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Old 09-12-2011, 09:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default how do hedgehogs learn they're safe?

Hello all
It,s only been 3 days and Heathcliff and I are getting to know each other a bit better...he huffs and puffs but I continue to take him out and hold him every night. If I approach the cage he hides his head and sticks out his front quills but I ignore it and carry on with feeding, water etc
I don't try to touch him, just work around him.
I read here that some hedgies take a long time to bond...what I'm wondering is, does persistence pay off? As hedgies are wild creatures, do they learn that we mean them no harm? I'd hate to have it take months before he trusts me (although if it does, that's OK)
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: how do hedgehogs learn they're safe?

Welcome to HHC, if I haven't said it before!

Some hedgies warm up quicker than others and some will be a quilly ball of fury for their whole lives. If he's been with you for three days, I think that he's had sufficient time to adjust to his cage and you should begin handling him and spending time with him every night. No one really knows for sure about their hedgies temperment until they are in their home for a while. He could still just be huffy from the move and adjusting to all the changes. If you got him from a breeder, then he's just left his family and everything he's known. It will take a while. Persistence is key. Even if Heathcliff never fully warms up to you, with persistence, you will see little changes.

With Izzy, our rescue, she went from huffing all the time -- so much that I thought she might get larengitis -- to just huffing when I move suddenly or pick her up. I can now talk to her and she doesn't huff. She probably will never fully trust me, but I can see how she is gradually getting used to me.

Feel free to browse through the forum. Every topic in the index has sticky posts at the top with FAQ and care instructions for hedgie parents. If you have other questions, please feel free to post it in the appropriate topic. Best wishes with your Heathcliff!
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: how do hedgehogs learn they're safe?

I've noticed that I've been making a lot of bonding strides with Felix, but only under certain conditions. For example, he is MUCH more friendly and actually sort of cuddly during and after bath time. (Probably because he thinks if he's extra adorable he won't have to go in the water ) I've been taking advantage of these times to get him used to being touched because he is less likely to fully ball up after a bath, although he will still huff a bit. He also tends to be drastically less on edge if it is relatively quiet in my apartment at the time and when the lighting is really low. He didn't seem to mind me watching TV very quietly the other night and actually ended up falling asleep under my hand.

I think the key is to find out what surroundings your hedgie is most comfortable in and develop a routine. Giving him his space is good, but you need to keep in mind that if he thinks that huffing and balling up is getting you to leave him alone, the behavior is probably going to continue. When I have Felix out, I try to constantly touch his quills in some way even if it's just resting a hand over his back. I've noticed that since I started to get a little less timid around him in that way, he's gotten less timid around me. He will probably get a little more used to you doing things around his cage. Felix's cage is in my bedroom, and I think he's finally starting to realize that it's my room too and has mostly just started to ignore me when I'm doing stuff during the day.
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Old 09-12-2011, 10:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: how do hedgehogs learn they're safe?

well I must say it sure is hard looking at all the photos of you guys with happy hedgies lying on their backs in your arms with their little feet sticking out! :-O
as for baths I can't picture it yet!
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Old 09-12-2011, 11:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: how do hedgehogs learn they're safe?

Hang in there. It's more about you adapting and knowing your hedgie more than him adapting to you. The cuddly hedgies are more rare than they appear. Just remember that it's their nature to be timid and afraid because they are prey critters. They're always on the look out for those predators. Please keep us updated on how things are progressing and take pictures of your cutie pie!
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Old 09-13-2011, 12:13 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: how do hedgehogs learn they're safe?

Quote:
Originally Posted by quill01
well I must say it sure is hard looking at all the photos of you guys with happy hedgies lying on their backs in your arms with their little feet sticking out! :-O
as for baths I can't picture it yet!
Haha my picture is a post-bath picture. He gets super cuddly, probably partially because he's terrified I'll put him back in the water and a little bit because he's huddled up with me to keep warm until he dries off. It was kind of an accidental picture, too. He was actually in an angry ball and managed to roll from my lap down to my arm. I think he just popped out because he was confused. My boyfriend got a picture, but I seem to remember I got huffed at, jabbed with quills, and that pose didn't last long. Believe me, Felix is still a little brat.
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