Once you’ve successfully owned your hedgehog for a while it’s only natural that you might want to bring a new pet home and one popular consideration is a tortoise.
This in turn, naturally provokes lots of questions such as can hedgehogs and tortoises live together? Or can they even get along together?
In this post, we will look at the insights of vets, and animal care experts and answer all your questions about hedgehogs and tortoises living together and getting along in the same family home.
So can hedgehogs and tortoises live together? Hedgehogs and tortoises should never live together in the same enclosure as their housing requirements and needs differ tremendously. They can, however, live in the same home and come into contact with each other as long as strict and sensible rules are followed by the owner.
Read on to find out…
Can Hedgehogs & Tortoises Live together In The Same Enclosure?
As we mentioned above, it’s not a good idea for hedgehogs and tortoises to live together in the same enclosure.
Some of the reasons can cause behavioural confits and may seem pretty mild while others are very serious and could even be life-threatening mainly for the hedgehog.
Let’s take a look at the different reasons why you should house a hedgehog and tortoise together…
Different Temperature Requirements
Hedgehogs and tortoises both require vastly different temperatures in their enclosure to live a happy and healthy life.
Experts say that hedgehogs need a temperature of between 70° – 85°F provided from a heat source such as a ceramic heat emitter.
If you’re not using a ceramic heat emitter or not sure if you should be, then check out this post that shares which ceramic heat emitter we recommend as well as all other cage requirements.
While tortoises need a much more complicated heating and lighting structure of 70°F at the cool side of the enclosure and a basking area of at 90-100°F according to Pet-MD
It’s vital that tortoises get the 90-100°F basking area to process vitamin-D and enable them to digest their food among other reasons.
Adapting the temperatures to the requirements of the tortoise would fry the hedgehog while adapting them to the requirements of the hedgehog would have serious health complications for the tortoise.
This reason alone is enough for you to never even consider housing a hedgehog and tortoise in the same enclosure.
Hedgehogs Are Nocturnal
Another massive reason why you should never consider having a hedgehog and tortoise living together is that hedgehogs are nocturnal and tortoises aren’t.
This will cause massive sleep problems for the tortoise that has a natural sleep cycle that’s close to that of a human.
This isn’t actually just a problem for the tortoise as the fact that they’re nocturnal means that they are less active during the day according to the RSPCA.
This means that when the tortoise is active and the hedgie will be wanting to chill and take naps.
The fact that one of them is diurnal and nocturnal will cause a constant conflict between both of them and is yet another big reason not to house them together.
Both Animals Can Be Territorial
Both hedgehogs and tortoises are known to be solitary animals and are best kept on their own.
When researching for this post, we found many vets and experts claiming tortoises reported showing aggressive behaviour when housed with other tortoises.
Hedgehogs can be surprisingly equally aggressive when put in the same position.
While there’s no concrete evidence or research available to show how territorial a hedgehog and tortoise would be with each other when housed together, we can only assume with the evidence we do have that this would not be a good idea and that conflicts would appear.
The bottom line is that this would not be a wise decision when one of the pets could get seriously injured or worse and better alternatives exist.
Feeding On The Wrong Foods
Another problem that’s often overlooked when keeping more than one pet in the same enclosure is the problems of equal food sharing.
Animals obviously don’t understand the concept of sharing food and when you have two different animals with different dietary requirements this can pose problems.
Hedgehogs are naturally insectivores so most of their natural diet would come from insects, while tortoises and herbivores so they only eat greens and veggies.
This doesn’t mean that hedgehogs don’t like to eat greens and veggies too.
In fact, they will gladly eat the greens if they are in their enclosure. This can mean your hedgie is getting way too many greens in its diet and will be full when it comes to getting their recommended share of insects or hedgehog food you provide.
There’s actually a lot of confusion about what is the correct food to feed a hedgehog, whether it’s cat food or actual hedgehog food?
We’ve actually shared a post here that explains the best options and what food so you can be sure your hedgie is as healthy as possible.
Another problem is that your tortoise wouldn’t be getting the number of nutrients it needs and they would often be sprinkled with a calcium supplement too which is vital to their health.
I’m sure you can see it would be pretty difficult to feed both pets only the food they require and in the correct portions without the other housemate stealing some of the food.
Can Hedgehogs & Tortoises Live Together In The Same Room?
Keeping a hedgehog and tortoise in separate enclosures but in the same room can also cause lots of problems.
While a lot of the time animals are fine when housed in the same room as another pet but in a different enclosure, sometimes they can still feel either threatened or intimidated by the other pets presence.
When introducing a new pet into your home it’s always best to have a separate room ready just in case you encounter this very problem.
Sometimes it’s enough to simply turn one of the enclosures 180° so both pets can’t see each other (if they are housed in vivariums or cages with solid backs) but we would always advise having a backup room ready for one of the pets.
With hedgehogs and tortoises, however, it’s still not a good idea to have them in the same room even in separate enclosures.
This is because of the fact that hedgehogs are nocturnal and will likely keep the tortoise up all night.
Hedgehogs love exercise wheels and they can be noisy. We do recommend you purchase a silent runner wheel like the one we talk about here.
This will make the noise they create at night far less for the tortoise and even you the owner but they will still have noise while burrowing and displaying other natural behaviours.
Can Hedgehogs & Tortoises Live Together In Separate Rooms?
Keeping a hedgehog and tortoise in separate rooms is really the only way to go if you want to keep them without any problems.
It’s far better for both of them to have their own space and ultimately live separate lives.
If you can’t provide both animals with separate rooms then it’s probably best that you don’t bring home the second pet as it’s not fair on either the hedgehog or tortoise.
If you do have room to house them both separately then there’s no reason why you can’t own both of these pets and keep them successfully.
Can Hedgehogs & Tortoises Get Along When In contact With Eachother?
Hedgehogs and tortoises can get along when in contact with each other but it’s not quite that simple and there are some dangers that you could possibly encounter if the situation isn’t handled correctly.
There are many factors to consider when thinking about letting a hedgehog and tortoise come into contact with each other or play together.
First, there are territorial issues and depending on the individual personality of each pet.
Both pets have the ability to become aggressive, stressed or feel threatened.
Hedgehogs are also solitary animals as we mentioned earlier, this can lead them to become very timid when around other creatures and it can take some time for them to feel comfortable.
You can expect the hedgehog to curl up into a ball at least for the first few times they are close to each other.
Something that’s often overlooked is the fact that reptiles including tortoises can carry salmonella, source. The salmonella is usually carried in the intestinal tract and is released in their poop.
If the hedgehog picks any of the tortoise poop up on their feet or eats any of it then there is a chance of contracting a serious illness.
Our personal thoughts are that hedgehogs and tortoises don’t really need to come into contact with each other as they are quite happy on their own.
If you do feel you really want to introduce your new pets together then it’s important that you know…
Whenever you bring a new pet into the home the first thing you need to do is quarantine the new pet for a 30 day period.
This means no contact with your existing pet at all in that period. This to make sure the new pet has no parasites or mites that can be transferred to your existing pet.