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Old 03-13-2019, 10:45 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My hedgehog is acting really weird?

Hey me and my girlfriend rescued a hedgehog on Valentine’s Day this year, it was supposed to be approx. 1 year, she’s a female and we named her sonic, I know it’s jokes lol, but whenever I try to touch her she balls up and she is always running around, we bought her a ball to run around in outside her cage because we currently don’t have a safe room for her to run loose in as she just runs away and hides under our funiture or just keeps running, and when she is in her cage if I try to touch her she hides in her dome we got her until I leave her alone for like 30 minutes, she bites me sometimes but never licks me, and I force her to come out even when she is balled her quills don’t bug me at all anymore, is there anything I can do to make her more willing to sit with me outside of her cage
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Old 03-13-2019, 10:59 AM   #2 (permalink)
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You state she is a rescue, first and foremost you will need to be prepared to be very patient with her. Her actions aren’t weird at all they are of a scared, defensive hedgehog.

Running and hiding can be very normal reactions for a hedgehog who has been rehomed. They are insecure about their surroundings, don’t know that they are safe, or if you can be trusted. Balling up into a quill ball and huffying also normal defensive reaction. You are bigger than her, scary, are you going to eat her? Start thinking about these reactions in terms of a scared/defensive prey animal and they make perfect sense. You need to figure out how to interact with her on her terms.

What isn’t normal is biting. Biting tends to be something they learned. It could have been that she’d bite her former owner and get what she wanted (put in her cage/away from the humans). Don’t respond to biting but putting her back in her cage, this often encourages the behavior as you are rewarding her with what she wants, away from you. Also, don’t try to do anything negative to her as a reaction either (like blowing in her face, yelping, etc.). These types of responses only scare her more and often reinforces that biting is necessary as you are mean and do things she doesn’t like. Instead, watch her behavior, often you can see when they are stressed and about to bite. Don’t put fingers in front of her face, keep them in safe places. Use fleece blankets between your skin and her, biting the fleece won’t get the reaction she was expecting and it does help them understand that its not worth the effort.


The best thing you can do is spend time with her and be very patient, make a schedule of when you do things. Hedgehogs learn patterns really well and knowing when to expect cuddle time can often help with those that are having trust issues.

Instead of letting her run around a ball (not a fan of these as they can catch their nails in them, and the ventilation in them is extremely poor), spend time with her cuddled in a fleece blanket. Let her hide, be quiet, turn the lights down. Make it as peaceful of an experience as you can. Being with you, hearing your voice, smelling your scent, and feeling safe while hiding helps her get to know that you aren’t going to hurt her, that she can trust you.

Defensive hedgehogs can take a lot of time to gain their trust. I’ve had some that we didn’t see improvement for over 6 months of care. Be prepared to spend a lot of time gaining her trust, and also be prepared that sometimes rescues don’t come around. We have to learn how to interact with them on their terms.
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Old 03-13-2019, 11:12 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Appreciate the advice about the ball! And when we do take her out to cuddle in a blanket or a T-shirt she continuesly tries to run away from us. She only bites when she is in her cage and I try to let her smell me, she’ll bite me once (it doesn’t bother me I barely react other then some movement because of shock factor) then run away. Also thank you for telling me they are good at learning patterns, I’ll try to plan it for around her time of being awake, I get done work then anyways, thank you a lot for the help and sorry for calling it weird just been about a month and figured she would have been semi nice with me by now but patience is key
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Old 03-13-2019, 11:29 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I've had a few rescues do that, it makes it really hard to try to bond with them as you are constantly trying to calm them down. You just have to keep trying and trying to figure out what she does and doesn't like. Honestly, I'd rather have a really huffy hedgehog sometimes, than those that seem to be in a constant state of panic when near you. It makes it really hard to figure out how to interact with them on terms that they will accept.

I think the best method I've found is really just getting them on an established routine. They learn when to expect what from you and their response to it gets better. But honestly it just takes time, sometimes far longer than you ever expected it to take. And it can be very frustrating. Hedgehogs will teach you how to be very patient. You'll learn to not take for granted even the smallest of accomplishments.


Other thoughts, since she's new to you, is to also ensure there are no smells in the area that may bother her. They have extremely sensitive noses and strong scents can be overwhelming. Some examples of things that can cause it strong cologne/perfume, highly scented lotion, smoke, scented candles, etc. Are there any devices in the area that make a high pitched sound, mice deterrents have been reported to cause strange reactions, but I even had a television that caused one of mine to freak out, turned it off and he was fine. Sometimes there are things that are environmental that may cause issues.
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Old 03-13-2019, 11:50 AM   #5 (permalink)
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There’s weed in the room 24/7 we don’t smoke in the room tho
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