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Hedgehog FAQ [4/7] - Hedgehogs as pets
Section - <5.6> Hedgehogs and wheels

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Top Document: Hedgehog FAQ [4/7] - Hedgehogs as pets
Previous Document: <5.5> I'm having problems litter-training my hedgehog. What should I be doing?
Next Document: <5.7> Making your own wheel
See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Most hedgehogs dearly love to run, and a hedgehog wheel provide the
opportunity for plenty of important exercise.  Although there are problems
associated with using improper wheels, the positive effects of having and
using a wheel are virtually enough to make one a necessity (unless your
hedgie has free run of an entire room).

One of the most tragic maladies found in hedgehogs these days is Fatty Liver
Disease, though for all the cases I have heard of, none have occurred in
hedgehogs that have and use wheels.  This includes cases where siblings have
each had the same diet, but one has not used a wheel, and the other has.
Exercise is very critical to our little friends, and for almost all of them,
the only option available to get them enough exercise is to give them a

Here are a few thoughts on hedgehogs and wheels from Nathan Tenny:

    They adore exercise wheels, and will run upwards of five miles a 
    night (at a top speed of 12 mph!); their feet get stuck in the 
    regular wire wheels, though, and screen is hard to clean (they 
    seem to like defecating while on the move, which makes sense, I 

All is not wonderful with hedgehog wheels -- there are a few serious problems
that need to be considered.

(1) It is necessary that the wheel have a solid surface.
    A hedgehog wheel should not just have a set of wires running across it 
    as on most wheels for hamsters, gerbils, etc.  Without a solid surface, 
    your hedgehog will get his legs caught in the wheel, and/or develop 
    sores, or worse problems.  There are a number of ways to adapt wire
    wheels, so that they have smooth surfaces, from liners to duct tape, 
    just use your imagination.  Having a solid wheel leads us to the next 

(2) Hedgehogs tend to leave their droppings all over their wheels:

        There's still one pending problem with the hedgehog wheels I've seen:
        Hedgehogs tend to defecate on the run (reasonable enough), and the 
        wheel eventually gets pretty icky.  If you don't clean it, so does 
        the hedgehog.  Unfortunately, hedgehog feces stick to wood fairly 
        effectively (that's quite the understatement -- I'm thinking of 
        marketing it as a new extra strong glue -- ed.).  A heavy coat of 
        enamel paint makes them easier to clean off, but I'd sure like to 
        find a surface that they'll just wipe away from.  Teflon wheels?

        Here's my fiancee's suggestion: If you live near a glass supply 
        store, you'll find that they sell sheets of a sort of sticky 
        vinyl---intended as masking for people who sandblast glass.
        Anyway, we have one wheel that has strips of this stuff along it, 
        for traction, and she says that the strips are noticeably easier 
        to clean than the plain wheel.  Just a thought.  
        -- Nathan Tenny

    Velcro's wheel was lined with some cheap vinyl placemats (the smooth,
    shiny, padded kind) that were cut into strips and stuck together with
    anti-slip strips (sort of like self adhesive sandpaper to put on stairs
    and things to keep people from sliding away).  The anti-slip strips were
    there as a vain attempt to help Velcro keep his nails worn down a little.
    It wasn't too slippery, and definitely passed the Velcro approval test 
    (by that, I mean it needed a thorough cleaning most mornings)!

(3) Pad any spokes you have on your wheel.  
    Hedgehogs have a tendency to suddenly look around to the sides and 
    behind while they are running -- to see how far they've gone.  This 
    almost always results in getting hit in the face with a spoke from the
    wheel.  Unfortunately I know of at least one hedgehog who has lost an
    eye because of this (the hedgehog is fine -- it was properly treated by
    a vet).  The only sensible solution I can see is to pad the spokes so
    that they don't cause injuries when they hit, or if you are really
    inventive, maybe design a spokeless wheel, maybe suspended on a roller
    from the top of the cage?

I received a reminder recently, from Teresa, that to help cure a squeaky
wheel, you can use petroleum jelly, and not have to worry about any harmful
consequences from it being licked at by a curious hedgehog.  I know from
experience what happens to your nerves when a wheel (or two, or three, or...)
is squeaking, when you're trying to get to sleep.  ;-} I've also found that
both Linatone and vegetable oil will work, but they do tend to become sticky
over time, while petroleum jelly usually will not, and tends to last longer.

For those of you who do not feel up to tackling the job of constructing your
own (see section [5.7], if you are up to it), there are a number of sources of
ready made wheels for hedgehogs and suitable for them.  Unfortunately, few
pet stores carry wheels that can be used for hedgehogs, even with adaptation,
so it is usually necessary to revert to mail-order, or to building your own.

Probably the most common wheels are the RoundAbout wheels by Balanced
Innovations.  Balanced Innovations is now owned by Ain't No Creek Ranch
[2.8], so they are probably one of the best sources for these wheels.

       	Ain't No Creek Ranch
       	2553 W Offner Road
       	Beecher, IL 
       	USA   60401-3347


       	Phone:  (708) 946-9750
       	Fax:    (708) 534-3277

RoundAbout wheels are also available from Brisky Pet Products:

       	Brisky Pet Products
       	South Main Street
       	P.O. Box 186
       	Franklinville, NY  14737

       	email: AccuFeedREMOVE_TO_SEND@Brisky.Com

       	phone: 1-800-462-2464 (toll free, US only)
       	or:    (716) 557-2464
       	fax:   (716) 557-2336

Other sources for hedgehog safe wheels are places such as Transoniq Wodent
Wheels (my thanks here to John Masinter for the info).  These wheels are
enclosed with round openings.  The larger wheels are big enough for hedgies,
but you may need to enlarge the openings for many hedgies -- especially if
the reason for the wheel is to trim down a plump hedgehog.  You can contact
them through email at or via:

       	1402 SW Upland Drive
       	Portland, OR 97221

       	toll-free hotline: 1-800-548-8925. This line is automated, so be 
       	ready with your charge number, name and address, and order items. 


Haba Exotics also make an innovative, and very safe wheel, which avoids both
the problems of spokes and non-solid running surface.

       	Haba Exotic Animals and Enclosures
       	17650 1st Ave. South 
       	Suite 525 
       	Seattle, WA 98148 

       	phone: (206) 244-0285
       	fax:   (206) 248-7205 

User Contributions:

Report this comment as inappropriate
Apr 26, 2012 @ 10:22 pm
Hi, my hedgehog started running around her cage squealing so I took her out to see what was wrong. Her genital area was inflamed and she had open sores all around that area. I gave her a bath, but I'm really worried about her. Do you have any idea what this could be?
Thank you!

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Top Document: Hedgehog FAQ [4/7] - Hedgehogs as pets
Previous Document: <5.5> I'm having problems litter-training my hedgehog. What should I be doing?
Next Document: <5.7> Making your own wheel

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