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Do Hedgehogs Need a Wheel?

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Do you have hedgehogs? Hedgehogs are cute and cuddly pets that everyone loves. In their cage, you can see hedgehogs doing activities like eating, running, playing, etc.

What about running in a wheel? Many persons install a wheel in their hedgehog cage to keep their hedgehogs happy. Do hedgehogs need a wheel? Read this article.

Do hedgehogs need a wheel?

Of course. Hedgehogs, like other rodents, need a wheel. Hedgehogs need a wheel for exercise and entertainment. There, however, will come a time when you have to remove the wheel from the cage.

Human hands holding little african hedgehog pet outdoors on summer day

Do all hedgehogs need a wheel? What kind of wheel is best for your hedgehogs? Continue reading.

Wheels for Your Hedgehog Pets

Your hedgehogs need wheels. Not just for the beauty of their cage, hedgehogs need wheels for various reasons.

Why Hedgehogs Need Wheels

Here are some reasons hedgehogs need wheels:

1. To Mimic Their Behavior in the Wild

Hedgehogs are nocturnal. This means that they are active mostly at night. Well, many pet hedgehogs are active in the day, but regardless, they need to be active. If hedgehogs are not active, they will become obese which can lead to other diseases.

Installing a wheel in the cage of your hedgehogs will help your pet hedgehogs to be active just like their wild counterparts. Without a wheel in their cage, your hedgehogs will be mostly inactive and it is bad for their health.

2. For Their Entertainment

When you leave your hedgehogs alone in their cage, they can easily get bored. Without a wheel and other items they can play with, your hedgehogs will not enjoy their stay. To make your hedgehogs happy, give them a wheel.

3. For Your Entertainment

Who doesn’t like to watch little rodents rolling in their wheels? I know I do. Your visitors would also love to see your hedgehogs exercising or entertaining themselves on a wheel.

What Kind of Wheel Should You Give To Your Hedgehogs?

Pet shop, shelf with wheels for pet different sizes

The type of wheel you give to your hedgehog matters a lot. Here are some tips:

  • It should be noise-free (for your benefit)
  • The wheel should be easy to set up and remove when needed
  • Wheels without center bars will not put pressure on the back of your pet
  • The wheel should be large enough so that your hedgehog does not get trapped in it
  • It should have a strong or heavy base that will prevent it from tipping or falling over

The wheel can be made of any material so long as it is non-toxic to pets. The wheel should also revolve smoothly around the middle to prevent jumping or jolting sensations.

What Kind of Wheels Should You Not Give To Your Hedgehogs?

Almost every wheel that meets the criteria above is safe for hedgehogs. The only unsafe wheels for hedgehogs are wheels with holes or mesh. The feet of your hedgehog can get stuck or injured in such wheels.

Useful Factors to Consider Before Giving Wheels to Hedgehogs

Here are some important factors to consider before giving a wheel to your hedgehog:

  • Make Sure the Hedgehogs are Well-Fed: Hedgehogs spend a lot of energy on wheels. Without a proper diet, your hedgehogs may become thin and look hungry. Make sure that there’s always food in the cage.
  • Remove Guinea Pigs from the Cage: Some people raise different kinds of rodents in the same cage. If you have guinea pigs, remove them before installing a wheel. Guinea pigs are not so active in the wild and they easily get tired, so giving them a wheel can cause them pain.
  • Do Not Give a Wheel to Pregnant Hedgehogs: Make sure that pregnant hedgehogs do not have access to wheels 10-15 days into their pregnancy at least. If possible, keep your pregnant hedgehogs in a cozy place and take good care of them.
  • Repair/Change the Wheel as Soon as You Hear It Making Noise During Use: If your wheel was silent but has started to make noise or is becoming noisier, you should remove it, or repair/change it to prevent it from falling and harming your hedgehogs.
  • Keep the Wheel in a Location in Where It is Easy to Remove: You may want to fix or change the wheel. It will be quite difficult if the wheel is not in a place where you can easily reach it. Installing the wheel at a place where it faces the door of the cage is best so that your hands can easily reach it.

Give wheels to your hedgehogs when every condition is met.

Related Questions and Answers

Do you have any questions regarding hedgehogs and wheels? I’ll guess your question and provide the answer.

Cute young kids sitting on the glade and playing with small hedgehog

1. Do You Have to Teach Your Hedgehog to Use the Wheel?

No. When you install the wheel, give your hedgehog time. A curious hedgehog will get into the wheel and start running in it.

2. When Will Your Hedgehog Start Using the Wheel?

Your hedgehog will use the new wheel immediately. Just make sure that the when is safe and also low enough for your hedgehog to climb into.

3. Why Is Your Hedgehog Not Using the Wheel?

Remember that hedgehogs have nocturnal instincts. This means that your hedgehog might be more active at night. Before you conclude that your hedgehog is not using the wheel, make sure that you check at night.

An indication that your hedgehog is using their wheel is when you can find poop on the wheel. If you still think that your hedgehog is not using the wheel, check that:

  • The wheel is in an accessible location
  • Your hedgehog is well-fed and healthy
  • The wheel is low enough for the hedgehog to climb into

Your hedgehog should use the wheel when every condition is right.

4. Can Baby Hedgehogs Use Wheels?

Young hedgehogs should be a month old before using wheels. They are still developing and should not engage in such exercise. When they are old enough, they can run on wheels as much as they like.

sideview of baby hedgehog hoglet on white background

5. What Are Other Pets that Need Wheels?

Other pets that need wheels include:

  • Rats
  • Ferrets
  • Shrews
  • Hamsters
  • Wild mice

Remember that guinea pigs do not need a wheel, so do not give wheels to guinea pigs

Final Thoughts

Just like a few other pets, hedgehogs do need a wheel. Hedgehogs need a wheel for exercise and entertainment. Before you give wheels to your hedgehog, make sure that it is well-fed and that there is not a pregnant hedgehog nor a guinea pig in the cage.