Most people tend to think of hedgehogs as incredibly lazy, spending most of their time lounging. Although that's true during the day, hedgehogs are incredibly active at night running up to several miles each night.
Providing them an outlet for this energy is an absolute necessity!
Unfortunately, finding a hedgehog safe wheel can be a challenge. Most wheels you see in pet store contain seams or holes that can catch your hedgehogs nails. This can cause a great deal of pain and some serious damage to their feet.
I won't post any pictures of the damage they can cause, but trust me. You'll generally want to avoid any wheels not mentioned in this list.
1. Carolina Storm Bucket Wheel by CarolinaStorm
This is my preferred choice but a bit more difficult to find. You'll need to purchase directly from their Etsy shop, but it's an excellent choice.
This hand made wheel is probably the most popular choice in the hedgehog community. Although not the most "professional" looking, it has a lot of amazing features.
First off, the wheel has a smooth running surface making it incredibly easy to clean. Depending on how often you clean, it could be as easy as a quick spray from your backyard hose or a quick 30 second scrub. Either way, the smooth surface makes it a painless process.
The wheel is also height adjustable. Depending on how low you'd like it to the ground, you have three separate height adjustment. There's even a tilt adjustment to promote safer and easier running.
It's also incredibly quiet. It may be one of the only wheels out there that you could have next to your bed and still sleep comfortable through the night. I'm not aware of any wheels on the market that are this silent!
Overall, I don't have anything bad to say about the carolina bucket wheel. It's only a bit more expensive than other wheels, is incredibly quiet, and the ease of cleaning is a huge time saver. The only bad thing I could really say it that it doesn't look "professionally" made.
Absolutely recommend the bucket wheel as the number one choice for your hedgehog!
- Extremely quiet
- Incredibly easy to clean
- Height and angle adjustable
- Slightly higher cost
- Only free standing, can't be attached to cage
2. Kaytee Comfort Wheel (Giant)
The Giant Comfort Wheel is the low cost hedgehog safe alternative to the bucket wheel. We've used this wheel for hundreds of hedgehogs over the years without any issue.
The comfort wheel is the low cost hedgehog safe option. It's going to be difficult to find a hedgehog safe wheel at a lower cost than this. It's not the most high quality product you'll ever purchase, but it'll get the job done.
The comfort wheel is made of hard plastic which can break if dropped. I've probably broken 10 of these over the years dropping them from chest height. However, at the cost, if you have a lot of animals its worth it.
The worst feature of this wheel is the built in ridges. These ridges are made for traction but make cleaning a much longer process. Hedgehogs poop a lot, especially in their wheels and that gets wedged into those ridges. It makes a 30 second job into a 5 minute job.
Another trade off for the cost will be the noise it makes. If you're planning to keep your hedgehog right next to you in bed, you'll want to avoid this wheel. It wasn't designed to be quiet and it absolutely shows. If you need quiet, this isn't the wheel for you.
Overall, the wheel is an excellent cost effective, hedgehog safe option for your hedgehog. We have hundreds of these wheels and have never had any issues.
- Low cost
- Hedgehog Safe
- Free standing or cage mountable
- More difficult to clean
Flying Saucer Hedgehog Wheel
The flying saucer wheel is a completely different design than the previous two options. Although not my first choice for hedgehogs, the few we've used over the years have worked well.
Wheels to Avoid
There are a few wheels out there that you'll want to completely avoid using for your hedgehog. The wheels that make this are generally unsafe for your hedgehog and can cause serious pain and damage to their feet.
Kaytee Silent Spinner Wheel
This wheel is incredibly popular and found easily at nearly every pet store out there. However, it is not a safe option for hedgehogs.
There are many reasons to avoid this wheel for your hedgehog. Not only is it generally unsafe and damaging on their feet, but it's also not that silent.
The main problem on this wheel is the seam going down the center and various small holes every few inches. This can catch your hedgehogs toe nails and cause severe injury. I won't show any pictures of the damage they can cause, but trust me, you'll want to avoid this wheel for your hedgehog.
If you have no other choice but this wheel, you can place a layer of tape over the seam to prevent nails being caught. However, due to the wheel design urine will be trapped in the wheel unable to drain causing a disgusting mess.
Overall, avoid this wheel for your hedgehog.
Wire wheels can be a great option for a lot of different species. However, they're not a safe option for your hedgehog.
Many new owners are drawn to the wire wheel due to the open design. Admittedly, it is incredibly easy to clean since poop falls right through the wire openings. However, it's just not a safe choice for your hedgehog.
There is a serious risk of your hedgehogs nails getting caught in the mesh and ripping the nail out. You can probably imagine how painful and damaging this can be for your hedgehog.
We've never used them for our own hedgehogs, but we've also heard of issues with their quills getting caught in the mesh as well. This is mainly based on second hand knowledge, but it's better to just avoid wire wheels if you can.
The Best Hedgehog Wheel
The best hedgehog safe exercise wheel on the market today would have to be the Carolina Storm Bucket Wheel.
The bucket wheel is safe, quiet, adjustable, and easy to clean. All of these add up to make it best exercise wheel on the market today. The only real issue with the wheel itself is how difficult it can be to find and it's slightly higher cost.
Due to the cost and because noise isn't an issue for us, we personally use to Kaytee Comfort Wheel for nearly all of our hedgehogs. Throughout the years they've worked great and caused zero issues for any of our animals. Only being somewhat of annoyance when cleaning.
To conclude, stick to wheels that work. The carolina bucket wheel and kaytee comfort wheel are both excellent, safe options for your hedgehog.