The 5 Best Toys for Hedgehogs
In recent years, African pygmy hedgehogs (Atelerix albiventris) have become popular as pets, despite their illegal status in some regions. Due to its biological complexity, knowing the needs of this mammal is essential to give it a happy life. Hedgehog toys play an essential role in this task.
When hedgehogs are in captivity, they’re very prone to obesity. So, apart from a diet low in fat and high in protein, it’s also necessary for them to be active and have something to amuse themselves with. Here are 5 ideas for toys for hedgehogs and everything you need to know before choosing the right toy.
The importance of toys for hedgehogs
People who live with hedgehogs can be amazed at how adventurous they can be. Although some are quite calm, most are very energetic and curious mammals, according to experts at the Hedgehog World portal.
Because of this, you need to play with your hedgehog regularly, but it’s also essential for it to have toys for when you’re busy or away from home. So says the Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic. Exercise and stimulation are very important in the lives of these little animals.
Hedgehogs are usually quite solitary beings that are easily stressed. They’ll often prefer to play alone before interacting with the tutor. You have to respect their space.
Before choosing toys, keep the following points in mind
It’s essential that the toys are safe, comfortable, easy to transport and, above all, stimulating. Before getting a toy for the hedgehog, consider the following indications:
- Safety is the most important factor to consider, as anything sharp or detachable can hurt your hedgehog. Objects with dangling strings will injure their legs if they get caught, and cedar chips – or any splinters with oil from wood – can cause harmful reactions.
- Another important factor in choosing the perfect object is color, as hedgehogs love brightly colored toys.
- It’s essential that the hedgehogs can easily move the objects in their cage – especially at night – or around the house, as they like very much to interact and modify their environment.
Hedgehog toy ideas
Finding toys for hedgehogs can be a bit tricky. Although in recent years they have become very popular as pets, these mammals are still considered rare and in some regions it’s illegal to own one.
Fortunately, hedgehogs are very curious animals and they play with a wide variety of toys, so you can buy them in stores or make them with your own hands. The fundamental thing is that the object is safe, appropriate, and that it provides the animal with an enriching experience. We leave you a few ideas:
- Exercise wheels or discs: Your hedgehog will enjoy running on its wheel and getting a little exercise, but make sure the wheel is made of solid material and not cables, as these can hurt their legs. In addition, it should be noted that not everyone gets used to these toys.
- Mazes: Hedgehogs love mazes and you can easily make them with PVC or cardboard, but be careful that the size is large enough to prevent the animal from getting stuck. In addition, you can make the mazes much more fun if you hide treats for hedgehogs in them.
- Tunnels. These give pets a dark space where they can hide, helping them to be stress-free. Plus, it encourages them to exercise and explore.
- Toy dump trucks. Some hedgehogs love dump trucks because they can push them around and even ride them.
- Candy balls. These are balls that have a small opening where you can place treats suitable for the animal. While the ball rolls, the treats are left out, and so your hedgehog will receive a prize for its curiosity and physical activity.
In addition to these options, some toys designed for cats may work for hedgehogs, such as plastic balls with bells inside – hedgehogs love to push and roll them – or small, catnip-free stuffed animals.
You can also make homemade toys out of tissue boxes and other small cardboard containers. Dakota Hills Veterinary Clinic recommends removing any plastic they may have before letting your hedgehog play with them, as these animals tend to nibble on any surface that catches their attention.
Finally, it should be noted that there are other options for toys, which you can think of by observing what your hedgehog likes. Anything that it can chew, shove around, or get into is a good game. The important thing is to confirm that these objects are safe and give many hours of fun to the animal.
As you can see, hedgehogs need abundant environmental enrichment to be healthy. They’re very active and curious mammals, so the lack of stimuli could cause them stress and depression. Don’t deprive your hedgehog of fun, as this can lead to long-term physiological failure.It might interest you...