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Old 06-12-2020, 12:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Enrichment help?

Hello everyone!

I’ve had my hedgehog, Bean, for about 2 1/2 years now. He’s always been a bit “independent” - he enjoys eating, sleeping, running on his wheel, and while he tolerates the occasional socializing in my lap, I’ve always felt that he mostly enjoys being left alone in his cage. He does have a few toys (in addition to his wheel) like crinkly balls, ping pong balls, etc, but I’m not sure that he really uses them... he generally just likes to sleep, eat, run, repeat!

To be completely honest, I’ve never been very good about giving Bean lots of enrichment because he just doesn’t really seem to enjoy “new “ things. He’s normally happy if I get him out and let him sit in my lap for a while, but I don’t think he really enjoys roaming around... typically, if I put him on the ground in front of his cage, he just stands there and wants to be put back in! Also, he tends to poop if he starts walking around outside of his cage, which I think might be due to stress (he doesn’t go if I’m just petting him in my lap, which he’s comfortable with). I’ve considered letting him run around outside for enrichment, but I think it would stress him out and don’t want him being exposed to any pesticides!

As for treats, Bean isn’t very welcoming toward new foods so I feel that my options are slightly limited there too - he doesn’t even like mealworms! The only “treat” that he seems to enjoy (so far) is plain meat (chicken, turkey, etc). I’ve thought about getting some sort of treat puzzle toy to try putting chicken in - would this be a good way to give him more enrichment? What other treats would you recommend for a picky hog?

Honestly, I’m just worried that Bean’s life is too boring/mundane... although he seems to like for things to stay the same, I feel like maybe there are things that I can do to give him enrichment while also staying in his comfort zone. I think I’m going to start by trying to get him out of his cage more (I’ve been slacking a bit when it comes to socializing lately!) and by making an effort to give him treats (chicken, etc) more often and in more innovative ways, but any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated! I just want to make sure he has a great quality of life

Side note: I’m a bit of a night owl and generally keep a light on until 12-1 AM. Bean doesn’t like to come out until it’s completely dark, so I’ve wondered if this could be bad for him... He still sleeps at night in between eating/running so I don’t think he’s “over-resting” but I just want to make sure he has a healthy schedule! I do have a blackout curtain that I’ve tried covering his cage with a few times, but he still won’t run on his wheel until I actually turn the lights out...
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Old 06-21-2020, 12:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm in a similar boat as you (with almost every detail of your post--including length of ownership). Knuckles doesn't really enjoy toys all that much. I hear some hedgehogs are like that. Regarding enrichment, I believe an admin has a post that is bookmarked.

I often find it difficult to finding enrichment for unattended cage time (everything needs supervison it seems). That being said, I would try a 1-2 mealworms or crickets. Alternatively, what I do for Knuckles is to give her a little walled-off play area outside of her cage with tunnels, blackets, and different supplies (i.e. water bowl, food dish, and wheel).

What I recommend NOT doing is taking her outside. You're right about pesticides and unnecessary stress. There's also risk of dashing off in to the wild, parasites, birds, and inability to regulate temp--among other things. It's just not worth the risk. I also would not recommend keeping a light on at night. When my son's done it I've explained why it's rough on hedgehog eyes. I'd recommend you have a light that dims so you can keep it on the dimmest setting or just stay up in the dark. You could also test out red light. Some hedgehogs don't mind it.

Hope my two cents helps some.
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Old 06-23-2020, 04:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi! I agree with the other person about not letting your hedgie outside!

Meal worms or crickets are substantially important to a hedgies diet, so if it doesnt eat them then consider getting powdered bugs. Sprinkle it on Bean's food and the hog wont even notice!

I have a way to test whether or not the light is disturbing your hog's schedule. Sleep somewhere else for the night and turn off the lights in Bean's room at 8 pm. Set up a camera next to the cage that can see in the dark. Record (time lapse) Bean until the morning. Then watch the time lapse. If Bean gets up early, then the light is disruptive. If the hedgie gets up around the same time, I would say you are fine!
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Old 06-24-2020, 03:45 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Mealworms are NOT important.
They are a treat insects and they are poor nutrients. My girl Holly HATES mealworms! SonI just dont bother!

Insects are a HUGE part of their diet - calci worms (black soldier flies), black and brown crickets, locust, roaches, isopods (woodlice), silk worms are all so much better and healthy bugs as long as you have a mix of these and feed them daily your good with insects.

Other treat insects are butter worms (very fatty) wax worms (very fatty) morio worms (very fatty) the morio worms also have a really nasty bite, most hogs seem to be fine if you feed them head first, of you can just chop the worms head off.

Chicken and turkey are great treats - you could also try duck, lamb and lean beef mince. Plain cooked if you get it as human grade.

In the nutrition section there is a sticky on different treats.
With fruit and veg make sure you don't feed it too much because they can't digest it well mostly that comes from the insects so if you find they like non of them it doesn't matter if your feeding nice gut loaded insects!

Try have a play area away from the viv, it may take a little while to get used to exploring but its likely bean will after a few tries.
The pooping is probably more to do with the fact bean is waking up where on your lap he is asleep. When hedgehogs wake up they poo!

Taking your hedgehogs outside - Most people are against it. However if it is a really warm day - So in the summer) and you go out in the evening when the sun isnt really high (Try to get a warm shady spot) then the temp is fine - most only go out for like half an hour you can feel your hogs belly to check how they are doing. The sun up high will really hurt their eyes, they are light sensitive and the sun is a lot harsher on their eyes than a normal house light. Hogs with red eyes are more sensitive, albion hogs can get sunburnt.

Dont let them eat ANYTHING and obviously watch out for any BIG birds (like seagulls and stuff) DO NOT let them eat anything!

You can give your hog a wipe down especially feet to make sure they are clean and that means theres less risk of pesticides - to be quit honest this is a risk all the time because you can bring them into your house, so while taking them outside increases it its not a total protection keeping them inside.

Its not really recommended to take them outside by a lot of people (I personally wouldn't either) but if you are going to - no one can stop you - then you should know the dangers and ways to keep it safe.

The light in your room, I would get a dimming lamp and have it one 1 or 2 setting. This makes it darker for the hog but still pretty light for you to do whatever.
You can then put something to block the light and then give it a week.
A one night test isnt fair it probably wont change much that first night because they are so used to a different way.

You could try cat treat balls just put some treats in and then have them roll it around the floor to get the treat.

You could also try a forage tray to let them forage for treats in there. It also allows them natural behaviour.

If you search the forum for enrichment you'll probably come up with a lot of posts with loads of ideas!

A lot of hogs dont seem interested in their toys, but you never really know they may be and we just dont know it!
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