Hedgehogs are relatively low-maintenance compared to other small pets. Supplies can also be inexpensive, depending on how fancy you want to get! They can be housed alone, but many prefer to have playmates to keep them active and amused when their human friend is not available. We house our hedgehogs in same-gender groups when not breeding. Strange males (or even females) may fight when first introduced, but in our experience, males can do fine in group housing, especially when raised together.
The main care difference between a hedgehog and other small pets is that hedgehogs need to be kept warm. If their environment is below 72 degrees F or so, they can become lethargic and attempt to hibernate, which can lead to death. Small heaters for hermit crabs or light-less heat bulbs can be used to keep them warm in cold weather. The room we keep the hedgehogs in has a space heater that keeps the room between 75-80 degrees Farenheit.
Hedgies need a home that has more horizontal space rather than vertical. Commercially-available cages with wire sides are common but care must be taken that your hedgehog does not attempt to climb and injure itself. Solid-sided enclosures are recommended for this reason. Aquariums can be used, but many are designed tall and narrow, which is more suitable for fish-viewing than hedgehog-keeping. Many hedgehog enthusiasts use clear plastic storage tubs, which are available easily and cheaply. Tubs should either be too tall for the hedgehog to climb out of, or have a secure-fitting lid (which must be ventilated to provide adequate air circulation). We cut holes in the bins we use, so a wheel can be sturdily attached.
This is an example of a storage tub setup, with a shelter, running wheel, food dish, and water bottle. The floor of the bin is covered with a pine-pellet cat litter for easy clean-up, and several round kitty toys are available for the hedgie to play with. Make sure wheels have solid floors to avoid pinching toes or quills, and that toys are non-toxic and chew-resistant.
There are commercially-available hedgehog-specific diets, but quality can vary. Many people feed their hedgies dry cat or kitten food, which is more commonly available, and has the added benefit of helping keep the teeth healthy. Some folks supplement the diet with insects, canned cat food, fruits, vegetables and other treats, as wild hedgehogs are omnivorous. We use Purina Pro Plan, which was recommended to us by a large-scale breeder who has found her hedgehogs live longest on this diet.
We send a detailed care booklet home with each of our babies, but feel free to e-mail us with questions: