Hedgehogs are nocturnal mammals making it easy for new owners to assume their pet to be lazy. Exercise wheels prove beneficial in helping hedgehogs spend their nocturnal hours relieving stress and burning energy. Therefore, every hedgehog owner should furnish their pet’s cage with the best hedgehog wheel.
The best hedgehog wheels are the ones that are made keeping a hedgie in mind. Winged or mesh wheels can cause your hedgie serious injuries, to say the least. Therefore, you must be careful while installing an exercise wheel into their cage.
This leaves us with the question of which wheels are the best for hedgehogs. We will explain what makes a good hedgehog wheel in this article.
Why Do Hedgehogs Need Exercise Wheels?
If your hedgie does not have an exercise wheel, you are likely to experience some angry wrath. With nothing to entertain them, they become undisciplined and difficult to handle. Even if you think your hedgie is not using the exercise wheel, try taking it out, and you will see adverse effects on your hedgie.
Similar to mice and hamsters, hedgehogs are mammals with incredible running speed. New owners equip their hedgehog’s cage with essential amenities such as water and food bowls. However, a running wheel is an often neglected important in a hedgehog’s cage.
In the wild, a hedgehog’s instinct is to run about looking for food in the night. Therefore, they are instinctively used to spending a lot of energy at night. However, when a hedgehog lives in a cage, they will not have much space to run about. Therefore, an exercise wheel can help cover the miles they need.
The average running speed of 5.5 mph has been recorded from several active hedgehogs. However, it is not uncommon for a hedgehog to run at over 12 mph speed. Imagine the kind of energy your hedge can burn while running on an exercise wheel!
Entertainment And Exercise
When a hedgehog is alone in its cage, it is easy for them to get bored. With nothing to entertain them in their cage, they can become lonely, sad, and distressed. Running on the wheels will stimulate the hedgie both physically and mentally. Moreover, it will help them feel at home in their cage, since in their minds, they’ll be running in the wild.
The physically exhausting activity can also help them relieve stress and anxiety, helping them lead a better life. Without proper exercise, your hedgehog is likely to get obese, leading to several health hazards. Moreover, active running allows the hedgehog’s metabolism to kick in.
As seen with several mammals, the lack of stimulation can lead to disciplinary issues. When a hedgehog is not entertained and well-exercised, they are likely to throw tantrums. Therefore, you can expect a cage full of tipped objects and feces-covered cage walls.
Once your hedgehog gets something they can burn their stress and energy on, you will see them get disciplined. Hedgehogs like to stick to a schedule, and a stimulating exercise wheel is the best thing for them to wrap their schedule around.
Best Hedgehog Wheels – Types And Top Products
You will encounter many wheels marketed as the best when you visit the pet store. Therefore, you need to know the different options you can choose from. In this section, we will walk you through the different types of wheels available for hedgehogs. We will also recommend the best products for the categories described below.
Hedgehog Wire Wheels
Wire wheels are very popularly used in rat or hamster cages. However, they might not be the best option for hedgehogs. While using wire cages for hedgehogs in Canada and the USA is unheard of, many Asian countries do traditionally use wire cages for hedgehogs.
People like to use this wheel type because the wheels are easy to maintain and come with tail-safe features. Therefore, your hedgie is unlikely to get his tail caught up in the wheel.
The reason why some do not use them is that your hedgie’s nails can get caught in the wire. However, if the wiring is close-knit and comes with a safety cover, this issue can be dealt with. You can even add a fleece wheel liner to make it safer for your hedgie.
Make sure that you never use wire wheels that have too much space between different support bars. The easy cleaning, durability, and maintenance of wire wheels are why you can consider using them. However, it is best to think of other options before you invest in this one.
If a durable cage is what you’re looking for, you can invest in the Kaytee Run-Around Exercise Wheel is the product for you and your hedgie. This cage is made of extra-durable wire, which will not melt because of a heat emitter in the cage.
This cage is perfect for getting your young hedgie accustomed to using an exercise wheel. The 5.75-inch wheel will become too small for them very quickly, though.
The material used to make this training wheel is non-toxic, and the movements do not cause a lot of noise. Therefore, it is ideal for your nocturnal pet.
- The wire is close-knit and would not cause issues for a young hedgie.
- Made of durable and non-corrosion materials.
- Ideal for wheel training.
- Does not cause a lot of noise
- Runs the risk of tipping off.
- Wire wheels are not the best option for hedgehogs.
Best Hedgehog Comfort Wheel
Comfort wheels are undoubtedly the best hedgehog wheels for several reasons. They are comfortable, adjustable, safe, and very well reinforced. Comfort wheels are also easy to clean since they can be submerged in water without the risk of ruining them.
Moreover, they generally offer smooth running, encouraging your little fellow to get the most out of their running routine.
Comfort wheels are easy to maintain, but they need maintenance frequently. Unlike most other wheels, they do not need to be taken apart to make changes and make the wheel spin freely. Instead, all you have to do is apply some olive oil to the inside rod externally, and you will be good to go.
The Silent Spinner by Kaytee is probably the most popular spinning wheel out there for hedgehogs. It is popularly considered as one of the best one because of its ideal size and safety. You can make this wheel even more comfortable by adding a fleece wheel liner.
This wheel encourages the best spinning and running routine for hedgehogs. Since the product has smooth movement, your hedgie will not have to get uncomfortable because of the jerking and jolting spinning movements expected of some exercise wheels.
With a 12-inch diameter, this spinning wheel will allow your hedgie to be at its maximum comfort. They will not run the risk of hurting their back or stomach. Moreover, with the help of steady service, they will not hurt their nails and toes.
- Sturdy base to avoid tipping off
- Will not hurt your hedgie’s back, nails, or limbs.
- Easy maintenance and cleaning.
- Perfect size for all hedgehogs – big or small.
- The arrangement might not be perfect for an aggressively running hedgie.
The best thing about the Mcage Hedgehog Exercise Running Wheel is that it does not stand on the cage’s base. Instead, it will clip onto the wall, which makes it a very sturdy arrangement. Due to this clip-on method, the wheel is also sturdy and flows very freely onto the cage’s wall.
This exercise wheel is specially designed for hedgehogs, and therefore, it will not cause any health issues to your little friend. It is healthy, safe, and very free-moving. Therefore, the only energy your hedgehog will burn is while moving their limbs to move forward and not in trying to make the wheel move.
This is the perfect instrument to add to your hedgehog’s cage if exercise is very important for your small hedgehog.
- Designed especially for hedgehogs.
- Provides a sturdy base for their feet to run.
- Proper ventilation from the side.
- Easy to maintain.
- Easy to clean and get in and out of the cage.
- Absolutely noise-free function.
- The diameter is too small for a medium- to large- size hedgehog
- The materials used are not non-toxic
Another comfort exercise wheel specially crafted for hedgehogs is the Quality Cage Crafters’ Silent Hedgehog Wheel. This wheel is so durable and comfortable to use that it will probably be the last wheel you will ever buy for your hedgie.
This is undoubtedly one of the most heavy-duty and sturdy wheels on this list. Therefore, if you have a large or a hefty hedgehog, this is the perfect wheel for you.
This is one of the best options because it has smooth tunning ball bearings. Therefore, it will not cause any issues regarding the speed and noise produced. The rotations are so smooth that your hedgie will never run the risk of getting hurt because of the wheel.
- Durable and heavy-duty construction
- Ideal for hefty hedgehogs
- One of the quietest functioning wheels on the market.
- One of the most expensive wheels on this list
Best Flying Saucers
Yes, we know, flying saucers are not really exercising wheels. But what do you do when your hedgie doesn’t trust wheels? You surely can’t leave them unexercised, unentertained, and unstimulated. After all, some hedgehogs might want the same amount of exercise as others but will not want to use a wheel. This is where the flying saucer comes in.
Running on a saucer is somewhat different than running on a wheel. However, the result is the same, as long as your hedgie accepts it as a part of their cage. Once your hedgie starts trusting a saucer, it is likely for them to get comfortable with wheeling soon too.
Flying saucers, however, should not be put to use for hedgehogs under 300g. This is because flying saucers generally have a very smooth spinning motion. Therefore, if your hedgie is light and stops running, the saucer might make the go flying!
Just like the wheels, we suggest you use a 12-inch diameter flying saucer for a hedgehog. Doing so will help your hedgie feel comfortable and not get hurt in their fun workout process.
If your mind is settled on a flying saucer, we present the Ware Manufacturing Flying Saucer Exercise Wheel to you. This flying saucer is 12-inch wide and is sure not to hurt your hedgehog’s back as long as they are heavy enough to not fall toward the center.
One of the best things about this flying saucer is that it is completely made of non-toxic materials. It will also not cause any harm to your hedgie’s feet and soles. Therefore, you can rest assured about your hedgie’s health and safety.
- Strong base for toe and nail safety
- Smooth spinning motion perfect for heavy hedgehogs
- Large size doesn’t hurt any hedgehog’s back
- Encourages hedgehogs who do not trust wheels to exercise
- Hedgehogs can only use it between the weight of 300g and 450g
- The saucer might break if your hedgie uses it relentlessly.
How to Pick the Best Hedgehog Wheels?
When you visit your local pet store, you will see that most of the training wheels are made for hamsters and rats. However, with different physical attributes, hedgehogs need special wheels made with them kept in mind.
Pocking a general rodent exercise wheel can become a serious health hazard for a hedgehog. Moreover, you will also have to look into the materials used to make the wheels to ensure healthy training for your little runner. Therefore, keep the following things in mind while choosing the right hedgie wheel.
- The wheel should not have any sharp edges to avoid accidental injuries.
- The wheel should be tight enough not to fall apart while your hedgehog runs at 10-12 mph speed on it.
- Even though the wheel should be tight, it should be easy to remove and reinstall in the cage for maintenance and cleaning.
- To avoid back injuries, the wheel should have at least 10.5 – 12-inches of diameter. Only then can your hedgehog fit into it comfortably.
- Hedgehogs have sharp nails. Therefore, the wheel’s surface should not be made of mesh or have holes. Otherwise, your hedgie can be seriously injured.
- There should be adequate enough space under the wheel to fit a poop tray.
- The materials should be odorless, non-toxic, and resistant to easy corrosion.
- Spinning motions should be very smooth so that your hedgehog does not have to encounter any jumping or jolting motion.
- The wheel should not produce too much noise to avoid disturbance to your sleep at night.
Maintaining The Best Hedgehog Wheels
As a new hedgehog owner, if you are buying your first wheel, it is obvious for you to get confused about how you can maintain it. Therefore, here are a few tips you can follow to maintain the cage so that your hedgie will have a better time on the wheel.
It is important to keep your hedgehog’s exercise absolutely clean because it is likely to accumulate a lot of dirt. Your hedgie might poo near the wheel, and if not addressed, that can cause a nuisance in the cage.
To clean the wheel properly, make sure you use a cleaner that is compatible with your particular wheel. If the wheel is prone to corrosion, do not clean it with water and only slightly brush it. However, if it is okay to be dipped, make sure you clean it with warm water to disinfect it completely.
It is important to make sure that the wheel’s bearings move very smoothly. Unless the wheels are smooth, your hedgehogs can feel jerky movements that might cause issues in their limbs and spine. Moreover, if the wheel is not smooth, it will cause too much noise. Therefore, you will have a hard time sleeping at night.
To make sure the wheel is running smooth, you must take off the spinning rod from the construction. Glide some vegetable oil or Vaseline petroleum jelly on the rod and put the construction back together. This lubrication should make the wheel work very smoothly.
Exercise is necessary for hedgehogs, and the best way to do that is by adding a wheel in their cage. Only when a hedgehog is well entertained and exercised can they lead a happy and healthy life. Moreover, what’s better than fostering the litter runner with the help of embellishment in their cage?
As a hedgehog owner, you must know the distinction between a good cage for hedgehogs and a potentially harmful one. Make sure your hedgehog feels comfortable with the wheel you place in their cage.
Invest in a wheel that is built specifically with a hedgehog in mind. Help your hedgie buddy feel less stressed, angry, and more fulfilled with being the best owner and getting them the right running wheel.