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Old 07-06-2018, 03:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation My bf surprised me with a hedgehog today

TLDR; skip to the last paragraph.

Iím so nervous that Iím not going to give this hedgehog its best life. Please help me. My BF and I moved in together a few months ago after being a couple for years. This morning, he decided to make one of my many dreams come true: owning a hedgehog.

While Iím extremely elated and in love with this hedgehog (I named him spikey), Iím overwhelmed. My BF got a starter kit as well so I have a huuuge cage, great food, bedding, pine shavings, short water holders....

Although my bf says Spikey was very sweet and playful at the pet store, heís already spiked me twice. He looks terrified. Shaking and breathing really fast. I donít mind the painful spikes but Iím scared Iím slowly killing him by heart attack. But I want to be able to play with Spikey. Iíve left him alone for a few hours now and now heís burrowed beneath all of the bedding where I canít see him anymore.

I know this is the first day of me having him but I want to have a good relationship with Spikey. I have no idea what Iím doing.

Is it normal for them to burrow? Is it normal that Spikey is breathing really fast? Is there such thing as playing with your hedgehog too much? Will he always spike up when I get near him?
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Old 07-06-2018, 04:17 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Yes, they like to burrow and it's completely normal. Make sure you read up a lot about hedgehogs. You will NEED a CHE lamp and thermostat to keep the temperature regular. His cage should always be between 72-80 degrees. Hedgehogs are naturally terrified of everything since they are prey animals. It is very likely that he will always spike up when you unexpectedly touch him. It can take months to even a year for your hedgehog to feel calm around you and allow you to hold him/pet him without spiking up. Hedgehogs take a lot of patience.

Also, pine shavings aren't very good for hedgehogs. Are you using that for his bedding? If so, I recommend CareFresh or using fleece liners.

It is also very normal for your hedgie to act like a completely different pet after you take them home. They are in a new environment and everything (including you) is new to him. After Spikey has gotten used to his environment, you should take him out and handle him for at least 30 minutes every day so that he gets used to your scent and is comfortable being around you. Since you and your bf are living together, I would suggest that you both interact with him daily if possible. I'm also living with my bf and he doesn't interact with my hedgie much, so whenever he is around when I'm playing with her, she gets very skittish.

Last edited by autumnfox; 07-06-2018 at 04:19 AM.
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Old 07-06-2018, 04:34 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I have CareFresh underneath the pine shavings. Oh, no. I didn’t know pine shavings were bad. I’ll take them out right now. My apartment is always 75 degrees but I was told I should get a heat lamp tomorrow. I’m a little confused by that. I thought hedgehogs liked dim lighting; heat lamps are bright af.

Do you think I can buy that stuff (the CHE light and the temp regulator) at Petco? It’s a hour-long drive to get to the pet shop Spikey was bought from.
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Old 07-06-2018, 07:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You’re right that you shouldn’t have a bright lamp shining on your hedgehog’s cage all the time. You should get a lamp that emits heat only and not light. Ceramic heat emitters (CHE) have bulbs that look like this:
The bulb screws into a fixture which plugs into your outlet. Most of the fixtures include clamps to attach them to the cage, or you can get a stand for the fixture to hang from. The last element is a thermostat, which attaches to the fixture and regulates the temperature.

In my experience, pet stores only carry these items seasonally, and usually in the reptile section. You might want to call before you go to make sure they have them. I’ve had good luck getting them from Amazon.

If you do have a separate light that shines into the hedgehog’s cage, it should be on a timer so that the cage is lit during the day and dark at night. Most hedgies will not be active if their cage is not dark at night. The cage needs to be at a constant temperature, though, so if you use a heat lamp to keep the cage in the correct temperature range, it needs to be on all the time.

Other members, please feel free to chime in if there’s something I’ve missed.

Last edited by heytheredelilahedge; 07-06-2018 at 07:25 PM. Reason: Adding more information
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Old 07-06-2018, 07:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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What Kind of food are you feeding? Do you have a wheel and if so what kind? As well as a Ceramic Heater Emitter and fixture you will need a thermostat to regulate the temperature in the cage. Don't let the pet store talk you into a bulb that gives off any type of light or into getting a rheostat instead of a thermostat.
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breathing fast, freaked out, new owner, spike up, too much

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