One of the best types of habitats you can have for your hedgehog is a large cage normally used for a rabbit or guinea pig. Cages need to have a solid floor (so the hedgehogs little legs don't get injured). These type of cages have lots of ventilation and provide a secure environment for your pet. Our preferred cage is the Living World Habitat (the medium or larger size). You want to ensure your hedghog's cage has enough room for essentials such as a place to hide (like an igloo), food and water dishes, large wheel (at least 12" in diameter) and toys. The wheel must have a solid surface to be safe for your hedgehog. We recommend Carolina Storm Hedgehog Wheels, which you can purchase from Carolina Storm Hedgehogs, or you can even make your own version.
For bedding, we recommend using fleece liners. They are easy to clean and hedghogs love to curl up in them! With our own hedgehogs, we line the bottom of the cage with scent-free puppy pads (absorbant pads used for puppy training), then place fleece overtop. With the fleece liners, we recommend cleaning the habitat out everyday. It's easy to shake out the fleece liners and just throw in the wash. The puppy pads also make for quick and easy cleanup. If you don't want to use fleece liners, you can also use a recycled paper type bedding such as Carefresh. If you prefer, aspen wood shavings may also be used. NEVER USE CEDAR SHAVINGS for hedgehogs or other small animals as this can lead to health problems such as asthma.
Most commerical hedgehog foods are not nutritionally adequate. We recommend using a mix of high quality cat foods which are low in fat and high in protein. We use a blend of a Royal Canin low fat formula and Performatrin Brown Rice & Chicken Formula.
In the wild, a hedghog's diet consists of many insects so it is important to supplement their diet with insect treats! Some hedgie favourites include mealworms and crickets. Our hedgehogs absolutely love mealworms and we normally give them each a few every other day. If you are squemish about feeding live mealworms, there are also freeze dried and canned varieties readily available in pet stores. Hedgehogs can also eat cooked, unseasoned meat, eggs, and certain fruits and vegetables, but their main source of nutrients should be coming from the high quality, low fat, cat food.
Food & Water Dishes
Hedgehogs always need fresh water available. For both food and water, a small ceramic dish that is not easily tipped over, is recommended. Water bottles are not recommended as hedghogs often have to crane their necks to reach water bottles, and they can also sometimes chip their teeth trying to get water out.
Temperature & Lighting
Another important thing to keep in mind is that hedgehogs need to be kept relatively warm. The ideal temperature for a hedgehog is between 21-27 degrees Celsius. Any cooler than this and the hedgehog can go into hibernation which can be fatal. You may need to use a space heater or heat lamp to acheive the proper temperature for your hedgehog. We use a space heater and also have thermometers set up beside our hedgie's cages to ensure they stay at an ideal temperature. We keep our hedgie's room between 22-23 degrees Celsius.
Hedgehogs are nocturnal, so sleep during the day and are active at night. During the day, be sure to have them in a well lit room, but not in direct sunlight, or have a light on for them at least 12 hours a day. Our hedgehogs sleep all day and become active in the late evening. For this reason, we always have our hedgehog playtime in the evening. Hedgehogs love to come out of their cages, interact with people and run around (just ensure you keep an eye on your hedgie and that your room is safe for your hedgie).
Bathing & Nail Trimming
Hedghogs do need baths every so often, and most hedghogs actually enjoy their baths and become quite relaxed! You can use a tear-free pet shampoo on your hedgies. DO NOT use any products that contain tea tree oil. For nail trimming, the easiest method is using nail clippers made for people. Just be careful when trimming their nails that you don't cut too far back.
We highly recommend reading the book 'Pet African Hedgehogs - Complete Guide to Care' by Kimberly Goertzen. This is an up-to-date book filled with tons of information that every hedgehog owner should know. Click the above link to download a free PDF version of the book, or purchase a hard copy.
A great website with lots of information and hedgehog forums is Hedgehog Central.