Life span: 4-6 years
Body weight: 300-600g (female), 400-600 (male)
Weaning age: 4-6 weeks
Gestation: 34-37 days
Body Temp: 95.7-98.6 F
Cage: Minimum 2 x 3.5 ft cage. A plastic bottom cage with narrow wire walls or 30 gallon aquarium may be used. A hiding place made of PVC pipe or a wooden or cardboard box should be provided. Recycled newspaper bedding is the substrate of choice.
Commercial diets: The majority of the diet should consist of a commercially prepared hedgehog food. If hedgehog diet is not used, a premium(less active) cat food should form the basis of the diet.
A small towel or gloves may be used when handling to prevent injury from the dorsal spines. Make sure that the body is well supported to prevent dropping and to give the hedgehog a sense of security. Loud noise or bright lights will frighten many hedgehogs and cause them to curl up into a ball. Many times, patience and a dimly lit room is all that is needed to help calm a nervous hedgehog.
An annual examination is recommended since hedgehogs will often hide signs of illness. The physical exam should consist of weight measurement to assess body condition, oral exam to identify dental disease or neoplasia, fecal exam and an overall screen to identify any developing disease processes. Sedation may be required for the detailed oral exam or if the patient is uncooperative. Nails should be checked for overgrowth and trimmed if needed while sedated.
Common Disease Conditions
Mites: Mite infestation is commonly seen in young or newly acquired hedgehogs. Signs include dry, scaling skin, quill loss and crust at the base of the quills or around the eyes and ears. This condition is easily treated with the administration of anti-parasitic medications.