Our African Pygmy Hedgehogs have a specific light schedule and heating needs. They should be getting between 12-14 hours of light each day, and the cage should be kept at a constant 23-25° C. When they get too cold, our hoggie could attempt hibernation. Because of their original habitat, captive breeding, and other factors, our hoggies are not capable of successfully coming back out of hibernation, unless this is caught and treated quickly. After some time, instead of waking up when the temperature is increased, the hoggie will die in its sleep. Make sure your hedgehog does not get cold!
A consistent light schedule is important too. This is as simple as keeping a light on during the day. This helps your hoggie set an “internal clock”; without it they can become disoriented and attempt hibernation, the simplest and most effective method is a time clock to turn a light on and off at specific times during the day to maintain you hoggies sleep pattern.
The African pygmy hedgehog is a hybrid of the four toed hedgehog and the Algerian hedgehog, and is the most popular species of domesticated hedgehog in the world. They are not native to this country and have not acclimatised to living here, they are therefore not accustomed to the changes in temperatures that we have, they do not build up a reserve of fat for the winter and are simply not equipped to deal with hibernation.
African Pygmy Hedgehogs that are faced with cold conditions instinctively attempt to go into hibernation and if not caught quickly, will die. Too cold or too hot living conditions or and insufficient light cycle (UK winter) can all cause hibernation attempts.
Preventing hibernation and maintaining your hoggies environmental temperature and light conditions is absolutely critical to its life! It isn’t hard to prevent hibernation but it does take some setting up, but once set up correctly all it needs is a regular check on temperature on a daily basis, twice a day if possible.
Hedgehogs need a light cycle of between 12 to 14 hours of light a day, this is to balance their internal clock, yes African Pygmy Hedgehogs get Jet Lag too the daylight lighting change can throw a hedgehog off as it does ourselves when traveling abroad, we can get sick if the sun doesn’t rise and set at the same time each day, the same is true for hoggies.
A suitable lighting setup can be as simple as a desk lamp or even a room lamp; it can also be a more specialised reptile light and a timer.
Some owners choose to turn the light on and off at the same time each day, once you have a system going it’s easy to follow it, but it is easy to forget. You can set a timer to be on for a period of the day from 7am to 9pm, it doesn’t need to be on constantly only from 7am to 10am and then from 4pm to 9pm and plug a desk lamp into the timer
You can also install lighting to your Vivarium’s, I have used an LED strip that can be cut to any length and joined if needed, it is water proof so can be wiped down, it is also low voltage and low wattage, so the running costs are minimal