NPH is No Longer Breeding

USDA Licensed Hedgehog Breeder
Located in South Dakota

Keeping Your Hedgehog Warm

Hedgehogs have specific heat and light requirements that set them apart from other small animals.  Some people feel this makes them harder to care for, but they need these things in order to keep them healthy and to prevent hibernation attempts.  Because of their original habitat, captive breeding, and other factors, our domesticated hedgehog friends are not capable of coming back out of hibernation, at least not successfully.  After some time, instead of waking up when the temperature gets warmer, the hedgehog will simply not wake up and will die in its sleep. This is why it is so important to make sure your hedgehog never gets cold.  Your hedgehog needs to be kept at 73-80 degree's, and most prefer it on the warmer side around 77-78.   One very important rule of thumb is the ambient air in the entire cage needs to be kept at the same temperature, not just one side or the other, the whole cage needs to be the same temperature.

Your hedgehog also has very specific light requirements.  They need 12-14 hours per day, no less!  This can be as simple as keeping a light on during the day in the same room as your hedgehog. This helps your him or her set an “internal clock” for themselves.  Without it they can become very disoriented, they can attempt hibernation, and it can even lower their immune system making them more prone to illness.

Now we will go through some very basic heating options for your hedgehog, both good and bad.....

Furnace - This of course heats your whole house and basically means you will turn you're entire home or apartment's thermostat up to keep everything warm.   This will of course heat the air very well, however, it can get very, very expensive and most people will not be able to live in the same temperature that a hedgehog needs.   It also will be very difficult to keep the temperature consistent from day to day.

Space heaters - These come highly recommended, both by us as well as other breeders, because they heat the air very well and work with all cage types. They heat the air with heat coils and fans, ceramic heaters, or are oil filled.  Space heaters will heat the air in the whole room and have a built in thermostat that will automatically turn off the heater once they reach a designated temperature.   The bad thing about these heaters is they can be a fire hazard.   They also use more energy than some other options because they are heating more than just the cage.

Heating Pads/Rocks/Disks - We do not recommend the use of any of these items to heat your cage.  The only time they should every be used is in an emergency type situation.  These items have been known to cause burns, and they are very hard to regulate the temperature as they will only heat the floor or a certain area of the cage, not the air in the cage.   Also, the hedgehog may not know to move off the heat, or is unable to move off the heat, and often times this is when the damage is caused.  It may not be apparent right away, but will be noticeable a few days later.

Snuggle Bags/Liners - Fleece snuggle bags and fleece liners are okay to have in your cage at all times, however, these are not suitable to use as your primary heat source.  Your hedgehog will not stay warm enough with just the use of these items, as the entire age needs to be the appropriate temperature.  These items will just keep the hedgehog a little more snug, not keep the cage warm.

Sweeter Heater - We have heard a few different things about this heating option.  It is not supposed to have any hot spots and is supposed to develop a uniform heat pattern.  It also uses less power to operate and it is sealed so it you can safely wash it.   It is designed to be hung approximately 12 to 20 inches above whatever area is to be heated. The side mount models can be mounted to a wall or the ceiling of the cage/enclosure.   For more information, visit their website here
Ceramic Heat Emitter or CHE - These are also come highly recommended because they are very simple to use, basically like a light bulb, and they heat very well and are very inexpensive to operate. The CHE screws into a lamp just like a light bulb, but does not produce any light. Keep in mind these are different than heat lamps, that give off both heat and light.  CHE's only give off heat, so when you turn the light off in your hedgehog room for the night, there is no light coming from it.  CHE's heat the air well and are easy and inexpensive to use once they are set up. They are also very reliable. The only bad part with the CHE is the initial cost.  It requires different parts that are all sold individually, and the bulbs burn out just like regular light bulbs do, however they last much longer.  Also keep in mind that you need to purchase a thermostat with a CHE.  This is the only way to regulate the temperature. 

Parts Your Will Need Your CHE:

- The bulb itself will be black or white and color is just personal preference.  The minimum watts should be 100, however 150 are better for larger enclosures. Depending on how large your cage is, you may need more than one bulb.  If this is the case, 2 100 watt bulbs are usually best, however, always ask if you are unsure.

Dome/Lamp - The dome for the bulb should be 8.5 -10 inches. The larger diameter allows for the heat to distribute throughout the enclosure more evenly than the smaller domes.  

Thermostat - This is a MUST if you are going to use a CHE.  This will regulate the temperature.  You set it to what temp you want the cage to be and it will shut on and off like a furnace to regulate the temperature.  Do not think you can get a CHE without a thermostat, as you will have no way to control the temp in it.

Thermometer - As with any enclosure, a digital thermometer is a good idea so you can keep track of the temp inside your hedgehogs cage. There are many different brands on the market, but the digital ones work the best.

There are many places to purchase the above parts for a CHE.  A few of them include Zoo Med Labs, Petsmart, and Petco. We have included a few links below to help you find the items more easily.  Please note that there are more places, and we are not saying one is better than the other.   Do you research to find the best costs for what you are looking for. 

Zoo Med

Zoo Med ReptiTemp 500R Remote Sensor Thermostat -
Zoo Med Ceramic Infrared Heat Emitter 100 Watts -
Zoo Med Ceramic Infrared Heat Emitter 150 Watts -
Zoo Med Deluxe Clamp Lamp with 8.5-Inch Dome -
Zoo Med Deluxe Clamp Lamp with 10-Inch Dome -