All animals need to keep life interesting. In this regard, there’s not a big difference between people and hedgehogs. Both crave for stimulating activities and changes in their environment. And in easier terms, we simply need the stuff to be fun. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at what hedgehogs might consider being fun activities. Knowing about this helps you to be a better hedgehog owner.
What do hedgehogs do for fun?
In the following list, you can see the things that we could consider as fun for hedgehogs. We agree that we are stretching the word ‘fun’ here. But we have a good reason for that. As an owner, you are able to make most of these activities more fun for the hedgehog. Plus, since we are talking about hedgies in captivity, there’s a chance that many naturally occurring activities become more enjoyable for hedgehogs. There’s no survival stress and sudden dangers.
- Sleeping in the daytime
What’s the fun part of each activity?
Let’s take a more in-depth look into each separate activity. We’ll describe what the activities look like, what’s the fun part, and whether you can make these parts of the day more fun and engage for your hedgie.
Bonding could be fun for your hedgehog. While hedgehogs don’t form partnerships nor make friends in the wild, most owners agree that they form some sort of a connection with their hedgehog. The particular level of enjoyability depends on the hedgehog. Not all hedgies feel that bonding is fun. But for those who do, it’s an ideal activity to organize on a regular basis.
Bonding is fun for your hedgehog when it’s on their terms. In other words, you shouldn’t insist on doing activities or exercises that clearly make them feel uncomfortable. Since they don’t have good eyesight, it’s better to use bonding methods that rely on scent and sound. Yes, your hedgie’s sense of smell is spectacular! That’s why it’s smart not to suddenly use any new perfumes or scents. This confuses your hedgehog.
Some hedgehogs love the sound of the radio or some gentle music. Playing some tunes relaxes your hedgehog, making them more open for playtime or other activities. If you want to use scent bonding, then wear the same shirt for a number of days. After doing this, put the shirt partly over your hedgie’s cage. This way, they’ll start to get more used to your smell. In turn, you’ll enjoy a lot more fun time together because your hedgehog trusts you more than ever.
Wait a minute. Eating!? But yes, it’s completely true. Eating is definitely a fun activity for any hedgehog. If you don’t believe us, then watch a hedgehog eat her favorite foods. Actually, they love to eat so much that it may become a problem. When your hedgehog eats too much, they will grow obese and develop health issues. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on their food intake.
Eating is a big part of their life. In the wild, eating must be one of the more fun activities for hedgehogs as well. But the feeling is different. When they live in captivity, there’s no constant pressure based on survival. That’s why eating some food becomes a more fun activity. As hedgehogs feel it’s not only about survival, they can start to enjoy the food more just for the sake of it.
In order to keep eating fun for your hedgehog, support their diet by giving the food they need. Of course, there’s no doubt that snacks are extra fun. Too many snacks and the fun stops instantly! Give them plenty of poultry-based food and avoid all the forbidden food. You are able to find comprehensive lists of foods that aren’t good for hedgies. For example, never give chocolate, potatoes, or tomatoes to your spiky buddy.
Hedgehogs have a strong need to explore their surroundings. Even if they are pets, this instinct doesn’t go anywhere. That’s why it’s a good idea to designate a few safe areas where your hedgehog could freely roam around. But exploring doesn’t only have to be something that’s carried out on foot. Hedgies love to explore new smells, textures, and sounds.
When you try to give them an immersive experience, should always think about their safety. Let’s say that you want them to feel a new texture that could activate their sense of exploration and wonder. If that texture belongs to a fabric that has tiny pieces of thread sticking out, it could become dangerous as your hedgie’s tiny feet can get stuck.
Another thing to factor in when allowing them to explore is keeping the temperature constant. As experienced hedgehog owners know, it’s important to keep the temperature from shifting too much. Otherwise, your hedgie might fall into a dangerous coma-like state. When you keep the exploration safe, your hedgehog is going to have a great time!
Hedgehogs’ popularity in homes rises continuously. More owners come up with creative ways to play with their hedgies. We’ll list some of the most common ones that you could try out today.
- Obstacle course. This one is very easy, yet oh-so-fun. Place numerous items on the floor. Let your hedgehog poke the stuff around. You can make it a maze as well. In this case, they have to push stuff out of the way.
- Explore safe, but novel objects. One viral video shows a hedgehog walking on piano keys. If you know how to make such objects safe for your hedgie, it’s a really fun way to play some games.
- Ball games. Take a small ball and place it on the floor. It shouldn’t be bigger than your hedgie. When your prickly family member takes an interest, you’ll see them poke the ball around.
- Run laps. Create a safe running lap on the floor for your hedgehog. They will have a lot of fun running around. Just don’t forget that they might poo at the same time. Keep some tissues close to the track!
An exercise wheel is a must-have in any hedgehog cage. Every night, hedgehogs cover a lot of miles for their small size. Well, at least in the wild. But even as a pet, hedgehogs still need to keep active. Otherwise, they could fall into the depths of obesity. Even if they eat fine. Running is definitely a fun activity for all hedgehogs. That’s why you should invest in a nice exercise wheel.
If you want to buy a great exercise wheel, then steer clear of any wheels meant for smaller animals. There are cases of owners buying wheels that hedgies could get stuck in. Research for exercise wheels that are good for hedgehogs. Also, this means making sure that the wheel doesn’t contain any parts potentially harmful to your hedgie.
Sleeping in the daytime
Sleeping is fun! It’s a nice activity to get you ready for another day. Wait a minute… or a night? Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals. They are active during the nighttime and spend their days asleep. Keep sleep fun for your hedgehogs by not waking them up during the daytime. Of course, there are moments when you really need to prepare them for a rude awakening. That said, you are better off giving them time to escape the groggy feeling following a sudden wake-up.
Hey! Most of these things are for survival, not fun.
More or less. But you need to think about it in the wider context. Take people, for example. We do many things for fun that could also be labeled as just survival. We can make a delicious dinner with friends, drink some wine, and bond with the people close to us. Someone could argue that all of these choices connect to survival, at least in the broad sense.
We eat dinner because food is important for life sustenance. We drink the wine as it gives us extra calories for energy needs. Bond with friends? Well, because more people around us leads to a safer life. Well, this could be a bit cynical as well. That’s why it isn’t fair to paint the hedgies’ lives with these same strokes. In reality, they could have a lot of fun eating their favorite food or playing with a ball.
How different are wild hedgehogs in terms of seeking fun?
The fun factor is definitely higher in pets. When you look at the wild hedgehogs, then a big part of their daily life is about struggle. But we are sure that at least the exploration part still feels fun for them. It’s fun because the exploration engages all the senses and broadens the stored knowledge in their brains. Also, we could say that eating new foods might be fun for them. There are new sensations, tastes, and smells involved in this experience.
So, what do hedgehogs do for fun?
Eating, exploring, running, and playing are probably the most fun activities for hedgehogs. That’s just an educated guess. We are yet to hear the final verdict from an actual hedgehog. If you want to keep your hedgie’s life fun, then give him enough variety in the possible activities. Exploring new places is fun, but you need to ensure safety as well. No amount of joy is worth putting your hedgehog into any sort of risk.