Over a month in, still hissing and popping. Not sure what to do.. - Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 10-03-2018, 03:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Nellythehedgie's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2018
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Default Over a month in, still hissing and popping. Not sure what to do..

Hey everyone!

I have an 12 week old old hedgie that ive had for just over a month. Ive been handling her daily but really havent seen any improvement or signs of trust and bonding from her.

Anytime i open her cage shes in her hide, sleeping, which is normal and balls and hisses when i remove it to pick her up.

She seems to be ok in my hands/on my lap but really is just looking to get away from me constantly. Everytime I come near her she balls and hisses.

Ive been somewhat patient and not pushing her further than shes confortable with, but the fact that im not seeing much of an improvement of behaviour around me.

Shes on VERY high end cat food, seems completely uninterested in insects like meal and super worms and doesnt seem food motivated at all, shes also in a large rabbit cage, but i'm intending to convert a bedroom into a huge enclousure for her.

I started trying to bond closer to 9/10pm to not bother her when she naturally wants to sleep. I'm just not sure if she is quilling, although ive heard its anout a week long process. If it means anything, she was in my lap for about 30 mins today and i counted 11 quills that fell out and were on my lap after.

I'm so sorry for the super long, rambling post. I'm not sure if i am doing anything wrong and if i am, i want to fix it asap.

As for heating, she is currently in the room with my reptiles and i have heat lamps if temps are to drop. Everytime i check her cage, its around the 73-83 temp range, if you guys have noticed it being easier for them to calm down and bond with their owners, i can increase the heat in her cage.

Thanks for all the help, my experienced hedgie parents, if not obvious, shes my first hedgie! I just want to make sure im providing her with everything she needs to have a fantastic quality life.


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Old 10-03-2018, 04:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: London-Surrey, UK
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When shes on your lap is there a safe place to hide ?? When I take Holly out at 8pm for our hour bonding I always make sure that I have something she knows for her to hide in.
Mostly Its my cardigan unless its in the wash/drying then I just use a fleece blanket.
I know that theres snuggle sacks, made from fleece that people use that basically provides that safe hide space from what I have seen anyway.
Your not doing anything wrong it just takes some time there are some people who have been doing it a bit longer than you their hedgehogs havent yet bonded with them.
I’m not experienced so I dont really know anything else than this information.
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Old 10-03-2018, 06:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: London
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Hiya Nellythehedgie -

You have basically just described my hedgehog Marjorie - month in and im convinced she hates me. Hisses, balls up, will eventually settle on my lap but only if held in fleece square. She also won't eat insects and has days when just picks at her food.

I'm persisting with handling, and putting things that smell of me in her cage - fleece strips, snuggle sacks ive had in bed with me, old tshirt etc. She will eat cat treats from my hand - and occasionally a meal worm but thats about it.

it's so stressful!!!

Sorry can't be helpful - just wanted you to know ME TOO!!xx
Love Vic and Marjorie
RIP Jeane Claude Von Periwinkle
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Old 10-04-2018, 01:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: Tokyo, Japan
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It does take time. I got Yuki when he was 4.5months old and it was several months later when he started to chill out. It took over a year to be really comfortable but even now any sudden movements will make him hiss or pop. They're prey animals so their natural defence when something is coming near to them is to go into defence mode. Try not reach for them from above and just move very slowly and speak softly.

I found Yuki was most comfortable in my lap using a sleeping/bonding sack, he'd run into it as soon as I put the sack on my lap and gradually he'd lay with his head facing out at me and relax but that took a while. I couldn't really pet him but gradually he didn't mind being petted through the sack. Even to this day he prefers fabric between my hand and him to be stroked and massaged, it's like he doesn't realise its the same thing petting him lol. But only now (1.5yrs later) have I managed to give him a successful belly rub and he enjoys in ^^

He used to love forehead strokes when he lay in his sleeping sack on my lap but I guess we fell out of routine with that and he doesn't like them so much now. We stopped using the sleeping sack and instead use a large fleece blanket folded in half and he sleeps inside it, this still makes him feel safe and gives him the ability to hide, it's just easier to have more interaction with him but I recommend using a sleeping sack to begin with. I feed him insects during bonding too.

Keep using scented things in their cages. I probably wouldn't change out bedding more than once a week, just spot clean daily. The constant new smells in the cage and their own scent from their nest being taken away probably creates more stress = more frightened hog. Same with sleeping sack or fleece blanket used for bonding, I wash it once a month.

I also put on the same tshirt when I hold him for bonding in the evening and wash once a week, so it has both my scent but also his scent so he feels more secure and safe when I hold him. Plus saves my nice clothes from getting ruined!

Last edited by Yukidama's mama; 10-04-2018 at 01:18 AM.
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Old 10-04-2018, 05:16 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 30

73-83 is much too broad of a temperature range for hedgies, and may be contributing to her feeling uncomfortable/uneasy. Ceramic heat emitters (CHE's) are recommended, as opposed to heat lamps, as they keep the air at a consistant temperature.

Providing the exact name of her food, as well as the type of bedding used, may help some of the more experienced owners here to chime in with their recommendations. (Pictures are also encouraged!l

You're doing a great job patiently working with her. They can take quite a while to warm up to us, especially while quilling.
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Old 10-16-2018, 10:23 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Location: Kumamoto, Japan
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I got my hedgie when he was 10 months old. He was a very neglected boy from a pet store and I took him on knowing full well that he might never relax around me.

I've had him for over 2 months and have taken him out for bonding time religiously every day. Every time I found myself getting frustrated at his hissing and popping, I had to remind myself that he's scared, not angry.

Around 6 weeks we had a breakthrough. His spikes stood up for second, then immediately went down once he was in my hands. I was shocked. We're doing better each and every day: I can even pet him now, but he only allows it sometimes.

I would say keep at it and try not to get discouraged. I also talk to my hogs in the same sickly-sweet, overindulgent mother voice. This seems to help them calm down faster, even if it does disgust my human visitors.
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