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Keeping Your Hedgehog Warm

Words of Caution

  • Many heat sources are available through a variety of sources.  We have yet to find the perfect heat source that will work under all conditions.
  • Anything that plugs in has potential to short out and cause a fire, overheat and cause burns, or fail to work.
  • One must be cautions with overhead heating options so that they aren’t knocked over causing burns, injuries or fires. Also, hedgehogs can over-heat in a small aquarium that is not well-ventilated.
  • The best heating options seem to be maintaining an appropriate ambient room temperature or heating only a portion of the cage so that the hedgehog can move away if it gets too hot.

Heating Options

  • Heating Pad
    • You can use a human heating pad under half the care or under the area where the hedgehog prefers to sleep.
    • The heating pad must be adjusted so that it is not too hot.  Sick and injured animals have been known to burn themselves on heating pads.  The animal doesn’t realize that it is too hot or it is unable to move from the heat.  Many of these burns are not visible from the outside but internal damage will be obvious a couple days later.
    • Many new models of human heating pads have an automatic shut off.  Look out for the automatic turn offs because the hedgehog will not have consistent heat.
  • Reptile Heating pads
    • Many under tank heaters designed for reptile use will also work well for hedgehogs.
    • You must read the instructions to make sure the stick on mat won’t get too hot for your cage.
    • Most under tank heaters must be applied directly to the cage so that air does not flow between the cage and the heating element.
    • We found that Zoo Med’s Hermit Crab heater will create a nice warm spot in on small section of the cage.  It is enough to create a nice place to sleep but it will probably not be sufficient for temperatures lower than 72°F.
    • Remember to use safety precautions recommend by the manufacturer
  • Space Heaters
    • Some people are able to use small ceramic space heaters. 
    • Remember to use safety precautions recommend by the manufacturer.
    • The heaters themselves don’t get hot and aren’t very expensive to run.
    • Heaters do cycle on and off so it is important to monitor the highs and lows during its cycling.
    • You may have a problem keeping a large area at a warm enough temperature.
  • Micro-Heat Disc or Snuggle Safe Heat Disks
    • These 12” plastic disks are designed for use as puppy warmers and are found with the dog and puppy supplies at some larger pet stores.
    • The warmers are about an inch and a half thick and about the size of a medium size Frisbee.
    • They are made from a hard plastic (usually bright pink) and can be wrapped in a towel or placed in a cover designed specifically for them.
    • These warmers are supposed to stay warm for 12 hours and many hedgie owners use them and like them but when we tested them ours didn’t quite work so well
  • Heat Bulbs
    • Heat lamps are another option. 
    • We suggest a black or red bulb so the hedgehog’s natural light cycle is not disturbed by having continuous white light.
    • We have never used heat lamps on hedgehogs but we have customers that have reported good results.
    • These are not the safest options for Plastic containers or aquariums.  A low watt bulb and close monitoring MAY work but other options would be better
  • Heat Rocks
    • Heat rocks are a ceramic rock that gets hot and is traditionally used for reptiles. 
    • We do not recommend heat rocks because they can get very hot and they are not easily regulated. 
    • They are usually an odd shape and difficult for the hedgehog to sleep on

Power Outages

  • One must always be prepared for a power outage if you live in an area whose temperature gets cold or cool in the winter.
  • Power outages for long periods in cool weather can be just as dangerous as short power outages in extreme cold.
  • When using alternative power or heat one must use caution and be aware of potential safety hazards.

Conserve the Heat You Have

  • Wrap your hedgehog’s cage in heavy blankets. 
  • Give your hedgehog extra sleeping bags or extra pieces of fleece to make their sleeping area cozier.

Disposable (Or Reusable) Instant Heat Packs

  • These sources of instant heat hand warmers can be found in the hunting, camping, or sporting goods section of most stores.  We have also seen them used for reptiles and other baby animals so you may find them in through various other sources as well.
  • Re-usable ones can often be found at flea markets or through other specialty vendors. 
  • They are relatively inexpensive and easy to store.
  • We have found that some will not work if they have been stored for long periods.  It is a good idea to have fresh ones available.


  • Generators are valuable to not only your pets but can be quite handy for you.  There is a huge price range depending on how much power they can supply.
  • If you have a generator you can use many of the heating options described above.

Propane or Kerosene Heaters

  • These types of heat sources are the most dangerous but they are also the most effective for heating larger areas for longer periods of time if a generator is not available.
  • Our animal room is heated with propane so that should the electric go out we still have a constant heat source.  The blower doesn’t work but we can are able to adjust the heat and/or open a window if it gets too hot! 

Body Heat

  • One of the safest and most effective ways to keep your hedgehog (or any pet) warm is to snuggle!
  • Your prickly friend may be harder to cuddle under the covers with than your family dog but it certainly is possible.
  • We suggest putting on a couple layers of loose fitting shirts and warm clothing.  Tuck two or three of the shirts inside the top of your pants.  You can then sandwich your hedgie between the layers.
  • Remember that your hedgehog still needs to breathe so a loose fit allows the most warm air circulation.

Warming Up a Cold Hedgehog

  • A hedgehog that is cold or feels cool to the touch is in serious danger.
  • Captive bred hedgehogs are not as accustomed to hibernation and can die from to them what is an unnatural torpor.
  • Warming up a hedgehog too quickly can do more harm than good.  A warm, gentle heat is preferred over forceful direct heat.
  • Our most successful method for warming a cold animal is direct human body heat.  Hold the animal in your hands, tuck it in your shirt, or whatever other method feels comfortable to you. 
  • Heating pads can also be useful but one must be careful not to overheat or burn an animal that is too sick to move away from the heat.
  • Also, don’t assume that the external heating device is doing the trick when in fact it may not be warm enough.
  • An animal that has gotten too cold and recovered is more susceptible to future incidents.