Pet hedgehogs are very unique little pets but they have similar basic care requirements to that of a guinea pig or rat. When it comes to setting up an enclosure for your hedgehog, you'll realize that you have a lot of bedding options to choose from and some are more appropriate for a hedgehog than others. This list is not all-encompassing but it does cover a pretty large variety of commonly seen pet bedding options to help you make an informed decision for your hedgehog.
Paper Bedding Options for Hedgehogs
- CareFresh Ultra by Healthy Pet - This bedding is great for hedgehogs for a number of reasons. Not only is it soft and absorbent but it is also made from recycled paper and isn't dusty. Plus, for those who enjoy a little color, this bedding comes in a variety of fun colors. Hedgehogs love to curl up and snuggle in this soft bedding in their cages but there is a downside to it. Since this bedding is so soft and lightweight, it tends to get stuck in the spines of a hedgehog, especially if it is wet from a bath.
- Paper Shavings Animal Bedding by Applegate Insulation - This is a very soft, absorbent, and cost-effective bedding for a hedgehog. It is packed into blocks and expands into an enormous amount of bedding that you can spread generously into your hedgehog's house. It is lightweight so it can be kicked around easily and is made from recycled paper directories and other publishing company materials. Like other paper beddings, it too may get stuck between hedgehog spines.
- Clean & Cozy by Kaytee - The Clean & Cozy paper bedding product is similar to CareFresh Ultra but slightly cheaper, less absorbent, lighter, and softer. Depending on what you want from bedding you may or may not prefer it to some of its competitor products. There are also several other companies that have a similar paper bedding product to what Kaytee offers.
- Cell-Sorb Plus by Estes' Co. - This is a compacted paper bedding material that expands when it becomes wet. It is very absorbent but not very soft. Some pet stores and owners like this bedding because it isn't as lightweight as the fluffy, soft paper bedding options.
- Fresh World Bedding by SunSeed - A soft, fluffy bedding that contains baking soda to help control odors, Fresh World is made from recycled newspapers.
Wood Bedding Options for Hedgehogs
- Kaytee Soft Granule Blend: Small little pellets are characteristic of this wood fiber bedding. They are very absorbent and softer than other wood options.
- Aspen shavings: Aspen is a fine wood shaving. Many owners enjoy the absorbency and aroma it offers in addition to how inexpensive it is. The downsides to aspen are most notably the dustiness and the fact that it seems to stick to everything, such as your hedgehog's blankets. If you need cheap bedding in a pinch, choose aspen over the other wood shaving options.
- Pine shavings: This is a classic small pet bedding but is not good for most small pets. The wood shavings aren't very absorbent and there is some discussion that the pine oils can cause health problems in your hedgehog and even cut up their tiny, delicate feet. It is best to just avoid this wood product altogether.
Just say no to cedar shavings. Yes, they are cheap and found everywhere but they are also toxic to your hedgehog because they cause respiratory and allergic problems as well as potential liver changes. Cedar used to be popular due to the natural aroma it gave off but there are now much safer options available to pet owners. Stay away from cedar bedding!
Fabric Bedding Options for Hedgehogs
Many hedgehog owners purchase fabrics like fleece, pillowcases, or towels to use in their enclosures since they like to hide. Not only will fabrics absorb liquids but they can be washed and reused and come in practically any color or pattern you want. Fabric pieces are also very popular to help you handle your hedgehog since they provide some protection from the prickly spines.
Corn Cob Bedding
This bedding will absorb liquids and is inexpensive but it doesn't do much for odor, isn't as soft as some other options, and has to be monitored for mold growth. It isn't recommended for hedgehog houses.
Endless bedding options will continue to be manufactured but you'll find the best option for you and your hedgehog by trying out a few of them. Decide what is most important to you. Is it cost, absorbency, odor, or availability that you care about most? Then try out a few similar products but don't forget to see what your hedgehog prefers. It will be the one spending more time on it than you!
Management of Hedgehogs. Merck Veterinary Manual.
How to care for your pet hedgehog. University of Florida Health Science Center, 2020