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Home > Hedgehogs > Do Hedgehogs Need a Heat Lamp? What You Need to Know!

Do Hedgehogs Need a Heat Lamp? What You Need to Know!

a close up of a hedgehog on litter

Hedgehogs generally need to be kept warmer than room temperature. Therefore, they often need a heat lamp or some other device to keep them warm. Because your pet will rely on this device to stay healthy, it is vital that you purchase the right product.

If you don’t keep your hedgehog warm, they may try to hibernate. While this may not sound like a huge problem, hedgehog hibernation is often deadly. While they can hibernate, they simply aren’t very good at it.

Therefore, we recommend keeping them in a room that tends to be a bit warmer (a room with a serious draft would be a no-no). However, you should also have a heat lamp over their cage to ensure that it is at the correct temperature. Both of these methods together will ensure a healthy hedgehog.

Simply put, yes, your hedgehog will probably need a heating lamp. But there are other methods for keeping them warm, as well.

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Heating Products for Hedgehogs

If you’re looking to keep your hedgehog warm, you probably want to purchase a heating lamp. This method is the most straightforward option. There are many different heating lamps out there, so you’ll likely be able to find the right lamp for your needs. Be sure to check the directions on the lamp and bulb you purchase, as they will determine how high you need to place the lamp over the cage.

You should also purchase a thermometer to monitor the temperature—don’t just trust the lamp to do its job.

Alternatively, you can also invest in a heating pad, which also helps keep your hedgehog warm. However, be cautious with these products, as they can also cause burns and unevenly heat the cage. Still, if you use them correctly, they can be a great option for most hedgehogs.

Heating pads are simply a bit more challenging to use than a heating lamp.

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How Can I Keep My Hedgehog Warm Without a Heat Lamp?

hedgehog in a towel
Image Credit: Spela Pogacar, Shutterstock

If you can’t use a heating lamp for one reason or another, you can utilize a heating pad instead. These can be placed underneath the cage and keep the cage warm so that your hedgehog doesn’t get too cold. However, they are more prone to creating hotspots and can cause burns in extreme situations. If you go with a heating pad, you need to ensure that it is a solid product.

For situations where the power has gone out, you can use hand warmers that have been activated and stuffed into a sock. The sock ensures that the hedgehog won’t bite through the hand warmers, which can be potentially toxic. Arrange these socks in a few different places throughout the enclosure for a few hours of heat.

You can also hold your hedgehog against your skin, as you are typically warm enough. You may also be able to use hot water to fill up water bottles before your hot water tank cools off.

What Temperature is Too Cold for a Hedgehog?

All hedgehogs should be kept at around 75 °F to 85 °F. However, your hedgehog can tolerate temperatures of about five degrees on either side of this range for a short period of time. Generally, hedgehogs are better at handling heat than they are the cold.

If they get too cold, they will start to hibernate, which can potentially be fatal. Also, sudden temperature changes can be very troublesome for a hedgehog and you should be cautious about warming them up or cooling them down too fast.

Hedgehogs will sometimes hibernate when the temperature is too hot as well, so you should keep the temperature within the ideal range as much as possible.

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How Long Do Hedgehogs Need Heat Lamps?

hedgehog in a towel
Image Credit: Jenn Huls, Shutterstock

Hedgehogs will always need heat lamps. However, these lamps need to be red in coloration, otherwise, they can interfere with your pet’s sleep/wake cycle. In other words, a light-emitting lamp will make your pet think that it is always daytime, which can be rather confusing. Instead, you need to only utilize lights that are designed for use at nighttime as well.

Typically, when you’re purchasing a bulb, it will let you know what time of the day they are meant to be used. Nighttime lights can be utilized throughout the daytime as well, assuming your pet has access to sunlight or another sort of light. (Simply put, they need to know that it is daytime.) However, daylights should only be used during the day.

How Do I Know If My Hedgehog is Cold?

Generally, the easiest way is to invest in a thermometer. Then, you can utilize the thermometer to track the temperature of the cage and ensure that it is in the ideal range. In fact, this is one of the only ways you can be sure that the hedgehog is at the proper temperature. Behaviors are not always very accurate.

However, hedgehogs may start displaying a few symptoms of being cold. For instance, they may sneeze, not eat, and appear lethargic.

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Conclusion

Hedgehogs are surprisingly sensitive to temperature. It is vital that their temperature is kept at a proper level and that they are not too cold or too hot for a long period. If they are, they may attempt to hibernate. Sadly, this can be fatal, since hedgehogs are not particularly good at hibernating. It is a last-ditch effort for them to survive temperatures that they typically wouldn’t be able to.

We highly recommend that you invest in a heating lamp or pad. These products should be the primary way that your hedgehog is kept warm. However, you should also purchase some hand warmers in case you lose power. In this case you can place them in some socks to keep your hedgehog warm for a couple of hours while your power is restored.


Featured Image Credit: WildSnap, Shutterstock

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