How do you Keep a Hedgehog Warm? Our top picks

Keeping a pygmy hedgehog warm during the colder months is essential as they can go into hibernation and potentially starve to death in their hibernation state.

How to heat a plastic hedgehog cage?

The choice for plastic cages is a Heat Pad Mat as a Heat Lamp may be a fire risk for plastic cages. Heat Lamps are generally fine for Vivariums.

Heat pad mats are an inexpensive way of providing heat for a pygmy hedgehog. We use one and have placed the heat pad mat with his house on top, so he can sleep in his house all warm and snug.

Heat Pad Mat starter Kit – the following are required for those looking at using a Heat Pad Mat:

  • a quality Heat Pad Mat;
  • compatible Heat Pad Cover;
  • compatible Thermostat*; and
  • a quality Surge Protector.

*a compatible thermometer is also required if the thermostat doesn’t include one.

How to heat a pygmy hedgehog vivarium?

Heat lamps used primarily by reptile owners are a good source of heat for pygmy hedgehogs. The Ceramic Heat Emitter (CHE) type heat lamps are a good choice as long as they don’t emit any light as this can put off pygmy hedgehogs from coming out at night and confuse their body clock to the distinction between day time and night time.

Heat Lamp starter Kit – the following is required for those looking at using a Heat Lamp:

  • a quality Heat Lamp (100 watts);
  • a compatible Heat Lamp Holder;
  • a compatible Heat Lamp Guard;
  • a quality Thermostat*;
  • a quality Surge Protector  

*a compatible thermometer is also required if the thermostat doesn’t include one.

WARNING: It’s highly advisable to use a Thermostat to control a Heat Pad Mat or a Heat Lamp.

The Thermostat must be able to get the temperature of the inside of the cage or Vivarium, to be able to control the temperature, so a Thermometer is essential. I would also recommend all electrical items use Surge Protection.

WARNING: If you plan to use a plastic based cage for your hedgehog, a heat lamp is not a good choice as this could be a fire risk. However, if a Vivarium is used, the fire risk is minimized as long as the materials used are fire safe, generally, vivariums are made of glass and wood. 

These are the Top 3 Heat Pad Mats for 2020:

Why I picked the Petnap Flexiguard 33 Metal heat pad mat?

When I sat down and compared the heat pad mats, I found the Petnap Flexiguard 33 Metal heat pad mat ticked a lot of the boxes, as it:

  • is great value for money, compared to the other options which I found very expensive;
  • has full armored cable protection to provide protection for the main cable that connects the heat pad mat to the power supply;
  • is designed to be left on all the time, coping easily being on for days at a time;
  • has low running costs with approximately 25 watts an hour in electricity costs, resulting in pennies to run;
  • has a compatible heat pad mat cover available that is easy to remove for cleaning, is sturdy for a pygmy hedgehog to use and provides a layer of protection from the heat pad mat itself;
  • has a compatible thermostat to control temperature and a thermometer to measure the temperature inside the cage.

Features to look at in a quality Heat Pad Mat cover

These are the features to look at in a quality Heat Pad Mat:

  • Has full armored cable protection protect against electrocution should the pygmy hedgehog start chewing the cables;
  • Has a robust design meaning the heat pad mat can be left on all the time;
  • Has a low watt running requirement, typically around 25 watts;
  • Has compatible heat pad mat covers that are easy to remove as well as clean, ideally, these should be zipped;
  • Has a compatible thermostat with a thermometer that can get the inside temperature of the cage;

These are the Top 3 Heat Pad Mat Covers for 2020:

Why I picked the Petnap Flexiguard 33 Cover?

As I’d bought the Petnap Flexiguard 33 Metal Heat Pad Mat, a compatible Heat Pad Mat Cover was also needed and the Petnap Flexiguard 33 Heat Pad Mat Cover was the best choice as it:

  • fits the Petnap Flexiguard 33 Heat Pad Mat (make sure you get the right size cover, we got a 33 cm cover for our 33 cm Heat Pad Mat);
  • has a sturdy zip, allowing for easy removal during our weekly cleaning process;
  • allows heat from the heat pad mat to gently disperse across the fabric;
  • is thick enough to protect the pygmy hedgehog from any excess heat;
  • is machine washable, so we can throw it in the washing machine for a weekly wash; and
  • is high quality, so doesn’t expose any threads that could get caught around a pygmy hedgehogs limbs;

Features to look at in a quality Heat Pad Mat Cover

These are the features to look at in a quality Heat Pad Mat Cover:

  • Fits the Heat Pad Mat you have chosen, as heat pad mats come in different size;
  • Has a zip, so it can be easily removed for cleaning;
  • Is made to a high-quality standard, with no loose threads being exposed;
  • Is machine washable, as you don’t want to buy a cover that disintegrates in the wash, or frays leaving dangerous threads;
  • Is thick enough to provide a layer of protection from the heat pad mat to the pygmy hedgehog; and
  • allows the heat from the heat pad mat to gently disperse.

These are the Top 3 Microwaveable Heat Pad Mats for 2020:

Why I picked the SnuggleSafe Microwave Wireless Heat pad?

When we take our pygmy hedgehog Hynee out to stay with family or friends, a portable source of heating is essential in the colder months, I found the SnuggleSafe Microwave Wireless heat pad ticked a lot of the boxes, as it:

  • is great value for money, compared to the other options which I found very expensive;
  • heats up to a tolerable level for Hynee;
  • is made to a quality standard, the European CE standard;
  • provides padding with a quality fabric layer for protection; and
  • is easy to clean, just in case Hynee poops or pees.

Features to look at in a quality Microwaveable Heat Pad Mat

These are the features to look at in a quality Microwaveable Heat Pad Mat:

  • has good instructions to heat to the correct temperature;
  • is made to a quality standard like the European CE standard;
  • provides protection from the heat by using good quality padding as well as fabric; and
  • is easy to clean, as pygmy hedgehogs will still poop;

These are the Top 3 Heat Lamps (CHE) for 2020:

Why I will pick the Vanusky 100W Heat Lamp?

When I thought about choosing a Heat Lamp for our new setup when we move home, I found the Vanusky 100W heat lamp ticked a lot of the boxes, as it:

  • is great value for money, compared to the other options which I found very expensive;
  • comes with a digital thermometer, so you can keep an eye on the temperature;
  • is 100 watts in power but do check to make sure the temperature in the area is not more than 82F (28C);
  • only emits heat, providing a warm environment for a pygmy hedgehog;
  • is compatible with a number of Heat Lamp holders, allowing for simple mounting in the vivarium;
  • is compatible with a number of Heat Lamp guards, providing protection against burns for a pygmy hedgehog (the ceramic heat lamp can be used with an E27 or E26 ceramic socket);

With a Heat Lamp, it’s generally best to also get a Heat Lamp Holder and Heat Lamp Guard.

Features to look at in a quality Heat Lamp

These are the features to look at in a quality Heat Lamp:

  • It only emits heat and DOES NOT emit any light because any light emitted will end up confusing the pygmy hedgehog, so it won’t know when it’s day or night;
  • has a controllable temperature, so the pygmy hedgehog doesn’t end up with an uncomfortable hot temperature (see thermostat and thermometer options below) that could lead to heat stroke type symptoms;
  • is compatible with a Heat Lamp holder (see options below) as any heat lamp will need to be mounted correctly in the vivarium;
  • is compatible with a Heat Guard (see options below) to protect the pygmy hedgehog;
  • has durable cables to protect the pygmy hedgehog from electrocution.

These are the Top 3 Heat Lamp Holders for 2020:

Why I will pick the ZDJR Reptile Clamp Heat Lamp Fixture Holder?

A Heat Lamp holder is an essential bit of kit to consider when using a Heat Lamp, as it:

  • provides a secure mounting point for Heat Lamps, allowing the Heat Lamp to stay in place safely;
  • is great value for money, compared to the other options which I found very expensive;
  • is compatible with the Omaykey and Vanusky 100W Heat Lamp (E27 or E26 ceramic socket).

These are the Top 3 Heat Lamp Guards for 2020:

Why I will pick the Petblis Prorep Heater Guard?

A Heat Lamp Guard is an essential piece of kit when it comes to using a Heat Lamp, as it:

  • provides protection against the burns, depending on how the Heat Lamp has been mounted;
  • is great value for money, compared to the other options which I found very expensive;
  • is compatible with the Vansuky and Omaykey 100W Heat Lamp.

These are the Top 3 Thermostats for 2020:

Why I picked the Inkbird ITC-306T Digital Temperature Controller?

When I sat down and compared the different Thermostats, I found the Inkbird ITC-306T Digital Temperature Controller ticked a lot of the boxes, as it:

  • allows complete control of a heat pad mat or heat lamp by automatically switching on;
  • is compatible with the Omaykay and Vansuky 100W Heat Lamp and the Petnap Flexiguard 33 Metal Heat Pad Mat;
  • has a thermometer with a cable long enough to put inside the Zoo Zone Habitat cage as well the Beechwood Vivarium using suckers,
  • has configurable presets to set a minimum temperature so for pygmy hedgehogs a minimum temperature of 72F (22C) can be set;
  • has a maximum temperature setting, allowing any heat pad mat or a heat lamp to switch off at 80F (26.5C);
  • is great value for money, compared to the other options which I found very expensive;
  • gives a temperature reading which can be set to Fahrenheit or to Centigrade.

These are the Top 3 Thermometers for 2020:

What’s good about the Inkbird ITC-306T Digital Temperature Controller?

When you decide to buy a thermostat make sure it has a thermometer if it doesn’t then you’ll need to find a compatible one which may be difficult. I would choose the Inkbird ITC-306T Digital Temperature Controller as it has a good thermometer, as it:

  • is easily mountable inside a cage or vivarium using suckers that can stick to the side or top of the cage or vivarium;
  • has a long cable that is easily kept outside the areas where the pygmy hedgehog could chew on it;
  • is great value for money, compared to the other options which I found very expensive.

These are the Top 3 Surge Protectors for 2020:

Why I would pick the Bototek Surge Protector?

Surge Protection is a must and when I reviewed the many different ones out there, I chose the Bototek Surge Protector, as it:

  • has multiple sockets, allowing all items plugged into remain safe from surges;
  • is made to high standards (has a CE marking);
  • is not a cheap far eastern import made from inferior dangerous components;
  • shows warning lights, including status lights so I know if it’s working properly.

Features to look at in a quality Surge Protectors

These are the features to look at in a quality Surge Protector:

  • it is made to a reputable standard, I always check if it has a European CE marking, so at least it’s been through some standards check;
  • is fused, so if the socket becomes overloaded, the fuse blows, stopping any damage to the surge protection lead or to the items plugged into it;
  • has the correct number of sockets that can be safely used without overloading the socket into which it will be plugged;
  • has warning lights, so you can see if it’s working correctly (don’t want it to fail without knowing, leading to no heat for the pygmy hedgehog);
  • has durable cables to protect the pygmy hedgehog from electrocution.

Bedding

Bedding is very important in keeping pygmy hedgehogs warm, find out more on our bedding page.