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Old 09-27-2016, 02:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Sep 2016
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Smile New Owner Questions

Hey everybody!
I just got my hedge over the weekend. He is 2 years old, was a friend's roommate's pet, and I've known him all his life but he's just recently become mine.
His last owner was a little... inattentive, and I took him more out of a desire to help him than a desire to have a hedgehog. Of course I'm now totally in love with him and want to learn everything I need to know to be a great owner. I've had hamsters before, so I get the basics: food, water, shelter (an igloo with a towel inside to snuggle), wheel, bedding and cleaning the cage, handling with care. My best friend also had a hedge when we were growing up, so I know a little about their temperaments and have had some actual experience.
There are just a few questions I want to ask of y'all:
1) His front right bottom tooth is worn down from biting his water bottle for two years! I put a bowl in his cage pronto last night and he drank for a long time, hopefully soon he'll get the hang of it and I can phase the bottle out completely. I guess the question is: is this something I should be taking him to a vet about? Should I get him softer cat food since his tooth is really just a nub at this point?
2) He doesn't seem interested in eating mealworms. I think it's because he hasn't had them in so long. Is this something that he'll rediscover now that he'll be getting them daily? Or is it a lost cause by now? Should I be giving him something else to make up for him not having them in his diet? He also doesn't seem particularly interested in the few fruits (banana) I've offered him.
3) He sleeps almost all night! And during the day! I stay up pretty late, being a college student, and at 1 or 2 am he's just snoozing away. I've heard his former owner complain that he keeps him up all night running on his wheel (that's what he's supposed to do!) and I can tell by looking at his cage that he was at least a little active last night, I worry that he isn't getting enough exercise (he's pretty fat)(can I use "diet" cat foods?). Do y'all think this is just a reaction to being in a new place? He's in his old cage and I've refrained from washing his towel even though it's nasty so he has some familiar smells, but maybe just being in my house as opposed to his old one is enough? Is there something else I should be doing? He's pretty skittish since he hasn't really ever had a ton of human contact but he should still be running on his wheel!
4) Last question, is it even worth a shot to potty train him? I know he poops regularly because when I have him out he always does, but I can't really find that much in his cage... Anyway I put a little in a "litter box" last night and he just tipped it over. Should I keep trying (obviously no matter what it's going to take more than one night), or do y'all think that 2 years without means that he won't learn?

I think those are the big ones. One of my friends also owns a hedgie, and she is in vet school, so I think I'm in pretty good hands between y'all and her
I am so glad I found this forum and welcome any and all answers you have for me! I'm loving my new role as hedgehog owner!
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Old 10-02-2016, 08:30 AM   #2 (permalink)
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(1) You can take him to the vet for his tooth if you like That would put your mind at ease. Also it is usually good to have an annual check-up for our little ones. I would not really worry about the tooth being worn out UNLESS it is causing him distress.
(2) Keep on trying with the mealies Some would take a liking to it; others will not. I cut mine up and placed them with my babies' cat food so they can get the taste and hang of it. And now they LOVE them! Other insects that you could try are crickets, dubias, etc. For fruits and veggies, they really are picky eaters. You could try and give him a few during treat night and see what he would eat.
(3) Hmmm...if he sleeps almost the entire night I have to ask: are there any lights on? Is he on a regular light cycle? And yes. There is the possibility of him trying to adjust to his new surroundings.
(4) Yes you could always try to litter train him! I've done it with my 1 year old. I'm sure you could try and do it with yours!

Hope this helps
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Old 10-03-2016, 11:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: I live in the United States (South Dakota)
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1- As long as it isn't causing your hedgehog pain and he is able to eat regularly, his tooth should be fine. As soon as he isn't eating for a couple of days and seems to be in pain because of it, I would take him in. It was very wise to switch him to the bowl. I'm sure he appreciates that.
2- One of my hedgehogs absolutely despises mealworms. However, he will eat crickets just fine. Sometimes it depends on the hedgehog. Some of them are picky eaters. If you insist on him trying worms, you could stick them in his food every day. He might accidentally eat one and find out that they aren't as bad as he thought they were. If you feed fruits and veggies, be sure that you aren't over feeding them. Too many can cause diarrhea. Also be sure to wait a few days after introducing a new one so you can see if it is upsetting his stomach or not. It's hard to tell which one hurt his tummy if he got three new fruits in one night.
3- My same little guy who won't eat worms refuses to come out until well after I go to bed. He is extremely shy from his previous owners not handling him properly. It's just how some of them are. Make sure to handle him regularly at night and this may change his behavior.
4- Litterbox training is very convenient. Before you stick the tray in there and hope for it to work, be sure to try to find out where your hedgehog is going to the bathroom the most. Most hogs will have one spot that they like to pee and poop in. After a while, put the tray in that spot and put a couple of his poos in there. This will give him the idea of what it is for and he might catch onto it. Remember that every hedgehog is different and some of them are trained in a week, while others are never capable of it.
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Old 10-04-2016, 02:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Manning, Alberta, Canada
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I would get the tooth looked at just to make sure it isn't causin any pain. Since hedgehogs hide pain so well it's hard to tell just by his actions and eating habits if he's in pain or not.
Retired breeder and active HWS rescue station
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eating, first time owner, general questions, sleeping too much, teeth

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