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Old 10-12-2011, 03:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Tonya's got an adopted sister! :)

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted. Things just went nutz here (some good, some not so good) and I'm finally getting around to taking some relaxation time.

I couldn't find one section of the forum that this would fit in, so I figured General would be the best place for it.

First, let me say that I'm proud to say that there's a new hedgie in the house! Her name is Amy, and she's Tonya's polar opposite. She's extremely skittish and generally unfriendly. Her previous owner said that she is the most difficult hedgie she's ever worked with (which is why she needed to rehome her). This has been a learning experience for me and I'd like to share some observations.

Amy has always had a female roomie, so I figured housing her with Tonya would be a good idea, especially since they seemed to get along ok when we introduced them. I didn't forsee the issues that would come up, nor did I think it would be that big of a deal.

My first observation was that Amy was refusing food, including mealies. I observed her drinking a bit of water, but that was it. I have separated them and she's now taking in food. I'm at least confident that she will not pass due to starvation or dehydration.

Amy had no problem taking over the wheel. She loved it so much, in fact, that when it was Tonya's turn to run she would jam herself under the wheel to slow it down. Most other times she would sleep in her bag, so it at least seemed like she was being mischievous at the very least.

Perhaps the most unexpected behavior was that of Tonya. I really thought that Tonya would mellow Amy out a little, but the exact opposite happened. Tonya became skittish and irritable at first. This could probably be attributed to her thinking "Amy's freaking out so I should be freaking out too". Luckily that wore off fairly quickly, but there's something else. Tonya seems... well... depressed, or at least jealous. She's even more mellow than before during our cuddle time and it's almost impossible to get her to hiss or raise a quill. Please note that I don't try to upset her. I'm just saying that things that used to startle her (and that I would expect her to be startled by), like me reaching to scratch an itch or clearing my throat, have almost no effect on her any more. Diet, excercise and sleep are all normal as far as I can tell. Any input?

Amy is definitely less upsettable than she was when I first brought her home, most likely due to her becoming acclimated to her new surroundings. She still wants nothing to do with me, but I expected that. She's about 16 months old so it's pretty well engrained in her (and she's always been this way with people). Is there hope of her not staying balled up and hissing without me leaving the room or holding my breath for 10 minutes? Don't get me wrong - I accept her for who she is and she is no less deserving of my love than a hedgie who's not a spaz.

[attachment=0:12h79uae]TnA 1.JPG[/attachment:12h79uae]
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Why the eggs? They're her favorite food!
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Old 10-12-2011, 03:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tonya's got an adopted sister! :)

A couple more of the girls. Please excuse the bit of blur. Autofocus doesn't work when it's too dark to see what it's supposed to be focusing on.

[attachment=1:1v6l2epi]TnA 4.JPG[/attachment:1v6l2epi]

[attachment=0:1v6l2epi]TnA 2.JPG[/attachment:1v6l2epi]
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File Type: jpg TnA 2.JPG (127.7 KB, 20 views)

Why the eggs? They're her favorite food!
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Old 10-12-2011, 03:54 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tonya's got an adopted sister! :)

they are adorable. 16 months is still pretty young and there is a very good chance that with bonding she will suprise you more and more every day with exactly how social she really is and will/may become (please note that not all hedgies will warm up, but all deserve a chance even if it does take years ) . it is also not uncommon for a hedgie to feel depressed, jealous, or left out when a new hedgie comes into the home especially when this hedgie may need a little extra work, time, and attention so it is very important to keep bonding with both of the hedgies. a jealous hedgie is not a good hedgie, they will take their frustration out in many unpleasant ways including trashing cages, biting, fighting with other hedgies, hurting themselves, refusing to eat, drink, or wheel for a period. it is also very important that you have two of everything if you have two hedgies this includes wheels, water dishes, food dishes, igloos (or other hiding/sleeping places), and double the amount of space that you would need for one if you are housing them together. and as you have seen just because they may get along one day or even for years doesn't mean that they will the next day and this can be shown by anything from not eating/drinking to fighting or even killing each other so it's important to always pay close attention to them and to separate right away if any problems great job congrats on your new cutie
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Old 10-12-2011, 09:45 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tonya's got an adopted sister! :)

Amy's adorable! They are both lovely.

I would say that one on one quality time with each is important. And just keep trying with Amy. Try different things, something may click. We just recently discovered that Pepper (who would eat nothing but kibble), will only try new foods if they are in a separate bowl, tucked under her wheel on the 2nd level. Who would think of that!? But it worked once, so we did it again & now I feel like I've unlocked a secret door into Pepper.

With Tonya, I would keep an eye on her. Any time they don't act like themselves, it's a bit concerning. It could be that she's more mellow, but just watch her extra & keep track of things. You know her best & when she's just a bit "off".


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Old 10-12-2011, 02:12 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tonya's got an adopted sister! :)

Thanks, guys. Tonya's still getting tons of attention - I don't ever want her to feel left out or second best. Luckily, some friends of mine got me a SuperPet My 1st Cage at a yard sale (for $5!) so I had something roomy to slide Amy into. I've been thinking of modding the original cage into a duplex, with 2 14"X42" hedgie condos. There's plenty of unused space on the 1st floor and I could leave the mezz for Tonya, as she spends oodles of time there.

Amy does seem to like to check things out. If I take her out and let her be, she'll do a little exploring and I only intervene when she could get lost or injured. I follow that up with the dreaded one-on-one time. Of course, I'm trying to NOT make it seem like that's a punishment. Part of that is putting her back in her house when she's calm. I'm of the belief that if the last thing she remembers about me is being stressed out, it will only solidify her feelings that I'm something to fear.

*Singing* I love hedgehogs, I love every kind of hedgehog. I'd like to hug them all but I can't... can't hug every hog... can't hug every hog.

Why the eggs? They're her favorite food!
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