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Old 09-26-2011, 11:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Arrow A few questions from a new hedgie owner =)

Now I'm sure if I spent hours upon hours going through this forum, I'd probably find answers to all of these questions...but I figured I'd group them into a new post.

First off, I have a male hedgie named Orion. I got him when he was about 3 months, and he is now almost a year old. Everything has seemed to be going okay so far, but I have a few questions.

Q1. Orion has never really been a huffy hedgie. When we brought him home, I left him alone for a day or so to settle in, and after that, he seemed well adjusted from the get go. He would get a little temperamental when I woke him up, but after 5 minutes would be fine. After all this time, he's still familiar with me, but I see all these videos and hear of owners having their hedgie actually come out of hiding to play, try to climb the side of the cage, or climb right into their hands. Is this something that just takes years to accomplish? Or do I still have a cautious hedgie? Whenever I try to socialize him, he just tries to bury into something and sleep, is that still okay or should he be more active? I just don't get how to "play" with him.

Q2. I have purchased a solid wheel (which he loves immensely,) some small toy balls, and a hamster ball (we have a very un-hedgie proof house but I want him to have freedom), but he seems to ignore everything but his wheel and toilet paper tubes. He only runs at night when everyone is sleeping, I just assume he's trying to hide when he shoves his head into the tube and goes to sleep, and he seems terrified of the hamster ball. What are some other ideas of interactive toys for him? And do some hedgies just not play with things?

Q3. Orion sleeps a lot. I heard this is more common in young hedgies, but I'm not sure if 1 year old is still "young." Granted, he comes out in the evening to eat and run in his wheel, but goes right back to his igloo after 15 minutes or so. Is this normal? I also read maybe he's cold? We keep it at 75 in the house, which I know is on the lower end of the appropriate temperature...but would a heat emitter make him more active on his own so I don't have to keep waking him up?

Q4. Ah, the age old debate. Food. Now we started him off on Pretty Pets (which was given to me) until I learned better and switched to an appropriate dry cat food. Over the past 7 or 8 months I've tried to find things he likes to supplement his diet. So far: He hates crickets, LOVES mealworms, will munch on herbs (cilantro, parsley, basil) then either spit them out or not touch them again, really has no interest in fruits or veggies, and I haven't tried cooked meat yet. What's the deal? I hear so many people feed them all these things without issue...is he just picky?

Also, does anyone have an opinion or knowledge on using grain free cat food instead of all the stuff with fillers? I tried mixing in some grain free "Taste of the Wild" food and he liked it, but I noticed once I made the full switch, he was eating less. Is that because it's more filling? Or is it a bad idea?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Niki =)
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Old 09-27-2011, 12:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: A few questions from a new hedgie owner =)

Q1) Hedgehogs are prey animals and not all of them socialize some never will and will be cautious please explain your routine for bonding each day is it around the same time? It can take a long time up to a year for a hedgehog to trust if they ever do really warm up completely. If you wanted a pet to play with a hedgehog is not the best pet they are fun but in their own way, mostly for pictures and silly moments of hedgieness

Q2) throw away the hamster ball its believed by many it terrifies them and its not healthy since they eliminate as they run so your hedgehog gets stuck in a ball smelling its own poop and pee and getting covered in it. Also they explore through taste and smell so it is very frustrating they can do neither in the ball. In addition the breathing slits can cause toe nails to get caught and ripped off which is not good. Get a nice play pen like a pet pool or kritter gated cages and supervise for out of cage playtimes

Make sure the balls are solid hedgehogs can get their mouths caught and injure themselves with balls that are not solid

Q3) Some hedgehogs are more active then others do you have a light schedule? Some hedgehogs prefer warmer temps so it might help, and having consistent lighting in the day of 12 to 14 hours is very important. Is it totally dark and silent and are you watching your hedgehog? He might not like that remember this is a PREY animal and sensing a presence can cause his instincts to retreat to their home and sleep until it is safe.

Q4) Taste of Wild is a bit high in the protein for my tastes I used Blue Buffalo Royal CaninKitten 36 and Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul Senior. We have a list you can look through and very good you got your hedgehog off hedgehog food its all mostly junk. Depending on the difference in fat content you hedgehog may have ate less because it was full considering hedgehog food has very litter in it thats good theres more pooping and more eating to try to get enough to survive.
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Old 09-27-2011, 12:27 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: A few questions from a new hedgie owner =)

Well I'm aware that he's not going to run and jump in my lap like a dog and lick my face when I come home. Simply observing him is hilarious enough. Oh the stories and pictures I have from the 8 or 9 months we've had him!

Though our situation is it's my boyfriend and I. He works part time (15 hours a week) and I work full time (40 hours a week) We keep his cage in our living room where we keep lights on for the 6-8 evening hours before we go to bed, and there is some light throughout of the day when one of us is home, though very dim since both of us don't like spotlights on in the house either. We don't blast music or the T.V. and never really do much ourselves. No, we don't stare at him...we let him sleep and usually pull him out to play when he comes out on his own. Even when we do observe him, he doesn't seem to mind let alone even notice.

As far as his socialization, we tried to be careful about stressing him out when we first brought him home and he was new to our house so it was maybe 10-15 minutes every two or three days until he no longer huffed when we were trying to pick him up. After he seemed acclimated, we moved to longer sessions a couple times a week. We usually sit on the couch with him and let him explore, but he usually just tries to bury his head wherever it's dark and goes to sleep.

We'll also sit on the floor with him and let him run around supervised, and he does explore...but as soon as he finds a dark spot he stays there. I was just wondering if there were any more interactive ways to socialize with him. We've taken him outside once and he seemed to love all the new smells, but I wasn't too sure if that was dangerous or if supervised outdoor time was okay.

He also gets hand fed meal worms (which he flips out over) when we have him out, as well as a few in his treat bowl every couple days. He has learned to flip his treat bowl when he wants more, so I usually let him be the judge.
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Old 09-27-2011, 12:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: A few questions from a new hedgie owner =)

You want to have a 12 to 14 hour light schedule during the day time when he is sleeping like 7am lights on to 8pm lights off and try to pick a time each day to take him out even if he sleeps near your laps or on you its bond because he feels safe enough around you.

Outside is okay in the right temp and away from wood be careful he doesn't ingest bugs or try to take off some hedge is can dart off fast also beware of hungry birds

Lose the light once its night time for him it can confuse and make a hedgehog sleep more because they thing day is coming some will not do much unless its very dark with no light and others wil tolerate light

His behavior is pretty typical he is a prey animal and out during the day he will seek out a dark safe place to rest as foraging is for night time along with any activity.
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Old 09-27-2011, 01:17 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: A few questions from a new hedgie owner =)

Yeah we live in Florida, so it's always warm...but with multiple people in the house it's hard to have a completely consistent light cycle. So it's generally light most of the day with natural light from sunrise until sunset...then from about 8-12 we have one dim light on to watch T.V with, which isn't directed towards him...then from about midnight to 7-8am it's completely dark and silent.

My other concern was, do some hedgies just not like fruits and veggies or is mine just really picky?
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Old 09-27-2011, 10:05 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: A few questions from a new hedgie owner =)

Quote:
Originally Posted by glowfreak
Yeah we live in Florida, so it's always warm...but with multiple people in the house it's hard to have a completely consistent light cycle. So it's generally light most of the day with natural light from sunrise until sunset...then from about 8-12 we have one dim light on to watch T.V with, which isn't directed towards him...then from about midnight to 7-8am it's completely dark and silent.

My other concern was, do some hedgies just not like fruits and veggies or is mine just really picky?
A inconsistent light schedule can lead to a lot of confusion he just needs a desk light or something to remain consistent it really isn't that hard at all and it can help a lot. The light schedule also can help prevent hibernation. I am lost to even if a lot of people are around how a small light on in the day is a problem on his cage.

When you say warm all the time how are you heating the cage and is their a thermometer in the cage to be sure he is always warm during the night a house drops in temp so that can be the reason as well if you don't have a dedicated heat source.

If he is sensitive to light then the T.V. may keep him from coming out perhaps covering his cage up if you must watch TV however the sound may also be a factor.

Food wise a lot of hedgies need to be introduced to fruits and veggies a lot to even try them, we have a list on the forums if you search fruit and veggie list for safe foods. You can try sneaking veggies in cooked meat or scrambled eggs. Fruits I've smushed some of the fruit juice and left a whole one in water so they taste it in the water, however when I do this I leave a second water dish that is pure

Some hedgies don't take to much and some take immediately and other need to have it offered a lot before they try it

Crickets are awesome especially live and letting them lose in a bath tub it really stimulates their sense to hunt thought it may take a few tries before they get good at it.

Live meal worms are best if you use freeze-dried be sparing a lot can cause blockages
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Old 09-27-2011, 09:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: A few questions from a new hedgie owner =)

Quote:
Originally Posted by TWCOGAR
I am lost to even if a lot of people are around how a small light on in the day is a problem on his cage.

When you say warm all the time how are you heating the cage and is their a thermometer in the cage to be sure he is always warm during the night a house drops in temp so that can be the reason as well if you don't have a dedicated heat source.

Crickets are awesome especially live and letting them lose in a bath tub it really stimulates their sense to hunt thought it may take a few tries before they get good at it.
Okay, listen. First off, I came here looking for advice, and I feel like I'm being patronized for things I never even said necessarily. I understand you're trying to be helpful, but it seems like you're getting snippy with me because I'm not doing everything the "recommended" way. I've been doing this for 9 months, remember that and judging by your age and your counters, which I'm assuming are your hedgies ages, you don't seem to have had hedgies much longer than I have. If not LESS time.

Second, I never said having a small light on his cage was a problem...I just didn't know about it, so I don't know why you would even phrase that sentence like that.

Third, when I said it was warm all the time, I was talking about the OUTSIDE. I was referring to the part of our discussion about taking him outside if you noticed. It is warm out in the sun all the time, not in my house. No one likes an unreasonably warm house unless it's snowing, which is never does here. I noticed you're from Virginia, and our winters are probably like your summers...it never really dips below 60...ever. I'd be more than ecstatic if I could get the temperature of my house to go below 80 at night without A/C. Yes, I said 80, and that's Fahrenheit.

And lastly, he doesn't like crickets if you actually read my original post. He has no desire to catch them, let alone eat them...and even if I try to hand feed him one and he falls for it, he spits the whole thing out. I feed him live meal worms on a reasonable basis.
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Old 09-27-2011, 09:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: A few questions from a new hedgie owner =)

Quote:
Originally Posted by glowfreak
Quote:
Originally Posted by TWCOGAR
I am lost to even if a lot of people are around how a small light on in the day is a problem on his cage.

When you say warm all the time how are you heating the cage and is their a thermometer in the cage to be sure he is always warm during the night a house drops in temp so that can be the reason as well if you don't have a dedicated heat source.

Crickets are awesome especially live and letting them lose in a bath tub it really stimulates their sense to hunt thought it may take a few tries before they get good at it.
Okay, listen. First off, I came here looking for advice, and I feel like I'm being patronized for things I never even said necessarily. I understand you're trying to be helpful, but it seems like you're getting snippy with me because I'm not doing everything the "recommended" way. I've been doing this for 9 months, remember that and judging by your age and your counters, which I'm assuming are your hedgies ages, you don't seem to have had hedgies much longer than I have. If not LESS time.

Second, I never said having a small light on his cage was a problem...I just didn't know about it, so I don't know why you would even phrase that sentence like that.

Third, when I said it was warm all the time, I was talking about the OUTSIDE. I was referring to the part of our discussion about taking him outside if you noticed. It is warm out in the sun all the time, not in my house. No one likes an unreasonably warm house unless it's snowing, which is never does here. I noticed you're from Virginia, and our winters are probably like your summers...it never really dips below 60...ever. I'd be more than ecstatic if I could get the temperature of my house to go below 80 at night without A/C. Yes, I said 80, and that's Fahrenheit.

And lastly, he doesn't like crickets if you actually read my original post. He has no desire to catch them, let alone eat them...and even if I try to hand feed him one and he falls for it, he spits the whole thing out. I feed him live meal worms on a reasonable basis.
I am not trying to be rude unfortunately words are not always translated properly on forums however you are asking what may be causing him not to be active and light could be a part of it.

I apologize if you are taking it that way however this is not the case, you came asking about why your hedgehog isn't very active and because your posts are not completely clear with answers back I have to respond back to be sure I read that right.

Like I mentioned before hedgehogs sometimes need some convincing on foods it took Feral an entire month on trying meal worms before she ate them she even spit them out twice and then she took to them. Hedgehogs are very very silly with foods and yes there are some which are very picky.

I understand it is that warm outside however its important to be certain of things we do get people come on wondering why their hedgehog was inactive and they thought the temp was fine because it was fine in the day. My outlook is better safe then sorry is all and i am not stating what is best just the information in general found on this forum since you stated you did not want to search the forum for answers .

Also if its not getting below 80 degrees then its also possible your hedgehog is too hot and that will also lead to some hedgehogs being less active

Again I apologize if you wish to take it that why and I cannot change that, remember that you cannot present tone and diction with just words accurately
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Old 09-27-2011, 11:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: A few questions from a new hedgie owner =)

I don't believe in feeding crickets they can bite if left in cage. Some hedgies do require a lot of extra work how was the temperment when you got em? I have 14 hedgies at the moment and each one is so diffrent haha. I wish you well
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Old 09-27-2011, 11:28 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: A few questions from a new hedgie owner =)

Orion sounds a bit like my Pliny. He runs on his wheel all night long, goes through periods where he feels like exploring the house, but mostly, he just likes to curl up under a blanket or in a hood and sleep. He has always been like this.
It is possible that Orion is a picky eater. Pliny will turn his nose up at new things. He did this for ages with wet cat food, until one day he 'accidentally' ate it, and now scarfs it down like there is no tomorrow. So, as far as food is concerned, maybe you just need to be patient and keep trying things several times.
The hamster ball isn't the best idea; Pliny had one for a while, but never liked it. See if you can hedgie-proof a small area in your house, or make a playpen.
Have you ever take Orion to the vet for a check-up? It is usually a good idea for them to have a physical once a year.
Even though you live in a warm place, you should look at investing in a CHE (ceramic heat emitter). I know that even Florida can get cool sometimes, and it is better to be safe than sorry.
Most importantly, post more pictures of your little guy! :P
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