Are you one of the many people who have purchased toys for your hedgehog, brought them home and then had your hedgehog ignore them? Don't worry, there are many of us that fall into that category. What can we do? Well, we can spend lots of money trying to find the toys that our hedgehogs seem to find entertaining, or you can go for the recycled toy approach.
What is a recycled toy? A recycled toy is a term I have used for a long time for any item which I would have thrown away normally, but are now being played with by my hedgehogs. These are items that are commonly found in homes and which our hedgehogs may find entertaining. The best part about recycled items is you haven't spent anything extra for them. If your hedgehog doesn't like the item, throw it away or recycle it.
I have listed out several items in which hedgehogs have shown some interest. Not all hedgehogs will like all items, and some may not like any of them. When looking for toys for your hedgehog, keep the hedgehog's personality in mind: look for items which can be explored, pushed, pulled, or simply used as a hiding place.
Warning: Some of these items may be unsuitable to be left in a hedgehog's enclosure all the time, while others are perfectly safe for full time contact. Use your judgment to decide if an item should be left in your hedgehog's home.
Small paper grocery bags: These are easy to find and inexpensive. Just fold and toss when dirty. I have found that if I lay one on its side that the hiding and exploring personalities seem to enjoy them.
Crumpled up pieces of paper: Some hedgehogs enjoy pushing these around, and the exploring type may find them interesting until they figure out what it is.
Sheets of newspaper or wrapping paper: These items can be fun for hedgehogs to explore and crawl under, and it can make interesting noises which some hedgehogs apparently find entertaining. Most newspaper ink is now made from soy-based dyes which are safe, but check with your newspaper company to be sure. Also, make sure that there are no staples which could poke the hedgehog in the eye.
Toilet paper and paper towel cardboard spools: Many hedgehogs enjoy sticking their heads in the end of these spools and walking around, and banging the spool into everything. Some people recommend cutting the side of the spool so that the hedgehog doesn't risk getting its head caught.
Oatmeal containers: Many rolled oatmeal brands sell their product in a large round container. You can either punch the bottom out of them, or leave the bottom in. Without, the container becomes a tube to run through, and with, a place to hide. Ensure the container is large enough that your hedgehog does not get stuck, and toss when dirty.
Shoe boxes, tissue boxes, and miscellaneous cardboard boxes: All of these can be great fun for hedgehogs. You can either turn them upside down or place them on their sides to provide a hiding spot. If the box is upside down, you may want to cut an entrance in one or two sides to allow escape.
Small, lightweight plastic bowls: These are items that hedgehogs can toss around, or crawl under to hide. Plastic ice-cream tubs, or various other large plastic containers can also make great hiding places to serve as a hedgehog's sleeping place.
PVC plumbing pipe: If you have some 4" diameter plumbing pipe, small sections of this can be lots of fun for hedgehogs to run through or hide in. You can also use the different joint and tee combinations available to make interesting tunnels to run through and hide in. Cutting PVC can leave a sharp edge, so make sure that all edges and corners are rounded smooth and that the pipe has been cleaned well before giving to your hedgehogs.
If none of the above suits your hedgehog's personality, there are a variety of other ideas and items in your house which may be suitable. Just look around your home, eyeing everything as a possible hedgehog toy. Just be careful not to use anything which contained chemicals, has sharp edges that may cut a hedgehog, or otherwise may harm your hedgehog.