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Old 06-27-2015, 09:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 30
Default New hedgehog. Got some questions

So today i drove about 2 hours to pick up my new hedgehog(5-6week old). while in the car, i saw him move but when i let him free in the cage he seemed to not move as much as he did in the car. As soon as he was in the cage he went to an igloo and slept the entire time. he wont even come out to eat or drink. i really want to have a friendly and sociable hedgehog. i tried to wake him up and try to socialize but he curled into a ball so i had to put it down. was i not supposed to do that? im so concerned because i wanna do everything right for the hedgehog. Is there anything i can do to help my new hedgehog to feel less hostile to his new enviroment?
Any suggestion helps! thank you
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Old 06-27-2015, 10:22 PM   #2 (permalink)
MyaPerez1018's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Sanford, FL
Posts: 98

Well when you get your hedgie home, a lot of people suggest that you give him/her a day or two to adjust to the new environment. Others say to take them out every single day, at a specific time each night (around 8pm or later is probably best since they are nocturnal).

You can wear a shirt to bed for 2 nights, then put it in his hidey house so he associates your smell with comfort.

Also, when you take your hedgie out every night, you don't even have to handle him if you aren't quite comfortable yet. You can let him sleep in your lap while you watch tv for at least 30 minutes. If you do decide to hold him, you can use a fleece blankie to hold him, then slowly move him over to your hands. It's not recommended to use gloves because it masks your scent and can scare the hedgie. Each time you hold him, you can give him a live mealworm (freeze dried worms are no good as they can cause compaction). If you do this, he will realize that he gets a treat every time he let's you hold him.

You have to stick to a routine. Otherwise, he won't get accustomed to you handling him. The main thing you need to keep in mind is it TAKES TIME. Weeks, to months, even years. You have to be willing to put in a lot of time. Bonding is very important

You can purchase a bonding bag, or a sleeping bag from various places such as Etsy. Search snuggle sack, and you can use this to aid in the bonding process.

Best of luck!

Btw, hedgies are naturally scared animals since they are prey in the wild. Their natural defense is to ball up. This does NOT mean he hates you, he's just scared. Wait for him to uncurl, and let him explore on his own, then pick him up if you want. It's completely normal for them to not come out of a ball in the beginning of bonding. It's also normal for them to not eat any food for the first night or so, they are just getting use to the new surroundings. They have all these new smells, new objects! It's a frightening experience for them, so you have to be understanding

Last edited by MyaPerez1018; 06-27-2015 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 06-27-2015, 10:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
writergirlmel's Avatar
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Chicago Suburbs
Posts: 677

Hedgehogs are nocturnal. So, they sleep during the day. Add to that, he's a baby, and all babies sleep a lot.

A long car ride followed by moving into a new environment is a stressful situation for him. That's really something your breeder should have mentioned.

Yes, he's likely going to huff, pop, and/or ball up when you wake him up. It's his way of telling you he's annoyed and maybe a little frightened. Try nudging him awake and then giving him a few minutes before picking him up.

You will get pricked at some point. But it really doesn't hurt that much. If it's too painful for you, try picking him up with a piece of fleece. Don't use gloves; they mask your scent. Fleece doesn't mask your scent, and that's very important.

Put one of your worn, un-laundered (but not gross) shirts in his cage. (Make sure there are no loose threads.) That way, he will start to associate your scent with safety.

You do need to handle him every day, but understand that hedgehogs are a long-haul type of animal when it comes to their brand of affection. It make take days, weeks, or even months for him to warm up to you enough to abstain from balling up when you pick him up. Patience is key.

Routine is a good thing. Establish a routine for when you'll spot clean his cage (daily) and when you'll have him out for bonding time. When it comes to bonding, you might be playing or you might be cuddling. It all counts. The more you have him out to bond, the more likely he is to warm up to you.

However, let him rest. Hedgehogs should have a light cycle with 12-14 hours of light per day. That's when he will sleep. Let him. (Note: Use a lamp on a timer to establish a consistent light schedule.)

Also remember to keep his cage at a consistent temperature between 72 and 78 degrees fahrenheit. There's a sticky with details on how to accomplish that.

Finally, do not introduce any new foods for the first couple of weeks. Dietary changes can cause further stress and digestive issues, so it's best to begin with feeding him the same food he was eating before you got him. And when you do change it, do so gradually. Read the sticky in the nutrition section for more information.

Good luck.

By the way, my little guy, Fitzgerald, came home today as well. So far, he's coping beautifully. The 2yo human child? Not so much.
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