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Old 11-19-2012, 12:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hello !

I finally register here after owning a hedgehog for about a year.

I got mine from a market, as there is no pet shop around that would carry hedgehog, let alone breeders. I live in a small inland town where it is still common to bring the animals alive in a market to make sure the meat is fresh. The seller was nice enough to let me keep one hedhehog alive, and I chose a small non-white one.

Things are going well, the hedhehog did **** green, and abundantly, during the trip back (nasty surprise when opening the box home) but it was totally normal by the next day. He ate right away at home and never really seemed shy.

He is quite active, barely get into a ball or get spiky anymore, at worst would make its head low and spiky but even that is uncommon. I can't really take it on its back like on many pictures I see online though, it's a matter of seconds before he start fighting to get on its feet.

We feed him mainly cat food, but also give him any bugs and worms we catch. And whenever we see a roach around we get the hedgehog close and most of the time he would try to eat it. Convenient pet ! He also eat poisonous bugs without problem.

At first we just lock it into the bathroom. Chinese bathroom are convenient for that, it's not like in the west where you have a shower in a corner and that's it, here the whole room is a big tiled-floor shower, it's lot of room for the hedgehog to run and relatively easy to clean. Then we got tired of cleaning the room every morning before being able to take the first piss and got it into a cage. But after a few weeks we noticed it was getting fat so now it's back to the bathroom, and he is slowly loosing weight again.

He never showed much interest into toys, he prefers escaping around. We don't have any lock so we have to put heavy things behind the bathroom door, but he has lots more strenght that it looks and manage to push the door enough to escape once in a while. He even spent 3 days free in the house with us unable to find it. Fortunatly, he never crap in the house. It's like he is holding himself, as he immediatly start pissing and shitting as soon as he get back to the bathroom. Same apply for its sand.

Once, as he escaped, we noticed he really loved playing inside thick dust. So we filled a plate with a little bit of sand, we put him for a few dozen minutes at a time once in a while and he really seem to love it. He rubs his side in it, or get into a ball in order to trap sand inside him, then quickly unroll in order to try to throw the sand away far from him. Whenever he escape he always run where it's plate of sand here first. He really espace more than he should, he knows the house and its hiding place quite well now. And it's really cute to see he doesn't want to dirty its playing and would hold itself until put back to the bathroom. (inside which he **** everywhere indisriminately, then run over and around it, but that's another story)

I only recently got the pdf from lizardgirl (african hedhehog pet owner manual). A lot of the content is west-centered and doesn't apply here. Keep the temperature in a certain range ? My family don't even have hot water for ourself, let alone heaters. If we can't afford it for us, we certainly won't bother for a pet that was sold for meat in the first place. The hedhehog went through last winter fine anyway. It's funny though that we intuitivly did things recommanded in the book. For instance, having the hedhehog sleep on me while using the computer. It's also a good way to know when the hedgehog is in the mood for being handled, as you're the first to know when he doesn't want to keep sleeping anymore. Plus, it's a cheap way to keep him warm during the winter.

I have a few questions about it though

- He seems to have mushroom, or parasite or something. whenever holding it for a while we get covered in skin powder. What kind of product (that can be found in a regular pharmacy) can I use ? Animal doctor is not really an option here, since they are mostly farm animal doctor. They would do cats and dogs if asked, but pet owners that really care about their pet are reluctant as the diagnosis is more often than not "put it to sleep and get a new one". (pets are very cheap here, and many owner get rid of pets when they get adult to get a new baby).

- Until recently, the hedgehog would never ever bit anyone, no matter how much he is being teased. But now he is starting to be quite agressive toward one of our family member. He doesn't know why as he never really bothered it (or at least no more than us, so really mild teasing like moving things around to see the hedgehog disapointed by not finding what he expect), but fact is, whenever his finger would be around the hedgehog he would use its front leg to try and grab the finger, or bit it in a quick (and not so painful) snap. I don't know what the behaviour is due to, it started without any reason we can see. It doesn't seem to be an agressive behaviour as it is never really painful nor long. He doesn't do it with any other family member.

- Our hedgehog is very very small and won't grow. After we got it, he did grow a little bit more for a few months, then stopped. Compared to other hedgehog from the market, he is maybe a quarter of the size. It had not grow at all for nearly a year. However he eats quite a lot (about an ashtray of cat food every day when no bug, and the food is always refilled before it runs empty). What could be the reason ?
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Old 11-19-2012, 01:12 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hello, and welcome to the forum!

It sounds like you guys have done pretty good with your hedgehog so far, with what you have available! I'm curious, are you able to post a picture of your hedgehog? I'm wondering if it's the same breed as the ones that most of us on this forum own, or something different.

The skin might just be dry skin, which can be fixed with flaxseed oil, olive oil, palm oil, or coconut oil. You can put it on his food, and a little bit in some water to bathe him in. But be careful - if it's a fungal infection, oil will just make it worse. I'm not sure what your options would be in that case, if there's no vet that would be willing to examine him and prescribe medicine. That's a shame that people are so careless about their pets.

Does that family member ever feed treats from his fingers, or does he wash his hands before his hands are around the hedgehog? They smell better than they see, so he might think his hand is food. If he uses some kind of scent or lotion, or anything else that's "smelly", it might be causing the bites. Have him try washing his hands with soap that doesn't smell strongly and see if it helps.

He might just be a small hedgehog, it's hard to tell. A picture might help with that as well!

A couple other things I thought I'd mention - You might want to be careful with sand, since it can get caught in private parts and irritate him. Male hedgehogs have seriously injured themselves before from getting something stuck in their penile sheath. I would also personally be cautious with wild and poisonous bugs - hedgehogs (especially if he's a wild hedgehog) have pretty hardy systems, but he could get sick or get parasites from wild bugs. It sounds like he's done okay so far though, at least.
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: New owner

Hi !

Thanks for your answer

I can't give picture nor any information that could help identify me, I'm sure you understand the reason. (this is a .com, not a .com.cn, so in theory I should not even be able to read it)

As far as I can tell by the look though, it seems the very same kind of hedgehog as you have in the US. It's been referred to me as a "Taiwanese hedgehog" by the seller, but there is no native species in taiwan according to wikipedia. Not sure he really knows or care. Also, the majority of hedgehog seem to be red-eyed white-colored, with only a strong minority being brown. Maybe there is benefit for the grower in keeping them albinos ?

The main trick to have a happy hedgehog seem quite simple: leave it alone when it wants to be left alone (which is 90% of the time), and he'll be happy (or indifferent ? I guess it's kind of the same when it comes to hedgehog interaction with human) when being handled. I am quite sad we never heard him purr though.

About the sand part, we first tried with cat litter. But as you said, he got some stuck inside, probably after masturbating (which is the second thing he like the most after escaping it seems). Then we switched to proper not so sticky sand from the beach and so far it's been going fine. I am taking the advice seriously though and we see if we can think of something else. Would small gravel be ok ?

Is there any risk in treating the hedgehog for fungus if there is no actual infection ? I was thinking asking a regular doctor what human can use if they have a similar infection, but I am not sure it would be healthy for the hedgehog.
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: New owner

Yup, that sounds like a relationship with a hedgehog!

Hm...Not sure what you guys might have available to use for litter instead. Do you have any kind of shredded paper bedding that might be used for cat litter or small animal bedding? That might work better, less likely to get caught in places. If you have paper towel or something like that, that would also work pretty well. I think small gravel might have the same problems as the cat litter, depending on the size of it.

As far as I know, I don't think there's any major harm in treating for a fungal infection even if there's not one. It would probably be a good idea to try treating for that before putting oil on his skin, just in case it's fungal instead of dry skin. You might get some more answers on this part too, there's other people on here that are better than me with health issues!
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