Care of a domesticated African pygmy involves offering the best bedding possible. Mainly because hedgehogs are temperature affected, if it gets too cold for them they hibernate and could eventually die, or they could get allergic reactions from the wrong type of bedding. This is why getting the best bedding is vital.
Even though the hedgehog is a wild animal, they don’t thrive in all types of bedding. The best include shredded paper, wood, and fiber shavings from pine and aspen, newspaper, and recycled materials. Avoid cedar at all costs, corn cobs, dusty shaving. Hay due to the possibility of mites and lice, leaves, and garden soil.
If you want to learn more about what’s good and what’s not for your hedgehog’s bedding, read further as we explain all these considerations in detail.
What to Consider When Looking for Hedgehogs Bedding
To start off, let’s discuss the factors you should consider when buying bedding for your hedgie.
Safety of Materials
Even as a wild animal, a hedgehog does just sleep on any type of bedding. There are safe and unsafe materials that can be used as bedding. Unsafe materials have infestations of mites and lice like in hay, fungus, mold, and allergy triggers some shavings from cedar.
Before any purchase even at the store, check to ensure the bedding will be safe to use for your pet. Aspen shavings are the most preferred and safest bedding material.
Hedgehogs urinate and even poop anywhere and at any time, with no exception to their bedding. Therefore, select bedding with high absorbency that will hold the urine and even reduce any stench from the waste. Furthermore, it’s vital to note that you may not get a foolproof bed material, which means just go for something that will keep the uppermost layer dry.
Pine shavings have the best holding capacity amongst other materials; however, they have high levels of abietic acid that can be harmful to the pet in the long run. Therefore, settle for kiln-dried pine shavings.
Size, Scent, and Color
As you will learn shortly, there are mainly three types of bedding; wood shavings type of bedding, fabric bedding, and paper-based, which has shredded papers, recycled and eco-friendly paper residue, and newspapers. These have an old grey and boring color with a strong paper scent.
You can also choose a fabric like cotton which has a soft and smooth texture, comes in multiple colors, and has no scent. Lastly, there are wood and fiber shavings that range from light to dark brown colors and have a roast scent. These three ideas should be put into consideration as well.
Avoid bleached or dyed bedding to protect the health of your hedgie. Also, look for something that aligns with the size of your hedgies cage. If its really big, the most affordable thing to do is get a large-sized fabric bedding.
Dust has allergens that could adversely affect the health of your pet. Therefore, only select the kind of bedding that is dust free and may not cause the hedgie any form of irritation. Fabric and paper products are the best choices since they have little to no dust particles.
Comfortability and Ease of Use
Your hedgie’s comfort should also be one of your priorities. Are they sleeping well? Can they burrow in the night to offer them the right warmth, is the environment and bedding in general comfortable to lay on? Select a bedding type that soft and comforting.
Under the ease of use, consider how you will dispose, clean, and wash the bedding after the hedgie has used it. Select a fabric that will be easy to clean by hand and machine, doesn’t cling on stains, and doesn’t need harsh chemicals to get rid of dirt. Other types of bedding should be easy to dispose of, biodegradable, so it doesn’t affect the environment.
Materials to Look for and Those to Avoid
Aspen shavings, kiln-dried pine, and recycled paper make the best bedding for the hedgehog. They aren’t expensive nor poisonous to the hedgie.
- Aspen shavings are fine wood shavings from the aspen tree. They have high absorbency and a sweet aroma. Furthermore, they are inexpensive, and most preferred for wood shavings. However, they are dusty and tend to stick to everything.
- Pine shavings are classic bedding for multiple pets. Unfortunately, they aren’t as absorbent as aspen wood shavings and some tree shavings can cause your pet health issues.
Excellent materials can also include fabric, corn corb, and recycled papers.
Materials to Avoid
The number one type of bedding/ shavings to avoid is cedar. Even just the scent is toxic to animals and may cause allergic reactions. Cedar shavings are cheap, naturally available, and has a natural aroma as well. But it can easily cause your pet damage to the liver and other respiratory complications. Cedar shavings have also been linked to cancer.
Other materials you should stay away from is anything that has phenols. These cause body irritation attributed to the high levels of plicatic or abietic acid. These acids are easily found in certain types of wood and tend to destroy cells in the lungs and trachea. You wouldn’t want that for your hedgie.
Be wary of these materials as well;
- Garden soil
DIY Hedgehog Bedding
If you’re not looking to spend on store-bought bedding, here’s a simply DIY bedding idea you can use.
- The material of your choice – newspaper, shredded papers, shredded cardboard, fleece, plain paper, towels, other fabrics.
- A piece of cardboard, carton, or box.
- Box cutter
- Start with assembling the items above depending on your preferences or what you have available.
- Take your piece of cardboard and cut to fit the base of the cage using the box cutter.
- Measure to fit the cage.
- If you chose shredded papers, plain papers, or the newspaper, line it onto the base of the cardboard.
- Spread it evenly and thickly to ensure it will enough for the hedgie to burrow into.
- As for the towel, cut into size as you did in step two.
- Line the cage again with the fabric. You can add two or more layers.
Creating DIY bedding is that simple. If you’re looking for something inexpensive, this is the way to go.
The Best Bedding You Can Buy
The best bedding should be comfortable, clean, have no allergens, and suitable for the pet hedgehog. To start off with this section, we look at the types of bedding available in the market, then a quick review of some of the best options.
Types of Bedding for Hedgehogs
There are five types of bedding we shall go over this section.
#1 Fabric Bedding
The first choice has to be fabric. Soft and gentle to lie on, holds up liquids, dust-free, comfortable, and cost-effective. One of the best bedding options because you can clean it up anytime, wash, and reuse. Besides, you don’t have to deal with shavings in which you’re unsure about their safety.
Choosing a fabric bedding is convenient because you can machine wash as you would with bedsheets. They are cozy and offer the most comfort out of all the other choices.
#2 Soft Shavings
Shavings are a very prevalent type of bedding. Either wood shavings or fibers as soft hence can provide a comfortable place for your hedgehog to relax. What’s more, they are biodegradable and easily disposable. Lastly, soft shavings are an excellent pick when it comes to controlling odor. They are better than fabric.
However, shavings too can have dust which can affect the respiratory health of your hedgie. Another downside is this type of bedding necessitates regular changes otherwise you will have mite infestations among other pests and parasites.
Next up is pellets. Yet another good option for using as a cage liner. They have high absorbency for odor and scents, so it’s great for young hedgies who can’t hold it in for long. The biggest issue with pellets is the tendency to stick in between the quills of the hedgehog. Otherwise, they are a great bedding choice.
#4 Hemp bedding
Hemp is an unusual choice of bedding as its rare hence expensive. However, they have much better absorbency than even normal fabrics. The bedding remains dry for longer plus, the product has the advantage of being all-natural / eco friendly. They are biodegradable and have a compostable nature. Additionally, it’s pathogen-free free so you don’t have to worry about allergic reactions.
#5 Newspaper Bedding
Mostly used for DIY, newspaper bedding is the most inexpensive choice there is. Paper shavings that are easy to acquire, recycle, and reuse. You only have to worry about toxic ink which may or may not affect your pet hedgehog. Also, the newspaper will have a scent, combined with the other scent, the outcome isn’t great.
Paper Bedding Options for Hedgehogs
CareFresh Ultraby Healthy Pet
The perfect bedding choice for your hedgehog. It’s soft, highly absorbent, dust-free, and eco friendly from being made out of recycled paper. The CareFresh Ultraby Healthy Pet Bedding comes in a variety of colors so you will be spoilt for choice. Unfortunately, the bedding is very light in weight hence often gets stuck in the hedgehog’s quills especially if it’s wet.
Paper Shavings Animal Bedding by Applegate Insulation
Next up is paper shavings by Applegate Insulation who also have a very soft, absorbent, lightweight, and cost-friendly bedding. It comes packed in blocks that can be spread generously into one huge amount of bedding. Also being a paper bedding, it has the disadvantage of getting stuck in between the spikes of a hedgehog.
Clean & Cozy by Kaytee
Clean & Cozy is quite similar to the Carefresh Ultraby bedding except for its way cheaper and more refined in terms of softness and feel. For its absorbency, it’s a little on the low side compared to other companies but you can always change it more often. Otherwise, its a good choice for those who may be tight on cash and need a hasty solution.
Cell-Sorb Plus by Estes’ Co.
Lastly, the Cell-Sorb plus by Estes is more complex than the other paper bedding. When it fills with liquid it expands rather than dissipate as a paper would. This means it’s very high in absorbency. It’s also very light so it can be used in the summer. However, it’s not as soft as the former options above.
Wood Bedding Options for Hedgehogs
Kaytee Soft Granule Blend
The Kaytee Soft Granule Bedding has small pellets filled with wood fiber that offers a touch of softness and absorbency. This specific product comes highly recommended for being high in quality and very affordable.
Furthermore, the bedding is dust-free and known to hold up to three times as much liquid as paper bedding and most of its competitor’s bedding. This soft bedding is very easy to clean and doesn’t need constant checking for mold or mites. For odor control, it’s proven to counter any bad scents.
Small Pet Select Aspen Bedding
For great bedding made with aspen shavings, go for the Small Pet Select. They offer a range of bedding choices including this one. It’s natural hence, no chemicals or additives. It also doesn’t contain any harmful oils or extracts that could harm your hedgie.
For the downsides, this aspen bedding isn’t dust-free. It actually has a very high level of dust which isn’t something ideal for your hedgie considering respiratory problems. Moreover, the package is rather bulky and can expand a little bit too much. This obviously means more cleanup for you to do, especially after an active night of playing and burrowing.
Complete Pet Bedding By CareFresh
The last soft shavings bedding is also from CareFresh. They have really focused on safety with this type of bedding. In that, it’s natural, biodegradable, compostable, and safe for your hedgehog’s health. What’s more, the package offers great benefits from high absorbency, a tamed smell from within the cage, softness, and even cost efficiency.
For such a good package, the major downside is dust. It’s not a major concern but it is something to be wary about.
Fabric Bedding Options for Hedgehogs
The easiest bedding option is fabric. Simply purchase fabrics like fleeces, towels, pillowcases, or small blankets. They are the best for temperature control because hedgehogs can easily burrow in them. What’s more, they can absorb liquids and are soft and smooth. However, cleaning them and keeping them scent-free can be difficult.
Corn Cob Bedding
Last, but not least, a corn cob bedding that’s inexpensive and easily absorbs liquids. However, the bedding doesn’t hold off on the odor and isn’t soft. Moreover, you have to constantly monitor for growth of mold.
This bedding will absorb liquids and is inexpensive but it doesn’t do much for odor, isn’t as soft as some other options, and has to be monitored for mold growth. It isn’t recommended for hedgehog houses.
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