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Old 02-12-2012, 12:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My Little Baby Won't Run!

Today marks the two-week anniversary of owning my little hedgie, Rodney. He's 12 weeks old, and absolutely amazing!

He's sweet as can be, and loves attention. During the day, he loves to just cuddle on you, and at night he chases the cats around (which is quite a site).

The only issue I've noticed, is his lack of exercise. When I brought him home, I bought the wheel the pet store recommended. Yes, I know, I got him at a pet store?! Yes. I got him from an exotic pet store, who's owner is actually an exotic animal vet. When I brought him home, and showed him his new cage, he loved it. He ran around, burrowed, and had a great time. Then, I introduced the wheel. He just went to the bathroom and hopped off.

So, I thought maybe the wheel is too big/heavy for him to run on? I decided to go to the pet store and get a smaller, temporary wheel. No luck, he just used it as a litter box... again.

So then I thought, maybe he doesn't like the shape of the wheel? I then decided to go to the pet store and try again. I purchased a running 'saucer,' which is just like a little titled saucer that he can run on ( and the box actually recommended the saucer for hedgies). But, once again he just wanted to go potty on it.

His cage is 3 feet long and 4 wide, giving him plenty of room to run around. And, all three wheels are scattered about in hopes that he'll use one. So far he hasn't, which is why I'm posting this. How concerned should I be?

He eats plenty, drinks plenty, loves to play, and seems like an overall healthy guy. His cage is at a nice 75 degrees, thanks to a space heater. According to all my research, I think I'm doing everything right?

Also, just an FYI he does have a little toe injury. Before I purchased him, he snagged his toenail and it's in the process of healing. The pet store's vet gave me an antibiotic, which Rodney loves, and some disinfectant spray. I was thinking maybe the toe hurts to run on? But, keep in mind he runs all over my legs, his cage, and about everywhere else to chase the cats.

Any suggestions?

Thanks, Baylee & Rodney
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Old 02-12-2012, 02:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Little Baby Won't Run!

It sounds like you are doing everything right, so no worries there.

Keep in mind that just because packaging for a pet product says something is OK for hedgehogs doesn't mean it's true. Hedgehog specific food formulas are actually not appropriate for hedgehogs at all - ironic, I know.

Really the only recommended store bought wheel is the Comfort Wheel. Others have been known to have issues & unsafe features. If you are looking for a wheel that is absolutely safe and that your hedgehog will love, you should order a Carolina Storm Wheel from our member LarryT.

I'm not sure how much reading you've done here at HHC, but it is very possible that Rodney is using his wheel/s. In general, hedgehogs aren't all that comfortable running on their wheels in front of us and most will only wheel when the room they are in is completely dark and quiet. I have tried to watch my hog run on her wheel so many times, but she stops the second she can hear me. But, I hear her feet pitter pattering on her wheel all night long, and the poop and pee smeared all over it in the morning lets me know she's using it. Most hedgies use their wheels as a bathroom while they run, so poop on the wheel is a good indicator that it's being used. Even with no poo, hedgie could still be wheeling.

What is making you so certain that Rodney isn't wheeling? I doubt his cage is in your bedroom since the space heater is set at a temperature that most of us aren't real comfortable in. Could it be that he is wheeling and it's not that obvious?

And this is solely my opinion, but if he has a toe injury, maybe you should take the wheels out for a while until it's totally healed? If he is wheeling, he is dragging that injury through feces and urine when he runs which won't help it heal, and could cause infection.
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Little Baby Won't Run!

I'm 100% positive he isn't running, because I've marked the wheels. I put little dashes on the edge, to see if they move in the morning, and they don't. Also, the only time there is pee or poo on the wheel, is when I put him on it, he goes, and then he hops off. I'll then clean the wheel off, and then there's no more.

And, my bedroom has a connecting bathroom that he stays in (you're right, that heat would be too much to handle) and I can't ever hear him running!

I think I'll wait a little longer, and then try the Carolina Storm Wheel if I don't see results.

I'm almost wondering if maybe he just likes getting his exercise chasing the cats?

And the toe injury is no longer open, I was justing thinking it may be a little tender?

Thank you for the advice!
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Little Baby Won't Run!

Babies also sleep a lot, so it's possible he's just spending his time eating, pooping, and sleeping. With such a large cage, it's also possible he's having a great time running around it rather than on his wheel - there are a few that don't like wheels and prefer to just run around their cage for exercise. As long as he's eating, drinking, and doesn't seem lethargic or injured at all when you have him out at night, I wouldn't be concerned about the lack of wheeling. Though it'd be unfortunate if you bought all three wheels and he just doesn't like wheeling! I'd just leave them in so he has the option and relax about whether he uses them or not.
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Little Baby Won't Run!

Honestly, it sounds like you're getting him proper exercise by letting Rodney chase your kitties! I'd LOVE to see a video of that!
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Old 02-12-2012, 04:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Little Baby Won't Run!

There are concerns that long term use of the flying saucer MAY potentially cause joint problems, but they have not been around long enough for anyone to know for certain what affects if any it has on a hedgies body. Personally I don't use them because I'd think the grooves on it would hurt their feet, but there are many on here that do use them including a few of the admins.

Have you checked his toe nails? Its possible that one or more of them have gotten so long they've curled around into his paw and its hurting him so he won't run.

Other thing is 75 is usually pretty safe, but some hedgies are more sensitive (older hedgies and babies the most)) especially this time of year. He may still be cold even at 75 so try hiking up the space heater a degree or two and see if that helps.

Final thing is what is his light schedule like? Do you have a light on a timer to where he is sure to get at least 12 hours of light a day? Sorry if you said it already and I missed it.
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Old 02-12-2012, 04:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: My Little Baby Won't Run!

Thank you to everyone for replying! I'm glad to know it's probably nothing.

When Rodney is awake, he is VERY active and not lethargic at all... so maybe he is in the eat-poop-sleep stage!

And about the saucer, thanks so much for telling me! Fortunately... he's yet to run on it! Also, the temperature towards the beginning was about 79 degrees, but it was too hot. He actually seems to enjoy the 75 out of all the temperatures I've tried.

Also, his lighting schedule allows him at least 12 hours of light, and two of sunlight (sometimes more if I forget to turn the light out before school ).

But thanks again for all your opinions! Hopefully he just likes to run around with the kitties for exercise, rather than use the $100 worth of wheels I bought!
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