Hedgehogs need a constant room temperature. You should be very careful about your hedgie’s needs concerning the temperature. The wrong temperature may endanger your hedgehog’s life. This is exactly why we have made this blog post. In the following paragraphs, we’ll cover all the main aspects of regulating your hedgehog’s temperature to keep them safe.
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Quick answer: what temperature should hedgehogs be kept at?
Hedgehogs should be kept at 73-78° F. Most hedgehog owners keep their pets at 75-77° F. In any case, it’s important that the hedgehog’s room doesn’t go below or higher than the 70s. And this restriction is vital all year round. Any other temperature endangers your hedgehog and is life-threatening.
Why is temperature regulation crucial for hedgehogs?
Temperature regulation is important because hedgehogs need a stable ambient temperature. The hedgehog that you have at home is native to warm climates. At the same time, they keep themselves out of the hot sun as well. This means that they need a mild temperature that isn’t cool or hot.
When the temperature exceeds 78° F, there’s a risk of overheating. But when the temperature drops well under 70° F, your hedgehog could even die as a result of the physiological processes.
That’s why hedgehog owners need to take care of the hedgies’ temperature needs. You need to stabilize the temperature in your room. Consequently, you need to buy a heater or use ways to lower the temperature. The particular approach depends on where you live and what are the typical temperatures in your home.
Temperature regulation is likely to be one of the most crucial aspects of hedgehog ownership. Sometimes fresh owners don’t know about this. Resultingly, there could be sad consequences. Adopt a precautionary mindset and take all the steps to ensure your hedgie’s well-being.
Why are cool temperatures so dangerous?
Hedgehogs that feel the temperature go down can start hibernating. Moreover, it’s not full hibernation. Domesticated hedgehogs attempt to hibernate, but in reality, they can’t do this. And this attempted hibernation is very dangerous for them.
Wild hedgehogs are good at hibernating. They have fat reserves and there’s not much food available during the cold times. Hence, it makes sense for wild European hedgehogs to hibernate.
However, it’s a different story with African Pygmy Hedgehogs. They are smaller and aren’t adapted to face this survival mechanism. That’s why hibernating domestic hedgehogs aren’t doing anything natural for them. Instead, they face a medical emergency.
When the metabolic rate goes down, their immune system takes a hit from this. They are much more likely to get sick, even if you manage to save them from likely death. Yes, hibernation is extremely dangerous for pet hedgehogs. Never let the temperature fall below 70° F in or around the cage.
What is the best way to keep my hedgehog safe from extreme temperatures?
A sudden drop in temperature is a huge hazard for your hedgie. You need to find ways how to keep this drop from happening. When you know that your region experiences sudden cold spells, it’s better to buy all the heating equipment ahead of time.
Buy appropriate heating equipment. Below, we’ll explore various ways how to do this. And if you have the opposite problem, too hot temperatures, then you need to use the HVAC system or cooling devices.
However, you need to be careful with cooling devices. The airflow must not get directed straight at your hedgehog’s cage. When the device wants to keep the temperature at 75° F, it may actually use shorter bursts of very cold air output. When this air directly hits your hedgehog, the consequences can be fatal.
Any sort of temperature regulation equipment needs a lot of attention when you use it. Misuse can have dire consequences. For example, there have been cases of heating lamps burning holes in the furniture.
But don’t worry too much. If you take all the necessary precautions, it’s unlikely that something bad would happen. Preparation is always the key. And temperature regulation for your hedgehog isn’t an exception in this regard.
How to monitor the proper temperature?
Buy a thermometer for your hedgie’s cage. Never reference the temperature on your wall thermostat or any other thermometer that isn’t directly next to the cage. These won’t show accurate readings about the temperature in your hedgehog’s cage.
The best option is a sturdy digital thermometer. Some owners use digital thermometers that have a Bluetooth connection. In this case, you are able to monitor the temperature even when you are away from home. Also, it’s useful to see any fluctuations in the temperature.
How can I regulate the temperature?
There are many ways for temperature regulation. Most of the approaches are based on the use of devices and technology. We’ll look at cold winters and baking summer heatwaves separately.
What to do during a cold winter?
You should use heating pads or space heaters to keep your hedgie nice and warm. Meanwhile, you have to think about emergency heat sources as well. For example, when you lose electricity, your hedgie still needs to be kept warm.
There are hedgehog owners who utilize heat lamps. However, heat lamps aren’t the best option. The devices don’t measure up both in terms of energy efficiency and safety. In fact, heat lamps are the most dangerous when used near plastic cages. All that heat can melt the plastic!
The central heating system may sound like a great idea. But this is only in theory. The reason for this is simple. In terms of energy use, keeping the central heating around 76° F isn’t viable as a long-term option. Doing this results in significant utility bills.
What about electricity outages and similar issues?
Your hedgehog needs a constant, healthy temperature. Outages are especially dangerous because they cause sudden drops in the ambient temperature. Consequently, the best solution is having a backup generator that would produce all the needed electricity.
Of course, this isn’t possible in all homes. When all comes to worst, you can use the power of your personal body heat. Put some layers of breathable clothing between you and your prickly buddy. This is the only option if you don’t have any other heat sources available.
What to do in the hot summertime?
Not all hedgehog owners have proper temperature regulation when things get hot. In this case, you should put a ceramic pot or tile inside the cage. It’s cool enough compared to the surroundings, which means they can use the ceramic object for cooling down.
Did my hedgie suffer a heat stroke?
Heatstroke in hedgehogs isn’t well-documented. Usually, you should be able to see early signs of temperatures that exceed their comfort levels. Your hedgehog could be “splatting”. Their stomach is pushed against the floor while their legs are splayed out. Although, note that this is a sign of relaxation as well.
Your best bet is to follow this rule:
- Splaying and high temperature: not good
- Splaying and normal temperature: all good
What is estivation?
Estivation happens when the weather gets too hot for hedgehogs. It’s not a common occurrence in hedgehogs. Namely, it only happens when the temperature gets unbearable for them and their bodies act to cooling down. Even in the wild, estivation may become dangerous for a hedgehog.
What about estivation in domestic hedgehogs?
Estivation is dangerous for pet hedgehogs. The following signs may indicate estivation:
- Deep, heavy breathing
- Lying with their belly down, clearly too hot
- Panting while tongue sticking out
- Sluggish movements
You need to cool down the temperature immediately. Be warned, though: cooling down too much causes your hedgehog to enter hibernation. And that is life-threatening as well.
So, what to do? Take frozen water bottles and place these over their cage after wrapping them in a towel. You could do the same with ice. Just make sure you don’t drastically lower the temperature.
How can you tell that a hedgehog goes into hibernation?
There are many tell-tale signs that your hedgie enters into a state of hibernation. Although, note that some of these are medical symptoms for unrelated diseases. Always contact the veterinarian if you aren’t sure what is exactly going on.
Here are some typical signs of a hibernation attempt:
- Failure to eat
- Not consuming water
- Not moving its limbs
- Sluggish appearance
- Wobbly when moving around
What are the signs of actual hibernation?
The following symptoms show that your hedgehog might have entered into actual hibernation:
- Cold belly
- Low heart rate
- Shallow or infrequent breathing
Also, they are curled up into a ball. Usually, if your hedgehog rolls into a ball, they will hiss and make noises when you touch or pick them up. This is not the case when they have gone into hibernation. Compared to the usual self, your hedgehog will be almost as if in a coma.
What to do in the case of hibernation?
Immediate medical attention is the key to saving your hedgie’s life. But we do know that it’s not always possible right away.
If you don’t have a chance to immediately take them to a veterinarian, then you have to put your hedgie against your skin. Put your hedgehog under the shirt, then carefully cuddle up under a blanket. Be completely sure that you aren’t cutting out your hedgehog’s ability to breathe and get fresh oxygen.
Preserving the perfect temperature for hedgehogs is vital. The ideal temperature for hedgehogs is 73-78° F. In the wintertime, you can use heating pads and space heaters to keep the proper cage temperature. In summer, you can put ceramic objects in the cage for your hedgie’s use to cool down.
Hibernation is a life-threatening emergency. This happens when the temperature drops too low. Seek immediate medical attention. If impossible, then put the hedgehog under your shirt.