Toys are an essential addition to most small pets’ lives. They can relieve boredom and provide mental stimulation when you’re not around to play, and they can be excellent interactive toys that help develop a bond between the two of you.
Hedgehogs benefit from having a good variety of toys in their cage, but because they remain an unusual pet, it is difficult to find toys designed specifically for hedgies. You can improvise some toys using cardboard tubes and boxes, but these can become damaged quickly while commercially bought toys should last longer.
Below are some of the best hedgehog toys to keep your hedgie busy and entertained, whether you are looking for something you can play with together or something for your hedgehog’s cage when you’re not around.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Oxbow Enriched Life Tumble ‘n Toss||
|Best Value||Turbo Lattice Ball Toy||
|Premium Choice||Exotic Nutrition Small Animal Exercise Wheel||
|Ware Fun Tunnel Play Tube Small Animal Toy||
|Earthtone Solutions Felted Wool Ball Toys||
The 10 Best Toys for Hedgehogs
1. Oxbow Enriched Life Tumble ‘n Toss Toy – Best Overall
|Toy Type:||Foraging Ball|
|Materials:||Cardboard, Corn Leaves|
Hedgehogs are foraging animals. In the wild, they forage through hedgerows and bushes looking for insects and other food. With a foraging toy and some suitable treats, it is possible to partially meet your hedgie’s foraging instincts.
The Oxbow Enriched Life Tumble ‘n Toss Small Pet Toy is a great combination of a foraging toy and a ball. It is made from pet-safe materials including a cardboard ball outer. Although it isn’t a perfect sphere, the ball is easily pushed, and the flat edges ensure that it doesn’t just roll away uncontrollably. Inside the ball are strips of natural material that can be accessed through the holes that are placed around the ball. You can also place treats inside, encouraging foraging from your little one. The toy is inexpensive and while Hedgehogs are capable of chewing cardboard, they aren’t destructive pets, and they don’t need to wear their teeth down like rats and other rodents so the foraging ball should last some time.
The price, simplicity, and foraging appeal of the Oxbow Enriched Life Tumble ‘n Toss Small Pet Toy makes it the best available toy for Hedgehogs, but it is only made of cardboard and while your Hedgehog might not chew through the cardboard, it is very easily damaged so it may need replacing often.
2. Turbo Lattice Ball Toy – Best Value
Hedgehogs can be fun little pets and some really enjoy playing with balls as well as other small animal toys. The Turbo Lattice Ball Cat Toy is actually a pack of four balls designed for cats but that is equally enjoyable for hedgies.
The ball has a lattice design which means that it twists and turns rather than rolling in a straight line, making it more unpredictable and providing more fun. There are bells inside each ball which raises enjoyment and intrigue. The balls are really cheap, you get four in the pack, and because hedgehogs don’t generally chew and destroy their toys, the plastic material should be perfectly safe, and the bell won’t come out of the center.
The Turbo Lattice Ball Cat Toy is inexpensive and fun, and it is the best toy for hedgehogs for the money. However, while your Hedgehog is unlikely to chew through the plastic, the balls are easily broken, which means that the bells can come loose. If you do notice the ball break, you should remove it to prevent injury, and try to locate the bell to prevent it from being swallowed.
3. Exotic Nutrition Small Exercise Wheel – Premium Choice
An exercise wheel not only provides entertainment for your Hedgehog but also gives them exercise and helps keep them fit and healthy. One can be placed in their cage, as long as you can fit it through the opening and there is enough internal space.
The Exotic Nutrition Silent Runner Small Animal Exercise Wheel is a plastic wheel that comes with its own stand. The wheel itself is silent and its design means that it doesn’t have the central axle that limits the space inside other exercise wheel designs. You will need to ensure you buy the wide model, so your hedgehog fits inside easily, and while the wheel itself is silent, it is also expensive and it tends to wobble and vibrate to the edge of the cage and then rattles against the cage while being used. So, it does still make noise, although it isn’t the squeaking noise that wheels tend to emit.
A wheel is a good idea for your hedgehog cage, and this is better than most thanks to its quieter operation.
4. Ware Fun Tunnel Play Tube Small Animal Toy
In the wild, hedgehogs live in burrows, and they are at home in dark holes. A play tunnel is reminiscent of this kind of environment, and it allows your hedgie to crawl and hide.
The Ware Fun Tunnel Play Tube Small Animal Toy is a large tunnel toy, which means it shouldn’t restrict or catch their spines as they move through the tunnel. It is also a concertina design, and it can be spread out to 2.5 feet wide. When it’s not in use, it can be folded right back down again so it takes up minimal room in storage. The concertina style also means that the tube can be folded and shaped to add a little variety and excitement to your hedgie’s hiding.
It is a little on the expensive side and made from plastic, although the non-toxic plastic is resistant to stains, and it won’t collect odors. But it should last and because it is made from a hard material it won’t snag spines and won’t lead to your hedgie getting stuck.
5. Earthtone Solutions Felted Wool Ball Toys
The Earthtone Solutions Felted Wool Ball Cat Toys are a pack of five felted balls, which have been handmade in Nepal. They are roughly the size of golf balls and because they are made from wool and felt, they are soft and easy to roll around. The materials can also be hand washed and dried, without causing damage, which means you can keep them looking and smelling fresh and clean.
Although they are a little pricey for balls, they are a more premium option compared to plastic balls. They’re also quite durable and you won’t snap or break them if you accidentally stand on one.
6. Sungrow Natural Teeth Grinding Small Pet Chew Treat Balls
|Materials:||Grass, Hay, Plant Material|
Rodents’ teeth grow continuously, which means that they need to chew on certain types of toys so their teeth grind down and keep at a healthy length. Hedgehogs are not rodents, and their teeth don’t continue to grow, which means they don’t really need these grinding toys.
However, Sungrow Natural Teeth Grinding Small Pet Chew Treat Balls still make good toys for your spined friend. They are made from grass, hay, and natural plant material so if your hedgie does like to gnaw, it’s safe to do so. The pack includes five of the balls and because hedgehogs don’t gnaw and grind their teeth as heavily as guinea pigs and rats, the balls will likely last a while. They are more expensive than plastic balls but they’re also a healthier alternative that is more difficult to destroy.
7. Sungrow Natural Grass Chew Mat
|Toy Type:||Foraging Mat|
|Materials:||Grass, Hay, Plant Material|
While hedgehogs don’t need to chew to grind their teeth down, they do enjoy foraging because it mimics their natural behavior, specifically how they would find insects and other foods. A foraging mat can prove an ideal way to provide foraging opportunities. Place some bits of food or hedgie treats inside the mat and watch as they try to dig everything out to get to the food.
This chew mat is reasonably priced and made from natural materials, which means it won’t be toxic for hedgehogs. Hedgehogs don’t eat grass or hay as part of their diet, however, so the mat itself should be relatively safe from being eaten. The mat is a little flimsy so your hedgehog may manage to destroy it as it roots around for food, so it will need replacing in the future.
8. Wheeky Pets Small Pet Wheeky Toy
|Toy Type:||Foraging Ball|
Another way of encouraging foraging behavior from your hedgehog is with a foraging ball. Some hedgehogs love nothing more than to push a ball around and chase it, and if you add in some foraging materials like dry food or treat flakes and pellets, it only serves to further enhance the experience. Hedgehogs eat fresh fruit and vegetables, so you can also slice up some of their favorites and pop them in the ball. As the ball gets pushed around, the food will move and get your hedgehog’s attention, and they will start to chew the food through the gaps.
The Wheeky Pets Small Pet Wheeky Toy encourages exercise and foraging, and it can be a good toy for playtime with you, as well as for leaving in the cage. You can adjust the size of the opening according to the treats inside or to make it more or less challenging. But it can be difficult to get the size of treats and the puzzle opening slots right, meaning that it either ends up being too difficult or too easy.
9. Hartz Just for Cats Bizzy Balls Toy
You might not be able to train your hedgehog to play fetch, but many do enjoy pushing a ball around and chasing it. You can further encourage this kind of behavior by choosing a ball that makes a noise as it rolls. The Hartz Just for Cats Bizzy Balls Cat Toy is a pack of four lightweight plastic balls that have bells inside.
The balls are inexpensive, and they tend to be appealing to playful hedgehogs, but the plastic is thin which means that it is easily broken so you will have to keep an eye out to retrieve the balls.
10. Oxbow Enriched Life Garden Forage Puzzle
The Oxbow Enriched Life Garden Forage Puzzle Small Animal Toy is a foraging puzzle toy made using natural materials that can provide fun and foraging for your hedgehog. It has a garden theme and allows for the placement of food and treats within any of the vegetable-shaped cutouts. The whole thing is made from cardboard and is safe for hedgehogs. It is quite expensive, however, and the design means that it isn’t really a foraging puzzle and more a collection of cute-themed bowls that you can put food in.
Although the cardboard is easily destroyed by bigger animals, it should last when used by Hedgies.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Pick the Best Toy for a Hedgehog
Hedgehogs can make fun and unusual pets. They aren’t particularly cuddly, but they are fun to watch as they sniff and snort their way around. They can also be quite social if they are handled regularly from a young age. They are, of course, renowned for rolling into a ball when frightened or startled, but as long as you’re gentle, this shouldn’t be a problem. They don’t tend to bite people, although it can happen, and those spines are sharp. They can break the skin and they may even cause a rash on the skin.
While these little mammals are relatively low-maintenance pets, they do need to be given appropriate living conditions and a suitable habitat to thrive. This includes making sure that a Hedgehog has suitable opportunities to exercise and gets proper mental stimulation.
Hedgehogs in the Wild
Hedgehogs are found across Europe as well as the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. They are mammals and there are known to be 17 different species of hedgehog in the world. They typically live in woodlands and will often be found in gardens, parks, and other green areas. They forage for insects, typically in hedgerows and bushes, but they may also eat carrion, which is a dead animal, and they will sometimes eat fallen fruit.
A single hedgehog can roam up to 1.5 miles in a night and they aren’t territorial, which means they won’t fight one another if they come across other hedgehogs. These nocturnal animals sleep in burrows or holes and because they sleep during the day, they prefer very dark spots in which to sleep.
Hedgehogs as Pets
Keeping a hedgehog as a pet means trying to replicate as many of these factors as possible so that the hedgehog is comfortable, happy, and healthy. Commercial hedgehog food is now available, but many owners still feed cat food supplemented with insects like mealworms and roaches, as well as some fresh fruit and vegetables. Prone to obesity, hedgehogs need to be monitored and you will have to limit the amount of food, as well as the types of treats, you give your hog each day.
Depending on the type and species of hedgehog, you will need to provide a cage at least 2 x 3 feet, or a tank with a minimum 30-gallon capacity. The hedgehog will need bedding and should be provided with hides and a dark sleeping area.
It is also beneficial to provide items that offer enrichment to your hogs. This can include items like kitchen and toilet roll holders, cut down the middle. You can also put a small cardboard box in the cage. Alternatively, you can provide toys.
It is difficult to find toys specifically made for hedgehogs because they are still unusual pets and there aren’t too many people that own them. But you can buy some cat toys and some toys that are designed for small pets, as well as offering household items.
Do Hedgehogs Have Fleas?
Wild hedgehogs are well known for having fleas. These are species-specific fleas and do not live long on other animals, including cats and dogs. What’s more, most pet hedgehogs are captive bred and because they never come into contact with wild hedgehogs, they will rarely get fleas.
Do Hedgehogs Like to Be Handled?
Hedgehogs can make surprisingly social pets. These mammals, which are known for curling into a ball at the first sign of trouble, will take to handling, but it will take time and patience and you will need to handle your hog every day if you want it to relish being picked up.
Do Hedgehog Spines Hurt?
Spines are a hedgehog’s only defense. They will curl in a ball, forcing the spines to elongate, deterring all but the foolhardiest attacker. Unfortunately, if you startle or scare a pet hedgehog, it will deploy this same defense mechanism, and you may end up with a handful of hedgehog spines. The spines are sharp, and they can break the skin and draw blood. Alternatively. They may leave a rash on your skin.
You can avoid this with gentle and careful handling and making sure your hedgehog knows whenever you are approaching.
Hedgehogs can make good pets. With regular practice, they can take to careful handling, and they are fun to watch, although hedgehogs are nocturnal which means that you should expect to enjoy the best times with your hog in the evenings. As well as ensuring your hedgie has enough room in its enclosure and providing a good daily diet, you should also offer toys as a means of physical exercise and enrichment.
Above are reviews of 10 of the best toys for hedgehogs including the Oxbow Enriched Life Tumble ‘n Toss Small Pet Toy, which is a reasonably priced toy that combines the benefits of a toy ball and a foraging toy. Alternatively, if you want an affordable and basic toy, the Turbo Lattice Ball Cat Toy is really cheap and its design means that the unpredictable movement of the balls will keep your hedgie on its toes.
Featured Image Credit: Best dog photo, Shutterstock