Building a Hedgie Home, part one: housing

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There are a lot of strange notions going around about how to house a hedgehog.  Assuming we’re speaking of a pet hedgehog, and not a wild one, there really isn’t a great deal of work needed to set-up a cage that your hedgie would be happy to live in.

There are a great deal of options when it comes to putting together a more complex setup, but for now we’re going to focus on the basic design. Consider this a beginning hedgehog home.

What type of cage should I use?

The short answer is: No cage.

The cages that are used for small animals like a gerbil or a hamster would be far too small to house a hedgehog. The larger cages for ferrets and rats would be not only too large, but also contain wire mesh or metal bars which are to be avoided at all costs in hedgehog cages.

Hedgehogs have a tendency to try to climb, and their bodies and legs aren’t built for it.. Wire mesh, even if it is tiny, is a perfect size for trapping toenails and tearing them out. Even if it doesn’t tear, it can break toes and injure paws to the point of amputation. Likewise, the wire bars can catch thin hedgie legs and ankles and break bone or cut off circulation. One of the most common problems hedgehogs suffer come from inadequate cages.

I’ve heard a lot of mention of aquariums as hedgehog cages, and that is also not the best idea. While aquariums can come in the right sizes to house the animals, they offer poor ventilation and tend to capture heat. It’s easy to overheat a hedgehog in such a cage and they are prone to suffer heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

The best cage for a hedgehog then?

A Plastic Tub

Honestly.

The best option for keeping hedgehogs is a large plastic tub. 105qts is the minimum size tub a hedgehog can be kept in, but the best dimensions tend to be 24″ x 36″. It’s vital to ensure that the sides of the cage are large enough that the hedgehog can’t climb out  of it, even if it gets on top of other items within the cage.

Now, you may be worried that the cage is too small for the hedgie at that size. Honestly, it isn’t. If the hedgehog has too much space it’ll go crazy trying to figure out what to go in it. They’re prone to OCD like behaviors if given too much space, and can be watched running back and forth repeatedly and rearranging items in an obsessive way. Too little space and the hedgehog will get depressed and may start self-mutilating.

The plastic tubs are the cheapest option, and the easiest one to work with when it comes to setting up the remainder of the cage. They can be bought at most shops, including even the larger chain grocery stores if you look into the storage sections.

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Help Legalize Hedgehogs in Pennsylvania!

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Do you live in Pennsylvania and want a pet hedgehog? Well now is your chance to have your very own!

We are a group of students at Temple University working to legalize hedgehogs as pets in the state of Pennsylvania. We are petitioning for the House Bill 575 to be passed by the senate and we need your help!

Please sign the petition below to get on board in legalizing hedgehogs as pets!

http://www.change.org/petitions/help-legalize-hedgehogs-in-the-state-of-pennsylvania

Below is some more information which can also be found in the link above:

African pygmy hedgehogs are legal in all but five states; Pennsylvania is in the minority. Most of the other states in which the animals are illegal, such as Arizona and Hawaii, possess warm climates within which African pygmy hedgehogs, if released into the wild, might very well thrive, disrupting native wildlife populations. PGC uses that argument; according to PGC, it’s generally illegal to own hedgehogs here because allowing non-indigenous or non-domestic animals into the state potentially endangers Pennsylvania wildlife by competing with it for habitat and maybe even gobbling it up.”

Hedgehogs cannot survive cool climates below 70 degrees and the cold winters of Pennsylvania would pose a problem if a hedgehog did in fact get out. Therefore there is no real threat of hedgehogs becoming an invasive species in the state of Pennsylvania.

State Representatitve Jeff Pyle says “The species poses no risk to Homo sapiens.” and fully supports the legalization of hedgehog ownership in Pennsylvania.

“Pyle is jumping on board with House Bill 575, from state Rep. Gary Haluska, D-Cambria. The bill is a rewrite of the state’s exotic wildlife possession law. It aims to eliminate the permitting process for exotic animals, outlawing future ownership for creatures such as lions and tigers. The move though, would legalize hedgehogs and other so-called pocket pets.”

These hedgehogs make lovely pets and can be very educational for children by teaching them the responsibility of caring for another life. Please legalize hedgehogs in the state of Pennsylvania, as they pose no threat to our ecosystem and only benefit the lives of children and adults who adore these beautiful creatures.