Pygmy Hedgehog Setup- Essential Items For African Pygmy Hedgehogs

Pygmy hedgehogs are petite and cute creatures gaining popularity as pets in the USA. They make you a great companion because of their quiet, active, and entertaining nature. However, these delicate pets need proper care, effort, and a safe environment to spend a happy and healthy time with you. A great pygmy hedgehog setup is extremely important as they need a place where they can thrive and above all feel safe and be safe.

The best pygmy hedgehog setup offers the essential items needed to look after and maintain a safe environment for your hedgehog. In this article, we will explore more about the perfect pygmy hedgehog setup. Let’s look in detail at the essential items (including their housing, bedding, heating, and many more) a pygmy hedgie needs in their home environment.

Top 10 Essentials For The Perfect Pygmy Hedgehog Setup

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What Are the Best Pygmy Hedgehog Cages or Enclosures?

Your hedgehog spends most of its time in the cage which is ultimately its home. Therefore, a suitable cage or enclosure is extremely vital for its well-being. They need as large a home as possible to roam around freely. The recommended minimum size for an adult hedgehog’s cage is 4 ft x 2 ft (120cm x 60cm).  Though bigger is always better. Moreover, they are great at escaping, so the home should be very secure.

Various enclosures can be used for pygmy hedgehog housing. Probably the large plastic cages (Zoo Zone 2 enclosure) and vivariums are the best options to make good homes for your pet. The only difference between the two is the heating options. You can’t use a heat lamp (Ceramic Heat Emitter) in the plastic cage as it will melt the plastic and has a fire risk, so go for a heat mat instead.

Ideally, you should opt for a level pygmy hedgehog’s home. However, if you want to provide a multilevel house to your hedgie, make sure it has shallow and flat steps such as slides. So that, your hedgehog doesn’t fall off and hurt itself. Here is the link to Vivarium, we recommend:

1. REPTI ZOO 10 Gallon Reptile Natural Cages Terrarium for Reptile Hedgehog Small Animals

  • The 360-degree design offers the best viewing for your animal
  • Convenient “lift and pull” sliding screen top with a specially designed feeding hole
  • Waterproof and transparent PVC tray at the bottom
  • Maintains correct heat gradient more safely
Buy on Amazon

Where Should I Put My Pet Pygmy Hedgehog’s Cage?

It is important to know the safest location for cage placement in your house. If you don’t place it in the right place, it can lead to many health issues.

Pygmy hedgehog pets feel the most comfortable at around 22.2ºC to 26.6ºC. Anything cooler can cause hibernation and serious health problems. Conversely, anything warmer leads to anxiety and heat stress.

with that said, you should place the cage away from the following:

  • Direct sunlight
  • Windows
  • Air conditioners
  • Drafts
  • Heaters

Moreover, the hedgehog has sensitive hearing and loud noise can make them anxious, afraid, and stressed. So, avoid placing its cage in loud areas such as:

  • Above/Below TV or stereo
  • Kids playing
  • Any loud noises

Finally, a hedgehog home should experience daylight as it is important for its health.

What To Put in A Pygmy Hedgehog Cage/House?

After selecting the right home and place for your new spiky pet, it’s time to discover items to put in a hedgehog enclosure.

Your pygmy hedgehog setup should consist of the following items:

  • A heat lamp or heat mat
  • Heat lamp holder
  • Bulb guard
  • Thermometer
  • Thermostat
  • Bedding or substrate
  • Nest box or hide
  • Toys
  • Exercise wheel
  • Food and water bowl
  • Litter tray
REPTI ZOO 10 Gallon Reptile Tank Glass Natural Cages Terrarium 20

African Pygmy Hedgehog Heating

Hedgehogs originate from a warmer climate and need a reliable heat source in colder months. They can hibernate if they get too cold. Cold temperatures are also fatal for the African pygmy hedgehog’s lifespan.

What Temperature Do Pygmy Hedgehogs Need?

It is crucial to maintain a temperature between 21°C to 25°C inside the hedgehog’s enclosure. The temperature should not rise above 28 °C (82.4°F) and drop below 18°C (64.4°F).

Cold temperatures cause them to hibernate which can trigger severe health issues including infection, dehydration, organ failure, and even death.

Do Hedgehogs Need A Heat Lamp?

As you know, pygmy hedgehogs are sensitive to cold. A heat lamp or a CHE (Ceramic heat emitter) is an effective way to keep your pet’s house warm. However, you should not use it with a plastic cage as it will melt it and end up catching fire.

Moreover, consider a heat emitter that provides only heat and should not provide any light. Here is the link to the one we recommend:


2. OMAYKEY 100W Ceramic Heat Lamp with 1-pcs Digital-Thermometer

  • Offers perfect heat radiation
  • No light emitted
  • 24-hour heat source with 100% efficiency
  • 5 out of 5-star Amazon rating (2800+ reviews!)

Note: You also need a lamp holder and a guard along with a heat lamp to ensure the safety of your pygmy hedgie.

OMAYKEY 100W 2 Pack Ceramic Heat Lamp with 1-pcs Digital-Thermometer, Infrared Reptile Heat Emitter Heater Lamp Bulbs for Pet Brooder Coop Chicken Lizard Snake Aquarium, No Light No Harm (ETL Listed)

Heat Lamp Holder

You need a lamp holder to firmly hold the lamp in place. Otherwise, the lamp may fall and cause serious injury to your hedgehog. It should be suitable for the wattage of your lamp. Check our recommendation below:

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3. REPTI ZOO Reptile Clip Clamp Lamp Fixture 360

  • Fully adjustable 360 degrees rotation
  • Conveniently clamped and hung
  • Ensure high security
REPTI ZOO Reptile Clip Clamp Lamp Fixture 360-degree Reptile Light Fixture Rotating Adjustable Lamp Holde Fixture for Habitat Lighting & Heat Lamp

Heat Bulb Guard

A heat lamp guard is vital to secure your surroundings and pet from burns. Generally, the heat lamp is mounted on the top of the cage or can be suspended from the cage ceiling. A guard placed around the heat lamp minimizes the risk of injury and accidents. Here is our recommendation:

Buy on Amazon

4. Vipe Heater Guard

  • Easy installation, just clip and go
  • Protect your pet from high-temperature lamp surface
Vipe Heater Guard, Reptile Heating Lamp Shade Light Heat Lamp Mesh Cover

Is The Heating Mat Safe For Hedgehogs?

If your pet is living in a plastic cage, a heat lamp would be a fire risk. Therefore, use a heat mat or a heating pad to provide a snug place for your hedgehog. We recommend using a Snuggle Safe heating pad for instant and long-lasting warmth.

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5. Pet Heating Pad by Snuggle Safe

  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Provide instant, long-lasting, safe, and soothing warmth
  • Toxic-free, wireless, and bite resistant
Buy on Amazon

How To Set Up A Temperature For Your Pygmy Hedgehog Pet?

Pygmy hedgehogs need constant temperature all the time. Therefore, you need a thermometer and thermostat in a pygmy hedgehog Setup to maintain the constant temperature inside its enclosure.

Pet Heating Pad by Snuggle Safe, Pet Microwaveable Heat Pad, Safe Pet Bed Warmer

Cage Thermometer

A thermometer should be placed inside the cage (but out of the reach of your pet) to monitor the temperature and make sure it remains constant.

Thermostat Control

A thermostat helps to automatically control and regulate the temperature inside your hedgehog’s house. It releases enough energy to effectively maintain the required heat level. Here is the link to one we recommend:


6. Inkbird Digital Temperature Controller Thermostat

  • Control temperature remotely using Wi-Fi technology
  • Plug-n-play, easy-to-use design
  • High/low-temperature alarms
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What Is The Best Bedding For My Hedgehog Enclosure?

Bedding is also an important part of the pygmy hedgehog setup. Your hedgehog feels secure when sleeping on suitable bedding. Always buy dust-free or low-dust bedding and foraging substrate from a trusted brand for your hedgehog. Moreover, ensure that the bedding is mite-free before giving it to your spiky pet.

The best bedding options for your hedgehog include:

  • Cardboard pellets and shredded paper
  • Natural products like Cell Sorb Plus
  • Recycled paper or pelleted newspaper
  • Fluffy bedding made of pulp
  • Kitchen paper or a fleece liner
  • Fabric pieces (especially made from fleece or Vellux)

Best Foraging Substrate For Your Pet

Best foraging substrate options are the same as you would use for their bedding. The best options are cardboard pellets and shredded paper (which should be dust-free).

Toxic Bedding And Substrate For Pygmy Hedgehogs

Pygmy hedgehogs have sensitive skin and dust can irritate their skin and eyes. Moreover, some wood can be toxic for hedgehogs.

You should avoid the following types of bedding/substrate as they can cause irritation, infections, injury, liver problems, and other health issues:

  • Cedar shaving or chip bedding
  • Hay or straw-type
  • Wood shavings
  • Corn cob shavings
  • Pine shavings
  • Sawdust
  • Towels as bedding
  • Any fabric with small loops and holes

African Pygmy Hedgehog Playpens

A playpen provides a source of extra enrichment to your hedgehog. You can move it to a playpen while cleaning her cage.

You can put floor coverings, a hide, and some toys and whatever your hedgie like in the playpen. A hedgehog will probably poop and pee a lot, so floor covering protect the carpet. However, the covering should be changed regularly.

As we mentioned earlier, hedgehogs are good at escaping and if there is a way out, they will be likely to find it. So, make sure that they can’t escape by lifting metal wire with their nose or by squeezing through it (hedgies can do this!).

Ruff 'n Ruffus Portable Foldable Pet Playpen + Free Carrying Case + Free Travel Bowl | Available in 3 Sizes Indoor/Outdoor Water-Resistant Removable Shade Cover

Hedgehog Hides And Igloos

Your hedgehog needs a few comfortable places to hide in, feel safe and secure, and sleep during the day. These places provide them with time to relax and chill out. They can become upset and stop eating if don’t have access to these places.

You can use a small box, PVC tubes, or ceramic flower pots to make some hideaways for them. However, it should be non-toxic and your hedgie can easily get in and out. Moreover, you can provide hiding bags made from Vellux for enjoyment. Additionally, you can buy wooden nest boxes, igloos, and artificial logs. Here is the link to one we recommend:


7. TRIXIE Plastic My Sweet Home

  • Safe retreat for resting and hiding
  • Improve the living environment and provide extra fun
  • Offers pleasant sleep and privacy to your pet
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What Are Good Toys For An African Pygmy Hedgehog Pet?

Hedgehogs love to explore so giving them toys, tunnels, hideaways, and tubes will keep your little friend happy and busy. Toys can not only enhance happiness and entertainment for your pet’s daily routine. But also, a great way to help with their mental and physical health. Toys keep their mind active and make a big difference in their lives.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money to keep them entertained. The following is a list of toys that are suitable for your African pygmy hedgehogs:

  • Ping-pong balls, small rubber balls
  • Toilet roll or a kitchen paper roll (It’s recommended to cut the roll so your hedgehog does not get its head stuck in it)
  • Tubes, PVC pipes, tunnels, ramps, ledges, etc.
  • Most toys are for young children (good choice for hedgehogs) and even toy cars (hedgies like to push them around).
  • Solid plastic toys and chew toys

Make sure that all toys are safe, with no cracks and detachable parts before placing them in your pygmy hedgehog’s enclosure.

You should avoid the following:

  • Toys with loose and small parts
  • Toys with sharp edges or anything else that can cause injury
  • cheap toys having paints or other coated surfaces (might be toxic!).

Remember that, never overcrowd the cage’s floor with too many accessories and toys as they need enough room to move around.

What Is The Best Exercise Wheel For Hedgehogs?

African pygmy hedgehogs get plenty of exercise in the wild, they run between 3 to 5 miles daily. Therefore, a large exercise wheel (preferably around 30 or 12 inches in size) is an essential part of the pygmy hedgehog setup for your spiky pet to get active. Otherwise, your hedgie becomes obese or even depressed. An exercise wheel is vital for their happiness and health and allows them to run to their heart’s content.

Silent Runner 12

The following recommendation helps you pick the right exercise wheel for your hedgehog:

  • It should be made of solid material (wood or plastic) with a solid bottom and without any wires and mesh.
  • Avoid exercise wheels made from wire or mesh type as your hedgie can get stuck or catch his feet and hurt itself.
  • Avoid wheels with frame supports on either side as your little friend could get stuck in the frame.
  • It should be wide enough for your hedgehog to run comfortably (may slip off otherwise).
  • It is not mandatory but try to get a see-through wheel for an improved experience.

If you are a DIY expert, you can make your wheel using a bucket. We recommend using the Kaytee Comfort Wheel to prevent them from obesity, maintain their body condition, and provide them with social enrichment.

8. Kaytee Comfort Wheel Giant 12 Inches

  • A “Tail-safe” design encourages healthy exercise
  • Two-way attachment clip (either free-standing or clipped to a wire cage)
  • Safe and solid running surface
  • Available in variant colors and sizes
  • 3 out of 5-star Amazon rating (more than 2100 reviews!)
Buy on Amazon

Food and Water Bowl

Food and water bowls are of utmost importance in a pygmy hedgehog setup. Make sure your pet is fed regularly and has easy access to water and food to fulfill African pygmy hedgehog diet needs.

with that said, consider the following characteristics while buying water and food bowl:

  • The bowl should be made of heavy material to prevent spilling
  • It should not be too deep as it can be a hazard to your pet
  • The bowl must be free from dangerous toxins and heavy metals
  • Finally, it is recommended to use two food bowls in the pygmy hedgehog setup (one for dry food and the other for moist food)

Here is the link to the one we recommend:

9. Ethical 3-inch Stoneware Small Animal Dish

  • The heavyweight design prevents movement and spillage
  • High gloss finish
  • Can’t be chewed
  • Work great for both food and water

Litter Tray

A litter tray or pan in a pygmy hedgehog setup is especially vital if you want to minimize the bad smell. You should teach your hedgehog the use of a litter pan. Be patient, they might take some time to learn this behavior, or they might not use it at all. Unfortunately, only a few hedgehogs learn to use the litter tray but it’s worth a try.

Ethical 3-Inch Stoneware Small Animal Dish

Consider the following factors while buying a litter pan

  • It is suggested to get a corner-shaped litter tray
  • It should have a low front (it prevents any tripping)

Hedgehogs poop and pee a lot when they are using their exercise wheel. It is a great idea to put the exercise wheel in your litter tray. We recommend using:

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10. Kaytee Hi-Corner Litter Pan

  • Design to prevent messes
  • built-in hooks make cage attachment easy
  • Stain and odor-resistant and easy-to-clean
Buy on Amazon


Q: Can hedgehogs get too hot?

Yes!! they can get too hot, and this is a bit like heat strokes in humans.  This is known as aestivation where the hedgehogs lie on their belly with their legs out and need to be cooled down.

Q: Why is my hedgehog not using the wheel?

This happened because of several reasons:

  1. They don’t like the size, tilt, or style of the wheel, they do not use their wheel.
  2. If you are in the room, they can be put off.
  • The room is not dark enough, it can stop them from running on it.
  1. Any light at all even the faintest light put them off.

Q: When do you clean out a hedgehog house?

Pygmy hedgehogs are not smelly animals but proper cleaning of the cage is essential for pygmy hedgehog care and health and to avoid bad smells. It is recommended to thoroughly clean the pygmy hedgehog setup (its house, toys, wheel, bedding, etc.) once a week and do spot cleaning more regularly or every day.

Q: Can hedgehogs see infrared lights?

Yes!! hedgehogs can see infrared lights and this light can put them off from coming out at night.

Q: Can two Pygmy hedgehogs live together?

A qualified NO!!! African pygmies are solitary animals, and they don’t prefer the company of others. They like their own company. So never try to keep them together as this can lead to fights.

Q: Do pygmy hedgehogs need lightening?

Yes, they do!! The pygmy hedgehog or four-toed hedgehog is the smallest species of hedgehog and is related to the Algerian hedgehog (know more about The Background and Lifestyle of Hedgehogs as Pets). If they don’t receive enough light, they will attempt to hibernate.

You don’t need to invest in something fancy to meet this need. Natural daylight is enough for pygmies. The ideal amount of lighting for your spiky friend is 12 hours of light during the daytime and 12 hours of dark nighttime.

The Bottomline

A hedgehog spends most of its time in its home. It is important to do a proper Pygmy Hedgehog Setup for the cage so your spiky friend feels secure and happy. We hope this guide helps you to select all essential items for your tiny friend that provide it with enrichment and limit their chances of going obese.