Essential Things To Know About Caring For Your APH
An African Pygmy Hedgehog is quite an easy pet to care for IF you get the essentials right.
They need to be housed correctly and that means in a cage without bars that are easily accessible by the hog, or in a vivarium. Cages must not have bars around the sides as they like to climb but are clumsy and do fall which might cause them to break limbs etc. A standard vivarium can be used but will need to have additional air vents put in as there is insufficient air flow for an APH without this adaptation the minimum size required to cater for the hedgehogs needs are 36 x 18 inches.
There are many things on the market that can be used as a substrate for your hogs housing, however, wood shavings are not one of them. Apart from possibly being a contributing factor to upper respiratory problems it can also got lodged into places where it shouldn't be. I use a mixture of fleece liners and puppy pads.
An APH need to be kept at warm temperatures continuously, a minimum of 20 degrees Celsius must be maintained, unlike our European hedgehogs, African Pygmy Hedgehogs do not hibernate and must not be allowed to as this is fatal to them. If you find your APH sluggish, wobbly and with a cold tummy it is a certain sign of a hibernation attempt your hog needs warming up immediately but slowly, using your own body heat is the most effective way. Once a hibernation has been attempted your hog is more likely to try it again. If your hog show no improvement using the above method then it is essential that you get them to a vets immediately. Under no circumstances should you put them into a warm bath as although this will initially warm them as the water cools on their skin it will further reduce their body temperature.
The main diet of an APH consists of dry cat biscuits of a meat flavour NOT fish, as there have been recorded incidents of some hogs having a severe reaction to the fish based ones and since we have no idea which hogs are likely to have a reaction it is advised to avoid. They are insectivorous so live insects should be offered regularly and are an important part of their diet.
It is necessary to trim your hogs nails on occasion and they need to be routinely checked, a well socialised hog should allow you to check and trim nails without many problems.
The main item a hedgehog needs to be provided with is a large wheel which needs to be 12" a hog can run for miles each night. It must not be given to a hoglet until they are 12 weeks due to fact that their bones are still growing and are still soft. If you have a large hoglet then it may be give slightly earlier at 10 weeks. It is recommended that the hog has an upright wheel rather than a flying saucer as it provides a more natural running position.
Other toys can include cat balls, no gaps, toilet/kitchen roll tubes slit down the middle to prevent the hogs getting stuck, soft toys, stacking cups cotton reels. Do not use any toys with catnip due to the hallucinogenic properties of catnip.
As with all pets they require interaction on a daily basis otherwise you will end up with a grumpy hog who will eventually become un-handleable.