Short facts

  • African Pygmy Hedgehogs are solitary animals by nature: They only pair up when mating. Two females can be housed together but only when they are used to it from an early age on. You will have to provide multiple hidings.
  • They need heating to survive: they can go into shock when they’re housed too cold and can die from it. A temperture of 23 to 27 degrees Celcius (.. degres Fahrenheit) is best for them. At the section ‘setup & technique’ you can read more about the heating.
  • African Pygmy Hedgehogs can smell quite strong, that’s because they’re insect eaters. Animals who eat other animals often smell stronger than animals who eat plants. Fortunately it’s not that bad whit a good bedding and regularly cleaning!

Mike Witjes 1

Photo by Mike Witjes


The enclusore

When you’re going to make the enclosure ready for an African Pygmy Hedgehog, there are a lot of things to take a look at. We’ll talk about the size first and why that size is recommended.

An African Pygmy Hedgehog can run up to 4 kilometers per night! You can imagine them needing a big enclosure now, right? Ofcourse, a hedgehog in captivity could never run such a distance in an enclosure, but the space is needed for all the accessoires and to provide some room to play with the given toys. In The Netherlands 120 centimeters wide and 50 centimeters deep is recommended. And in Germany, the minimum size is said to be 150 cm wide and 50 cm deep, while in the USA 60×60 centimeters is said to be enough. So the sizes of enclosures differs a lot per country, however they all have one thing in common: the bigger, the better! It’s best to ask the breeder of your hedgehog for recommendations when it comes to size. But if you just want to be sure? We would definitely recommend following the size of German enclosures! That way you’ll never have an enclosure that is too small for your hedgehog.

Kinds of enclosures

There are a lot of different kinds of enclosures available. In the USA you’ll see a lot of curver bins, while you’ll see more glass terraria in The Netherlands and in Germany there are a lot of wooden vivs. And everything has it pro’s and con’s.

3 Victoria Rodgers

Plastic bins

Photo by Victoria Rodgers
These plastic bins are available in a lot of shapes and sizes. That’s easy but also a pitfall. The sides of these bins often are oblique and a bin can look bigger than it actually is because of it. It’s recommended to measure the bins before purchase. The biggest pro’s are that these bins are very easy to clean and if they are too small, you can easily make a hole in the side and connect it to a second bin with a PVC tube which the hedgehog can walk through. This way you can make a bin for the wheel and toys and another for the house, feeding dish and water bowl. Look out for the ventilation though: ammonia can be build up easily if you use a lid on the bin and can cause a lot of health issues. You’ll often have to make a hole in the lid as well, so that the wheel fits.

Rebecca Allen-Crawford

Wooden terraria & viv stacks

Photos by Ouchmouse House
Wooden terraria and viv stacks are a good option depending on the material that is used. Concreteplex and block boards are very moisture resistant, especially when the seams are sealed. These two materials are the most popular for these types of enclosures. A major pro to a wooden enclosure is that you can make them to your own liking in color and size. Besides that, you can adjust the ventilation and a frame for your heating lamp is easly placed. A background is easy to make with tempex, tile adhesive and epoxy resin to make it more natural. A con to these enclosures is that the costs can go up really high, depending on your choice in materials. And you have to be very handy to make these enclosures or know someone who is and can help you out. These kinds of enclosures are also available in webshops, if you’re not that skillful with a saw; it often is costum made and there are multiple options offered. But these anclosures can be very pricy in webshops.

Rianne Reuver

Glass aquaria

Photo by Rianne Reuver
These glass bins are easy to clean and the hedgehogs are easy to see through the glass but, if the aquarium has a lid, it often isn’t good to use. Leaving the lid off or replacing it with gaze is recommended. There are special clip frames for heating lamps available which can be placed on the sides of the aquarium. Like terraria, aquaria also are available in many standard sizes.

Noami Vodegel

Glass terraria

Photo by Naomi Vodegel
A glass terrarium has a number of pro’s. Glass is easy to clean and doesn’t scratch as easily as plexi glass which often is used in viv stacks. Terraria often are available in different sizes, which makes them pretty popular. Ventilation strips are often build in and because these enclosures aren’t open, a hedgehog can’t escape as easily. The con is that a running wheel sometimes doesn’t fit because of the height of the terrarium. Also, the ventilation strips are often made for small rodents and reptiles which don’t need as much ventilation and it’s very hard to adjust. So always keep an eye on those ventilation strips.


Setup & technique

Once you have the enclosure, you can focus on the setup and technique. This take quite some work, so read it thouroughly.

Heating techniques

Photos by Victoria Rodgers, Jennifer Hunter en Mike Witjes.

Bedding

Fleece & fabrics

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Wood shavings

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Back2Nature

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Carefresh

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Natural soilmixture

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Finacard

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Puppy pads

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Fake grass

Kunstgras

Ecobed

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Newspaper

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Megazorb

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Woodpellets

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Backgrounds

Paste plastics

Paint

Tempex

3D components

Foto’s door Ouchmouse House, Hedgery of the High Moors, Hedgery Priklee & Naomi Vodegel.


Natural setup

Photos by Hedgery of the High Moors

Read more


Wheels and freeroam

Running wheels

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Photo by Hedgery of the High Moors.

SONY DSCBucket Wheel

Photo by Hedgery of the High Moors.

Mike Witjes 1 - kopieFlying Saucer

Photo by Mike Witjes.

Freeroam


Feeding en water

Water

Feeding dish

Vegetables, fruits, insects and meat


Toys

Photos by Victoria Rodgers, Hedgery of the High Moors & Hedgery Priklee.

Tunnels

Balls

Digging box

Plush toys


Decoration

Wood

Stones

Plants

Fake plants

Real plants