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Old 09-05-2012, 11:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Advice for new hedgie owner?

Hi! I just got my first hedgie, Pepper, on Sunday (3 days ago) and even though for the weeks leading up to her homecoming, I've been combing through this site, I still have some questions.

I know that she is a little over a month old (about 6 weeks old). She has a really big cage with a wheel, igloo and the works. She seems to fit the explorer personality. She runs all around her cage and my bed, sniffing everything. But she's still very scared of me.

I put in my tshirt inside so that she could get used to my smell (she sleeps in it!). I pick her up at roughly the same time each day for about half and hour and let her run around on my bed. How else could I try to socialize with her? she huffs a little and puts up her spikes whenever I get close to the cage and startle her when she's awake (not on purpose, ex. me tripping over a cord in my room) and especially when I try to pick her up. Sometimes she'll look like she's shivering (and I know for a fact she's not too cold or anything).

I understand she still needs to get used to me and it's only been 3 days, but I guess my main concern is that since she's not from a licensed breeder, I have no idea what kind of temperament she has; I'd love for her to eventually snuggle up with me and play without having her spikes up half the time. Any tips on how I could bond more with her? Pick her up more? Do more than just let her run around the bed? I'm ready to spoil her rotten, if only she'd let me!

Also, I don't think the breeder has taken her to a vet, ever. Thankfully, there is a vet with hedgie experience right by me. When should I take her for a check up, or better is it necessary to take her yet? She seems really healthy overall, minus dry skin, but I think that's pretty normal.

Any ideas for toys? I saw the dig box idea, and will definitely try it. I just don't want to overwhelm Pepper. Any tips on toys are also welcome!

I also want to eventually give her some treats. I have mealworms, fruit, baby food, etc. I'm waiting for her to get used to the cat food I'm feeding her now before I give her anything else. When do you think I could give her a little something extra?

Thanks in advance for your replies!!
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Old 09-06-2012, 01:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Advice for new hedgie owner?

My advice for bonding is to give her food/treats/good things every time you interact with her. Whenever I go to see Poggles, I always offer him food. In fact, when I first got him and he was super afraid of me, I temporarily switched him to mainly hand feeding for a while. He started to realize I was the giver of food and tasty things so he got more used to me.

I think that Poggle's personality is more on the shy/afraid/stay at home and hide type so I don't expect him to ever be super friendly. However, he enjoys an occasional gentle chest and neck rub once in a while, and tolerates a little chin touching each day.

Your hedgie is the explorer type so I think that puts her in a braver category than Poggles. With a little time and patience, you may get your hedgie to be less afraid of you and eventually to even let you do all the cool things that other people on this site seem to be able to do with their hedgies. Pepper has only known you for 3 days, so it makes sense that she doesn't fully trust you yet. Just keep spending time with her daily and make things nice for her so that she will remember that you are safe and good.

Good luck!

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Old 09-06-2012, 02:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Advice for new hedgie owner?

Thanks MurE. I do give Pepper kibble when I play with her. Usually to coax her out of her sleeping spot and then to sort of make it a scavenger hunt when she runs around my bed. I'll definitely try to hand feed her more. Great suggestion!
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