Have you found a bunch of hedgehogs in your backyard garden and wondering where these small but cute mammals come from? You’re not alone. Unlike other popular backyard animals such as rabbits and squirrels, hedgehogs are not so popular.
As such, there’s a lot of mystery surrounding them and this guide will provide insights into the daily lives of these creatures. Shall we start by delving into the habitats of these mammals with short quills all over their bodies?
Where do Hedgehogs Sleep?
Hedgehogs sleep in a variety of areas including under hedges and piles of leaves as well as sheds and outbuildings. Hedgehogs may also nestle between rocks and in self-made ground burrows or ones taken over from other animals that have left them behind.
When Do Hedgehogs Sleep?
Hedgehogs are nocturnal creatures who sleep during the daytime and become active at night. A hedgehog sleep for 18 hours during the day and stay active for only 6 hours or so.
Unless a hedgehog in the wild is being chased by a predator or in some sort of despair, it is difficult to see them during the daytime. They typically lie low by sleeping in the bright and sunny periods of the day.
The fact that they mostly come out at night means that is the period they forage for food including plants and small insects that may serve as prey.
How Long Do Hedgehogs Sleep?
If you’re tempted to take a pet hedgehog, this is one of the obvious questions you might ask. Well, hedgehogs sleep for up to 18 hours every 24 hours. This can make them boring companions for folks without active lifestyles who might want a pet they can spend a lot of time playing with.
However, if you’re a busy professional with a daily grind that involves leaving home early in the morning and arriving late at night, hedgehogs can be the perfect option. You could still get a few hours of playtime with a pet hedgehog after arrival at home from work.
Providing Comfortable Housing For Hedgehogs In The Garden
Hedgehogs can be beautiful and enchanting creatures in the backyard. Some folks decide to provide a more fitting nesting place for these animals by installing a hedgehog house in the garden.
This can be a great place for the animals to sleep and nest their young ones, known as urchins.
A wooden hedgehog box may also be ordered online or made at home by dedicated DIYers. Once the box arrives, examine it thoroughly to ensure it can offer protection against predators such as Foxes.
Following the tips below could provide optimum comfort for the animals:
Isolate the Box: Hedgehog homes should be placed in isolated areas of the garden with minimal foot traffic from humans as well as pets such as dogs, cats, and other animals. Popular areas like the space against a fence or wall or near a plant cover can be great options as hedgehogs require no disturbance during their hibernation period in the winter.
South-facing Entrance: Heavy winds may be a nuisance to hedgehogs which is why it is important to place the entrance of the box away from the direction of the wind. Often, a box that faces the south should offer protection from winds.
Avoid Lining The Box: It is no secret that a bunch of leaves in the box can offer more warmth for the hedgehogs but that is a job they prefer doing themselves. Just place the box at the right spot and leave the creatures alone to make the necessary refinements to suit their tastes.
Near Plant Covers: Plant covers are renowned for delivering protection to hedgehogs when they come out to seek food. This is why you should place the hedgehog box in such areas to prevent the animals from extreme exposure to predators.
No Disturbance: Sure, you may be concerned about the welfare of the hedgehogs in the box but going near it can spook the animals to leave. It is not uncommon for nesting mothers to leave their urchins behind when their homes are disturbed by humans. The abandoned young ones could struggle to survive.
During winter when temperatures tumble to insane levels, hedgehogs in the wild may enter a state of hibernation. This is a state of torpor where the animal’s core body temperature drops to conserve body heat and energy.
Hibernating hedgehogs curl up into a ball with their faces hidden as a tactic to prevent disturbance and protect themselves from predators. Unlike sleeping, a hibernating hedgehog does not respond to noise or touch.
If you spot any hibernating hedgehogs in the backyard while gardening, it is important to leave it alone without any form of disturbance. Extra vigilance is required when working in the garden during winter especially when you encounter piles of leaves or logs which can be a favorite hiding place for hedgehogs experiencing hibernation.
If you accidentally injure a hibernating hedgehog, taking it to the nearest animal rescue center can be lifesaving for the cute-faced mammal.
Where Do Pet Hedgehogs Sleep At Home?
If you intend to get a pet hedgehog, here are a couple of additional bedding options to ensure they can sleep in optimum conditions:
1. Fabric Bedding
Fabric bedding is the most popular option for hedgehog pet owners thanks to the unrivaled comfort they offer. These fabrics make it easy for hedgehogs to hide while sleeping in the daytime and also at night.
Fabrics can be easy to wash thereby ensuring the highest standards of sanitation for the pet hedgehogs. This makes them reusable resulting in significant cost cuttings in the long-term.
Fabric bedding may also come in handy when handling your pet hedgehogs as they provide some cushioning against the prickly quills on the body. The best fabric bedding options for hedgehogs at home include:
- Corn cob bedding
- Crib liners
My pet hedgehogs love sleeping in the MYIDEA Warm Guinea Pigs Bed from Amazon. It features a plush cushion pad that is comfy, removable and offers a cozy “sleep and hide” compartment for your pets to enjoy some downtime.
2. Paper Bedding
Animal bedding made from paper may offer the perfect sleeping spot for pet hedgehogs. The animals can thrive in this type of bedding due to the burrowing opportunities they offer.
Paper bedding options for animals also typically come with a fluffy texture that enables your pet hedgehog to roll around comfortably.
Make sure the pet hedgehog’s body is completely dry before lying down on any sort of paper bedding to prevent the bedding from sticking onto the pet’s body. A few of the paper bedding options on the market for hedgehogs include:
- Pelleted paper bedding
- Paper shavings bedding
3. Wood Bedding
Bedding featuring wood can also serve pet hedgehogs well by providing comfortable cushioning while they recharge their batteries after running around and playing at night. The only downside is that some types of wood may feature scents hedgehogs find repulsive.
These smelly wood types could also trigger allergic reactions in animals including hedgehogs. Some of the most popular wood bedding available for sale today include:
- Pelleted wood bedding
- Aspen shavings
- Cedar shavings
- Pine shavings
My hedgehogs love the Carefresh Shavings Plus Small Pet Bedding from Amazon. It contains low amounts of dust and easy to clean while being odor-free and 60% more absorbent than rival products on the market.
How To Ensure Hedgehog Pets Get Maximum Sleep
Hedgehogs are not the most popular pets out there because they’re yet to be completely tamed. However, it is not impossible to raise them at home if you’re committed enough.
Know that their wild tendencies can make it difficult for them to get maximum shuteye in captivity. Here are a few ways to ensure restful sleep for pet hedgehogs.
1. Respect their Schedule
The first step to getting maximum sleep for pet hedgehogs is to respect their schedule. These creatures are nocturnal meaning the overlap between when both pet and humans are awake may be slim.
Forcing them to adapt to your sleep schedule can only spell disaster because hedgehogs become more energized at night when you’re on the verge of jumping into bed. If you decide to share a room, get used to leaving them to do their own thing at night while you’re sleeping.
2. Dim The Lights
Hedgehogs love to crawl into dark areas especially during the daytime when they get most of their sleep. Dimming the lights in the bedroom, basement, or wherever they’re placed can be a great start.
Apart from the lights, drawing the curtains could also minimize the level of natural lights that enter the specific room or area so your pets may enjoy undisturbed shuteye. Even at night time when they become more active, dimming, or even switching off the lights can also be a great way to provide more comfort.
Have you read the article we wrote on 10 Reasons Why Sleeping With The Lights On Is Bad For You? Click the link to discover the top reasons why you should always switch off or at least dim the bedroom lights.
3. Provide Food and Water
Providing constant food and water can be essential to a pet hedgehog getting a good amount of sleep. It does not take a genius to know that a starving hedgehog will struggle to hit the hay regardless of the prevailing conditions in its environment.
Also, make sure the hedgehog’s water bowl is supplied consistently to prevent unnecessary thirst which may also interfere with the ability to sleep.
Remember, these creatures feed on bugs and plants in the wild and the challenge for many hedgehog lovers is manually recreating the diets of the animals in captivity. The good news is that a quick visit to Amazon can reveal lots of premium hedgehog food options to choose from.
Looking for the relationship between food and water? Check out the article we wrote on Sleeping When Hungry: 7 Reasons Why It Is Bad For You.
4. Check For Pests
The presence of mites on the skin of hedgehogs can be a huge sleep disruption due to their ability to cause all sorts of problems. Hedgehogs naturally sleep all day when they’re free of any skin pests.
However, once a few mites get on the body, they typically lay eggs and reproduce at a quick rate. Over time, their numbers may rise to levels which can force hedgehogs to spend all day scratching their bodies and losing their protective quills.
Checking for mites, providing the necessary treatment, and cleaning the environment where your pet hedgehogs spend most of their time could be the key to eradicating burgeoning infestations.
Have you read the article we wrote on Can Bed Bugs Get In An Air Mattress? Click the find smart ways to keep these pests out of the bedroom.
5. Right Temperature
As stated earlier, hedgehogs go into hibernation when exposed to harsh weather elements such as an extreme cold. If you’re keeping them as pets, it is important to make sure that their sleeping environments always feature the right temperature.
A good guide is to ensure that the temperature in whichever place they sleep is one you find comfortable yourself. As long as that is the case, the pet hedgehog should sleep just fine without problems.
Wondering whether bedroom temperature has any correlation with the ability to sleep? Check out the article we wrote on Why Do Fans Help You Sleep? 5 Top Reasons Explained!
Hedgehogs sleep under hedges, sheds, piles of leaves, ground burrows, and in between rocks in the wild. These areas provide shelter from the weather elements while offering the necessary foil against potential predators.
Since hedgehogs are sensitive to light, they also love sleeping in such areas due to the relative darkness. In captivity, hedgehogs can thrive in wooden boxes as well as on paper bedding, newspapers, fleece, and corn cob bedding.