The cage: I don't recommend anything smaller than a 105qt bin or 18" x 30" cage. See the pics below.
Running wheel: 12" solid running wheel, NOT WIRE. Anything smaller than 12" can cause back problems for your hedgie. Wire wheels cant cut their feet. Bucket wheels are an amazing option or comfort wheels work well. You want a running wheel by the time your hedgehog is 12 weeks old.
Water dish or water bottle: Whichever you choose make sure to clean them out often. If you have a water bottle be careful, sometimes the ball sticks which won't allow your hedgehog to get water. Wash in warm water and this should fix the problem, or replace. You can get them for pretty cheap, I would recommend replacing them every so often anyway.
Food dish: You want one heavy enough that it isnt easily tipped.
Hideout: A hideout such as a snuggle sack or igloo, there are many options here....you can go as simple as a shirt that smells like you, they just need a place to sleep or hide where they can feel safe.
Litter box: Although this is optional I totally recommend it. This makes cleaning the cage much easier.
Bedding: Carefresh is a great option, fleece is also quite popular. If you use fleece you may want to pu puppy pads underneath.
.....more to come
Things to know.....
1. Hedgehogs are prickley!
Their back is covered with sharp quills that protect them from predators. When scared or angry they will roll up in a ball making their quills poke in every which way. This can take some getting used to for a new handler. There are many ways to help your hedgehog and yourself get used to one another, so dont be discouraged.
Hedgehogs roll their bodies into tight balls as a defense mechanism, enclosing their faces and limbs. Hedgehogs must be handled gently and with patience. Loud noises, different smells, different sounds....your little baby will need your time, your love and maybe some good treats to get comfortable and relax, but quickly (usually) will trust and love you! Be prepared for some huffing and spikes but the end result is worth it!
3. Throwing up!?!?!?
Nope, your new pet isn't vomiting all over his back. He is "anointing." He is trying to camouflage himself as he smells something unfamiliar. You will notice he isnt balling up or huffing, no need to worry! This is completely normal!
4. Hedgehogs are NOT porcupines!
Porcupines are actually rodents, hedgehogs are NOT. Hedgehogs are insectivores or insect eaters. Domesticated hedgehogs typically eat a limited number of insects. Mealworms, wax worms and crickets do make excellent treats!
5. Party all night!!
Hedgehogs are nocturnal, so expect to see them sleeping most of the day and running most of the night! A quality and quiet wheel is a great asset to a hedgehog owner.
6. Hedgehogs are exotic!
What fun pets! Hedgehogs are exotic animals which makes them seem even more fun......until you are in need of a good knowledgeable veterinarian. You will need to find an exotic pet vet, and you want to do this BEFORE you need one! These can be very difficult to find, and then to find one that is knowledgeable about hedgehogs in particular is even harder! Make sure your breeder is able to refer you to one.
7. The temperature can mean life or death!
Hedgehogs can hibernate! But this is not something that domesticated hedgehogs can or are meant to handle. Hedgehogs that go into hibernation do not always come back, this can be fatal! Hedgehogs need a temperature above 73 degrees, and a heating pad will not help you. Make sure you are able to provide a warmer area in your house, space heater or CHE heating lamp. If your hedgehog does go into hibernation DO NOT put him into a warm bath! This can shock him, you want to put him on your skin or chest and slowly warm him with your body heat.
8. Be committed!
Hedgehogs tend to bond with their owner. They will remember your voice, your smell and even your appearance. Some will only relax with their owner and be loyal to their owner. Make sure a hedgehog is the pet for you, be prepared for a commitment. The last thing a little hoglet needs is to be passed from family to family and feel abandoned. This can create a very fearful and sad hedgie. Research, research, research before you make your purchase!