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Old 12-11-2012, 07:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hello all. I stumbled onto this forum last night when I was looking up info on hedgehogs and thought this might be a good forum to join. I have been part of a number of forums about different animals, and know that they can be filled with information for new owners.

Over the years I have had many different kinds of animals, most of them being rescues. Now that I am older I ALWAYS rescue animals, and never considered having a hedgehog as a pet because I never heard of someone in my area giving one up. Usually, I do lots of research before getting a new animal, but this guy kinda fell into my lap.

I recently lost my pet feeder mouse, and asked my friend who is constantly rescuing animals if she had any mice or hamsters that needed a home. Well, she said she had a hedgehog and I felt I could not pass this opportunity up because I might not get another chance to rescue one of these little guys. So I did some research last night I just picked him up about 20 mins ago.

All I know about him is that he is a boy and he is less than a year old. Right now he is hiding in a piece of clothing that was put into his cage. He is currently in a 30 gal? fish tank with a water bottle on one side. The bedding smells like pine and he has a bowl of food in it. The food looks like Purina's Artificial Colors and Flavors Bits, aka: small, round, and a few different colors.

Now, I have never had a hedgehog before, but I do have a cat that eats Natural Balance Salmon and Green Pea food. If this food is okay for hedgehogs (which I think I read it is) for how many days should I mix the new stuff with the old colored bits?

Also, I have NIC cubes/CC cubes...those panels which can be used to craft cages for guinea pigs and rabbits, left over and I can ziptie those together as soon as I dig them out. I have blue carefresh; I have plenty of mouse/hamster/rabbit treats and toys, but I don't know which he can have.

And I know I will need to buy a wheel, but do I buy one that's made for rats? BTW, I only buy wheels that are solid on the bottom and have no bars across that could hit the animal's face or neck. I have heard enough horror stories.

Am I missing any other essentials? Like, do they need hay or salt licks or do they run in excercise balls?

I will post pics when I get a chance. Right now I am leaving him be so he can get used to his new surroundings.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to HHC! It sounds like he's in good hands now, kudos for taking in a rescue. I'm sure others will be along shortly to help with more specific answers, but in the meantime I just wanted to let you know that I have a book I published on hedgehog care that you're welcome to download for free (link in my signature) to have an easy single source for most of the care info you'll need. There's a lot on cages, bedding, wheels, food, etc. and should help with a lot of your questions!



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Old 12-11-2012, 08:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome!

Natural Balance Salmon/Pea is a great option. You should try for a slow transition, but honestly, when it comes to transitioning from a crappy food to a good one, hedgehogs almost always will make it a quick transition of their own accord. Don't be surprised if in a day or so you start finding the old food left over and he's only eating the new stuff. You can start by giving him half old and half new; usually when it's a transition to a food that's more around the same quality, a slower transition is suggested, but he should take to the new food with no problem at all. Just go based on how he reacts; if you see that he snubs the old stuff (which is likely) then you can just stop including it completely. You can also use Benebac or acidophilus (in powder form) which are probiotics - a liberal sprinkle on top of the food every day will help with the transition, but you'll still see some squishy or greenish poops as his system gets used to the change.

Definitely put together a C&C cage, since you have the stuff already. Tanks are no good. I also suggest switching him to liners. Some people prefer to use substrate bedding, of which Carefresh and aspen shavings are the best options, but they have drawbacks like causing dry skin, respiratory irritation from the dust, and occasional allergies. They can also harbor mites, which can cause extreme itchiness and sever quill loss. For males, shavings in particular can be a problem because they can get lodged in the penile sheath.

You want a wheel that's 10-12" in diameter. The ones you'll find in stores that are acceptable are the Comfort Wheel and the Flying Saucer wheel; don't buy a Silent Spinner, even though it has a solid surface. Any store-bought wheel is still going to have drawbacks, and the best wheels for hedgehogs are bucket wheels or cake topper wheels. There are two people on this forum (that I know of) that make and ship wheels, and you can also make one yourself if you're handy with DIY projects.

The rule of thumb for toys is that it shouldn't be able to hurt them. You don't want lattice style balls, for instance, because they can get their mouths stuck on them. You also don't want anything with small pieces that can fall off and be a choking hazard, or sharp edges, or pointy bits. Solid cat balls, toy cars, small stuffed animals, etc. are all good options.

They don't need salt licks, nor do they need things to chew/gnaw on - they're not rodents. Appropriately sized round-about balls are fine, but not great, and should only be used with supervision; they're definitely not on the "list".

This should help you figure out what else you might need/want to get for him:

http://www.volcanoviewhedgehogs.com/supplies-list.html
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks. Both the webpage and the book were very helpful.

I took the little guy out last night and put him in an old easter basket I have that's lined with cloth. He balled up when I picked him up, and whenever I moved a little too fast or put my hand in there...but he stayed with me on the couch for awhile anyway, and did sniff around a bit.

What time do they usually become active at night? I usually get home from work around 10pm anway, and stay up for a few hours, or the whole night...

Also, turning lights on and off for him, do I want the light to be on during the day?

Oh, and what kind of stuffed animals can he have? Won't he chew it open and eat the stuffing? Or the plastic eyes? Or the fabric on the outside?
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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They will usually come out as soon as it gets dark, so you'll want to be sure to give him a nice dark area to be in if you tend to have the lights on at night - yep, you have the light on for 12-14 hours a day and then the rest of the time should be dark for him to be comfortable and get up and do all his business. You can offer him stuffed animals, just use your best judgement as to whether they'd be dangerous or not. Usually baby toys are pretty safe (made to not fall apart and be a choking hazard) but just be sure it would be too easily torn apart as well. Usually they aren't too interested in destroying their toys, though.



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Cake Top Wheels - Hedgie Bags - Food Mix - Feeder Insects - Dietary Supplements - Care Kits - Heat Setups - And More!
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:33 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Hedgehogs aren't chewers like guinea pigs, rabbits, rats, etc - they don't have continuously growing teeth, so they don't have the chewing urge. They will bite and tug on things that they find interesting, but their ability to do damage to toys (or anything else in their cage) is pretty minimal. They can tear up the edges of a toilet paper tube, and plastic oral syringes (for syringe feeding when they're sick, or giving oral meds) will get little teeth indents, that sort of thing. It would take a very determined hedgehog quite a while to be able to rip into a stuffed animal, and even then they don't really have the compulsion to chew and consume non-edible things most of the time.

The best way to go with toys is anything that's considered safe for a baby or toddler - those won't have small parts, sharp/pointy parts, and will be designed to be pretty durable. For something like a stuffed animal, use your best judgment - for instance, avoid ones with yarn or threads on them, or cut that stuff off - and choose something that will hold up to being washed, because you will have to toss a hedgie's stuffed animal in the laundry. All the toys and accessories in the cage will need to be cleaned, they'll get poop smudges on them and whatever else. Whenever you do a full clean of the cage (spraying/wiping down the sides and floor, more thorough than just changing out the liners) you should also clean the toys at that point as well; the frequency of cleaning varies from one owner and hedgehog to another, but I find that a full clean once a week is good to aim for. Then it's a good idea to take a few seconds whenever you clean the toys, etc, to look them over for signs of wear and tear that might make them begin to be less safe.
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Old 12-13-2012, 01:39 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks. I've heard of dogs getting blockages from toys too, so I just wanted to make sure. I actually work at a pet store, and we have some cute dog toys, incluing little hedgehogs with santa hats.

And I live in a basement, so its super dark all the time unless a light is turned on.
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Old 12-13-2014, 06:10 AM   #8 (permalink)
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You'll have to get a small lamp with a timer switch set up over his cage set say from 07:30 to 20:00. This will give him a regular light cycle and mean he'll probably be up when you get back. If you buy a low wattage energy saver bulb cost should be minimal
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Old 12-13-2014, 09:24 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Please try to look at dates on posts, this is from two years ago.
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