I’ve always wondered whether it’s possible to train a hedgehog to use a water bottle. My curiosity left me with no choice but to research on what to expect once I get my hedgehog. Turns out the task isn’t as complex as I initially thought, solely because hedgehogs are actually smart and intelligent.
So, how do you train a hedgehog to use a water bottle? Training a hedgehog to use a water bottle can take two months or even more, until the hedgehog eventually learns to use the water bottle on its own. You can’t forcibly try to make the hedgehog drink from the water dispenser, instead the water bottle needs to be easily accessible, so the hedgehog knows where the water is.
Many hedgehog lovers know very little about the hedgehog. Truth is, they are gentle and very easy to train. Your best bet is to handle them gently and remain observant on how they react when thirsty or hungry.
Can Hedgehogs Use A Water Bottle?
Hedgehogs can drink from water bottles without any problem. You may have noticed though, that many online forums on keeping hedgehogs as pets claim water bottles are risky. Some go as far as claiming that water bottles can easily cause chipped teeth or even cause the hedgehog’s tongue to get stuck. These are all misconceptions.
Truth is that the hedgehog only needs a little bit of training on how to use water bottles. From then one, the hedgie can quench thirst from a water bottle without a problem.
Be keen when looking for a water bottle for your hedgehog. Make sure that the spout on the water bottle you go for is big enough to make water flow from it effortlessly. This is important because hedgehogs get easily frustrated with water bottles that release only a handful of water drops.
This sometimes forces them to chew the metal spout in an effort to try and get more water. Fix the problem as soon as you notice it by buying a new water bottle. Ignore the problem and it won’t be long before your hedgehog ends up with chipped teeth.
The golden rule to always remember when shopping for water bottles for your hedgehog is this; compare your pinkie finger’s width with that of the spout on the water bottle you intend to buy. If the spout is skinnier than your pinkie, then it’s too small for your hedgehog to comfortably use.
Then remember that there are two main types of pet water bottles in the market. There are those with spring-loaded mechanisms behind the ball. These happen to be extremely popular. Then there are those without. Tilt the bottle nozzle slightly backward.
If the ball stays firmly in place, then there is a spring behind it. Avoid them because they are often too heavy for small pets like hedgehogs to easily push and drink. Go for non-spring loaded water bottles instead. They may drip a bit more, but don’t worry. They are way easier to drink from compared to the latter.
Claims of hedgehogs’ tongues getting stuck have a lot to do with using spring loaded water bottles. Normal water bottles don’t have any form of tension or suction behind the ball. This makes it near impossible for any form of appendage to get stuck or caught inside.
Can Hedgehogs Drink From A Bowl?
Bowls vs water bottles is an extremely hot debate in the hedgehog community. Both are ideal. But then again, they each come along with pros and cons. Chances are, you won’t have a problem with stuff getting inside the water bottle, apart from of course, a few crumbs. Your best bet is to therefore, refill the bowl nightly after cleaning it. That way, there’ll hardly ever be a chance for the bowl to get gross.
You shouldn’t be worried if your hedgehog currently uses a water bottle and for whichever reason, you wish to switch from the water bottle to a water bowl or vice versa. The average hedgehog can easily switch between water bottles and water bowls with ease.
Note though, that is safe to keep the bowl with water inside a cage until you see your hedgehog drinking from it without struggling. The last thing you want to deal with is a dehydrated hedgie with a water bowl right by its side.
Give your hedgie some time to learn whenever you switch from the water bottle to a water bowl or vice versa. It’ll only take a day or two before the hedgehog makes a switch, he’s comfortable with.
Can Hedgehogs Drink Cold Water?
Water temperature has a direct impact on the amount of water hedgehogs drink. Expect hedgehogs to drink less than usual or even not at all if their water is too cold and nearly freezing (32 °F) or above 90 °F. The reason here is simple – hedgehogs like tepid or warm water when the weather is cold.
Note too that if you don’t give your hedgehog enough water when it’s cold, they may end up drinking way too much cold water at once. The hedgehog will then be forced to spend too much heat produced by his body and build from calories from their food to warm up all that cold water to their ideal body temperature. This means your hedgehog will eat more but will end up getting less nutrition from their food.
Keep in mind that water makes up almost two thirds of a hedgehog’s body. It helps the hedgehog digest food, absorb healthy nutrients and remove waste. More importantly, it also keeps the hedgehog keep its temperature within normal ranges (102 °F to 103 °F).
Water quality is yet another factor you should always keep in mind. Expect your hedgehogs to drink less if you give them unclean and stale water. This is dangerous because it won’t just slow their grown. It will also result in poor reproduction.
Then by all means, remember to clean your hedgehogs water bottle or bowl. Leaving them dirty will only create a thriving breeding place for germs. Automatic systems aren’t in better as they can also get dirty and collect germs. Clean and disinfect anything your hedgehog feeds from.
Then to ensure you never go wrong with water issues, hydrate your hedgehog with tepid water. The water should be clean and pure, without any additives like supplements or minerals unless you have the go ahead from a vet.
Keep it simple because when it comes to water issues and hydrating human beings aren’t too far from the hedgehog. Too hot and your hedgie wont hydrate. Too cold and the same case, the hedgie wont hydrate.
The hedgehog is a simple pet as far as its care and maintenance is concerned. On the flipside though, it is also a delicate pet. Feed it well and it’ll thrive. Remember that feeding in this case also means hydration, something you should be keen on every day.
Be sure to contact a vet if for some reason your hedgehog completely refuses to drink water. This can easily happen, especially if the hedgehog is sick or if the water source from which it’s feeding from is dirty. Avoid treating your hedgehog on your own without the intervention of a professional vet.
Your choice of water bottle or bowl matters a lot when it comes to hedgehog hydration. As already mentioned, be keen on the type of water bottle you buy for your hedgehog. Then if you choose to go for the bowl, make sure it is always clean.