The topic of hedgehog housing can raise many questions, such as, how large does a hedgehog cage need to be? Can you keep a hedgehog in a tank? And does a cage or enclosure need a roof?
In this article, we will review some of the best cages available, before looking at what your hedgehog needs from its habitat – and which types of housing will best meet those needs. We’ll round up with some frequently asked questions and our best pick of the cages we review.
Types Of Hedgehog Cages With Reviews
There are not yet any dedicated hedgehog cages on the market, other than hand made cages like this beauty (available only in the UK), so we must look across species for other animals with similar housing needs. The main types of housing that suit hedgehogs are:
- Single story rabbit and guinea pig cages.
- Single story metal cages sold for rats and ferrets.
- Large size reptile terrariums and fish aquariums.
- 50-gallon plastic tubs.
- DIY and modular cages as sold for guinea pigs.
Single Storey Rabbit And Guinea Pig Cages
These can make excellent homes for hedgehogs so long as you ensure they meet (at the very least) the minimum requirements for size.
Living World Deluxe Habitat XL (Approx. L47” x W23” x W24”)
This easy access cage, which is well-reviewed, has a deep plastic base with a barred metal top section that clips onto it. At just shy of 4×2 feet it’s a good size and the deep base will allow for a generous layer of bedding without it getting tossed out through the bars.
It’s not the cheapest cage but is great value for money. Some of the accessories will have to go (the water bottle and hay rack) but some hedgehogs will enjoy the little sleeping compartment which runs across one end. However, this is removable if you prefer a separate bed.
The main issue with housing a hedgehog in this cage is maintaining temperature. It is so well ventilated that it would be very difficult to keep warm in a cool room, even with two ceramic heat lamps.
This cage also has a wide bar spacing so it may be unsuitable for a baby hedgehog where deep substrate is used, as they could climb up and get their head stuck. However, a short-term card or coroplast bumper covering the lower horizontal bars would get past this problem.
AmazonBasics Pet Habitat Jumbo (L48.6” x W26.6” x H20.6”)
Part of the AmazonBasics range, this cage offers a cheaper alternative to the Living World Deluxe cage. It has a slightly bigger footprint while losing some height, which is well suited to a hedgehog’s needs. However, the base tapers so is not as big as the main body of the cage.
The bars are not coated and will tarnish quickly, but even so, it should last for several years without rusting. The roof is flat with a fully opening door that opens in two sections. The flat roof will make it easier to place your ceramic heat lamps.
With the ramp removed (hedgehogs generally don’t climb well without risking injury), the shelf could allow for a handy place to keep the in-cage electricals. Other than that, you won’t need the accessories.
Bar spacing is wide so a juvenile hog may be able to get their head through. This can be prevented by covering the lowest few wires with a temporary card or coroplast bumper.
Ferplast Maxi Duna Cage, (Approx L39” x W20” x H14.2”)
At less than 5.4 square feet (due to the internal step in the base tray) this is at the small end of our recommendations, but we’ve included it because it could be the answer to your winter blues if you prefer this kind of cage over a terrarium or tub. The enclosed style is much easier to keep warm than a half- barred cage.
The height is borderline sufficient to allow for a freestanding wheel, so you’ll need to check with your wheel supplier that the overall height is less than 14”. You’d also need to consider what you placed on the cage base, under the wheel, as this will decrease the available height.
The clear plastic topper gives great visibility, so you can fully enjoy your hedgehog’s antics, while the top grill provides ventilation and easy access for daily maintenance.
Single Storey Metal Cages Sold For Rats And Ferrets.
These cages are robust and will usually last well for the lifetime of your hedgehog. They feel roomy, but it’s important to remember that the height is only useful to you (and not your hog) for hanging lights and placing electricals.
Midwest Deluxe Critter Nation (L36” x W25” x H38.5”)
The single critter nation gives about 6 square feet of floor space for your hedgehog to enjoy. It’s a robust and well-constructed self-build – which is much easier to do with the help of a friend! As it is an all barred cage it is only suitable for those who are keeping their hedgehog in a warm room all year round.
The shallow base tray means that you will need to add some coroplast or plexiglass bumpers around the edge of the base up to about 6”. Some people prefer to make (or commission) an entire base tray with deep walls. Both options will prevent your hedgehog from climbing and stop the fallout of litter from the cage.
The double opening doors make cleaning and maintenance easy and the base storage area can be useful for food, bedding, etc. The internal shelf makes a perfect area to place your in-cage electrical equipment, and heat lamps can be easily hung from the top grill.
Midwest Deluxe Ferret Nation Double L36″ x W25″ x H38.5″
This is essentially the same cage as the Critter Nation, but the bars are wider apart and primarily vertical. This makes it unsuitable for baby hedgehogs but more suitable for adults as the vertical bars can prevent climbing attempts.
Depending on your personal requirements this may make it a better or worse option. The two cages generally have the same price tag. You could certainly use the Ferret Nation without modification if you are housing an adult hog and you favor fleece pads for flooring.
Otherwise, you would still need to modify it with Correx or plexiglass to prevent the fallout of cage litter through the bars.
Large Size Reptile Terrariums And Fish Aquariums
These tanks are generally made of glass and, at the size required, are extremely heavy. An aquarium only has top access so it can be harder to clean and maintain unless placed at a good working height.
Terrariums have the benefit of sliding front doors, so they can be placed at a good height for watching your hedgehog and for providing care. They come in wood, bamboo or all glass, with ventilation and a grill top, and can be well insulated and great for a colder climate or room.
Price varies with size and it’s tempting to go smaller and cheaper, but this is a longstanding investment – they can last for many years – and we would recommend 4ft x 1.5ft or 3ft x 2ft as a minimum (6 square feet).
REPTI ZOO 67Gallon Reptile Large Terrarium (L48” x W18” x H18”)
We chose this example as it is large, front opening and has plenty of ventilation on the sides as well as the grill top. This is important when considering a tank as a lack of ventilation can contribute to respiratory issues for all animals.
It’s well-reviewed, which is essential in view of the hefty price tag. We like the thoughtful design including the large panel side ventilation and wire entry port.
Large 4 or 5ft aquariums are also available, but do not offer the same features, as all four walls are solid glass – so ventilation relies on the top only. They also tend to come without a lid, so you need to consider how you are going to position heat lamps and other electrical equipment.
Aquariums are around 25% cheaper than terrariums of the same size, but this should be weighed against the advantages of getting front door access, adequate ventilation, etc., in a terrarium.
50-gallon plastic bins
This is about the minimum size that you could keep a hedgehog in, however, you need a 50 gallon-bin without too much height, around 18 inches tall is ideal. More than that and you lose floor space to height. Much less than that and you may start to have problems fitting in a wheel, especially if you use bedding in the base.
Another consideration is the color of the plastic, as many of the largest bins are grey or black. Clear plastic, though opaque, gives better visibility for you and light entry for the hog.
Finally, when buying a bin, you may feel you are getting the cheap cage option, but you will need to modify at least two sides with hardware cloth panels, for both ventilation and visibility. So, by the time you’ve finished an adequately sized tub can be just as expensive as a cheap cage.
However, a tub is a great way to keep a hedgehog warm in colder climates, so long as you can find one with a large enough base size to make a long-term home. Smaller tubs can make excellent transport and hospital cages.
- Cheap to purchase
- Good for maintaining heat in a cooler environment.
- Excellent for short stay use during illness, transportation or holiday care.
- Easy to clean and lightweight to carry.
- Bins lack ventilation and require modification to make them usable.
- Even the largest bins are at the small end of recommended floor space.
DIY and modular cages as sold for guinea pigs
Because hedgehog cages do not require a lid if maintained in a warm environment, the options for DIY cages are many. If you don’t want to actually do it yourself, you can still purchase DIY cages online from sites like C&C Guinea Pig Cages (who service the UK and Europe).
The components for making these modular cages are coroplast, zip ties and some kind of clip together, modular panel system. This could be a pet playpen or modular storage. Look for one with a uniform panel size to make your job easier.
Remember you’ll need enough coroplast to make side panels as well as a floor – essentially a low-sided open-topped box. Then you can just drop it into the low fence you make out of the panels.
You can also use a coroplast box to line any large (at least 3 ft long) storage drawer or similar piece of box-shaped furniture. Just remember – none of these options is suitable if the environmental temperature falls in your hedgehog’s room at night because they have no top.
For the same reason, you will also have to use a stand or frame to hold your heat lamps, and electricals.
Best Small Cage Options For Holidays, Transport And ‘Hospital’ Care
If you have a large cage, tank or a modular floor pen you may want to also keep a small cage to use for holidays, transport to the vet or hospitalization. A small cage is easier to keep at a constant temperature and to restrict movement when a hedgehog needs to convalesce.
A 24” plastic bin (tub) with a grill in the lid is one option for these occasions. But we thought we would also offer a cage option in case you wanted something with more versatility. Any cage can also be insulated to a degree by covering in part with a piece of Sherpa fleece.
Prevue Pet Products 528 Universal (L32 ½’’ x W19’’ x H17 ½’’)
Because the base on this cage tapers to 30 x 16 it only offers 3.3 square feet, so it is too small for continuous use to house a hedgehog. However, it does offer a relatively cheap, good-sized mobile habitat for short term use.
You’d need to get rid of the ramp and then the shelf can be used to hold in-cage electricals. Your heat lamp can easily rest on top.
Hedgehog Cage Buying Advice
How Much Space Does A Hedgehog Need?
Wild hedgehogs are known to cover several miles each night in their search for food. There is no cage big enough to provide for all a hedgehog’s exercise needs, which is why it is important to give your hedgehog a wheel.
However, because hedgehogs do not climb well, it is also important to provide them with adequate floor space. Remember that some of that space will be taken up with your hog’s wheel, feeding station and bed.
There is a general lack of agreement about minimum floor size which varies significantly between countries from 4 square feet to 8 square feet.
Meeting somewhere in the middle we would suggest a habitat that is at least 3-4ft long and at least 18 inches wide. The cage height needs to be tall enough to fit a 12-inch wheel (and frame), so 14 to 16 inches and above. However, bigger is better for most hedgehogs.
Things To Look For In A Hedgehog Cage:
- Adequate floor space (not necessarily the external measurements of the cage).
- A solid and easy to clean floor (not wire).
- Adequate access to handle your hedgehog and reach every part of the cage for cleaning and maintenance.
- Bar spacing – 1 inch may not be adequate to contain a baby hedgehog’s head but is okay for adults. Half an inch is fine throughout life.
- Ventilation – needs to be good but not drafty, especially in a cool or drafty room.
- A place to stand or hang the ceramic heat emitters, and somewhere to put your thermostat, hygrometer, and thermometer, without wires trailing into the hedgehogs living space.
- Prevention of climbing. This can include solid walls, vertical bars or adaptations to cover horizontal bars or mesh, plus removal of any ramps.
- Enough space and height for a 12” wheel.
- Protection from other household pets and young children.
Questions To Ask Yourself About Each Cage Option
- How will I clean out this cage? Can I reach every corner from the available access?
- Do I need a cage that is easy to move and carry?
- At what height do I need to place this cage for optimal use? Does this fit with my available space?
- Can I easily get the wheel out to clean it?
- How warm is my hedgehog’s room on a cold night? Is my hedgehog going to be able to stay warm in this cage overnight?
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some brief answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about hedgehog housing.
What size cage do I need for my pygmy hedgehog?
Minimum floor space recommendations vary from 4 to 8 square feet. We recommend at least 6 to 8 for most hedgehogs.
Does bar spacing matter?
Yes, because a small or young hedgehog could get stuck or injure themselves by pushing their head through wide bars. 1 inch is thought to be the maximum spacing for adult hedgehogs, but half-inch is better for youngsters or smaller hedgehogs.
If you need a cage for the full lifetime of your hedgehog look for half-inch bars or, alternatively, a solid-walled option. Another way around this problem is to cover the lower bars with coroplast or plexiglass.
Does my hedgehog’s cage need a roof or lid?
No, it doesn’t, providing:
- the walls are at least 12 inches tall;
- there are no low exposed horizontal bars or items of cage furniture that your hedgehog can climb to get out.
- there is no risk to your hedgehog from other pets or unsupervised attention from young children.
- you still have a set up to monitor the temperature inside the cage and warm the cage as needed.
- you provide a hedgehog house, bed or cover within the cage in case your hedgehog wants to hide.
Can hedgehogs climb out of cages?
In theory, yes, though they are not particularly skillful climbers and can injure themselves. So, you do need to make adaptations to prevent your hedgehog from climbing ramps and cage bars.
Do hedgehogs need multi-level cages?
Because of the dangers posed by climbing, hedgehogs do not generally do well in multi-level cages unless they are specifically designed so that all ramps and levels have raised edges. To keep them safe and free from injury single-story cages are recommended.
What equipment and cage furniture do hedgehogs need in a cage?
- A cage floor covering or substrate, such as Aspen, Hemp, paper pulp bedding or fleece pads.
- A litter tray with pelleted paper litter.
- A hideaway, sleeping area with a sleep sack or bedding material like soft hay or shredded paper
- A wheel that’s at least 12 inches in diameter with at least a 5-inch walkway.
- A feeding station with a heavy water bowl, food bowl and foraging material (like soft hay).
- At least one ceramic heat emitter that does not emit light.
- An in-cage thermometer (to measure temperature), hygrometer (to measure humidity) and a thermostat to switch the lamp on and off as needed.
- Other items of interest such as small balls and natural items like stones, cones, willow sticks, and moss to dig about and forage amongst.
To Wind Up – Our Best Picks For Hedgehog Housing
Before we go, we’d like to leave you with our overall favorite options for hedgehog homes.
Firstly, we love the REPTI ZOO 67Gallon Reptile Large Terrarium as an excellent habitat for a hedgehog. The terrarium style allows you to easily create a micro-habitat that’s warm and humid regardless of the external temperature. It also has great access and ventilation.
If you’re put off by the price or don’t want a tank, then our best of the rest is the Midwest Deluxe Critter Nation, as it’s robust, powder-coated metal, with small bar spacing and is wider than the other cages so offers a full 6 square feet while only being 3 feet long.
We like the internal shelf to hold electricals, the barred roof to hang heat lamps, and the under-cage storage. We’d add a coroplast or plexiglass 6-inch base tray to hold litter and prevent climbing!