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Old 10-12-2011, 11:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default first time hedgehog owner

Hello, I'm new to the forum. Last Thursday I bought a female hedgehog at our local exotic pet shop. Her name is Penelope and she is 7 weeks old. I believe her coloring is called pinto.

I have a few questions, some are kind of random, heh.

1. She was $320, is that the average price for a hedgehog?

2. I go to my boyfriend's house a lot, traveling by train and then bus. The "journey" is about 45 minutes long. I have a carrier for her, similar to this one (just not as fancy, lol):



She doesn't seem to mind the trip, and doesn't seem stressed out about it. In her carrier is some food and a bunch of cloth to snuggle in, for warmth and comfort. What I'm wondering is, is it safe to take her with me? We're getting her a temporary cage to keep at his house so she'll be more comfortable there. I immediately give her water upon arriving at his house, btw. I also don't think she's too cold when we're traveling, although it is kind of chilly outside. The bus and train are heated, and I periodically check on her to make sure she feels warm enough.

3. The man who sold her to me said that she might be pregnant, because her sister who was in the same cage just had babies. I'm assuming that the male (her brother) didn't only mate with the sister, but I guess we'll see. She is 7 weeks old, is she old enough to have a safe pregnancy/birth? Is she more likely to abandon/cannibalize her babies because she's young?

4. Is playing music while she's in the room OK?

5. Are hedgehogs fully grown at the age of 7 weeks? The pet store owner told me that she's done growing but I got a hedgehog book and the hedgehogs in the pictures are huge compared to her!

6. How fragile are hedgehogs? Like, their limbs and whatnot. She explores my boyfriend's bed, which is a mattress on the floor, and she always runs to the edge and tries to shimmy down. It worries me a lot... if she accidentally fell a few inches, could she be seriously injured? I'm assuming that she's very delicate.

7. How intelligent are hedgehogs? Can they learn their names? Online I found nothing regarding this and I *REALLY* want to know! Is her name (Penelope) perhaps too difficult for her to eventually learn? Also, do they bond with their owners? She seems to already know who I am, and she uncurls herself after a few seconds and wants to explore right away. If she was afraid of me would she stay curled up in a ball? When she's walking around, her quills are smooth for the most part, when I pet her she occasionally huffs but it seems like she does that out of surprise more than anything.


I'm sorry for all the questions, I promise that I have done my research, I'd just rather ask experienced owners "face to face" instead of just reading pages that aren't interactive. I might ask more if they come to me.
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Old 10-12-2011, 11:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: first time hedgehog owner

Pictures! (sorry, they're kind of low quality)













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Old 10-12-2011, 11:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: first time hedgehog owner

I can tell you we paid $250 with no papers, which is about $50 more than it should have been.
A lot of public transportation don't allow animals on board. I've seen some people get escorted off trains by security because they have an animal in that kind of case.
I think that having a brand new hedgehog have two homes is quite stressful for the animal. They are already overwhelmed when they get one home, then having to adjust the move from one to another will not make for a happy hedgie.
Seven weeks is way too young to be a healthy pregnancy for pups or mother. Normally 5 months is the absolute minimum age for breeding.
Music is fine, as long as it's not very loud.
They're nowhere near close to fully grown at 7 weeks.
Although their quills can take a small fall if they're balled up, I would NOT let your hedgie go down the end of the bed. They can have internal bleeding and eventually die.
Hedgies are smarter than most people I know (heh). Yes, they bond with their owners. You must handle her every day for bonding to occur.

PS - Pinto isn't a color, it's a pattern.
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Old 10-13-2011, 12:04 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: first time hedgehog owner

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christemo
I can tell you we paid $250 with no papers, which is about $50 more than it should have been.
A lot of public transportation don't allow animals on board. I've seen some people get escorted off trains by security because they have an animal in that kind of case.
I think that having a brand new hedgehog have two homes is quite stressful for the animal. They are already overwhelmed when they get one home, then having to adjust the move from one to another will not make for a happy hedgie.
Seven weeks is way too young to be a healthy pregnancy for pups or mother. Normally 5 months is the absolute minimum age for breeding.
Music is fine, as long as it's not very loud.
They're nowhere near close to fully grown at 7 weeks.
Although their quills can take a small fall if they're balled up, I would NOT let your hedgie go down the end of the bed. They can have internal bleeding and eventually die.
Hedgies are smarter than most people I know (heh). Yes, they bond with their owners. You must handle her every day for bonding to occur.

PS - Pinto isn't a color, it's a pattern.
Wow! Maybe it's because they're really hard to find around here... no breeders in this state.

Our public transportation allows animals on board as long as they're not near the doors during rush hour/s.

I was thinking it'd probably be stressful, too. Could it eventually work out?

Cool! I was kind of hoping that she'll get bigger!

Oh no, I wasn't going to let her fall off the side, I was just wondering how fragile they are.

Awesome. Of course I'm going to handle her every day. :3

She's really great, I love her already. I love watching when she itches herself, it's the cutest thing. Oh, and when she furrows her brow.

Thank you for the advice, I hope I didn't come off as too stupid.
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Old 10-13-2011, 12:51 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: first time hedgehog owner

Seven weeks is very very young for a hedgie to be pregnant. If there's a possibility she is pregnant then you need to read up on all the threads under the Breeding and Babies section. If she's pregnant you don't want to be moving her from place to place alot, if she goes into labour in the carrier you are going to have to leave her and the babies in it for 5-6 weeks without cleaning it. Also if she's being moved around when she delievers she may abandon or kill the babies. Once the babies are born you'll have to leave her completely alone in a quiet room for the first few weeks, going in only to feed and water her.
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Old 10-13-2011, 12:55 AM   #6 (permalink)
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you didn't come across as stupid as all. that's what we are here for and we've all been new prices vary with region and possibly because it's specifically an exotics shop, but generally run between $100-250 here in the states. hedgies are very fragile and as mentioned can get major injury up to and including death from a fall from even a few inches. you may get lucky a time or two and nothing will happen (and yes accidents will happen they have to us all that's why they are called accidents ), but it doesn't take much for them to land the wrong way and something serious to happen very quickly so supervision is important at all times. 7 weeks old they are still babies and still growing so no they are not full grown and yes the pregnancy (if she's pregnant) may be hard on her, but a breeder will be by shortly to discuss that will you i'm sure and what to do in that circumstance. public transit i'm not so sure how safe it would be. you need to keep in mind the temperature change of course that you've already mentioned in which you can actually get some hand warmers to keep on hand just in case she does get a little cold to keep in there with her (make sure you wrap them in a fleece blanket so she can't chew on them). also i'd worry about people bumping into the carrier since it's a soft carrier, i'd get a hard one just in case and in case of a train wreck (heaven forbid) or something and make sure it's clearly marked in case emergency crew would need to clearly see that there is indeed an animal in there that needs rescuing as well. how smart are hedgies? i think they are a lot smarter than we give them credit and yes some have learned their names, but maybe it's more of they know they are getting food when a light comes on or something? idk lol. keep bonding as you are, it's a very important part of having a social, happy hedgie.
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Old 10-13-2011, 12:59 AM   #7 (permalink)
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and the two houses should be okay as long as it's just the two. there are lots of people on here that go back and forth to their parents homes on the weekend from college or whatnot and it works out fine for their hedgies, but you may have to judge that by your hedgie because yes as a general rule most hedgies do have a hard time settling into a new home and take time adjusting and it stresses them out for awhile so if this is a constant issue then maybe not such a great idea.
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Old 10-13-2011, 01:01 AM   #8 (permalink)
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good point nikki i totally spaced her maybe being pregnant (and i just said it a min ago duh) when i posted about the two homes thanks
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Old 10-13-2011, 01:10 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: first time hedgehog owner

There is no such thing as too many questions when it comes to taking on the responsibility of a new little life!! Thank you for posting!

I would of course avoid her taking any kind of a fall! But hedgehogs have a natural reflex when they fall that lets them land on their quills, which absorb the impact. (Sort of like how cats "always" land on their feet) Obviously it's not a risk you want to test, buuut hedgehogs aren't quite made out of glass! My Carlos has a playpen that is a little less than a foot tall, and if I don't pick him up every single time he tries to climb out of it, he will take the fall and bounce from his butt back onto his feet and scamper off like he didn't just make a failed escape attempt.

How often is "a lot" that you make that trip, and for how long do you stay when you go see him? Changing houses like, every other day would possibly be stressful for a settling baby...
BUT, in the end, you are the owner! You know her better than any of us. If she does not seem withdrawn or visibly upset to you after traveling, and still eats-drinks-poops-and pees normally at either house, then who are we to tell you it's not okay??

As much as I wish we could, we can't get into hedgie heads and see if they learn their names or feel any identity to go with the sound of their name. If it answers your question, I don't think any usual hedgehog will respond to its name like a dog would. But Penelope is a lovely name, and sounds soothing! Carlos used to dislike the S in his name, but after a little time he got used to it!
Other than the name-thing, I would without any hesitation say that hedgehogs are intelligent! Like you said, she already recognizes you/your voice/your scent, and realizes that you are not a threat. You can also hide treats under toys and watch them root for them with their noses. Not to use my boy as an example again (it's impossible to hide my love for him ) but he figured out how to open his playpen! He knows where to stick his snout, toss his head up, and throw it open!! I was SO proud of him

Music is A-Okay!

I do not think a breeding would take at 7 weeks, but I am by no means experienced there so I won't say much about it. But technically on this website it says "The first sexual capacity" for a female is as early as 8 weeks... so hopefully your girl made it out okay, fingers crossed!

It takes allllmost a year for a hedgehog to completely finish physically maturing, so little Penelope most likely has a ways to go! By the way, the pictures are ADORABLE!! Thank you for sharing them!! She is flippin' precious!
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Old 10-13-2011, 07:47 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Thank you all so much for the advice! :3

I have a few more questions, actually... lol

Can anyone send me links to ideal wheels/cages/solid food dishes that I can buy online? I'm trying to make her as comfortable as she can possibly be.

Cage: I would like one that isn't too expensive but has a lot of space for her and her toys/etc. Also I don't want a cage with any levels. What cages do you guys use?

Wheel: Preferably something silent, definitely has to be solid, nothing from Petco because in my experience their wheels aren't very good... I heard that you can buy wheels on this website, but I can't find them anywhere? I was watching a hedgehog care video on youtube a few minutes ago and she recommended buying a wheel from "Larry" on Hedgehog Central...

Food and water dishes: Something that she can't tip over? Maybe something that you can secure to the cage?

And also, other toys you guys recommend for hedgehogs.



Oh and one last question, is Soft Sorbent an OK substrate for hedgehogs? I have her on lavender Soft Sorbent currently, but of course I'm willing to change it... it's just that I didn't see the harm in it, and I have four ferrets who use it in their litter boxes so I have four HUGE bags of it. But now I'm starting to think that she probably doesn't like the lavender smell.

Thanks!
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