How Much Exercise Do Hedgehogs Need? (Complete Guide)

As a hedgehog owner, you are probably interested to know how much exercise your hedgehog needs on a daily and weekly basis?

We have brought together the thoughts and advice of multiple vets and hedgehogs care experts as well as using our own experience to bring you all the answers regarding how much exercise your hedgehog needs.

So how much exercise do hedgehogs need? There isn’t a set amount of time that hedgehogs should spend exercising each day, however, we would recommend as a general rule of thumb that you allow your hedgehog around 1 hour out of their cage each day as well as providing an exercise wheel to keep your hedgehog both healthy and stimulated.

Read on to discover…

How Much Exercise Do Hedgehogs Need (More Info)

Ok, so we just mentioned above that there aren’t any exact numbers from scientists or vets that lays down a plan for exactly how much exercise hedgehogs should get per day.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get into a good routine of providing your hedgie with lots of exercise and stimulation.

We would recommend that you allow your hedgie around 1 hour out of their cage each day. 

If you can allow your hedgehog to spend more than one hour per day out of their cage then great but if you aim for 1 hour then this should give you lots of opportunities to provide your hedgie with exercise and stimulation.

Shortly we will give you 4 great ways that you can keep your hedgehog fit while having fun at the same time.

Why Do Captive Hedgehogs Need Exercise?

In the wild, hedgehogs are extremely active and according to Wildlifetrust, they can travel up to 2km per night while foraging and looking for mates.

This means they can travel across entire neighbourhoods and housing estates in a single night.

To show how active hedgehogs are in the wild and how far they travel, we have made a cool comparison table below that shows how long it would take a hedgehog to travel landmarks, cities and more!

How Long Would It Take a Hedgehog to Travel Around Famous Landmarks?

(Scroll to See Full Table on Mobile)
Famous PlaceHow Long to....DistanceHow Long?
Rome ColosseumWalk around the famous tourist attraction in Rome 545 Metres Circumference4 times per/night
Mount EverestClimb to top of the highest mountain in the world8848 Metres High8 1/2 days
New YorkWalk from one side of NY to the other33.6 Miles27 days
River NileWalk the entire length of the famous river Nile 81.84 Miles66 days
Orient ExpressFollow to the exact journey of the legendary train 1890 Miles4Y, 4M, 14D

So why is the distance that a wild hedgehog travels important and relevant to how much exercise they need in captivity?

It’s important because a captive hedgehog gets nowhere near the same amount of exercise and even mental stimulation that a wild hedgehog gets.

That coupled with the captive diet and it’s no wonder that pet hedgehogs are prone to become obese.

What you also need to take into account is that hedgehogs also sleep up to 18 hours per day according to Livescience.

This means that you don’t have much time in their waking day to give them the exercise they need to keep them fit and healthy.

The bottom line is that wild hedgehogs are much more active than captive hedgehogs so as an owner you need to provide stimulating exercise to allow your hedgie to stay fit and in shape.

Now let’s take at what you can do to give your hedgehog the exercise it needs on a daily basis…

4 Easy Ways to Help Your Hedgehog Get More Exercise

Sometimes it can be hard to think of creative ways to give your hedgehog exercise that are both fun and mentally stimulating.

We’ve put together a list of 4 things you can do to allow your hedgehog the ability to stay active on a daily basis, check them out below…

1. Play With Toys

This one really is infinite to the number of options you have. There are a ton of toy options out there and new ones becoming available all the time.

The great thing about toys is that you can join in with the play and really get a chance to bond with your hedgehog while providing them with both exercise and mental stimulation.

We have a couple of favourites that we would like to share with you that we’re sure your hedgie will love.

Kritter Cruiser –  this is essentially an exercise wheel that’s encased in a car.

When your hedgie runs on the wheel, the car will move around the floor. This encourages safe play and exercise while also providing mental stimulation.

Barrel Roller – A barrel roller is made especially for small animals such as hedgehogs to chew and nibble on.

As they try to chew and nibble the barrel it keeps rolling and encourages your hedgehog to keep moving.

You can see where to get these toys for the lowest price plus the full range of toys we recommend for your hedgehog for both in and out of their cage on our recommended toys page here…

2. Swimming

Swimming is a great exercise for hedgehogs to stay active and stimulated at the same time.

Vetmed also talks about how hedgehogs need time out of their cage and that swimming is a great option.

It’s also great to help with bonding and something you can look forward to doing with your hedgie from time to time.

Hedgehogs are actually really good swimmers and they owe a lot of their ability to swim down to the fact that their quills naturally hold air and keep them buoyant in the water.

 You can allow your hedgie to swim 2-3 times per month for around 5-10 minutes per session.

There are a lot of do’s and don’ts when it comes to swimming, such as never leave your hedgehog unattended and don’t allow other members of the family to play in the same pool or area as your hedgehog as this can cause them to get into difficulty.

To learn all you need to know about your hedgehog safely swimming in bathtubs, paddling pools and swimming pools, check out our easy to follow hedgehog swimming guide here.

3. Exercise Wheel

An exercise wheel is a staple toy or cage accessory you should always have for your hedgehog.

Many experts such as Vetmed recommend you install an exercise wheel.

This will be by far the number way that your hedgie gets the majority of its exercise.

The great thing about cage wheels is that this exercise is in addition to the hour that you take them out of their cage daily as they will just use the wheel throughout the night by themselves whenever they want.

Hedgehogs have actually been known to run over 5 miles per night on exercise wheels by owners that have recorded the mileage with technology.

This means that you will need a good quality ‘silent runner’ wheel because if not your hedgie will more than likely keep you up most of the night with the sound of the wheel spinning.

You can find out the exact exercise wheel we recommend and why some wheels can be dangerous in this guide here.

We believe that an exercise wheel is an easiest and best way to allow your hedgehog to get the exercise it needs.

4. A Large Cage

Something that’s often overlooked is providing your hedgehog with a large cage.

We understand that sometimes space is at a premium and that cages can be expensive depending on what style you choose, however, housing your hedgie in a large cage will help them to get some much-needed exercise.

Many vets and hedgehog care professionals recommend a cage no smaller than 2ft x 3ft and many of them will often suggest 2ft x 4ft. Source:

This will really give your hedgehog space to explore, burrow and even simulate their natural foraging behaviours.

Remember that hedgehogs can travel distances of up to 2km per night and a nice large cage will go at least somewhat to helping them to get some exercise and feel stimulated at the same time.

We have created a guide that walks you through the best cage options for your hedgehog and one of the options may actually surprise you…

Adam Woods

Hi, My name is Adam. I'm the main author of Pocket Pets Forever. I'm a pocket pet enthusiast and I love sharing my knowledge and passion for these amazing animals. Thank you for supporting us on our journey as we continue to publish content with the aim of helping owners care for their pets in the best way possible!

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