Most of us know that animals like hedgehogs need to have a supply of water to drink as part of remaining hydrated and healthy. I wanted to find out if the choice of water is important, whereby hedgehogs might get health benefits from drinking different types of water.
What kind of water do hedgehogs drink? Hedgehogs need to drink water to remain healthy and generally aren’t too fussy over the water they drink. Normal water is fine for hedgehogs however, flavored waters are not recommended as they contain sugars or chemicals that could be detrimental to their health.
Hedgehogs need water as part of a healthy diet, as water provides hydration and allows food to easily pass through the hedgehogs body as part of their digestive process, aiding the fiber in their diets to bulk up.
Water needs to be easily available to hedgehogs to drink and we have a water food bowl combo, where the hedgehog can eat and then immediately drink if he so chooses. We’ve also put a water dispenser in his cage, so if he needs extra water, it’s available to him.
For us, the type of water a hedgehog needs to drink, just needs to be plain, it doesn’t need to have any special minerals or chemicals in the water. As most of their dietary needs in terms of vitamins and minerals will come from their food.
That being said, the water where we are is pretty good, but this might not necessarily be the case for other owners, and they may find they need to seek out alternatives for better quality water.
It’s important to appreciate that hedgehogs in the wild generally adapt to the water cleanliness in their environment, building up levels of immunity to deal with any bacteria in the water.
A pet hedgehog that has fully adapted to the inhouse environment is more susceptible to diseases and other health issues, as their immune system won’t be as developed as a wild hedgehog. So, if the quality of water is poor in your area, this could lead to potential health issues for your hedgehog, if the water is not properly filtered.
Do Hedgehogs Like Tap Water?
Hedgehogs are adapted to live in the wild where water can only be found in rivers and lakes, so the quality of the water they drink varies. When kept as pets the water quality is much better than they could ever get in the wild.
So, do hedgehogs like tap water? Tap water is fine for most hedgehogs where it’s been properly processed and filtered by the company supplying the water. Even in hard water areas, the water is acceptable with it’s higher than usual calcium and magnesium content. In fact, the calcium may aid hedgehogs bones and teeth development, whilst magnesium helps with the hedgehog more readily absorb the calcium.
Its important to change the water given to the hedgehog everyday, so they get fresh water each day. Water can remain fresh a long time but it’s easy for the hedgehog to soil the water in their cage, especially if it’s kept in a water bowel. Water dispensers, on the other hand, offer protection from soiling so don’t require the water to be changed as often.
Bathing is an important aspect of keeping hedgehogs cleanand since hedgehogs are quite sensitive to their environment, the quality of the water plays an integral role. Hedgehogs will often shy away from dirty, salty, and cold water. Therefore, a pet owner should only use clean, warm tap water while bathing their hedgehogs.
Remember, the hedgehog will invariably end up drinking some of their bath water, so tap water is fine as long as it’s clean. To make doubly sure the tap water is free of any diseases and toxic chemicals, many people use the following:
Install Reverse Osmosis Filter Systems
Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems are not only effective water filtration systems, but they are instrumental in getting rid of toxic chemicals in tap water. At the same time, this system is crafted to ensure that there is minimal tap water wastage.
This system comes in handy if you want guarantees that your hedgehog won’t be affected by any possible toxic chemicals in the tap water. Simultaneously, since hedgehogs can get grumpy in a tub, this Reverse Osmosis system will ensure that you don’t waste any tap water in the process.
Typically, tap water contains several impurities from the less harmful organic contaminants to the highly toxic aluminum and uranium (depending on where you live). While organic pollutants can be removed by boiling the water, inorganic impurities such as metals require standard filtration to get rid of.
Standard filtration works by trapping these impurities since they are much bigger than water molecules. Using standard home filtration systems, you can rest assured that you won’t have to worry about impurities affecting your hedgehog.
Do Hedgehogs Drink a Lot?
For any pet animal, nutrition is a vital health consideration that should be taken seriously. While nutritional requirements for common pets such as dogs and cats are standard, hedgehog nutrition is particularly challenging. This is mainly because there is no thorough nutritional research and literature for exotic species such as hedgehogs.
So, do hedgehogs drink a lot? Based on their body size, you shouldn’t expect a hedgehog to drink a lot of water. Typically, an adult hedgehog should be able to consume between 25-40 milliliters of water each day. On the other hand, younger hedgehogs drink far more water with an average of 60 milliliters per day. The only exception is when there is an underlying illness or disease that makes the hedgehog drink more water than usual.
It’s worth noting that the amount of water that a particular hedgehog will take depends on different variables such as the age, type of food it eats, size of the body, and various environmental factors.
Generally, it can be daunting to determine how much water your hedgehog takes when using a water dish. Remember that traditional watering dishes will often get bedding or food mixed in, meaning that you will have to rinse and change your hedgehog’s water regularly.
To get a better idea of how much your hedgehog drinks, it comes highly recommended to use a water bottle. Apart from calibration, the best thing about a water bottle is that it can be attached to the side of your hedgehog’s cage. This way, you won’t have to worry about any contamination or spillage.
Why Is My Hedgehog Drinking a Lot of Water?
Although hedgehogs are accustomed to living in the wild, they are not used to taking a lot of water. On average, a fully grown hedgehog should ingest a maximum of 40 milliliters of water and a younger hedgehog a maximum of 60 milliliters. Therefore, when your hedgehog takes more than the average amount of water, then that’s cause for alarm.
So, why is my hedgehog drinking a lot of water? The only practical reason for your hedgehog drinking a lot of water is that it might be down to illness or disease like being diabetic or having problems due to tumors or cancers in their organs like the liver, making them very thirsty. Hedgehogs drinking too much water will need to be checked out by a veterinarian to see if they have any underlying health conditions.
Typically, a diabetic hedgehog will often tend to drink a lot of water with the hopes of boosting their glucose levels. While this might give your hedgehog reprieve, it’s essential to take your hedgehog to a vet whenever you see such indications.
With cancers and tumors hedgehogs behaviors change quickly and owners may find their hedgehog coming out during the day, to drink water many times as they find it difficult to quench their thirst. Even when there’s full daylight the hedgehog can have an insatiable appetite for water when they have an underlying disease.
Apart from illness and diseases, you have also to consider that younger hedgehogs drink a lot of water than adult hedgehogs. Therefore, you shouldn’t be alarmed if your young hedgehog drinks more water than your adult hedgehog.
Hedgehogs need a supply of clean water to help them stay hydrated, keep their digestive processes working normally and clean them at bath times. Good old tap water in many cases is ideal for most of the hedgehogs needed, with a few exceptions where depending on where the hedgehog lives, dictates whether the water needs to be filtered.