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How to Safely Transport your Hedgehog in a Car

Transporting your hedgehog in the car may seem like a daunting task. Hogs can be fragile creatures who are easily frightened. Additionally, they like having routine and enjoy the comfort of their homes.

However, sometimes taking a hedgehog in a car is unavoidable. For example, you may need to take him to the vet, or to a friends house while you are going on holiday.

For a calm and happy hedgehog, keep to the following guidelines when transporting a hedgehog in a car:

  1. Use an appropriate travel carrier.
  2. Line the bottom with a grippy material.
  3. Make your hedgehog’s travel carrier a dark cosy den.
  4. Get your hedgehog used to it’s travel home.
  5. Practice travelling with your hedgehog in the car.
  6. Pack all the essentials.
  7. Ensure the car is an appropriate temperature.
  8. Strap the carrier into the car with a seat belt or place it securely on the floor behind a seat.
  9. During the car journey check up on your hog often.
  10. After the car journey try to recreate your hedgehog’s normal environment.

This article covers what you should consider when preparing to travel with a hedgehog in a car, whether it’s for a quick trip or or for a vacation.




Use an appropriate travel carrier.

#1 Obtain a solid, escape-proof carrier.

Your hedgehog’s travel carrier must be rigid, well-ventilated and secure.

Cages made from solid plastic and metal wire are a great option for hedgehogs as they are strong and escape-proof. They’re also great as they provide your hedgehog with some privacy. You want your hog to feel like he is in a safe little burrow.

You should never attempt to transport your hedgehog in a box, a plastic tub, in your lap, or in a soft purse or carrier.

#2 Choose a smaller travel carrier.

Your hedgehog’s travel carrier should be smaller than it’s usual home.

Firstly, a small cage will be light and easy for you to transport. Secondly, your hedgehog will feel more safe and secure in a smaller travel cage. Lastly, having a smaller travel cage will also prevent potential injuries as your hedgehog could risk being thrown around in a large cage.

With that said, your hedgehog’s travel carrier must be large enough for him or her to lie down, stand up, sit down and turn around in, without any restriction.

Top tip – If you have a bonded pair of hedgies, transport them in the same carrier. Even if only one of them needs to go to the vet. They will provide each other with comfort during the car journey.

POPULAR HEDGEHOG TRAVEL CARRIERS

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Kaka mall Pet Carrier Waterproof

Soft

41.5 x 20 x 29 cm

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AmazonBasics Black Soft-Sided Pet Carrier – Small

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 35 x 22 x 22 cm

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Living World Paws2Go Carrier, Blue

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30.5 x 7.6 x 15.2 cm

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Make your hedgehog’s travel carrier a cosy den.

#1 Line the bottom with a grippy material.

This will prevent your hedgehog sliding around the bottom of its carrier during the car ride. Sliding around will cause a hedgehog to become highly stressed, sick and could even injure your little friend.

Puppy training pads work really well as a base and also soak up any accidents, spillages and odour.

Alternatively, you could also line the bottom with a towel, newspaper or hedgehog, bird or cat litter.

Pine, cedar, or other aromatic wood shavings may be harmful to hog’s health.

#2 Add a blanket.

A blanket or towel will provide your hedgehog with comfort, security and will provide him/her with extra grip.

Top tip – Using your hedgehog’s favourite blanket will make him feel extra safe!

#3 Cover your hedgehog travel carrier.

This will re-create the feeling of a safe burrow.

Some cages already recreate this feeling with solid opaque walls, however if yours doesn’t then you could use a thin, breathable blanket to cover the cage.




Get your hedgehog used to it’s travel home before taking your hedgehog in the car.

You want your hedgehog to feel at home in its travel cage.

Try to purchase your travel carrier weeks before your car journey so you have adequate time get your hedgehog used to it’s travel home.

a) Don’t force your hedgehog in the cage.

This is VERY important.

You don’t want your hedgehog to associate the travel carrier with stress and fear.

Instead, introduce the carrier during playtime. Leave the door open so your hedgehog can enter it willingly.

b) Entice your hedgehog in the cage with treats.

This way, he/she will associate it with good things.




Practice travelling with your hedgehog in the car.

Once your hedgehog has started to feel more comfortable in their new travel home, get them used to staying in there for longer periods of time.

Put your hedgehog in the cage with their favourite toy or treat for a few minutes at a time. Close the door securely and walk slowly around the house so that your hedgehog gets used to being off the ground.

Once your hedgehog is used to being in their carrier around the house, you can do some test runs in the car!

Start out by taking short car trips around the block and work your way up to longer journeys. This way, your hedgehog can slowly get used to the sensation of being in a moving vehicle.




Pack all the essentials.

As mentioned earlier, hedgehogs on a car trip don’t normally want to eat and a full belly can sometimes make them sick. However, if going on a particularly long journey, pack some food just in case. You should bring water for any length of journey.

Just to be safe, you may also want to consider packing extra supplies such as paper towels, blankets, trash bags or towels.

Additionally, if you have one to hand, you may want to consider bringing along a play pen. If you are planning on staying somewhere overnight, then it will provide your hedgehog with more space to run around in. Just be sure that it is 100% secure as you don’t want your hedgehog to escape!

Lastly, you may want to consider taking heating supplies, if travelling during the winter. While you may not need them during the summer, it’s a good idea to have some disposable hand-warmers or reusable ones that are ready to go on hand for the trip if travelling during the colder months.

Don’t leave water in the carrier while you’re driving as this can spill, get your hedgie wet and lead to chills.




Ensure the car is an appropriate temperature before taking your hedgehog in the car.

Now that your hedgehog is comfortable in their travel carrier, you need to make sure the temperature is okay for your hedgehog before setting off on your drive.

You will need to ensure the car is cooler than 26ºC / 79ºF, as hedgehogs cannot tolerate any temperature higher than this. Additionally, if the temperature falls below 23ºC / 73ºF, your hedgehog may attempt to hibernate.

Top tips for travelling on a HOT day: 

  • Cool the vehicle before introducing your hedgehog.
  • Don’t allow your hedgehog carrier to sit in direct sunlight.
  • Do not leave your hedgehog unattended in the car.
  • Ensure air-con/heat vents aren’t blowing directly onto your hedgehog’s carrier.
  • If you don’t have air-con, place an ice pack wrapped in a hand towel inside the carrier for added cooling. You can also place a damp towel over the carrier.

For more information, check 10 Easy Ways to Keep a Hedgehog Warm During Travel

Top tips for travelling on a COLD day: 

  • Use some hand-warmers to warm the carrier.
  • Use a hot water bottle.
  • Do not put your hedgehog’s carrier on the floor.




Strap the hedgehog’s carrier into the car with a seat belt or place it securely on the floor behind a seat.

You don’t want the travel cage to be thrown around during the car trip.

Place the side of the cage toward the front of the car, so that your hedgehog won’t hit his face on the wiring if the car needs to brake suddenly.

The safest place to put your  hedgehog is in a back seat. This is the safest place in case of an accident. However, you may feel more comfortable with your hedgehog in the passenger seat so you can keep an eye on him. It’s up to you!

Your hedgehog can ride in the trunk of the car, as long as the carrier is secured down, is well ventilated, and not closed off.

NEVER place your hedgehog’s travel carrier in a closed off trunk. It’s a scary place for a hog, and you don’t want your little friend to suffocate!




During the car journey check up on your hog often.

On a long car journey make regular pit stops to check up on your hog.

If your hedgehog hasn’t had a drink, you may want to offer him some water from your hand or a dish.

Look for signs of overheating.

Hedgehogs cannot stand temperatures of over 26ºC / 79º. If they are exposed to temperatures higher than this, they can get seriously ill.

Look out for the following signs of overheating in hedgehogs:

  • Panting
  • Bright red tongue
  • Slobbering, or thick, sticky saliva
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Reluctance to move
  • Convulsions

If your hedgehog overheats, immediately take him to a cooler place, out of the sun. Dampen his ears with cool (not cold) water to help bring his temperature back to normal.




After the car journey try to recreate your hedgehog’s normal environment.

Once the car drive is over, put your hedgehog back in its normal cage or recreate its normal home as closely as possible

Offer your hog his usual food, and reintroduce his usually toys.

Give your hedgehog lots of love and attention, just like you would at home.

Watch out for signs of illness.

Stressed hedgehogs are more prone to getting sick, therefore you want to keep an eye on your hedgehogs health after the journey too.

Look out for the following signs of sickness in hedgehogs:

“A sick hedgehog will often be less active and/or weaker than normal and usually will have a reduced appetite,” Dr. Wilkinson says. “Many times they will stop running in their wheel at night.”

Weight loss, loose or reduced stools and reduced or bloody urine also can indicate your hedgehog is under the weather. Other signs of a sick hedgehog include lethargy, panting or laboured breathing, a dull expression, discharge from the nose or eyes, sneezing, coughing and paralysis.

  • Change in activity
  • Change in stool
  • Coughing
  • Discharge from the eyes or nose
  • Dull expression
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Laboured breathing or panting
  • Paralysis
  • Reduced of bloody urine
  • Sneezing
  • Weight loss
Final Tips:

  • Don’t blast the radio too loudly.
  • Try to keep the journey as short as possible. Avoid lengthy pit stops at service stations and dilly-dallying. You want to get your hedgehog back to his normal environment as soon as possible.
  • Talk softly to your hedgie to remind him that you are there and that he is safe.
  • When planning your driving route, take note of states and other localities where pet hedgehogs are illegal. Most places aren’t an issue driving through with hedgehogs, as long as you’re not staying the night. However, be careful as authorities can be very strict about hedgehogs, you don’t want to risk him being taken away.





Conclusion

Hedgehogs are prone to getting stressed whilst travelling. However, if you plan and prepare ahead, a road trip with a hedgehog can be a stress-free experience for you both.

Make sure you get an appropriate travel cage for your hog weeks before your planned road trip. This way, you can spend time to ensure your hedgehog feels safe and secure in its travel home.

Furthermore, ensure that the car is hog-safe and remains cooler than 26ºC / 79º at all times.

Look out for any signs of sickness during and after the trip, and take your hedgehog to the vet if you do suspect that he is poorly.

Hope you have found this helpful.

Happy and safe travels! 🙂




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