I would like to introduce you to a new member of my little family. Holly. She is an african pygmy hedgehog and is gorgeous.
She is a completely domesticated species so wouldn’t be able to survive in the wild like her cousins the european hedgehog that we see here. She is classed as an exotic pet and does need to be kept appropriately to be able to thrive and have a happy life.
I keep Holly in a vivarium (viv) like this.
Alternatively they can be kept in a Zoo Zone 2, but this is the minimum size they should be kept in. They cannot be kept in a cage with bars like a hamster or a rabbit cage. This is because they are clumsy climbers. Holly would climb up the bars and then fall really easily and hurt herself quite badly. When she is out and about I really have to keep an eye on her!
African Pygmy Hedgehogs (APH) also need to be kept in temperatures of between 22-24 degrees. This is so that they do not attempt to hibernate. If they were to they would die as they simply do not have the fat reserves to survive like wild hedgehogs. I use a heat mat in my viv and it keeps Holly at a comfortable 23 degrees. Warmer in there than in the rest of my house. Luckily these heat mats are cheap to run. An alternative would be a Ceramic Heat Emitter (CHE). These work just as effectively and it is simply down to personal choice. However you couldn’t use a CHE in a zoo zone 2 as a ZZ2 is made from plastic and it would melt.
Another important point that I’ve learnt in my research into owning a APH is that they CANNOT be kept on sawdust or straw or hay etc. The dust in the sawdust would give her respiratory problems and the straw or hay could wrap round her leg and hurt her very badly.
APH are most commonly kept on fleece liners. This helps keep the viv warm and makes it easy to clean. Especially if you are lucky like me and your hog uses her litter tray to toilet!!! At the moment Holly sleeps in fleece pouches but I have little houses on order for her.
All APH need to have a wheel. They can run for miles in any one night and Holly certainly does. Got up this morning and she was wheeling away like a mad thing!
There is a lot more into owning a APH but it is so rewarding. Holly is gorgeous and although she is a little huffy I think thats because she is still getting to know myself and my OH.
She is like my little baby!!! There is a lot more to know about APH but if you’d like to know more I’ll try to answer your questions. Although I’m a new owner myself and there is a lot for me to learn as well!
Thanks for reading x