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Hedgehog FAQ [4/7] - Hedgehogs as pets
Section - <5.8> Any suggestions on toys?

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Top Document: Hedgehog FAQ [4/7] - Hedgehogs as pets
Previous Document: <5.7> Making your own wheel
Next Document: <6.1> How can I best hedgehogproof my home?
See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Hedgehogs like to explore, and in spite of appearing to have almost nothing
in the leg department, their legs are actually quite long (as you may be
amazed to see during scratching and/or the contortions that accompany
self-anointing [7.1]).  Whether because of their long legs (or maybe that's
why they are so long...), hedgehogs like to explore and run.  Probably the
best toy for most hedgehogs is a proper hedgehog wheel [5.6] and [5.7], which
most hedgehogs will run on.

Aside from wheels, another toy that is recommended by numerous people is a
toilet paper tube (preferably, without the toilet paper still attached).
Many hedgehogs will pick this up and carry it or push it around for ages.
Beware though, certain hedgehogs, who will go nameless (but whose initials
were Velcro) managed to get an overly busy nose stuck in these and after
completely destroying the cage, had to be helped free in the morning.

You might want to make a cut through from end to end, and possibly even bevel
the corners of the cut a bit to make sure your clumsy little friend doesn't
get stuck and/or hurt himself.

Another favorite `toy' for hedgehogs is a sandbox or grass plots.  Here are
some more detailed descriptions from Mary Anne, courtesy of a keeper of
nocturnal animals at a nearby zoo:

    [One idea] was to dig up clumps of sod with tall grass growing and place 
    them in the area for the hogs to root in.  She said live mealworms would 
    burrow in the clumps and the hedgies would root for them.  These sod 
    clumps should be fairly dry like the wild hedgie environment.  [There is
    some chance that this might allow parasites to be brought into the house,
    a fact that even Mary Anne considered.  The chances of this are fairly 
    low, but they do exist. -- ed.]  We have not tried this yet but we DID
    try her other suggestion -- to provide a sandy area for the hogs to roll
    around in (like bird dust baths).  It is natural mite-control and our
    hogs LOVE it.  We bought 12'' plastic flowerpot saucers and a 50 lb bag
    of playsand (this has the silica washed out -- silica can cause lung 
    problems).  An inch or two of sand in a saucer provides a good bath.  Our 
    hedgehogs twist, turn and boogie in the sand -- it's fun to watch.  From 
    what I've read, some hedgehogs do this sort of thing in kitty litter 
    [you better believe they do - ed.] -- the added advantage of sand is that 
    it's more like their natural environment and helps keep them clean while 
    discouraging mites.  Hope this info helps you and your hedgies enjoy each 
    other even more.

One idea that I've rather shamelessly lifted from Dawn Wrobel is the idea of
a playpen.  In her case she uses plastic kids' wading pools, with some
shavings in the bottom, and a bunch of toys scattered around in the pool.
This makes a great place to explore and to let various hedgehogs meet on
neutral ground.  Her idea has actually evolved into a fun sort of contest at
many hedgehog shows and gatherings, these days, where the hedgie who
`explores' the most toys and objects, wins.  In any case, even inflatable
pools work very well for this -- just beware not to use the wading pools with
the built in escape ramps (also known as slides).

Shelley Small passed along the following suggestion for a different kind of
hedgehog ``pool'' that her hedgehog loves to play in:

    [His pool is] what I call his Rubbermaid box with the Styrofoam 
    popcorn in it since he sure does love to ``swim'' in it!!)

If you offer your hedgie a foam-pool, just make sure the container is low
enough that he can manage to get back out again, after a grand old burrowing
session.  You should also make sure that you supervise the activity, both in
case your little friend gets into trouble, and in case he escapes (now would
a hedgehog do that?!?!)  One other thought -- make sure the foam chips don't
give off a strong odour, or they may have much the same dangerous side
effects as cedar bedding [5.3].  It might also be a good idea to watch out
that your hedgie doesn't eat any of the foam, as it could cause intestinal

As far as other toys go, hedgehogs do like to climb, even on something as low
as a hollow log turned upside down.  Be careful that your hedgehog isn't
likely to fall and hurt itself.  I would also expect that wire frame climbing
levels, as are in some cages available for small animals would be better off
being covered with something to make a solid surface (to keep busy little
hedgehog legs from slipping through and getting caught, and to limit just
where the little demons decide to do their climbing).

From Finland, Marcin Dobrucki has the following idea for toys, that is 
especially good for those who can/do let their hedgies run free:

    More toy stuff: the other hedgie owners are are familiar with have 
    implemented a system of boxes along their stairs, and some cardboard 
    pipes between them.  The pipes are such as used for rolling up maps, or 
    drawing paper and stuff.  The hedgies seem to love ``sliding down'' the 
    pipe, then climbing back up, and going down again.  Some stick-on 
    sandpaper at the bottom of the pipe assures a breaking point.

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6. *** Basic hedgehog care and training ***

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: <5.7> Making your own wheel
Next Document: <6.1> How can I best hedgehogproof my home?

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