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Pygmy Hedgehog Care Guide

The Species: Pygmy Hedgehogs (Atelerix albiventris) also known as African Pygmy Hedgehogs or Four-toed Hedgehogs, they are native to central and Eastern Africa, inhabiting savannah or cropland habitats, avoiding forested areas. First introduced to the pet Trade in USA during the early 2000s. They have since become very popular in the pet trade due to them being so unique and their ability to tame easily. These are usually solitary animals and should be housed separately.

Enclosure: Pygmy Hedgehogs, unlike other small mammals kept as pets should ideally be housed inside vivariums, usually made from wood however alternatives such as glass or plastic vivariums can also be acceptable. This should be a minimum size of 4x1x1ft however the larger the area, the happier they will be.

They should be provided with a suitable substrate, it would depend on what your enclosure will be set up like to determine what substrates to use, for a maintenance easy enclosure, substrates such as having a base layer using a paper based material such as paper sheets, newspaper or puppy pads. It also important to provide a top layer of substrate, this absorbs the urine and can make it easier to clean them out, we recommend Back-2-Nature small animal bedding or Care Fresh small pet bedding however other substrates are also acceptable. With enclosures for easy maintenance, they should be cleaned out once a week with a full clean. They should be provided with bedding to nest in as well, for maintenance easy enclosures there are many materials to be used including recycled paper, hemp bedding or small animal bedding such as Safebed Paper Wool however others are also acceptable.

If you want to go for a more natural enclosure, other substrates such as ExoTerra Coco Husk or some arid substrates will be acceptable, if setting up a natural enclosure we would recommend adding leaf litter to the enclosure. With naturalistic enclosures, spot cleans should be completed daily and full cleans every 1-2 months or less depending on to whether you have a bioactive setup. For natural enclosures they have a few options of bedding including hay and leaf litter however other materials are also acceptable.

Materials to avoid are made out of either pine or cedar wood because they contain strong smelling natural oils which can cause serious lung and respiratory problems. It is important to add blankets to the enclosure so that they have the option to bury themselves within it however you need to check there are no loose threads in the bedding which can cause injuries to their legs if the thread gets wrapped around them.

Heating: These Hedgehogs must have a heating system in their enclosure, temperatures must be kept above 21 degrees celsius (70 degrees farenheight) to prevent them from attempting to go into hibernation. They require a temperature range of 21-25 degrees celsius (70-77 degrees farenheight) and should not raise above 28 degrees celsius (82 degrees farenheight). This can be accomplished by adding a heat lamp on thermostat, all heating should be on a 12 hour cycle, turning off at night to provide a natural drop in temperature.

We would only recommend using heat bulbs which don't emit light such as ceramic bulbs or medical grade infra red bulbs. We don't recommend using heat mats for these animals as they don't reach the temperatures required and when used in a wooden vivarium they can become fire hazards. Under no circumstances should a bulb which emits red light be used for these animals as they can damage their eyes.

Lighting: Pygmy Hedgehogs require UVB lighting to prevent them from getting deformities in their bones and it also provides them with a day/night sequence which can help them with their mental health and wellbeing. Pygmy Hedgehogs require a UVB output of 12%. They can also be provided with additional LED lighting if you are hoping to add plants (which are safe for this species) the LED lighting helps plants grow. All lighting should be on a 12 hour cycle.

Humidity: Pygmy Hedgehogs should have lower levels of humidity due to them originating from semi-arid areas of Africa. They should have a humidity range from 40-70%.

Diet: Hedgehogs are omnivores and should have an adequate diet for this species. Suitable diets are Natures Grub Pygmy Hedgehog Complete Food or Exotics Pygmy Hedgehog Complete Food however others are also available. Unacceptable foods to give to these animals are nuts, avocados, onions, chocolate, fish, raw meat, egg yolks, canned or processed foods or grapes of raisins, sultanas etc.

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