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Old 10-05-2012, 05:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default New Hedgehog - Any general advice?

Hello,

I got a male hedgehog a few days ago. He's six months old, and came from a small locally owned pet store that I adore for their reptiles, amphibians, and birds. (I'm an avid herp keeper with nearly 70 individuals right now.) I've kept all kinds of rodents in the past, as well as birds, livestock, and cats and dogs. This is my only mammal at the moment. I'm usually allergic to furry pets (though I stand it), but I don't seem to be allergic to hedgehogs. Also, the bugger is cute.

My friend also has one that she got recently. He's five months old, and very sociable. So easy to hold, and will run to you from across the room for a mealworm. Not afraid of anything.

My Winston Churchill however is afraid of everything. He's handleable once I've had him flat on the floor for a while, but it is difficult to get him out. I understand this is normal, and I don't mind waiting for him to warm up to me more. He's perfectly pleasant after a while waiting for him to uncurl. When in his pen and I put my hand in he immediately tenses up, huffs, clicks, headbutts, etc. He'll do that until he's out, then he relaxes and takes no notice of me. He will not be held on his back, however, so I'm not sure how I can check his toes and belly (especially for nail clipping) until he gets used to me. Any advice on that?

He seems to like worms, but will only eat them in his pen. He will take kibble from my hand, however. I feed EVO grain free adult cat weight management diet, turkey and chicken, plus feeder insects from my own colonies. He's content exploring on his own, and will come huddle and sniff by my legs, but that seems to be his only interest in me.

Aside from letting him out everyday to run around and get used to me, is there anything else that I should do? I'd like to be able to check his toes, but he won't even show his face to me when on his back.

He has bitten me once after sniffing my hand for a long time - I think I might have just smelled like his food. I'm not worried about that, since he's not aggressive, just shy. He does like to headbutt me with his quills though.

Also, one last question. He is completely white on quills, body, and face, with visible pink skin and black eyes. Which coloring is this? In reptiles it's leucistic, but I don't believe that's a hedgehog term.

I'm a little out of practice with mammals, unfortunately. All cold bloods for me for the past few years. Hoping I'm handling him right.
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Old 10-05-2012, 06:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Hedgehog - Any general advice?

Welcome to HHC! Always nice to see people around that are well-versed in herps, too - not too many of them among us. So far sounds like you're doing great with him, and it sounds like he's behaving pretty normally. A lot are pretty defensive until you pick them up and let them calm down. For checking his belly/toes, you can try doing that in the bath, when they usually will not ball up to avoid putting their head under water. You can also plop him down on a wire grate like a side to the storage cubes many people use for cages, and wait for his feet to fall through. As far as food goes, you should update us on how he does on the EVO - it's a bit higher protein than most here feed, so it's always good to hear how different sides of the protein (or fat, or fiber, what not) spectrum are tolerated. Don't be afraid to give him plenty of insects (mine love dubia, and get a wide variety of other bugs) or any cat foods with carbs ("fillers") in them - no good for cats, but hedgehogs are omnivores and can handle it.

As far as color goes, some people call them leucistic because they like fancy words but in real life all the black eyed white hedgies we have are just ones that are completely pinto except for their eyes.



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Old 10-19-2012, 06:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Hedgehog - Any general advice?

Thanks for the welcome! I keep a lot of herps and have a part time job at a local reptile store, so I guess I'd say I'm well-versed, haha. He has gotten better, as I've been coaxing him from his ball in his fleece bed out into the main part of his cage by mealworm incentives. Once he's woken up and taken a few worms I'm then free to pick him up and remove him from his home. I just had to get used to what worked for him, I suppose.

I also ended up with a young 12 week old female hedgehog, who is the sister of one of my friend's hogs. She's very friendly, and has a much different personality. I'm keeping her on aspen because of her foul odors - are there any safe cleaners to use around her? I usually use lime based cleaners for inside my reptile cages, as they can be exposed to them without any ill effect. Are there organic cleaners like, say, lemon and vinegar or the lime and oil treatments that would be safe? Stinky stinkers make my animal room smell entirely like hedgehog urine, even with 30 snakes that have just pooped out 30 digested mice/rats among other smelly reptiles. I was so surprised at how much dirtier they were! They've got the lovely habit of taking their poop and smearing it on the wall of their pen, just like some of my snakes do, hah.

I haven't tried my dubia colony yet, though that's mostly reserved for finicky geckos and my beastly bearded dragons and savannah monitor. I wonder if waxworms would be a tasty treat for them? My colony of waxies just got going. They're loving my small mealworms and giant mealworms, though. Considering trying some of my beetle breeders to get some use out of them before they shove off for the next generation of feeders.

The girl has salt and pepper quills with a cute peachy colored skin and grey around her muzzle. Quite the cutie, and has to have daily foot baths for my monstrous amount of poos. I feed her worms to wake her up, then take her out for a warm bath where she proceeds to drop 3 loads of poo, then pees. She then proceeds to run around the rest of the night. Must be a nice life.

Unfortunately, my girlfriend has not taken to them so well. She was iffy about all my creatures when she first encountered them, but got used to most of them. She's partial to bearded dragons and my desert iguanas, and now has her own ball python. However, she cannot seem to get past the new hedgehogs. They always quill her and urinate on her, which she can't stand. They have now been categorized to "my pets" to go along with the corn snakes and savannah monitor that she doesn't like, haha. Too bad. I find them to be very rewarding pets already, and they're definitely not going! I found that a friend of my mother's is a hedgehog breeder in Florida, though I don't know her site.

I'm definitely in love with these guys already. A plus for not being allergic to them as well! I'm sure I'll be keeping hedgehogs for a long time.
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Old 10-19-2012, 09:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: New Hedgehog - Any general advice?

Definitely try the dubia and waxworms with them! Mine LOVE dubia of all sizes, and waxworms are so fatty that I've never had a hedgie turn them down.



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