While people are familiar with the habits of cats and dogs, hedgehog habits can be new to learn. Many people think of hedgehogs as animals that eat and sleep. However, it may come as a surprise, but hedgehogs are athletic animals that love to run. So do hedgehogs run on wheels or not?
Yes, hedgehogs require lots of exercise and, therefore, love to run on wheels.
In the wild, hedgehogs forage and run around a lot. These small animals must exercise and move a lot. However, a domesticated hedgehog will not get a space as big as one in the wild. Therefore, owners must install a wheel in their hedgehog’s cage so it can run and burn calories.
As hedgehogs are prone to gaining weight, running the wheel is the best form of exercise they can get in their cage.
Why Do Hedgehogs Like Running on Wheels?
Contrary to popular belief, hedgehogs are quite the athlete. Hedgehogs are active animals who love to run, sniff around and quench their thirst for curiosity. Therefore, hedgehogs like running on wheels.
In the wild, hedgehogs forage through the night, looking for prey and food. Hence, it is in the hedgehog’s nature to be active.
Domesticated hedgehogs spend most of their time in their cage; installing a wheel helps them run and be their true self. Even if your hedgehog is in a room outside the cage, it will not have enough space to run and burn calories.
Therefore, the wheel provides a great platform for hedgehogs to exercise.
If you do not install a wheel in the cage, your hedgehog will not run and burn calories. There is a risk that your hedgehog will become obese and contract diseases such as diabetes.
What Kind of Wheel is Best for a Hedgehog?
As with so many things these days, it is easy to become confused when you are out to pick a wheel for your hedgehog; being a pet parent, you will want what is best for your little companion. It is important to pick the correct wheel. The wrong one can cause harm to your friend.
The first thing you should consider when buying a wheel for your hedgehog is the material. Most pet owners make the mistake of buying a wheel made from wire. Since the wire wheel will have holes in it, your hedgehog’s foot can get stuck, or it may miss a step and hurt itself.
Your hedgehog wheel should be smooth and not have any sharp edges that could stick into your hedgehog. You must also look at the wheel size. The wheel should not be too small. Otherwise, your hedgehog will have a hard time fitting inside.
Hedgehogs can dirty their wheels easily as they tend to poop while running. Therefore, the wheel you buy should be easily removable, so you can take it out and clean it every day. The wheel should also have a tray underneath to catch all the poop and prevent any excess mess in the cage.
The running of the wheel is important. Your hedgehog should be able to run smoothly without experiencing any jolts or shakes. Hedgehogs can get nervous easily. Therefore, it is important to give them a smooth experience without stressing them out.
The wheel should have a strong base and should be bulky enough to withstand the hedgehog’s weight. Most wheels are prone to tipping easily, which can startle your hedgehog and cause harm to it.
The wheel must not be made from toxic materials. Hedgehogs run every day, and if they spend so much time around toxic materials, it can be harmful to them in the long run. You must ensure that you invest in a good quality wheel that lasts you for a long time and does not rust easily.
How To Teach Hedgehogs to Use Wheels
When you get a hedgehog and install a wheel in its cage, you will have to introduce it to the wheel. Your hedgehog may not show any interest in using the wheel because it will not know what it is for. On the other hand, some hedgehogs may not require any introduction or teaching and will use the wheel.
If your hedgehog is not using its wheel, you will have to teach it.
The most basic thing you can do is put your hedgehog on the wheel and let it explore. Sometimes, hedgehogs do not figure out how to use wheels even if they are on them. Hence, you can block your hedgehog’s way, so it spends time and figures out how to make the wheelwork.
The only thing you can do is to give your hedgehog time. The greater the time your hedgehog spends on the wheel, the more it will learn to use it. Sometimes, your hedgehog is using the wheel, just not in front of you.
You will find out if your hedgehog is using the wheel by observing and looking for footprints. Since hedgehogs often poop while running, you will also see poop in the tray below the wheel.
You can also encourage your hedgehog to use the wheel by giving it treats. You can place the treat on the wheel, so your hedgehog chases it and, as a result, runs. In addition, please ensure that the wheel is at a height that is easily accessible to your hedgehog.
Hedgehogs are athletic animals, and while they forage in the wild, pet hedgehogs run the wheel. It is in the hedgehog’s nature to forage for food at night, and naturally, they cover a lot of ground. Since there is not a lot of ground to cover at home, hedgehogs need wheels to run.
It is important to get smooth wheels with no sharp edges or ones made from wires or mesh. Secondly, you may have to encourage your hedgehog to use the wheel by giving it some encouragement or a little nudge with treats.