Heating and ClimateHedgehogs need a very stable temperature compared to other pets. Not only must it not fluctuate it generally needs to be higher than "room temperature". Many sales people whether a breeder or a pet store clerk will tell the soon to be hedgie owner "room temperature is fine". This is NOT TRUE. While some hedgehogs will be fine at 72 degrees Fahrenheit most need to be warmer. The rule of thumb is a constant 74*F to 78*F. A hedgie attempting hibernation can be fatal and it can occur as low as 72*F. Also getting your quilled one too hot is bad as well. When a hedgie gets too hot they will splat out on a cool surface. If it continues the hedgehog may stick it's tongue out panting. When a hedgehog is too hot the behavior they exhibit is called aestivation. They will become sluggish and move very little trying to keep cool. Some hedgies will attempt aestivation as low as 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
So to ensure that your hedgie remains comfortable it is best to keep the environment they are in between 74*F - 78*F to start until you see how your hedgie will tolerate temperatures. Some do well a couple of degrees colder and some can stand a couple higher.
Heating and AgeAs a hedgehog gets older it may need a warmer climate to prevent hibernation attempts. If you find your hedgehog has attempted hibernation even with the temperature remaining at a constant 74*F you should increase the temperature to 76*F or 78*F, as even two degrees can make a huge difference to them.
Space HeatersA portable room heater such as oil filled radiators, ceramic heat fans, electric heat fans etc.
It must be thermostatically controlled or will run full blast and get the room too hot. These can be purchased at stores from Wal-Mart? to Lowe's to hardware stores. The drawback is they heat the entire room and maybe you have other pets or humans who don't like the temperature that high.
Heating PadA human electric heating pad placed under HALF of the cage or bin so if the hedgie becomes too warm they can move to an unheated spot. You must make sure the heating pad DOES NOT have a TIMED automatic shut off. Some have a emergency fuse or circuit breaker to prevent fire and that is fine. You must also keep the heating pad on the OUTSIDE of the cage in case of urine or water shorting out the circuit and electrocuting your hedgie.
Heat EmitterCeramic heat emitter are sold at most pet stores for reptiles. YOU MUST have a thermostatic heat controller or the ceramic heat emitter will be on full blast and cook your hedgie. You must also use a ceramic socket for the fixture, cheap plastic sockets are dangerous and a fire hazard. You will pay a little more for a ceramic fixture at the pet store but it is safer. Most emitters come in 60/100/150/250 watt sizes. The recommended size is the 150 watt emitter unless you have a huge cage or the normal room temperature is below 68 F. You must also be careful when using a emitter in plastic bins. The fixture is metal and gets pretty warm so you don't want the emitter or fixture touching any plastic.
Snuggle Safe DiskThese microwavable disks that can be found in most pet stores offer twelve hours of warmth. They are perfect for cooler nights, or to place daily in a hedgehogs hidey home. These disks should be wrapped in a cover or towel prior to use to prevent low heat burns. If using a towel, make sure there are no large loops for feet to get stuck, or any loose wrapping.
Warm Water BottleFor short trips a human water bottle can be used. Fill it half full with warm water (not scalding) and wrap it in a blanket. It will hold heat for 2-3 hours, and will keep your hedgie warm on a trip to the vet.
Reptile RocksReptile heating rocks can cause low heat burns to a hedgehog who wants to sit on the warm surface. The burning can be minor or sever, but they should not be used.
Power Outage HeatingThe main concern in a power outage is keeping your hedgehog warm.
Be prepared. Put an emergency bin together ahead of time so if a power outage happens you are not scrambling trying to find things to use.
CoolingThe best way to cool your hedgie in case of an emergency during the summer when your air conditioner conks out is to have some blue ice packs frozen and place one on top of your hedgies cage. If no blue ice packs are available a bowl filled with ice will work too. You will need to carefully monitor the cage temp and this should only be used in extreme heat.
Heating ConcernsHeat rises and by convection heats the air as well as anything the heat source touches. Keep this in mind when deciding on the best heating solution for your hedgie.
You never want anything creating a draft in the hedgie's cage hot or cold. So fans must not point at the cage.
Regardless of what type of heating system you choose you should have a decent digital thermometer in your hedgie's cage or bin to monitor the temperature.
With a little thought and research you will be able to choose the best heating system for you and your hedgehog.
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