By Karen Rosenthal, DVM, MS
I’m getting a hedgehog very soon and am planning on using my old hutch (with a few modifications to make it safe for the hedgehog) that my bunny used. We never knew if my bunny had any diseases, so we weren’t sure if we needed to clean the hutch or any other accessories in any way. Also, there are several places where my bunny had chewed on the wooden frame of the hutch, but I didn’t think that would affect the hedgehog. Hopefully you could help me out with this?
Reusing an old hutch or cage for a new pet is very environmentally friendly and should be encouraged when it is safe to do so. In this case, it is extremely unlikely that there were any diseases that your rabbit may have had that can infect your hedgehog. I would still recommend cleaning the cage and any accessories with a pet-safe disinfectant.
As you mention, you probably need to do a few modifications to make this safe for your hedgehog, which probably includes removing the wire grating and locating food and water bowls where your hedgehog can reach them. I would also be careful about the areas the rabbit has chewed on to make sure no splinters are obvious and there are no edges that could harm your hedgehog.
Because this hutch was meant for a rabbit, it should be a fairly big size with enough room for exercise, a shelter box, food pans and other areas for your hedgehog to explore. With some modifications, this sounds like a great place for your hedgehog to live.