African pygmy hedgehogs require an enclosure of at least 90cm x 60cm x 60cm (3'x2'x2').
Various enclosures may be used for hedgehogs, probably the best option is to use a large flat-bottomed guinea pig cage. Guinea pig runs with narrow bars are best as hedgehogs can squeeze through small spaces. Alternatively a wooden vivarium with glass sliding doors may be used.
In a warm room there is usually no need for any additional heating. If your room temperature regularly drops below 65oF, a low wattage heat bulb may be required as at too cool a temperature, your hedgehog may attempt to hibernate.
A good substrate choice is aspen bedding. Spot clean your tank regularly, if done properly, a full clean should only be needed once a month. Only use disinfectants specifically designed for small animals. Soaps, detergents and other disinfectants can be toxic. Never allow your vivarium to remain overly humid as humidity and stagnant air will raise bacteria levels and can cause respiratory issues among other problems.
You should provide your hedgehog with a place to hide. This can take the form of a simple cardboard box, or any form of suitable sized housing. An old t-shirt, towel, blanket, or similar can be used to pad out the hide and serve as a bedding.
Always provide your hedgehog with clean fresh drinking water; tap water is fine, although there are water treatments available if you are in doubt about your water quality. A small heavy bowl is advisable as hedgehogs often end up spilling water bowls.
A good running wheel is essential for the wellbeing of your hedgehog. They will spend several hours a day running on the wheel and it provides them with a good way to exercise. Never use barred wheels as hedgehogs can get their feet caught in the rungs, instead use solid plastic wheels. A wheel of 10 inches diameter or larger is best.
The primary source of food for your hedgehog will be meat flavoured cat biscuits (e.g. Chicken, Rabbit, Duck). Do not use fish flavoured cat biscuits or any fish as hedgehogs are unable to properly digest fish and fish derivatives. The cat biscuits can be supplemented with live insects, such as mealworms and waxworms which can be provided in a small bowl. Boiled egg, cooked chicken and small amounts of fruit can also be given as occasional treats.
We’ve noticed benefits of including a vitamin supplement to the diets of hedgehogs. Nutrobal is a good all round vitamin supplement and can be provided by lightly dusting food items before feeding.
Hedgehogs are naturally shy animals and may take some time to get used to being handled. When your hedgehog first arrives in its new environment it is essential that it has time to settle in. It is important for the first 4 weeks you avoid handling unless absolutely necessary.
After this time you can begin handling slowly for short periods of time at first until your hedgehog becomes used to it. If it curls into a ball, it may be possible to tease it out by tilting it forwards slightly. If the spines cause an issue and make it difficult to begin holding your hedgehog, a pair of garden gloves or towel can help make it less uncomfortable.
Avoid putting your hedgehog in with any other hedgehogs. Two females may get along, but males and males or males and females will certainly lead to fighting.