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Our African Pygmy hedgehogs have a much different day night cycle when compared to their native species. Our hedgehogs day/night cycle is off by almost 6 hours. While a major one time change like this to a hedgehogs day/night cycle does not directly affect it, as it will adjust to its new location, the new forces of gravity it is feeling with lunar cycles, as well as catching up on sleep lost or gained. However constantly changing a hedgehogs day/night cycle can have disastrous consequences such as insomnia, increased risk of cancer, and many other adverse health effects.

Controlling the Day/Night Cycle

The easiest way to control the day/night cycle for our hedgehogs is to use artificial light. Some prefer full spectrum lights, while some prefer UVA lights, or UVB, and others will use a normal white light bulb.

Hedgehog Lighting Needs

A hedgehog needs between 12 and 16 hours of light a day. Some will accomplish this by putting a lamp on a Christmas light automatic switch that will turn on and off at certain times. During the off season these automatic switches cost roughly $15 CAN, $5.00 USD.
The light should be provided on a constant schedule. It should always turn on at the same time, and turn off at the same time to accommodate the natural lighting of their home habitat. Because of this schedule most opt to use the timer for lighting.

Some people believe hedgehogs need UVA and UVB light like humans, but this has neither been proved or denied. It is all personal preference and comes down to your personal opinion.

Hedgehogs and Light

Even though hedgehogs do not actually see the light while they are in their burrow/hidey home, they do indeed need the reminder that "hey, it is day out, i don't like it." Hedgehogs are crepuscular and will be most active right after you turn the light off, and right in the morning before you turn it on.

Some believe that tides actually tell a hedgehog the day night cycle, while others believe the actual darkness shows them it is night. It is common that hedgehogs are skittish when the light is on, and will only be active at night and this pulls more people to trust the latter.

Some people use a red bulb at night to help them see their pet. While some hedgehogs don't seem to mind the red light and will go on like it isn't there, other hedgehogs will be able to detect the red light to different degrees and act accordingly. So if you want to use a red light at night you will just have to experiment with your hedgehog to see how the hedgehog reacts to the red light.

Some hedgehogs will be active only in complete darkness while other will come out and play in the light. This is all dependent on the hedgehog and how it was raised and its personality. It is up to you to cater to your hedgehogs specific lifestyle.

Effects of Improper Day/Night cycle

If a hedgehog has a very unstable day/night cycle it can lead to skittishness, hibernation attempts, increased risk of illness as well as an increased risk of cancer (as said by some studies).

Changing a Hedgehogs Day/Night cycle

There was a very good discussion on changing a hedgehogs Day/Night cycle on the old Hedgehog Central forums as found here:
Hedgehog Central Forum Archives - Switchin a hedgehogs day/night cycle (external link)


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Forum Topics

Hedgehog Central Forum Archives - Switchin a hedgehogs day/night cycle (external link)

Created by: azyrios Last Modification: Monday 20 of April, 2009 05:55:08 EDT by Reaper

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