Fake soil as a substrate

fluorescence

New member
Joined
Sep 10, 2014
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Hi folks, newbie here to the forum *sheepish wave* :)

I'll be getting my first hedgehog in November, and at the moment I'm trying to organise everything so that I'm ready for hedgie's arrival! I've been reading a lot about the pros and cons of different bedding (seems everyone's a fleece fan!), but personally I don't like the idea of fleece. I'd like the hedgie to have some burrowing possibilities.

The only thing I haven't seen mentioned anywhere I've looked is a soil-type set-up, like what you'd see in a terrarium. I've found this fake soil made from coconut, and I was wondering what experienced hedgie guardians thought of it as a substrate? AFAIK coconut is ok for hedgies, it'd be nice and soft on their wee feet, and they could muck about if they wanted. Possible cons are difficulty to detect funny poops/urine (though not if a litterbox is used) and high humidity (?) but that's pure guesswork.

Here's what the site says about it anyway:

100% natural substrate
Ideal for natural terrarium set-ups
Increases humidity in terrariums
Stimulates natural digging and burrowing behavior
Nutritional substrate for live plants

Exo Terra Plantation Soil is made from compressed coconut husk fibre from the plantations of tropical Asia. This ecological substrate is ideal for increasing humidity in the terrarium and is totally safe for frogs, salamanders and burrowing or digging animals. The substrate can also be used as an incubation medium because of its hygroscopic properties. This 100% natural substrate can even be used as a nutritional planting soil for live plants in a terrarium set-up.

What do ye folks think? I would love some advise!
 

smhufflepuff

super-duper hedgiepig
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I've seen people use that, though it's never been terribly popular. I suppose, like all substrate bedding, there are issues associated with reduced ability to detect poop or urine that's a bit "off" or blood, issues related to tracking the substrate all over the house, etc... You'll need to watch to ensure that hedgie isn't eating it.

Overall, I prefer fleece for its simplicity. It's easy to see what's going on with hedgie and easy to clean.
 

fluorescence

New member
Joined
Sep 10, 2014
Messages
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Sure if it's made of coconut it hardly matters if hedgie has some samples to taste, right? I hear they usually eat a bit of any new bedding. Which makes me nervous about a paper-based substrate, since paper swells when wet.

The litter tray will have white litter anyway and hedgies tend to poop on the wheel too, which makes detecting problems straightforward, I think.

I just want hedgie to be able to burrow and nose around in the dirt if he likes. Perhaps I'll use a hemp bedding either. Although if I use dirt, I could plant some grass seeds in a section of the cage. Is there any reason why grass would be a bad idea, do you know?
 

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