part chlorine bleach to 40 parts water and use this to clean the enclosure, and all accessories such as the litter pan, wheel, hide, food bowl and water bottle.  Make sure to rinse thoroughly and drip or towel dry.  This should be done no less than once a week, preferably every 3-4 days.  This will keep down any bacteria growth and odor as well as keeping your hedgie happy and healthy.

Cleaning doesn't have to be a thankless chore.  Spend time with your hedgie while the supplies dry.  By spending time with your hedgehog, then returning him/her to a clean environment, you may strengthen your bond.


 

Hedgehog Illness

FIRST AND FOREMOST, if you suspect that your hedgehog is ill or injured, seek the medical attention of a licensed vet that is experienced with hedgehogs immediately.  While we are knowledgeable about many hedgehog health issues, we are not medical professionals.

We would like our buyers to inform us of all health concerns for our records.
We track the overall health of our hedgehogs, their offspring, and their ancestors for all generations possible.

Several things can affect a hedgehog’s health. Hedgehogs can develop or suffer from issues such as obesity, skin conditions, respiratory infections, injuries, mites, fungal infections, cancers, congenital defects, neurological disorders, etc.  Some of these issues can be researched on the internet and treated successfully at home; however we recommend that you consult with a licensed vet who is experienced with and knowledgeable about hedgehogs before beginning any treatment.

Some hedgehog owners complain that their hedgehog is wobbling, shaking, or trembling.  Nearly all cases are temperature related.  When a hedgehog is too cool, they will be very unsteady and will begin to tremble or wobble.  Once the hedgehog is properly warmed up all issues should resolve.  If not, the hedgehog could have an ear infection and you should seek medical attention promptly.

Dry skin is a somewhat common complaint and is typically easily corrected.  Exfoliating with a brush while bathing, to remove dead skin cells and any debris, then applying a mix of vitamin E oil and flax seed oil will often soothe the skin and correct the problem.

Parasites: It is possible for your hedgehog to contract external parasites. Wood shavings can contain mites, and fleas and ticks can be carried in by other animals or even humans.
Signs and symptoms of external parasites could be:
Constant scratching (all animals scratch occasionally)
Dry and flaking skin
Cracked skin or open sores
Excessive quill loss resulting in bald spots
Caked or crusty eyes, ears or muzzle.
If you observe any of these symptoms, contact your vet.  An infestation of parasites will result in health problems that could lead to death. We are always happy to help and will offer advice in many cases.  When a situation appears to be something significant, we will recommend that you seek medical attention from a vet.