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Old 07-27-2011, 01:44 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy First time hedgie owner, adult hedgie. Need help

Okay so I just got my hedgie Squiggy yesterday, and this is my first time owning a hedgie even though I've wanted one since I was 10. Im pretty sure Squiggy is already full grown, and I was told he is a white bellied Cinnamon. My biggest concern is that he doesnt seem to be social at all, and even though I'm extremely gentle when picking him up (I use an old plain tshirt to scoop him from the sides) he constantly hisses and growls . Im making sure to let him get used to my home, hes got all the right food, plenty of water, ventilated cage, Aspen bedding, and a hedgie safe wheel. I'm being patient and just letting him get used to my presence while occasionally stroking his quills. (Mealies seem to be a big hit with him and usually work to get him to uncurl) I've got a few simple questions I'm looking for help with.

What should I do to make him more social? And how can I tell how old he is? Also, the only toy I can offer is a golf ball and he just hisses at that too. (He's much too big for a toilet paper tube) Any ideas for toys suitable for an older hedgehog?
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Rest peacefully and sweet dreams little Thalia 8/25/2012 Mommy and Daddy miss you <3
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Old 07-27-2011, 02:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: First time hedgie owner, adult hedgie. Need help

What should I do to make him more social?

First, one thing you have to remember is some hedgehogs will never become social. Hedgehogs aren't like dogs or cats, you have to actually earn their trust. This doesn't happen fast, and it can take months. The older the hedgehog is when you get it, the harder it will be to socialize, especially if he came from a... not-so-good owner. For socialization:

1. At night, wear a t-shirt to bed, in the morning when you get changed, put that shirt into his igloo (or where ever he sleep). This way he will have your scent and will get use to it quicker. It will help him associate your smell with safety and comfort.

2. Keep a schedule with him. The light on his cage shouldn't be going off until about 8PM (they need 12-14 hours of light per day). So during the day, he will be sleeping. When you get home from school, and are doing homework, watching tv, or using the computer. Put him on your lap in a shirt (that smells like you), and leave him alone. He needs to be sleeping, so let him sleep.

3. Every time you pick up Squiggy, wash you hands first with the SAME soap every time. Never use gloves.

4. 1 hour before the light on his cage goes off (so say 7PM), take him out of his cage and hold him. Now you wake him up. Yes, he will be grumpy when you first wake him up, they pretty much ALL are. When you first wake him up, let him do his thing in the cage for 10 minutes. Then take him out and put him on the floor with you or bed or whatever.

5. When you have him out after 7PM, keep your room DARK and SILENT. This is a major thing. Hedgehogs are nocturnal and come out at night (when it's dark). He will be more comfortable in the dark. A night light is a good idea or a dim light. TV's can bother their eyes from the lighting in the room constantly changing.

6. When he unballs, give him a cricket or mealworms. Mealworms are high in fat, so don't feed too many. I feed about 6 a day. Are you feeding live mealworms or freeze-dried mealworms? Freeze dried mealworms aren't easily digestible, live ones should be fed. You can buy live ones then freeze them, then thaw when you need them. This will help him associate mealworm/cricket with unballing.

7. Time, patience, time and more patience.

How can I tell how old he is?

That's hard to say. A vet will be able to give you an estimate. You could post a picture of him on here, and we might be able to give a guess. But there is no for sure way to know without asking the breeder.

Toys?

There are many toys you can try! Many hedgehogs won't even play with toys. Also, he can't be too big for a toilet paper tube. They aren't supposed to go inside of it. They like to put their face in it. Make SURE you cut it down the middle though, or he could get stuck.

Fleece strips are good for digging.
KONG (kitty kong, or smallest size for dogs). Put mealworms, crickets or kibble inside it.
Stuffed animal (You'll have to wash it weekly).
Tubes to run through (4 inches)
PVC (4 inches)
Crinkle Tunnel
Completely solid balls that make noise (NO holes)
SILK plants (hide insects under the leaves for him to hunt)

I have some questions:
What temperature is his cage?
What food are you feeding?
Do you have a light schedule?
What wheel does he have?
Does he have any bald spots?
Do you weigh him?
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Old 07-27-2011, 04:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: First time hedgie owner, adult hedgie. Need help

Squiggy is in an old chinchilla cage that has a tall base so he cant climb up the bars. We keep our home at a constant 75F.

I've been feeding him a teaspoon of Sunseed Vita Exotics Hedgehog formula mixed with one teaspoon Hills Science Diet Indoor Cat Food. He gets maybe 5-6 freeze dried mealworms (haven't been able to get ahold of some live ones quite yet)

His light schedule is with the sun. I live in Texas so the sun doesn't really rise til about 7:00am and it sets by 8:30pm. I give him about an hours worth of playtime every day to run around in a makeshift play pen built by placing sturdy cardboard boxes in a large square against one wall. He will usually go right back to napping until he wakes up by himself (oddly enough which is exactly at 9:30 every night) Squiggy has a steel wheel with no mesh and it is open on both sides. I'm looking into financing for a Carolina Storm Wheel for easier cleanups and maybe less poopy paws.

He does seem to have a minor balding issue on his lower back that isn't all that noticeable until he rolls up. And his skin seems to be a bit dry, although I check frequently and there doesn't seem to be any mites. I'm considering giving him an oatmeal bath to see if that helps him with retaining moisture. He was also given to me with some apparent dental health issues. I haven't been able to take him to a vet yet or a good look at his teeth, so to be safe I'm softening his food a bit before giving it to him. I do not own a scale as of yet, but am looking to find one soon.
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Old 07-27-2011, 04:47 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: First time hedgie owner, adult hedgie. Need help

One last question. How do I go about litter training Squiggy? I would really prefer not having to vaccum up wood shavings from my carpet every time I pick him up, and would really like to switch his bedding to a fleece blanket.
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Old 07-27-2011, 09:36 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: First time hedgie owner, adult hedgie. Need help

First I wanted to welcome you to HHC & congratulations on Squiggy!!
Second I wanted to tell you I absolutely LOVE your signature picture! Did you do that? It's awesome!

I haven't had much success litter training. I do use fleece & have put a paper towel under the wheel. I have 3 hedgies & they are all different...

Zoey will get out of the wheel & go to the bathroom mostly on the paper towel.

Cholla will just go in his wheel.

Pepper has a litter box with yesterdays news that came with her, but I have yet to see her use it. She also mostly goes in her wheel.

Personally, I wouldn't worry about the litter training before starting on liners. The liners are awesome. You can pick up random poops & put them in the area you want the hedgie to go. Some catch on, some don't. I just clean the wheels every morning. I was the liners every week, but if someone is really messy, I'll do a mid-week clean up as well.

Hope it all goes well & I'm very excited for you!!



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Old 07-27-2011, 11:08 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: First time hedgie owner, adult hedgie. Need help

I love having Squiggy already and thanks for liking my banner The drawing for the background was made by my friend on FB when she saw a picture of Squiggy and she felt inspired. All I really did was add blinking text xD

I'll see about buying liners and setting up a litter box to see what he does. I'm pretty broke though, so until payday I guess bedding will have to do the trick The only place that I know hes going poo is on his wheel. I have yet to see him poo on the ground during playtime, or even in a corner of cage. The only reason I know he poos at all is that his wheel is covered in it every morning So I've gotta give it a good scrub every day lol.
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Old 07-27-2011, 02:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: First time hedgie owner, adult hedgie. Need help

As for food, you'll want to switch him to something better. The food should be:

Protein: 29-33%
Fat: 9-14%
Fat: 15-20% if he loses weight on the lower fat food
Fiber: 3% or more
First Ingredient: Real meat (turkey, chicken, duck, lamb)
Second Ingredient: Real meat or meat meal (turkey meal, duck meal, etc)
No: corn, wheat, animal by-products, animal digest, nuts or raisins.

He doesn't need to be litter trained to use fleece. All you have to do is pick up the poops from the liner. It's actually easier then shavings. As for litter training, pick up the poop and put it in the litter pan. It may work, it may not. A lot of hedgehogs won't litter train.

For the wheel, make sure his toe nails can't get caught anywhere. It's completely normal for their wheel to be covered in poop. That's something you can't stop.

For the light schedule, make sure it stays the same all year round. This means, if the light goes on at 7AM and off at 8PM, it has to all year. If the light schedule changes, the hedgehog will think winter is coming and try to hibernate. For heat, make sure it doesn't drop below 75 at night, because most houses do.
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Old 07-27-2011, 06:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: First time hedgie owner, adult hedgie. Need help

Well I'm fairly broke right now, so until I get my next paycheck Its the best I can give him. Also his wheel is solid metal, so there are no holes for his paws or toenails to get stuck in. But I am a bit worried about him hurting himself on the side bars. He's been clever enough to know when its okay for him to look out.

One last question, what's the best way to clean his wheel? I've been doing it with just letting it soak in soap water for about 5 min and then scrubbing with the soft side of a sponge.
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: First time hedgie owner, adult hedgie. Need help

Hello! I've been a hedgie owner for 2 months now and I have had success by taking the advice given to you by these awesome owners. As for toys, my hedgie loves her 4 inch ceramic flower pot (less that $5 at home depot), her CSW, her dig box (tissue box with filler http://www.petco.com/product/105947/...0Jewels-105947 as a filler and I add mealworms and other small treats, and her 4 inch PVC tube. For cleaning her wheel, I just use some toilet paper and wipe it into her litter box located under her CSW. If it's very messy, I spray her CSW with vinegar/water mix and wipe off with toilet paper.
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Old 07-28-2011, 03:16 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: First time hedgie owner, adult hedgie. Need help

Thanks everyone for your contributions. Really appreciated Im looking into getting him some new toys soon, and if I can get him to hold still I will post pictures of Squiggy soon.
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Rest peacefully and sweet dreams little Thalia 8/25/2012 Mommy and Daddy miss you <3
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