Care, Housing

Heating my Hedgehogs Vivarium

Still inspired by how easy to customise a C&C cage is to build I’d originally wanted to make the same for my African Pygmy Hedgehog. As I saw more and more hibernation attempts discussed on African Pygmy Hedgehog Facebook groups I grew less confident that I’d be able to safely maintain the correct temperature in a well ventilated C&C cage. What would have been a spacious and airy habitat was quickly becoming a correx and plexiglass cocoon to guard against the variable temperatures of my tenement living room.

I decided to copy what everybody else was doing successfully and use a vivarium.

Having had an under-cage heat pad fail previously for a guinea pig, I was nervous about the heating system. The woman who bred the hedgehog I was getting gave me links to what I would need from SwellReptiles and explained how each piece of equipment fit together – though there are a lot of good write ups from well meaning hog enthusiasts too.

clockwise from top left: Ceramic Bulb Holder, Ceramic Heat Emitter bulb (150w), Pulse Thermostat and High/Low thermometer probe, wire grips.
The bulb holder is connected to the – thermostat plug. And the thermostat plug is connected to the – power socket. Then the holder-and-probe go into the house.

Once I had everything in front of me it started to make sense.

The thermostat has a probe which is placed into the vivarium so it can measure the temperature in the vivarium and decide whether it needs to give electricity to the bulb or not to increase the temperature. The temperature is set on a dial on the front of the thermostat and two lights indicate that the thermostat has power and whether it’s currently powering the ceramic bulb or not.

The probe and ceramic bulb are fed into the vivarium through a hole at the top of the vivarium above an air vent. 

Once we fed the wire for the ceramic bulb and temperature probe for the thermostat we put the lid onto the vivarium.

The High/Low thermometer probe is sitting at the other side of the vivarium, it’s currently reading a low 17°C with the heating equipment off and no central heating running. With the central heating on the vivarium will only reach 20°C showing the need for the heating equipment in my flat.

To install the light I fed enough cable into the vivarium so the ceramic bulb holder would reach the center of the vivarium roof but the manual off-switch will still be accessible outside the vivarium. Position found, we started to hammer the wire holders in to hold the bulb holder in place.

I’m sure there might have been an easier and more eye-safe way to do this.

Et Voila! 

A perk of having my head inside the vivarium for so long while hammering the wire grips into place is we were able to hear how loud tapping on top of the vivarium is INSIDE the vivarium. So we moved the vivarium away from the television and added a blanket to make for a calmer home.