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Old 08-15-2011, 01:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Thinking about getting a hedgie? read this!

Alright, so really this post is about what happens and what i didnt expect just the first week after getting a hedgehog. Because really, I felt I was ready, until i had a baby hedgehog upstairs in my room. In the coming months before I got my little guy, all I thought about was hedgehogs. Thats all i researched, thats all I talked about, and thats all i could think about. It took a couple weeks to convince my parents, but they could tell that I really wanted one, and that I was ready for the commitment. I took over 10 pages of notes on stuff I read, I posted on the forums asking about what it was like to own one from different owners, and I asked the same question of local breeders. I had it all figured out! So pretty much the people I wanted to get my baby from were moving out of state within a week and a halfish, and it was this big hurry to get everything prepared. I had him within three days of my parents agreeing. But as prepared as I was information wise with what to do etc., I wasnt prepared for much of anything. To explain a bit, I'm gonna tell a small story. I went skiing with a couple of my friends one time, and one of them had never skiied before in her life. But her dad TOLD her how to ski, so she was fine right? Wrong. She got on the slopes and was the worst person there. She thought she was ready, but she wasn't. Cause in a way, it was harder than it sounded. I felt the same way. I knew exactly how to take care of him, but really, I had no idea. And when I say I read everywhere about hedgies, I mean everywhere! Every forum practically on here and every website I could get my greedy paws on. But there were some things I didn't know. So if you are thinking about getting a hedgehog, just think about these things before you are too too serious (double too on purpose) I read a lot of places that hedgies are relatively easy to take care of. And in a way, they are. They sleep during the day, so there is really not much to do for them then. But when the evening comes, I am on the go for almost an hour. In the evenings, there is a bunch of little things to do that take time. The wheel (as far as my messy little hedgie goes) is ALWAYS DIRTY. I scrub the wheel every night. I feed him at around nine, I give him fresh water, I try to potty train him by moving his poos in his litter box, i clean whatever "furniture" that needs to be cleaned. Ya know, little things! But they do add up. And for the most part I'm not busy in the evenings, and I love Iago (pronounced i go...stupid i know haha) so much that I dont even mind doing it. But for all you so called "animal lovers" out there and are interested in getting a hedgehog, please keep in mind that most times, they aren't lovable pets! Iago is pretty sweet, but his quilling is in full swing right now, and hes always grumpy when he gets picked up. I have a cat, and a dog, and they both crave attention from everyone. But my hedgie is different! He is quite content being left alone all day (and night!) So although I read it everywhere, I just kind of expected him to be different. Because everything with them takes time, and patience. And believe me, patience isnt my strong suit. But if you care about anything enough, you can achieve almost anything. I have had Iago one week, and I can't even explain to you how much my prickly little friend has taught me, just by sitting in his little cage, and looking all cute. Because another thing that didnt click in with me was the commitement of having one. I am stuck with him, until he is gone. And all the little things like scrubbing that dang wheel (soaking in hot water does help, for the record...) everyday for four or five years doesnt excite me. But the truth is, BEFORE you get one you have to realize that this animal depends on YOU. And my parents are really cracking down at this, but its true. If you mess up, and no one is there to cover it up, its the animal that suffers, not you. I went to a sleepover at my friends house last night, and I had to make sure everything was perfect, and taken care of before I left. Did that suck? Definitely! Did I miss him? You bet. Because a lot of things about hedghogs are truly wonderful! They are little, they are cute, curious, and even some have distinct personalities. But when/if you get one, the first week will, and will not be fun. Will be, because the first week is the week you fall in love with them. Not fun, because it can be disapointing, and discouraging. I dont know about other people, but i felt almost stupid for doing so much for something that doesnt even like me! But you have to keep you eyes set on the future, and if you are at the same point as me, almost nothing else! Iago started the worst of his quilling two days ago, but before then, even just in the couple days before that he was just so curious and adventurous and so excited! So I know that things with him will improve. And I know sometimes it sucks to walk in your room at night and just smell that hes there with the wheel (haha) but once you turn on the light, you just see the innocent face of something that might become something better So if anyone would ask me if a hedhehog would make a good pet? I dont know because it more depends on you, than anything else. Take for example, my sister. More than a lot of things she wants an animal thats soft and cuddly and loves her. Sure I'd love that as well, but i wouldnt give up iago for anything. because each and everyday, he is mine. he belongs to me. So if you are conteplating getting one, ask yourself the question, of who you are, and for gosh sakes do not rush into it like i did! If anyone has anything to add, or correct please post it! I am still a new hedgie owner, but i just wanted to share the things i didnt expect, to the people who are thinking about it. Also, I'm not meaning to offend anybody, so if you are offended, I apologise in advance. I hope I helped and I hope anybody who gets a hedgehog enjoys them
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Old 08-15-2011, 12:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Thinking about getting a hedgie? read this!

I think this is a really great post, Gocoa. I'm getting my first hedgehog in 2 weeks and even though I've done TONS of research over the past few months, it's true that I probably won't have any idea what I am getting myself into until I bring the little guy home. Hedgehogs are a huge responsibility. Their care is definitely more difficult than the care of a hamster for example. It seems like a lot of people go into hedgehog care assuming that their pet will be immediately friendly, cuddly, and will crave their attention. From what I've read on these forums, hedgies like that aren't very common.

It's good that even though owning a hedgehog turned out differently than you expected, you haven't given up on it. The current owner of the hedgehog I am adopting is a young girl who seems to have underestimated how much work a hedgehog is. She has a bunch of other pets, and in our emails she keeps mentioning that she didn't know hedgehogs needed so much attention. I've seen tons of ads on websites like Craigslist where people have jumped into buying a hedgehog too quickly and don't want the animal anymore because it isn't what they expected. So I am glad to hear that you are still up for the challenge of being a hedgie owner despite all of that. It's good that you recognize that you may have jumped into things too quickly, but that you love Iago and aren't going to give him up.

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Old 08-15-2011, 05:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Thinking about getting a hedgie? read this!

Lily has been such a joy to have in my life. I agree that I didn't have any idea how much work a hedgehog required before I got one. I knew about cleaning the wheel and things like that. But I think that they are amazing pets once you get into a routine of caring. It's amazing how far Lily has come in trusting me. I hope that this will help many future owners decide if they are ready for a hedgehog.
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Old 08-17-2011, 11:20 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Thinking about getting a hedgie? read this!

This is my experience exactly.

I rushed into things, not completely knowing entirely what I was getting myself into, which made things a bit bumpy at first.
Honestly, I didn't have the cage ready for her or anything when I bought her.
The day I bought her was the day I bought her cage and what not, and I have had to make many other trips to the pet store since then to buy things I didn't know I needed.

However to this day, my relationship with my Sonic is better and her cage is set up better for her, but that didn't happen over night that's for sure.
It's all a learning process.

The first week is very hard. Especially for a new owner. You're getting used to the hedgie and the hedgie is getting used to you. Sonic was very scared of me the first night and I of her, which made things very, very hard and stressful for me. Plus, if you don't do the right research like I didn't, you will have to spend a little extra money to fix any mistakes you made (such as buying the wrong wheel at first and having to buy a better one).

Let me tell you, many people use "hedgehogs are a low-maintenance pet" as a selling point.
Which I find a load of crap, in my personal opinion.
They take bonding time, special diets, special cage equipment, a regulated temperature, and vet trips, among other things.
A low-maintenance pet is a hamster, where you can just throw (speaking metaphorically, of course) them in a cage with cheap cedar bedding, a cheap wheel, a cheap water bottle and cheap food that's similar to bird feed. Hamsters can be replaced by a 10 dollar trip to the local pet store. Hedgehogs, not so much. Hedgehogs are expensive pets and it can be hard to find a reputable breeder.
Hedgehogs take a lot of time and dedication, not just money.

My opinions are not to discourage anyone or offend anyone,
I'm just using personal experience to fuel my opinions.
Hedgehogs are NOT a pet that is right for just anyone.
You also can't expect it to be as easy as what you read or hear or even see until you personally own one yourself.

I believe Sonic is the right pet for me, though. And I wouldn't trade her for anything.
Although we've had our difficult moments, I love my little ball of grumpy quills.
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:03 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Thinking about getting a hedgie? read this!

What a well written post!! When I read the line
i felt almost stupid for doing so much for something that doesnt even like me!
I teared up a little because that is exactly how i feel. I want him to like him like my dog and cat do... lol
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:18 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Thinking about getting a hedgie? read this!

Great post and I agree 100%.

When I have friends ask me about hedgehog ownership, the first thing I do is tell them my cleanup routine, and how hedgehogs are NOT AT ALL like cats or dogs... I did not expect Kashi to love me the way my cats do, but when I got him at first, I was not prepared for how much he wanted to be left alone. I got him from a breeder who handled him regularly, but even at that, the first few weeks were rough. I felt like he hated me, but eventually he got used to me, and I came to love his (somewhat) grumpy nature.

After owning him for a year, he's FINALLY showing some similar signs of affection like my cats... For example he will stay close to me when he is scared, or unsure of something... but besides that, he is never happy to see me when I wake him up each night When I call his name, he DEFINITELY does not come running like my cats... Instead he huffs at me to go away... so you know... definitely not for everyone XD
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Old 08-18-2011, 02:41 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Thinking about getting a hedgie? read this!

Originally Posted by shaelikestaquitos
After owning him for a year, he's FINALLY showing some similar signs of affection like my cats... For example he will stay close to me when he is scared, or unsure of something...D
I think that shows his trust in you.
How wonderful! I hope Sonic will come to trust me like that.
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