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Old 07-23-2020, 03:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Montreal
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Default Hedgehog strange behaviour

Hi all, I have a hedgehog who is 1.5 years old and for the past month has not been like her usual self.

So I live in Canada where it is usually cold and I have no control of the heating in my apartment so keeping my hedgie warm has always been a priority. I have a heating lamp and wrap her cage in blankets during the cold months to ensure that it stays nice and toasty for her. I have always been super paranoid that she is going to go into hibernation so I had her cage up on the higher side at between 26.5 and 27. I realized that this was way to hot because she would not always go on her wheel so now I keep her cage at between 24-25.5. Since then, she goes on her wheel every single night and when I wake up, her cage is all messed up because she spent the night exploring and running around. Now that it’s summer and my apartment is extremely hot (I don’t have ac) I have noticed that she has started to become extremely lazy again which I’m assuming is because of how hot she is. I have tried to leave the window open so she gets fresh air, I put a fan near her cage (not directly on it but so that the air around her will be a little cooler) and I will place ice packs on top of her cage to cool the air down. She still goes on her wheel every single night but she has gotten into the habit during the day to just pee and poo in her blankets (I have fleece blankets). Every day I change out her blankets and try to put some of the poo in her litter so that can re potty train herself but it just keeps on happening. I also take her out every night and make her poo and pee in her litter by putting it in her play pen and she goes in it so I know that she knows what to do in there. She’s just being too lazy to get up and do her business during the day. So finally I decided that because she keeps on doing her business in the fleece blankets that I was going to remove them and just keep one of her snuggle sacks in her cage until she gets out of the habit and peeing and pooing in her blankets. Well yesterday she did her business during the day in the sack. I gave her a clean one and hoped that during the night she would not ruin it. Well I woke up to a couple of thunks during the night and when I got up to go see what it was, she was climbing her cage. I panicked because she’s never done that before and I was afraid she would hurt herself so I put a fleece blanket down and right away she went under and hide.

I just want to know if anyone has any insight, I don’t know what else to do. I really care about her and want her to be ok but she just seems not like herself lately. Has anyone experienced anything like this?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-23-2020, 06:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Join Date: Dec 2018
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Hmm. Well, obvious theory would be that this behaviour change started with the temperature change, yeah?

First, the fleece blankets. If this is a problem for you, and becoming annoying, how about switching bedding? Carefresh shredded, dust free cardboard is something I would definitely use if I could get my hands on. Maybe you will have luck getting it.

It’s loose, it’s cool, and it’s fun, plus, it won’t stink nearly as much as fleece blankets. I don’t think you’ll train this potty thing out of her now. It’s obviously the heat that’s gotten her like this.

The cage climbing thing is usually a sign of boredom, or the cage being too small. You did mention a wheel, so I would roll out boredom. How large is the cage you keep her in?

If this climbing continues, and you fear she will really hurt herself, you can always strap cardboard, or paper, or plastic up the sides of the cage to prevent her from climbing it. It doesn’t have to be to the top, just a little bit on the bottom until she can’t reach the bars. (Assuming it’s a bar cage)

Do you have a thermometer in her cage at the moment? Are you being certain that you aren’t making the cage too cold? Ice is super effective.

But anyway, if you want, you can wait for a second opinion on this matter before taking course of action. I’m by no means a hedgehog expert, I’ve just had similar issues with my boy in the past.
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Old 07-24-2020, 03:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: London-Surrey, UK
Posts: 1,908

It does sound like its the temperature since it started the same time as the temperature change.

If she is being lazy there isn't really much you can do to change that. She obviously knows how to use the litter tray but is choosing not to.

So a couple of questions I have - Is there a thermometer so you can check the temp on her cage. You need to know the actual temperature to keep it right. She could be lacy because it too hot, or too cold.
Did you turn your heat set up off while its summer or did you leave it on? I know its hot but if the ice makes it too cold the heat set up will kick in and make sure its still warm, or if the temp drops in the night the heat will kick back in the stop it - assuming your heat set up has a thermostat to control it.

Feel her belly, does it feel cool, right, too hot or a little sweaty this will also help you understand how she is.
The bars (assuming you have a bared cage since you said climbing) may be cool she could have climbed them to cool herself down.
Putting cardboard on the bars is a good idea because it will prevent any more climbing - also in the colder months it will help with keeping the heat in the cage.
Probably need to go half way up the bars (you do on most cages) to make sure its high enough to no climb.

If your using fleece this can make them really hot. I would swap to a loose bedding with an open bottom hide for the summer. This allows them to regulate their own temp a little because the base of the cage will be slightly cooler.
You can also add a ceramic tile to lay on to cool down on when getting too hot.

Do remember heat rises so the lower the hedgehog, the less it will be effected by the heat, which definitely makes a thermometer in the cage at hog level very important.

No one is a hedgehog expert, everyone is always learning and all hogs are different and need different things. So sometimes all you can do is try different things.
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