Exercise is important to keep hedgehogs healthy and reduce their chances of becoming obese. In the wild these little creatures spend a lot of their time at night covering large distances foraging for food. It’s not unexpected for them to cover distances of several miles each night when they are kept as pets.
What wheel is best for a hedgehog? The best exercise wheel for a hedgehog is the silent running version of the Kaytee Comfort Giant wheel. The Kaytee Comfort Giant exercise wheel is quiet when being used by hedgehogs, is large enough with a 12 inch diameter and is easy to clean, by simply soaking the wheel in a bucket of water to remove any dried up poop.
Running wheels are an important addition to any cage set up. Pygmy hedgehogs are smart enough to be able to climb onto the wheel and start walking even running. At night we can sometimes hear our pygmy hedgehog Hynee running to his heart’s content on his Running Wheel.
These are the Top 3 Running Wheels for 2020:
- Kaytee Comfort Wheel Giant 12 Inches (click to view current price on Amazon)
- Exotic Nutrition Silent Runner 12 Inches (click to view current price on Amazon)
- Kaytee Silent Spinner Exercise Wheel 12 Inches (click to view current price on Amazon)
Why I picked the Kaytee Comfort Wheel?
When I sat down and compared the running exercise wheels, I found the Kaytee Comfort Wheel ticked a lot of the boxes, as it:
- has ‘Silent Running’ version, making far less noise when in use than the normal Running wheels;
- is great value for money, compared to the other options which I found very expensive;
- is very stable and therefore limits the chances of it toppling over and injuring a pygmy hedgehog (make sure the bedding used doesn’t impede the stability of the running wheel);
- is easy to clean, just a simple soak is required to let loose the dried up poop that invariably ends up on the wheel (I’d suggesting buying 2 wheels, so one can be left to soak whilst the other is in use);
Features to look at in a quality Running Exercise Wheel
These are the features to look at in a quality Running Exercise Wheel:
- They don’t make a lot of noise when in use, wheels with silent running type features are a good choice when noise is a factor;
- They can fit the cage or vivarium they are destined for, without reducing the space for a pygmy hedgehog to move around with ease and in safety;
- They don’t have many raised areas on the running surface, as this could cause injury to a pygmy hedgehog;
- They have a flat sturdy base, allowing for the Running Exercise Wheel to be stable at high speed, without the risk of toppling over;
Choosing a Running Wheel
1. The Running Wheel must be safe.
Safety is paramount and as hedgehogs have fragile limbs, any running wheel selected needs to be safe. They will not only be walking but will also pick up the pace and start running.
2. Place on a flat surface
A flat surface is a must to reduce the chance of the pygmy hedgehog injuring themselves. Make sure any ridges on the inside running surface doesn’t protrude too much and is spaced apart well.
3. Injury risk minimised
The Running Wheel doesn’t have any parts that could cause injury from the pygmy hedgehog getting their feet stuck. Running Wheels made of mesh or wiring will have plenty of potentially dangerous gaps to cause injury.
4. Silent running operation
Silent running is a good choice if noise will be a problem. We chose a silent running wheel, paying a little bit extra for the privilege. As our hedgehog lives in the family room and when we’re up late, he comes out and loves to run.
5. Width is adequate
The Running Wheel needs to be wide enough. The running surface must allow the pygmy hedgehog to run without them easily falling off.
6. Height is adequate
The height of the Running Wheel needs to be greater than 10 inches as smaller wheels will make the running and walking experience feel cramped. Remember pygmy hedgehogs stretch out when walking and running.
7. Space available
Make sure the cage or vivarium has plenty of room for the Running Wheel so it can operate freely. Otherwise, it could bang and knock into other items and cause excessive noise, startling the pygmy hedgehog and making them scared of using the Running Wheel.
8. Remove covers
Some Running Wheel have covers and these need to have big enough holes for pygmy hedgehogs to get inside but I would personally remove the covers.