Hogi-FAQ

Welcome to the APH UK Rescue African Pygmy Hedgehog Frequently asked Questions page or Hogi-FAQ for short. The page has been put together by African Pygmy Hedgehog enthusiasts and breeders, we have many years experience in keeping APH's as well as breeding. We believe in sharing our knowledge and the knowledge of others for the greater good of our community, if you can't find an article you are looking for or need additional information then please feel free to join our chat on our Facebook page. Alternately click on the contact us page and send us a message requesting the information you need, if it is relevant we will also add it to our page for others to use.

Equipment FAQ

In the UK among many hedgehog breeders and keepers, it is advised against, although other countries do use it. Wood shavings are thought to cause respiratory problems in hedgehogs as they breathe in the dust that comes with it. It could also cut their leg, causing hog and owner unwanted stress.

Most of the wood shavings that are purchased for animal use is not cleaned, although some of it is. There is also the danger of the shavings containing mites; these would not be good for a hedgehog.

There are other alternatives which are suitable. These come in the shape of fleece bedding and liners, these can be made to order or easily made at home, just make sure there are no loose threads that could get wrapped around a hedgehog’s leg, cutting off the blood supply. This type of bedding/lining material is reusable, however, after washing the liners I tend to put my washer on a very hot wash with nothing in it to make sure the washer is clean prior to doing your own laundry as you don’t want to find quills in your socks. If that isn’t for you, you could purchase a bale of Finacard. Finacard is made purely for animal use and is dust extracted during production, it is also mite free, it is very long lasting and can cut down on odour as well as being disposable.

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Yes, adding a second floor to a vivarium or cage is not uncommon, African Pygmy Hedgehogs love to explore and are good climbers, so tackling a ramp is not a problem for them, there are a few things you need to think about and consider.

  • Do you have adequate room to add a ramp
  • Will my wheel still fit in my cage
  • Will heating be effected
  • What will I make the ramp out of
  • What do I make my second floor out of
  • How to I prevent falling
  • How easy will it be to clean
  • How do I fix my second floor
  • How do I fix my ramp

So lets look at all these points individually

Do you have adequate room to add a ramp

Well that’s a simple one to answer, just cut the floor shape out of cardboard as well as the ramp and test it, you can attach the cardboard ramp with tape to try it in different places.

Will my wheel still fit in my cage

Again, just cut the floor shape out of cardboard as well as the ramp and test it, you can attach the cardboard ramp with tape to try it in different places, make sure the wheel doesn’t cause a trap point when your hedgehog gets off it as they usually get off when its still spinning.

Will heating be effected

This is a bit more difficult to determine as heat will be transmitted around the cage, dependant on airflow and ventilation, the key thing to think about is will it cause any cold spots or hot spots, for example, don’t place the upper level so that it is very close to the CHE or so that your hedgehog can touch or climb onto the heat source

What will I make the ramp out of

The ramp needs to be made out of a material that is light and strong, it also needs to provide grip and be easily cleaned, the best material I have found is 6mm x 80mm

What do I make my second floor out of

Wood is the most obvious answer, but will depend on what your cage is made out of, a shelving off cut is ideal, it must be of adequate thickness to take the weight of your hedgehog and also be self supporting, it also needs to be thick enough to be fixed, so if you are using screws to fix it then you need to make sure the screws do not go through to the other side, it also needs to be strong enough to support the ramp.

How to I prevent falling

Any possible fall points should be guarded against or completely enclosed, the ramp will need to have sides or made out of piece of pipe as well as the access to the ramp from the second floor, the second floor itself needs to be done in a way that it is totally surrounded by a wall and the only way off is down the ramp, think about it as child safety.

Making ramp covers from fleece is an option if you use stiffening to prevent it from falling in on itself, they can also be removed for washing.

How easy will it be to clean

That’s not an easy one to answer, it depends on what you make it out of, what you protect it with, how it is covered over and is it removable, I have made 6 ramps for my hedgehogs and none of them are removable, they are however protected in a high gloss varnish which was left to cure for 2 weeks before fitting into the cage, luckily I had the time to wait and I could leave them to fully cure, but this is not always the case and you need to think about making them removable to clean, the treads in the ramp also make cleaning more difficult

The sides need to be of a height to stop your hedgehog from accidentally climbing over, I have found with mine that 6cm is ample to prevent them from trying to climb, they scoot up and down the ramp easily

A full cover would need to be removable, either cat in half so it fits on top or slid off one end, but it needs to be secured so that it will not come off during normal use, again this cover needs to be washable, so cardboard can be used as long as it is covered or painted

How do I fix my second floor

$_35The easiest way is to use corner connecting shelving blocks, shelf support bracket, plastic plinth fixings, they are all about the same thing, angle brackets or screwing from the other side of the cage is also a possibility but this can leave an unsightly screw hole in the side of your cage.

If you are using a wood that could swell if it gets wet then you must consider protecting the edge from water, wee soaking into it, an ideal solution it to use a PVA glue or 100% pure silicone sealant to seal the edge and also stick the floor to your cage, remembering to wipe off any excess and leave to to fully cure before introducing you hedgehog back into its cage.

How do I fix my ramp

Now this is a difficult one, if your ramp is against the back wall or your cage then you can use the  corner connecting shelving blocks, shelf support bracket, plastic plinth fixings as seen above, or if you want it to lift up then you can use a hinge at the top which allows the ramp to be lifted to allow the cage liner to be replaced, the hinge will need to be completely covered in vinyl or fleece to prevent a trap or trip hazard, a removable ramp could be fixed using hook and eyes, but again these need to be covered to prevent a trap or trip hazard, but which ever way you decide, it needs to be secure to prevent it moving or falling.

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I personally wouldn’t even put a hamster in one. It may seem like your hedgehog is having a good time but when a hedgehog is in one of those balls it will be will be totally traumatised.

So here are a few points to think about.

Cons

  • Their sense of smell is cut off, so they will be blind
  • Their hearing is also cut off
  • They have limited viability but this will reduce it completely
  • Constantly crashing into walls and objects will not do your hedgehog any good.
  • Their constant running around is probably an attempt to climb up the sides, they just end up rolling.
  • How can you interact with you hedgehog when its trapped in a ball.
  • Ventilation will also be limited rolling around in poo and wee inside a ball can’t be healthy.
  • Their feet can get trapped in the holes, ending in broken feet or legs.
  • Their nails can get stuck in the holes and ripped out.
  • They still need constant supervision.
  • What happens when the dog runs in and wants to play with the moving ball.
  • They will be totally traumatised

Pros

  • Can’t think of any

 

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Hedgehogs are highly active creatures at night; they will constantly run around and explore their surroundings during the night. When hedgehogs are enclosed in small cages, they will often run rampant trying to get out and explore, it is not uncommon to find a cage trashed when you get up in the morning. One easy way to combat this urge is to provide a means of running on the spot, this can be done with the aid of a wheel.

Hedgehog wheels need to be solid, or else their delicate legs can get stuck in the bars, this can lead to broken bones and claws. If there are any gaps in the wheel surface claws can also get stuck and ripped out easily. Hedgehog wheels need open on one side only. If the wheel is supported from both sides by a metal bar the hedgehog could get trapped between the bar and the support causing serious injuries.

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Different Types of Wheel

There are many different types of wheels available, some good, some bad and some atrocious. Below is a list of good and bad wheels for hedgehogs. Each wheel has its pros and cons, and when in doubt ask!

So what should I be looking for in a wheel.

Mesh. Wheels with mesh of any size are dangerous and can catch toenails, toes or legs. Rungs are also dangerous and can break legs.

Cross bars. These are dangerous as hedgehogs usually step off the wheel while it is still moving. The hedgehog could hit the crossbars as he steps off and cause injury. Cross bars and angled frames are especially dangerous as the animal can get trapped between the crossbar and frame as they step off.

Narrow Wheels. A running tread of at least 10cm is recommended as anything narrower than that is too difficult for a hedgehog to run on. 12.5cm or 15cm is ideal.

Centre bars. These are not advisable as the bar can hit on larger hedgehogs back as they run.

Usable wheels

Flying Saucer

pPETS-3766196t400The flying saucer wheel is a commercially made wheel and available in 3 sizes, only the large wheel should be used for Hedgehogs.

It features a flat running surface with indents that allow for grip for your hedgehog. The wheel does not have any bearings, and it’s on a metal rod that extends from the base. The wheel is very low laying, but for a hedgehog you will need the 12″ size.

Pros

  • Easy to clean.
    • The flying saucer wheel comes apart very easy, and for even the dirtiest of hedgehogs, with just a soak in the tub it cleans itself.
    • Surface is hard plastic making it very easy to clean despite the grooved surface.
  • Very low height.
    • It can fit in the lowest of cages, as it only stands 15cm tall at its highest point.
    • It is ideal for Zoozone 2 cages
    • All you can hear on the flying saucer wheel is the pitter patter of hedgehog feet. As long as the wheel isn’t too close to the edge of the cage, it is virtually silent.
  • Gripped running surface may help some hedgehogs who tend to “slide” on wheels.
  • Easily available you will find them in most pet shops.

Cons

  • Takes up a large area of floor space.
    • Hedgehogs love to hide under it.
    • It takes up much more room than other conventional wheels.
  • Takes time to learn how to use.
    • Because of its tilted running surface it often takes a while for older hedgehogs to get a hang of running on it, but once they do, they often run in different directions.
  • Ribbed and hard running surface may hurt the hedgehog’s feet and have a tendency to run their feet raw.
  • Due to the running angle it causes the spine to twist sideways when running, this could cause spinal injuries.
  • Large hedgehogs may not be able to use the wheel.
  • Could fling poo and wee all over the cage.
    • This may not happen if they are litter trained.
  • Colour of the wheel may hinder the sight of blood or off coloured faeces and urine.

Good Wheels

Bucket Wheel

s316768604068141_p7_i1_w829Bucket wheels are just as the sound, they are the bottom half of a bucket connected to a bearing that often hangs off a PVC stand. The bearing is connected to the bucket, and does not come apart easily. The wheel needs to have a 12″ diameter and is therefore very tall and like all wheels are covered in poo and wee in the morning. All bucket wheels are Home Made.

DIY

A bucket wheel can be made very easily as a Do It Yourself Project. Instructions are listed on our websites.

A quick Google search will also find many instructions on the internet or how to build DIY bucket wheels, they are not hard to make.

The list below shows the pros and cons of the bucket wheel, but you need to remember that these bucket wheels are to all intense and purposes DIY home made wheels, you may be buying from a website but you are most likely buying from a breeder that just happens to make wheels, they are not generally designers, engineers or have insurance, so this list assumes that the pros and cons list assumes the wheel is properly made.

Pros

  • Level running surface, there is no twisting of the spine.
  • Almost silent. Usually all that is heard is the little pitter patter of tiny feet.
  • Only noisy if they bang against the side of the cage, when placed too close to the side.
  • Takes up very small amount of floor area.
  • Solid running surface with no risk of catching toes or toenails.
  • Wide running surface which is comfortable for even the largest hedgehog.
  • Wide stable base will not tip over.
  • White and some coloured surfaces show up any discolouration in urine or faeces.
  • Easily washed surface.
  • Angle adjustable to allow urine to run off.
  • With proper care and regular greasing of bearing, this wheel will last for years.
  • Many Breeders sell their own home made Bucket Wheels.

Cons

  • Cannot get bearing wet while cleaning or it will rust.
  • They are quite tall and do not fit in all cages.
  • May need to modify the cage if it is not at least 14″ high in order to accommodate the wheel.
  • Not available in pet stores.
  • You are never sure on what you will get, unless you are ordering from recommendations.
  • No quality assurance with the wheels, they are purchased on trust.
  • If using a coloured bucket wheel, the colour may hinder the sight of blood or off coloured faeces and urine.
  • Some makers use inferior materials, like cheap bearings and galvanised nuts and bolts.

Things to look for in a bucket wheel

Some of the items listed below may sound trivial but it is a combination of things that make the difference between a dangerous wheel, an average wheel and a good wheel. We have seen many complaints and seen many problems with bucket wheel, but you will not go far wrong with a Carolina Storm Wheel.

  • No galvanised nuts, bolts or washers used.
  • All Stainless Steel nuts, bolts and washers used.
  • Nuts and bolts should be at least 8mm in diameter.
  • Correct spacing between the wheel bearing and the frame, this must allow the wheel to spin without catching with a hedgehog on it.
  • Check that the wheel has been cut straight and is not wavy when rotated.
  • No sharp edges where the wheel or pipe ends have been cut; also no unnecessary scratch marks where the wheel has been deburred.
  • Quality bearings used; unfortunately you won’t know this until you have had the wheel for some time.
  • Make sure that the angle is tilted back far enough that when you hedgehog is running it does not slip off.
  • Make sure that the back support that holds the wheel is not overtightened.
  • End caps are fitted to all pipe ends.
  • Fully glued frame construction, no overspill of glue to drop off.
  • Cosmetically that the pipe used matches the fittings used and that the pipe identification is not showing, after all you are paying for this wheel.

Bad Wheels

Comfort Wheel

comfort wheelThis is another commercially sold wheel for small rodents that some have used for their hedgehogs. This wheel is readily available at most pet shops, and resembles the bucket wheel, but it not ideal for hedgehogs. You will need the largest size for use with a hedgehog.

Pros

  • Available at pet stores.
  • Cheap to buy.
  • Gripped running surface may help some hedgehogs who tend to slip and on their wheels.

Cons

  • They are not suitable for large hedgehogs as the shaft in the centre can rub when running.
  • Quite noisy. It tends to bang and knock.
  • The grooves can be more difficult to clean.
  • Gripped, hard running surface may hurt hedgehogs with a tendency to run their feet raw.
  • Some hedgehogs can tip it over as the base in quite narrow.
  • When it wears, the wheel can come off the shaft and cause injury.
  • Colour of the wheel may hinder the sight of blood or off coloured faeces and urine.

Silent Spinner

2851Silent Spinner is a wheel for small rodents. This wheel was never meant for use with hedgehogs, but some people still use it. The wheel is noisy and it has a high lip that the animal must crawl over to get into the wheel, as well as drainage holes in the bottom of the wheel for urine to run out because of its large sides. This wheel is not ideal for hedgehogs and should not be used.

Pros

  • Available at most pet shops.
  • Reasonably priced.

Cons

  • The base is not large enough and the wheel is known to tip over when a hedgehog enters or exits the wheel.
  • The centre nut can unwind causing the wheel to fall
  • Brittle, hard plastic cracks easily
  • The two piece design has slits that can catch toe nails and rip them out.
  • The silent spinner is far from silent.
  • High sides make it hard for hedgehog to get in and out.
  • Hard to clean as surface is shaped like a U and access isn’t easy.

Wire Wheels

292tv1gThese should not be used with a hedgehog under any circumstances. The spacing between the rungs could catch a hedgehog’s leg and break it causing injury. Your Hedgehog could also be caught in the 2 metal bars supporting the wheel causing severe injury or death.

 

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F10 Technical Information

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F10® Core Actives

RTUTThe F10 disinfectant and treatment range are based on F10’s tested and proven core actives – a quaternary ammonium compound, Benzalkonium Chloride, and a biguanide compound, Polyhexamethylene Biguanide (PHMB). The antimicrobial mechanism of action of the F10 products is derived not only from that of each of the individual compounds, but also the novel synergistic action of the components.

The attributes of the F10® Core Actives are:

Efficacy:

  • total spectrum activity
  • bactericidal
  • fungicidal
  • virucidal
  • sporicidal
Speed of kill:

  • gram positive bacteria
  • less than 15 seconds to fungicidal in 15 minutes
Safety:

  • non toxic oral and dermal LD50 > 5000mg/kg,
  • inhalation nil
  • ocular irritation draize score 4 @ 1hr, 2 @ 4hrs
  • skin irritation 0 score after 48 hrs on both intact and abraded skin
  • free rinsing
  • very low insoluble matter content
  • aldehydes and iodine free
  • biodegradable
Equipment friendly:

  • Olympus approved
  • noncorrosive after 30 days on polished aluminium
Testing:

  • SABS, SAIMR, ARC, Inst. for Animal Health, Vet Institute, Vet Faculty Poultry Lab
Approvals:

  • Act 29 in SA, Act 36 in SA, MAFF in UK, MAF in NZ.
  • NRA, TGA, AQIS in Aus, Min. of Ag. In Uruguay.
Quality Marks:

  • SABS 636, 639; SABS 1828
Economical:

  • good dilution rates

Performance and speed of kill of F10®SC Veterinary Disinfectants

Micro- organism Dilution Contact Time
Gram Positive bacteria: e.g. Staphylococcus aureus 1:1000 water 2 minutes
Gram Negative bacteria: e.g. Pseudomonas aeruginosa 1:500 water 2 minutes
Fungi,Yeast, Moulds: e.g. Candida albicans 1:500 water 15 minutes
Fungal spores: e.g. Aspergillus niger 1:250 water 30 minutes
Virus: e.g. Newcastle Disease Virus 1:500 water 10 minutes
Rabies 1:500 water 30 minutes
Infectious Bursal Disease 1:250 water 20 minutes
Parvovirus 1:125 water 30 minutes
Bacterial spores: e.g. Bacillus subtilis spores 1:125 water 30 minutes

F10® Wipes Solution is effective against E. coli, S. aureus, Salmonella typhi, Candida albicans in less than 30 seconds

Test data

There is a large amount of test data pertaining to the efficacy of the F10 range. Some example of the commonly requested organism are listed here.

For further details, or information on organisms not on the sample list please visit the site of the South African manufacturers, Health and Hygiene (Pty) Ltd Or contact us.

Testing standards

  • South African Bureau of Standards
  • South African Institute for Medical Research
  • South African Vaccine Producers (Pty) Ltd
  • University of Pretoria, Poultry Reference Laboratory
  • Agricultural Research Council, Veterinary Institute, Onderstepoort
  • Agricultural Research Council, Animal Improvement Institute, Irene
  • Complies with AFNOR standards, as well as EN Standards for chemicals and antiseptics within the EU

Safety Data Sheets

F10®SC Veterinary disinfectant products are:

Non-toxic

  • acute oral and dermal LD50 > 5000mg/Kg
  • inhalation – non toxic

Non-irritating

  • Proven in supervised independent field trials
  • score of zero on intact and abraded skin when tested to SABS method 671

Free rinsing

  • complies with (SABS 1593 6.11).

Water insoluble matter content

  • 0,3g/litre (SABS 1593 6.12)

Biodegradable

  • zero hazard rating to EU standards

Non-corrosive

  • passed SABS 1615 after 30 days

Material Safety Data Sheets for all products:

Approvals

  • SABS Approval Mark 636 and 639, for Efficacy and Quality Assurance
  • SABS Mark 1828. Chemicals for use in the Food Industry approval to EU Standards
  • SABS Standards Act 29/1993 Compulsory registration of disinfectants
  • SA, National Department of Agriculture, Stock Remedies Act 36 for surfaces, equipment and air spaces
  • NZ, MAF approved for food, beverage, farms, and factories.
  • Australia, NRA, TGA, AQIS for surfaces, equipment and air spaces
  • Uruguay, Min of Ag for surfaces, equipment and air spaces

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PVC Solvent Cement

PVC solvent cement actually welds the pipe into one piece and becomes part of the pipe, so technically it’s not a glue it’s a solvent weld cement, so now we have cleared that up, let’s talk about “Animal Safe” well there is no such thing as animal safe glues, the manufactures go to great expense on testing glues for human safety, they will not go to the same costs in testing for Animal safety, its simply not cost effective for them to do that, however the same test methods used for human safety are relative to animal safety, in fact, like cosmetics, they are sometimes tested on animals.griffon-uni-100-1215-p

As there is no such thing as animal safe glues so we need to look at the next best thing and how they are used, Drinking Water – This is obviously safe for humans and animals alike, we fill our dog and cats water bowl from a tap which could be coming from a PVC pipe which has been approved by many different codes as well as the National Plumbing code, look for the NSF PW markings.  So you have to simply decide if you think the National Standards Foundation’s standards for potable water are good enough for you or not.

31mHUWnl0bL._SY300_Generally the only time it is hazardous is in the uncured state, this means that you need to leave the glue/cement out of the cage until it is fully cured, if you read the label properly, this could be around 48 hours, although it will be mechanically sound in 15 minutes, the main problems with glues and animals is the smell, which will effect hedgehogs as they have very sensitive noses, this glue is widely used in professional aquariums for pumping the water around tanks and filters

Pdc Solvent Cement is widely used in aquatic shops and installations, it is known to be a good glue for PVC pipe installations on pond pumps, I have used this myself on my pond pump filtration system with no ill effects on the fish

As with glues and paints, ensure that it is fully cured before introducing it into your hedgehogs environment.

Wood Glue

The words you are looking for here are Child Safe, if it is child safe it is suitable for hedgehogs “once fully cured”

uk-wood-glueA very good PVA glue is Gorilla Wood Glue it is the adhesive that woodworkers, carpenters and DIYers trust for their woodworking projects. Gorilla Wood Glue is a PVA glue, offers the benefits of an easy-to use, water-based adhesive, with all the holding power Gorilla is known for. The glue is incredibly water resistant and dries a natural colour that offers an invisible bond line for your projects.download

As with glues and paints, ensure that it is fully cured before introducing it into your hedgehogs environment.

Silicone Sealant

Normal DIY silicone sealant contains anti-fungal agents, these anti-fungal agents are what stops it from discolouring or going mouldy in damp bathrooms and outside, it is this which makes it unsuitable to hedgehogs, animal and aquatic safe silicone must be 100% pure silicone sealant and it is just that, 100% pure, it could even carry the word AQUARIUM on it, although this usually just pushes the price up.siliconedisplay2

A lot of people will maintain that they only buy from pet/fish shops “to be on the safe side” purely out of ignorance.

As with glues and paints, ensure that it is fully cured before introducing it into your hedgehogs environment.

Paints

The words you are looking for here are Child Safe, if it is child safe it is suitable for hedgehogs “once fully cured” Also look for 0% VOC, VOC-free and Solvent-free, there are specific paints for animals.dw_badge_template2_new

Solvent-free is important because not only are lingering paint smells in the home unpleasant, but many paints including most matt and silk paints contain solvents which are positively harmful and cause Sick Building Syndrome, Danish Painters Syndrome, asthma, allergies and chemical sensitivities; also, many “natural” paints contain ethereal oils, or terpene oil solvents which are known to generate carcinogenic microparticulates with the ozone in your home.dw_badge_template2_new (1)

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands. Examples include: paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper, graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions.

mythicpaint

ecospaints

ecosorganicpaints

The things to look for in your pet safe paints are:

  • water, natural plus manufactured binders (all water-based, all non-toxic)
  • pigments (yellow ochre, red ochre, various – all non toxic)
  • mineral fillers – limestone, clays (non-toxic)
  • thickeners & builders – wood cellulose & resinous (all non-toxic)
  • white pigment – titanium dioxide (food grade – non-toxic)
  • levelers (all non-toxic)
  • waxes & texture powders (all non-toxic)

Things to avoid, even those that advertise as being safe for pets to be around can contain:

  • white spirit, terpenes, ethereal oils, VOC’S glycols, coalescents
  • heavy metals – not just lead but cadmium, mercury etc
  • formaldehyde and formaldehyde donors
  • acrolein
  • vinyl chloride
  • phthalates
  • APEOs.
  • Acrylic Softeners

As with glues and paints, ensure that it is fully cured before introducing it into your hedgehogs environment.

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Getting a Hedgehog FAQ

Most people including us will say no to buying from a pet shop but you have to understand that a hedgehog in a pet shop is going to be bought by someone at some point in time, so are you doing it a favour by being the one to buy it and taking it to a loving home, well the answer is yes you are, but, and this is where it starts to fall down, by buying the hedgehog from a pet shop you are encouraging them to get more, it’s a simple supply and demand.

The majority of pet shops do not know how to keep and care for hedgehogs, and bearing this in mind you will probably be getting an unhealthy, uncared-for grumpy little hedgehog, it also brings into question the people who are selling them to pet shops, are they ethical breeders?

Will you be getting the best advice from a pet shop, do they supply a care sheeted are they feeding them on, it will most likely be wild hedgehog food, which is high in fat. If you decide to get your hedgehog from an ethical breeder, they will ensure you have the correct advise and you will most likely receive a care package, which will come with all the information you should need to look after your hedgehog, they will normally come with a supply of food and information on what food they have been fed on, which makes the transition onto new food better for the hedgehog

So the answer to the question is not a simple one, but without doubt almost everyone will tell you that a breeder is the best and only place you should be going

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Health FAQ

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What should I do?

If you think your hedgehog is attempting to hibernate, you should take steps immediately to begin warming them back up. Even if you have misdiagnosed the symptoms, you will not do them any harm, the best method to warm up a hedgehog is to place them close to your skin and cover them in up, your body heat is ideal for transferring heat to them. See the Do’s and Do Not’s for further options.

Do’s

  • Do warm them slowly by laying them against the skin and cover them
  • Do take them to bed with you and keep them against your skin
  • Do place them on a heating pad set on low temperature and cover them
  • Do covering them with a towel that has been slightly warmed in the dryer
  • Do place them indirectly on a hot water bottle

Do Not’s

  • Do not place them on an extremely warm surface
  • Do not put the hedgehog in the oven or in an extremely warm location
  • Do not place them in warm water, being wet actually cause heat loss faster
  • Do not warm them too rapidly though, because this can cause them to go into shock
  • Do not let their water bottle get cold, this will drain the heat from their bodies

What next

As soon as your hedgehog starts waking up and moving around, offer lukewarm water and small amounts of soft foods. Continue your efforts to warm your hedgehog until the belly is warm and the hedgehog is fully alert and able to move around normally with no shakiness or instability.

Continue monitoring your hedgehog closely for several days after a hibernation attempt, as they may be prone to a repeated attempt. Also watch for signs of respiratory problems, such as loud breathing, nasal discharge and open mouth breathing, or exaggerated movement of the chest while breathing. Monitor food and water consumption, and encourage sluggish eaters by softening their dry food with a little warm water, and providing favourite treats to build them back up to health.

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Several possible causes; quilling, mites, fungal infection, bacterial infection, dietary issues, allergies, illness and or hormonal issues. If the bulb of the quill is intact then it is less concerning. If you find it out of the norm get to your veterinarian.

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Possible hibernation attempt. Immediately place your hedgehog on your skin on your chest or stomach. Bundle yourself and continue this slow increase in temperature via skin contact until your pet is warm on their stomach and shows normal activity. You will need to increase room temperatures of your heat source (che) and can provide some additional source of heat in the cage such as a Snuggle Safe Disc as subsequent attempts to hibernate are likely. Monitor your pet closely. If this problem persists, see your veterinarian as it may be an indication of serious illness.

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Heating FAQ

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Hygiene FAQ

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When to Rescue FAQ

The first thing to remember is that you are in a shop, the animals are on display to be sold, their sale is one of the most important things to a shop keeper, its their livelihood, they need to turn a profit to pay their mortgage.

A shop will not keep the hedgehogs in the same environment that we do, please remember that our hedgehogs are spoilt rotten and you don’t know what happens at night when the shop is closed for the day, there may be toys wheels and other things put in when we leave the shop and the owner locks up for the night, please think about this as you go through the shop.

Are the animals are kept in accommodation that is both suitable and clean

Are they supplied with appropriate food and water

Are they adequately protected from disease

Are the animals are provided with suitable accommodation and bedding material

Are they adequately exercised and visited at suitable intervals

Are reasonable precautions are taken to prevent and control the spread of diseases between animals

Concerns and reasons to report to your council

In the first instance try talking to staff and educating them in a positive way, offer to provide care sheets on keeping hedgehogs, put them into contact with the Rescue, BUT advise them that we are here to help in the form of advise, if they are willing to listen then we are willing to work with them.

Pet stores have to conform to the animal welfare act revised in 1983. This means there is a minimum standard of care. Most pet owners exceed this standard. As long as the health and safety of the animals are met the shop is fulfilling it’s duty of care.

Below are possible concerns that can validate investigation by RSPCA/SSPCA and local council.

Dead animals in sight

Seriously injured and/or ill animals in need of immediate veterinary care

Mold

Overcrowding to the point of danger

Lack of water and no reply or action when staff are made aware
Strong smell of urine, faeces, filth

Blood in cages

Abuse by staff to animals

Excessive insects and/pests within the premises

No or inappropriate shelter

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How to Guides

What you need:

Parts:

  • Approximately 1 metre of 21.5mm overflow pipe
  • 1 No. 21.5mm overflow tee
  • 2 No. 21.5mm overflow 90 degree bends
  • 1 No M8 x 70mm set screw (bolt)
  • 1 No. M8 nyloc nut
  • 1 No. M8 stainless steel dome nut
  • 1 No. Scooter wheel with bearings
  • Plumbers cement
  • Cable ties
  • Spacer (I use 10mm aluminium tube cut down, skateboard/inline/scooter bearing spacers may be ok)
  • 22mm plastic ferrules (end caps for the pipe)

Tools:

  • 8mm wood drill bit
  • 16mm flat wood drill
  • 2 No. 13mm spanner/ratchets
  • Drill bit that is the same size as your cable ties
  • Hacksaw
  • Angle grinder/means of cutting the bucket
  • Knife
  • Scothcbrite/sandpaper

Cutting the bucket:

Drill the base of the bucket in the centre – I use a 16mm flat wood bit.

You drill the bucket first to ensure that the base of the bucket is level.

Cover hole in base of bucket with tape

Fill bucket with sand to keep the shape of the bucket while cutting – important

Cut the bucket with an angle grinder or other cutting instrument

File the top of the bucket to remove roughness

Use a knife to round the edges

Use an abrasive (scotchbrite or sand paper) to further smooth the bucket

Attaching the scooter wheel:

I use a wooden template that was made to automatically centre. This isn’t really viable for one or two wheels so an alternative method is needed. The easiest way is to use cable ties. I personally dislike cable ties and think it is a pikey way of doing things, but needs must. Besides, it makes changing the bearings easier.

With the wheel placed on the back of the bucket, measure the distance from the edge of the wheel to the outside of the bucket. When the distance is the same all around, using a drill place the drill bit through the “spokes of the scooter wheel and drill a number of pairs of holes between the spokes of the wheels. You are aiming to not drill the wheel, but to drill the bucket. You want the label of the scooter wheel to face inwards for aesthetics.

Then you zip cable ties through the holes with the ties looped through the wheel so that the ends of the ties are at the back of the wheel. Measure that the wheel is central again adjusting where necessary.

Making the stand:

Cut the inner and outer legs and the vertical piece to size.

Drill an 8mm hole in the vertical part of the stand – I use wood drill bits as they are less likely to split the wood than metal drill bits.

Place the M8 by 70mm bolt through the holes with a washer either side of the stand. Add a nyloc nut to secure the bolt.

Assemble the stand by placing the inner legs into the tee, then the 90 degree bends, then the outer legs. It is important that all casting marks on the bends face the floor so that the stand looks as aesthetically pleasing as possible. The same goes for marks in the pipe.

You can use a few options for securing the stand, the easiest and quickest is solvent plumbers cement. I also use some pop rivets to add a mechanical fixing to the stand, you could use screws or just glue. It is important that you use something though.

The stand should be tilted backwards. This is to compensate for the angle of the bucket/tub/bowl the wheel should tilt backwards slightly. If you have ever watched a ‘hog running on a wheel tilted forwards, you’ll understand why.

When you attach the bucket to the stand, you place hole in the middle of the scooter wheel (the bearing) onto the bolt on the stand. The scooter wheel has two bearings and a spacer inside it, sometimes this spacer can become dislodged and will need aligning, you can do this by simply inserting something through the bearing to line it up. You then fit a spacer to allow the wheel to turn and spacing the nut away from the bucket. Then comes the nut. I use a stainless steel dome nut to keep things tidy.

(Article written by Hogwheels)

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Instead of using electric heat pads & blankets or hot water bottles for your aches and pains, these microwaveable packs are just the ticket!

These serve a dual purpose as you can also keep them in the freezer to use has a cooling pad or freezer pack when needed.

If you’d like to learn how to make them, you’ll find a tutorial below along with tips for different kinds of fillers to try and directions for using them.

images      125

Introduction:

No pattern is necessary, simply cut two pieces of cloth in the size/shape you wish (leave a seam allowance about 20mm). More detailed instructions are found below.

Some prefer regular square shapes, others prefer tubes or more rectangular shapes. Experiment, whip up a few different sizes and shapes to try.

These are really easy to whip up as well as cheap!

Filler Options

Homemade-Heat-Pad-with-Cherry-Pits

  • Uncooked rice
  • Wheat
  • Feed corn
  • Buckwheat hulls
  • Barley
  • Oatmeal
  • Beans
  • Flax seed
  • Cherry pits

Fabric Options

dyed-cotton-fabric-250x250      SUGARBUNDLE005

Cotton: (plain, prints, flannels, denims)

Alternate ideas: old socks (sew or knot end closed), washcloths, old towels

You can also make cozy, removable & washable outer pouches, this is especially nice to do when using for hedgehogs.

Fabric Ideas: use old towels, fleece, velour knits, pretty fabric prints and flannels (don’t microwave anything other than cotton fabrics). The softer & fluffier & better!

Instructions

Cut and sew the fabric in the size and shape you want (usually a large teacloth size works well).

Leave an inch or two open on one side so that you can fill pouch with your choice of filler (about 1/2 to 3/4 full, more or less as you prefer). You don’t want it too full though, the sack should be able to mold itself around your hedgehog.

Once it’s full, sew opening closed either by hand or machine (keeping filler pushed to the opposite side of bag while sewing).

If wanting a removable cover, just sew a “pillowcase” idea with your soft, plushy fabric by making it a little larger than your pad and leaving an open end (make sure to finish off ends by sewing a hem). Or you can add a strip of velcro to close it. Careful: Make sure to never microwave this cover unless its content is full cotton. Remove cover to wash as needed.

Heat for 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the size and power of the microwave. Do not leave unattended “just in case” the filler smokes or starts on fire. As a precaution, you can set a cup of water inside along with it to add moisture or spritz sack lightly with water first. If you add spices and herbs, this is a good idea to do.

If You’re In a Pinch:

If you need something “now” and don’t have time to sew one, try filling a ziploc freezer bag (use the microwaveable kind) 3/4 full with uncooked rice, seal shut. Zap it for a minute or two then wrap in a hand towel and use as needed.

ziploc-rice-300x272

You can also fill a clean tube sock, tie closed the open end, heat and use as needed.

Caution:

Be careful before putting your hedgehog on it as it may be too hot. Shake it first, feel around and check that it’s not too hot and won’t burn.

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MealwormsRaising mealworms is fairly easy since they are prolific breeders and are hardy insects. It is also fairly inexpensive and can save you quite a bit of money if you use a lot of worms every month. They rarely smell, are easy to care for, and don’t take much work.

Breeding will take a while to get started, but once there are plenty of beetles laying eggs you will have worms for as long as you need. You should start with at least one hundred mealworms, but can begin with many more. Then, all you need is a container, substrate, and a source of food and water.

Container
20150620_101918The container should have a large surface area and smooth sides. The sides of the container only need to be a couple inches higher the substrate in order to prevent the worms from escaping. An aquarium, terrarium, plastic box, or Sterilite container will make an excellent home.

The container will also need a screened lid to prevent other insects and creatures from getting in and to allow airflow. Good ventilation is needed to prevent the container from getting to warm and to prevent the buildup of humidity and mold growth. If you are using an aquarium, there are screened lids available. For a plastic box you can cut away most of the lid and attach some window screen.

Food Substrate
oats-03The substrate of the container will be the food. You can use wheat bran, oatmeal, cornmeal, wheat flour, Wheaties, Cheerios, ground up dry dog food, or a mixture of these dry foods. Fill the bottom of the container two or three inches deep with the food substrate. You will have to add more food regularly since mealworms are big eaters.

Water
20150620_102035Slices of potatoes, apples, carrots, lettuce, cabbage, or other fruits and vegetables can supply water to your worms. Potatoes are often preferred since they last a while and do not mold quickly. Do not use a bowl of water since mealworms will crawl in and drown.

Temperature, Lighting & Humidity
The ideal temperature for growing your colony is around 75 degrees F. A heat emitter may be necessary if you are in a cold climate. You will want to keep the container away from windows and direct sunlight to prevent it from becoming too warm.

Light is not necessary. A normal day and night cycle of light will be fine.

You colony of mealworms will reproduce more quickly with a higher humidity, but for most areas the natural humidity in the air will be sufficient. If you live in a dry climate, you can place a smooth glass or bowl of water into the container to raise the humidity. Make sure the water container is tall enough to prevent the worms from crawling in.

Maintenance
20150620_101847Any dead worms, pupae, or beetles should be removed from the container regularly. If the container begins to smell like ammonia or becomes moldy, it is time to clean the container. You will need to remove all of the mealworms, beetles, and pupae, discard the food and waste, and clean the container. Once clean, replace the food substrate and return the insects to the container.

It is helpful to have a second container to aid in raising mealworms and keeping them odor free. After your colony is going strong, you can move any beetles to the second container where they will begin a new colony. By the time the second colony is established, the original container should have very few mealworms. You can move any remaining worms to the second container and the original container can then be cleaned and prepared to repeat the cycle.

mealcycle1

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