Can hedgehogs estimate height? ie Do they fall off things? - Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
Mau
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Unhappy Can hedgehogs estimate height? ie Do they fall off things?

Hi everyone,

I'm Jen. I am new to the site and am newish to hedgehogs. We had a rescue hog in 2001 and are currently looking after another rescue hog. I am based in NZ and there aren't too many Kiwis who look after sick hogs.

Our boy has been dreadfully ill. He has had a very hard time with lungworm. He is a juvenile who came with mites and has lost a fair few quills but nothing like our original hog who had none.

He is finishing his 3rd round of treatment and at his worst weighed in at 49g. He is about 56g now which is such amazing progress. We thought we would have to put him down, but we carried on with some Royal Canin recovery food which got him past the worst of it. He now eats cat food from the tin which is good as he was only eating banana for a wee bit.

His stools have firmed and he is lively, energetic and seems quite happy.

We want to start letting him out of his box to get some strength in his muscles but I am so afraid he will do things like walk off a couch or leap from our laps.

Do hedgehogs have depth perception and can they estimate height? Will they just fall off things?

We don't have access to a hog wheel and the pet store hasn't ever hard of them. I imagine they are made for hogs only not the mouse ones.

Any knowledge to share on the depth perception?

Thanks!!
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can hedgehogs estimate height? ie Do they fall off things?

Hedgehogs have very poor depth perception and falls often result in a broken bone or even death.

You can make your own wheel. I know there are tons of tutorials online I just don't have a link on hand.

larry t also does ship internationally I believe so you can always order one from him. It just may coast a pretty penny to ship.
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Old 02-22-2012, 05:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can hedgehogs estimate height? ie Do they fall off things?

Shutupandsmile is partially right. Not all hedgehogs have bad depth perception. I've had several that could tell where an edge was and would turn around, but yes most can not judge that and will fall. Then you have the 3rd group who knows the edge and distance, but will try to slide down anyway potentially getting hurt.

Hedgies should never be unsupervised and if they are on a bed or chair please have them on your lap so even if you do get distracted you still know they are on your lap not trying to be a daredevil (this may take a blanket so they can relax on you). If you have an explorer though that insists on being down then make sure you have a safe playpen or kiddie pool for them to run and play safely.
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can hedgehogs estimate height? ie Do they fall off things?

Yeah, some are more aware of edges and potential falls than others. Archimedes seems to have figured it out after a few harmless falls. When we let him explore on the bed we put pillows or bunched up blankets on the floor around it so he has cushioning if a fall happens, and after landing in those two or three times, he now demonstrates a very clear understanding of 'edges' and 'open space'. That being said, their eyesight isn't particularly good, and it shouldn't be assumed that a hedgehog will know better.

For wheels, there aren't any commercially made specifically for hedgehogs. They need a flat running surface, primarily - in the US the only one in stores that's safe for them is called the Comfort Wheel. The most popular ones are bucket or cake topper wheels, and my suggestion would also be to make one of those from scratch. It's fairly easy, and it costs less even without taking international shipping into consideration.
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
Mau
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Default Re: Can hedgehogs estimate height? ie Do they fall off things?

Thank you all so much!!

He is a daredevil and we have him on our laps, but he will take off at speed and I am terrified he will tumble down. He cannot be left alone, even for a second, as he will scoff whatever is on the floor, be it crayon, stray rubberband, etc. However, he will not eat cat biscuits off the floor.

I will look into some tutorials for a wheel. He is much larger than the wee white hogs so we may have had no luck with a pre-made wheel to begin with. I will look into getting a kiddie pool into the house for him to run around in. That makes a lot of sense, so thanks for that!!
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can hedgehogs estimate height? ie Do they fall off things?

What is it about their evolution that they can and will climb nearly anything, but even the most minor fall is considered to be dangerous? Do hedgehogs in the wild generally climb, or is it an issue specific to captive animals? The inability to descend doesn't fit very well with a propensity to climb. Do captive animals suffer from over-coddling?
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Can hedgehogs estimate height? ie Do they fall off things?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodandPlenty
What is it about their evolution that they can and will climb nearly anything, but even the most minor fall is considered to be dangerous? Do hedgehogs in the wild generally climb, or is it an issue specific to captive animals? The inability to descend doesn't fit very well with a propensity to climb. Do captive animals suffer from over-coddling?
APH's are a breed of two different hogs. I've heard that the instinct for them to ball when falling has been bred out of them. Mostly because we want sociable, personable hedgehogs, not hogs prone to balling. I've heard that in the wild, a hedgehog can fall from a tree and survive because they full ball and their quills act like shock absorbers. This is just what I've heard. Not sure how accurate it is.
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