African Pygmy Hedgehog Environment
Although African Pygmy Hedgehogs do not hibernate, it is important to maintain a steady temperature as attempts to hibernate can be very dangerous. You should aim for a minimum temperature of 20℃. Heat sources such as those used for reptiles can be given as well as microwaveable 'snugglesafes' which keep heat for around 6-10 hours and are particularly good for travelling.
Your African Pygmy Hedgehog will also appreciate various cat toys, toilet roll tubes (if cut lengthways to prevent trapped head!), ping-pong balls, sterilised pine cones, small paper bags and even small cuddly toys. You will need to be careful if your Hedgehog likes chewing however that any stuffing used in toys is non-toxic.
An African Pygmy Hedgehog must have a bed or area to nest where they feel secure. A lot of keepers prefer soft, fluffy houses or tubes and you can also purchase wooden or plastic houses.
Your African Pygmy Hedgehog needs a minimum of 3ft x 1.5ft x 1.5ft and they should be kept alone. Barred cages are not recommended due to the risk of your hedgehog injuring itself whilst attempting to climb the bars.
Zoozone 2 cages are easy to clean and provide good ventilation. They cannot be stacked however, it is trickier to attach a permanent source of heating to and they do not look as attractive as a vivarium. They are not high enough to fit a Carolina Storm Wheel or Silent Spinner. It is important to note this is the larger sized Zoozone, as the Zoozone1 is not big enough to provide a permanent home for an African Pygmy Hedgehog.
Vivariums are more attractive housing, but do not provide enough ventilation. They can however be modified with additional, large vents or by replacing the glass with meshed doors. They can be stacked, and are easier to provide a heat source within.
African Pygmy Hedgehogs are very active, and they must have a wheel as part of their cage. You can buy large comfort wheels savic wheels, or flying saucers - these must be at least a foot in diameter. Silent Spinner wheels are not recommended for hedgehogs, as hedgehogs can get their toes or feet caught in the gaps due to their increased weight.
One of the better makes currently is the Carolina Storm Wheel or Storm Bucket Wheel, both of which can come with a litter tray underneath. African Pygmy Hedgehogs will unfortunately poo while running so the wheels do need frequent cleaning even with a litter tray underneath. Most breeders recommend that you do not give your hedgehog a wheel until they are at least 12 weeks old to prevent undue strain on bones and ligaments.
A popular choice with African Pygmy Hedgehog owners is to line the base of their cage with a pet-safe fleece. This is easier to wash and provides a soft base for your hedgehog to walk on. Other substrates such as aubiose, carefresh and finacard can also be used. Hay, Straw or fleecy bedding is not suitable as it can be too sharp for hedgehog eyes or get tangled in their legs. Cat litter or pellet based substrates are not suitable as they may cause problems if ingested.
For litter tray, suitable items include chinchilla sand, finacard or even kitchen roll.