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Hedgehog FAQ [4/7] - Hedgehogs as pets
Section - <5.7> Making your own wheel

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Top Document: Hedgehog FAQ [4/7] - Hedgehogs as pets
Previous Document: <5.6> Hedgehogs and wheels
Next Document: <5.8> Any suggestions on toys?
See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
There are a wealth of ways to make your own wheel(s) for hedgehogs.  This can
be a fun, and easy project, and can save you considerable costs -- especially
if you're on a budget or have a number of hedgies to equip.  This section
contains a number of ideas on how to go about it.  The keys are to make sure
you get something big enough, and with a safe, solid surface to run on -- and
something that won't keep you and half the neighbourhood up all night.  ;-)

Here are some rough pointers on making your own hedgehog wheel from Nathan

    We've begun making wooden wheels out of Popsicle sticks and cross-stitch
    circles (the 12'' size; 10'' is just slightly too small).  The axle is a
    thin dowel, and the spokes are just lengths of plywood (1'' x 0.5'', I 
    think).  Depending on where it's being set up, such a wheel can be 
    mounted in a bunch of different ways -- hung from the top of the tank 
    [or cage], for instance.

Chuck Stoup passed along the following variation on building a wheel that
looks great:

    Over the weekend I made a hedgehog wheel as described in the hedgehog 
    FAQ.  I made several improvements that I thought I'd share with everyone. 

    On the FAQ the treadmill was made with Popsicle sticks.  I picked up some 
    of the plastic grid in the sewing store that is used for yarn rugs and 
    the like.  I cut several strips the width of the treadmill and used a
    string to tie them together so its length was just longer than the
    circumference of the embroidery hoops.  I used 2 9'' hoops.  Then I 
    wrapped the plastic mesh around the inner hoops and secured it with the 
    outer hoop and tightened.  Then I cut some sand paper lengthwise just 
    wide enough to fit in the treadmill of the wheel.  I used a hot glue gun 
    to hold the paper down.  Brillo seems to really like it.

    I used sand paper for two reasons.  The first was the [editor] of the
    FAQ mentioned about this great adhesive quality of hedgehog dung and how 
    they seem to defecate on the run.  I figured sand paper would make an
    excellent surface that I can remove and discard when it gets too dirty. 
    The plastic wont mind getting wet either.  The other reason I used sand
    paper was I figured if Brillo used it she would wear down her nails and 
    I would not have to trim her.

If you are going to use sandpaper, you should make sure you are using a very
fine grade (probably 400 or higher grit), and you should also watch out for
foot problems.  Some hedgehogs can run their feet raw, or even to the point
of bleeding (yes, they are that insistent on running, that even bleeding feet
won't give them pause to stop).  If this happens, remove the sandpaper.

When I asked Chuck about using this information he also sent along the some
more good ideas:

    As you know, I used that plastic mesh for the running surface, but I 
    didn't have spokes that I thought were any good.  At one point I decided 
    that the same plastic mesh would make a good set of spokes.  I cut two 
    pieces shaped like a cross and tied the tips of the cross to the mesh on
    the wheel.  To mount the axle I bought some eye-lets for clothing and 
    swaged them in the center of the mesh as a hub and used a coat hanger as 
    an axle.  Runs very smoothly with no noise.

I'm not sure about using the 9'' hoops (ours are 14'', and that seems just
right), but that depends entirely on the size of your hedgehog, and the
amount of space you have available.  The whole idea certainly sounds easier
than the Popsicle stick method.

From Tirya come more ideas on do-it-yourself hedgehog wheels:

    We bought a Ferret wheel at the local pet shop - they're like hamster
    wheels, only about 10'' in diameter instead of 6'' (some say ferret
    wheel, some call them rat wheels).  We also got some plastic canvas
    from  a craft shop - the kind used to make needlepoint and
    cross-stitching stuff.  It's flexible plastic with a gridwork of holes
    and comes in a variety of colors (we used black so it wouldn't show
    dirt).  We cut wheel-wide strips of the plastic canvas and sewed them
    inside the wheel, so the hhog would run on it instead of on the wire
    cross-spokes.  Our wheel ended up being 33 canvas squares across, and
    it took 2 1/3 strips to go all the way around the inside.  

    We also took some plastic aquarium tubing (the clear plastic stuff used
    to get air to ornaments and such), slit it open on one side, slipped it
    over the cross supports of the wheel (where the stand goes in), and
    hot-glued it in place to make a little bit of a buffer in case Brillo
    turned her head and got hit by the metal cross supports while she was

One point of caution is that hedgies can get their toenails caught in the
plastic canvas holes (I have found this out the hard way, along with others
passing on similar experiences).  Many hedgies will do just fine on it,

Kathy and Donald Zepp have also allowed me to add their variation on the
do-it-yourself hedgehog wheel:

    We have made wheels for our herd of 60 Hhogs by weaving plastic gutter
    screen through the metal bars of commercial wheels.  This stuff (designed
    to keep leaves out of gutters) is cheap, easy to work with, easy to clean,
    readily available, and seems to provide perfectly adequate footing.  We
    simply scissor-cut it to length, weave it in & out, and then fasten the
    ends together with a little hot glue.  Quick, cheap, & easy. 

Yet another variation on the d-i-y wheel comes from Ken Steigenberger:

    About the running wheels.  What I do, from the advice of a friend, is 
    cut a length of old jean material and weave it through every third or 
    fourth spoke.  Josie seems to have no problem with this.  I also have 
    three or four extra strips. changing them every two days.  Then all I 
    have to do is wash them on laundry day.

Finally, Randy Starcher has set up the following web page which shows how to
construct a wheel (and the end result in happy use).

For those of you unable to visit the site, the basic premise is the bottom of
a plastic bucket, mounted on its side.  This makes for a very safe wheel, and
one that is easy to clean.  The mounting can be done to a cage frame, or to a
simple stand.  The hardest part is to make sure the bucket can rotate freely
enough, without wobbling too badly, or coming apart.  Innovation is almost a
necessity when trying to look after hedgehogs.

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: <5.6> Hedgehogs and wheels
Next Document: <5.8> Any suggestions on toys?

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