How far do hedgehogs run?

In June, 2020, I adopted an African pygmy hedgehog, Lemmy. After reading up on hedgehog behavior, I learned that these little critters can be incredibly active, spending lots of time running on their wheel. I had heard that hedgehogs would often run several miles per night… could that be true? I set out to learn for myself.

Lemmy the hedgehog
Meet Lemmy, the African Pygmy Hedgehog

How to measure activity?

The wheel counter installed on Lemmy’s cage and wheel.

I installed a wheel counter on Lemmy’s Carolina Storm Bucket wheel. This particular style of wheel is incredibly popular in the hedgehog community because of its solid design, making it very safe for little hedgehog feet.

The first test

I awoke and went to check on Lemmy and to see if the wheel counter had worked. I looked at the LCD readout and couldn’t believe it: 11,707 revolutions! “Could it be an error?” I thought to myself. Hmm. Even if Lemmy had been on the wheel to trigger “false counts” overnight, there’s really no way that it would add up to that many revolutions. Turns out, Lemmy is a RUNNER!

11,707 revolutions! Amazing!

How far did he go?

The next obvious question was to figure out just how far Lemmy had run that night. I worked out the math and after doing the calculations I had the number: 5.73 MILES (9.16 km)! Could that be right? I double-checked. Yep. Lemmy ran nearly six miles that night, confirming what his breeder had told me about their activity. I decided to make a spreadsheet to track Lemmy’s runs.

September Results

I started tracking Lemmy’s wheel activity on Sept. 7th, 2020. For the remainder of the month he ran:

  • Average: 5.53 miles (8.85 km) per night
  • Total distance: 132.7 miles (212.2 km)
Lemmy’s activity, Sept. 7-30, 2020