Hedgehogs are nocturnal insectivores (insect eating). There are a several species of hedgehog. The African Pygmy Hedgehog is the most popular pet in the United States and is smaller than the European Hedgehog. The European Hedgehog is commonly seen in gardens in Europe and the Egyptian long eared hedgehog is bred and sold as pets in the UK. There are many differences between the species including size and personality.
Life Span: Up to 10 years
Sexual Maturity: As early as 2 months
Principal Breeding Period: African Pygmy Hedgehogs breed year round. The European species generally breed May-July.
Gestation Period: 30-40 days.
Litter Size: 1-7 pups with an average of 3
As with any pet, their natural environment and daily activities need to be considered. A hedgehog in its natural environment will forage and hunt for food all day so before bringing one into your home it is best to have a minimum space of 18" X 24". Without exercise, hedgehogs tend to become obese which leads to serious health problems therefore a solid bottom wheel, a safe space outside of its cage or a much larger cage should be provided. The hedgehog will need stimulus and places to dig for food, climbing opportunities and hiding. This can be accomplished by providing various tubes, boxes, untreated fruit tree logs, flower pots, cat toys, and ferret toys.There are also a variety of grass based balls and tubes now available for these and other small mammals. The material in the bottom of the cage should be absorbable and nontoxic such as processed paper products at a depth of several inches, be kept dry and changed frequently. Do not use a clay cat litter product in the litter boxes as they can ingest it and become impacted. Your hedgehog should be maintained at a temperature of 75-85 F.
They should also be provided with a shallow pan or tub of ambient temperature water for swimming, as well as smooth clean rocks that they can lay on, or rub and scratch on.