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Old 01-19-2013, 01:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default An Unexpected Hedgehog

I have been on a waiting list for a baby hedgehog for almost 2 months now, and since then, I have learned so much more than basic care and needs they require. I have learned of people who live not far from me who have at least one. Well on that note, I was talking to our best friend's father about our plans for our soon to be hedgehog and said his ex-wife had one they wanted to get rid of. I've been to her house before and never saw it or even knew it existed!. I didn't want it (since they had it for a few years and I did not feel prepared to take on an unfamiliar adult hedgehog who is always huffy because they NEVER handled her) but I wanted to reccomend this site to them so the little one could find a proper home.
Well I went over in person and tried to tell Suzie about this site, and through some interesting conversation, I somehow ended up taking her home with me (cage and all) and now have "joint custody" of her for the next month. The hedgehog really belongs to her daughter, but has been in college and will graduate in the spring. They got it for the exotic-ness of it and the flair of it wore off so they don't seem too interested in it anymore. If she wants her back, I will give her back, but for the meantime I will do what I can to improve the hedgehogs health.
To give you an idea of how she's been raised (she's over 2 years old now and they had her since she was 6 weeks old), they named her Rhododendron because the name sounds like rodent ( and she's a girl). They believe she's a rodent!. Her main diet is vension with really cheap cat food (looks like meow mix or something) when they leave for weekends. We don't eat meat at home (too expensive), especially deer (i love them too much to eat them), so I have been giving her food that she came with (if I keep her, I will change her over to Blue Buffalo, which my cat eats). She hasn't eaten anything but the mealworms I have given her, but at least she is drinking water. She has an hourglass shape, and they thought she was fat. Her cage is a three story guinea pig/ferret house with open ramps (all of that I removed so there's just the bottom floor). Her ears are very tattered (I am nipple creaming them) and they said she's never been given a bath (so the next morning after taking her home, I gave her an oatmeal bath because she's making it snow with how dry her skin was). She seemed to enjoy that and afterwards, wasn't so huffy at me and even tried to explore on my lap. She really doesn't like the scent of my husband (she was popping and hissing at him and hasn't done that with me yet).
There was nothing to heat her cage and their house stays in the mid-upper 60's, so the first thing I did was put a CHE in and now her cage is about 76 degrees. Her cage is so big and open that I put a blanket over it to not only help with day/night, but also to retain the heat (since our house is even colder than theirs). I've been monitoring her like a hawk since I don't know how this will affect her. My husband worries it may be too warm for her since she isn't used to it. She's been sleeping in our dirty shirts (to get used to our scent) and doesn't run or anything, but I figure she's still scared and doesn't want to do anything until she feels more comfortable. Her cage floor was originally just newpaper and she had nothing to cuddle up in or hide in, so I put down a fleece liner (one that I made for my hedgehog's cage but luckily fits perfectly in the bottom of hers) and gave her a spare blanket I made and dirty shirt from each of us to help her get used to us. I also gave her a TP tube (cut all the way down) an enclosed cat toy ball and little stuffed animal (everyone needs a little companion). Her wheel looks big enough but it's a mesh wheel that they taped plasticy newspaper to. If I end up keeping her, I am going to make her a proper bucket wheel, and a better cage.

I feel confident enough that I can care for her, but I just worry about her future. If she does go back, I am going to give them a copy of Lizardgirl's book. I really hope she gets used to us, and because she hasn't been handled, I am worried she'll never get used to us if we do end up keeping her. funny thing is that she doesn't seem to care at all care about our cat (but he is terrified of her), but she is used to dogs (which we don't have). Our cat can't jump, but he sits under the desk where her cage is all poofed up in fear and cries at me basically saying "what is that and why is it here?" (I think it's funny, he's such a big baby). I do worry about ending up with 2 hegehogs. I know I have time for 2 of them, but I fear I will pick favorites. My baby, who isn't yet here, will be male, so I have his cage in our bedroom and Rhododendron is housed in our library. I don't want babies and I don't want them to be stressed out over eachother. My baby I can help mold and shape him into "my" hedgie and watch him grow up, whereas Rhododendron is their hedgehog and always will be, and I hate picking favorites. I will do all I can for her in the meantime while she is under our roof, but I hope you all understand what I'm saying. I am just worried and and unsure about the situation, but I just want some advice and maybe other ways to help her become more comfortable.
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Pindsvin, my metal loving Hedgehog
Treben, my crazy three-legged cat (with Pinkie Pie)
Nekkhalen, my kinked tail, laid back cuddle-bug cat


(R.I.P Rhododendron- Rescued Jan/13, passed away 11/26/13)
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Old 01-19-2013, 01:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Unexpected Hedgehog

It sounds like you've just rescued yourself a little hedgy. Since you can offer heer a much better home I'd say she's pretty much yours now and she sounds adorable. Bet she's loving the fleece pouch since she's never had it so cozy. As for favorites, I have 4 dogs and a cat and honestly, I use to worry about the same thing, but when it comes down to it, there won't be any favorites and you'll just love them differently. Your new baby boy may be the type to enjoy alone time more than this little girl, even though the little girl hasn't been handled much in her past. They're all so different and you just love them for their own personalities. If you do have her for a long perieod of time, it would be best to tell the owners that you'd like full custody of her so that you won't have to worry about her being taken away once you fall in love with her, which you will. Since it's her first bath, she'll probably need her nails trimmed too. I myself have one boy and that's alll I've planned on having...but...if one came about that needed a home, I can't see it being anymore trouble having an extra little one to take care of. Yes, they do need to be handled to keep them sociable, but I've gond days without taking Percy out and he's just as friendly and loving as if I played with him everyday.
Thank you for taking this little one in and giving her a better quality of life. I do hope you keep her.
Oh, photos please!
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Old 01-19-2013, 02:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Unexpected Hedgehog

I did trim her nails after the bath (should have mentioned that too), but only about 4 or 5. She was very squirmy so I focused on the really long ones (since having a cat, I am used to the quick avoidance and had no trouble there).

My husband is very unsure on having 2 hedgehogs, but I still want to get mine (since I've been going crazy over it for a while), but since I don't work I am not at all worried about caring for 2. we are also going to get chickens and I am going to start a large garden on top of making a LP tank Steam engine, so I will be very busy, but at least I'll be home, and i know for sure every chance I get I'll be overly doting on my indoor critters .

I am trying figure out how to post a photo without half of it being cut off, but once I figure it out I will post some pictures (since I am colorblind towards hedgehogs and would really like to know her coloration). The biggest problem I'm going to have is getting one without her balled up or hiding her cute little face being a grump-butt.

I am so new to the world of hedgehogs, and though I know am conifident I know what I am doing, I still feel like it's a bit much to take in a hedgehog in this shape. Is this considered a rescue hedgie?
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Pindsvin, my metal loving Hedgehog
Treben, my crazy three-legged cat (with Pinkie Pie)
Nekkhalen, my kinked tail, laid back cuddle-bug cat


(R.I.P Rhododendron- Rescued Jan/13, passed away 11/26/13)
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Old 01-19-2013, 02:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Unexpected Hedgehog

I can never do all the nails in one sitting either. I think taking a hedgy or any animal from a situation where the care is not be taken to assure the safety and health of the animal (heating, proper diet, ect..) is rescueing them. Even if you don't have lots of cuddling time (most hedgy's prefer to be left alone anyways, at least mine does) making a pet feel safe, secure and loved is all they need. It sounds like you're the perfect home for this little girl and over time you'll start to love her more. What kind of shape is she in? Does she look as though she has any health concerns that may take up alot of time (vet visits, hand feeding, ect). If so and you don't have the time for such things, then you have to make a call on what is in the best interrest for both of you, but if it's the handling time you are worried about, I wouldn't worry so much. Just sitting watching a movie with her on your lap is bonding time. Some hedgy's are always balling up and grumpy but have their good days, and then you have one's that are handled as babie's and are still little grumps when they get older.I think you are concerned about her being a little grump that needs special care, but honestly, it just takes time for them to get use to you and you're doing everything right with putting shirts in her cage for her to get use to your scent. It's always more responsibilty with an added pet such as cleaning cages, baths ect.. but if you have time for such things, you'll be fine. Now if hubby becomes firm on not wanting two, then it really has to be discussed as it's important that all family members are on the same boat with the idea. Conflict in the house over a pet is the worse thing.
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Old 01-19-2013, 05:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Unexpected Hedgehog

Yes, it sounds like you rescued a hedgie. The poor little girl wasn't getting proper care. Thank you for giving her a loving and healthy home.
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:12 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Unexpected Hedgehog

Got an appointment on Wednesday to see the vet, though while talking to him over the phone (he asks tons of questions before taking any exotic animal in so he can grasp the situation better, which I think is good), he said that unless there is anything internal wrong with her, it just sounds like she is malnourished, but he is still going to take a good look at her on Wednesday. We don't eat much meat, but I'm going to buy some burger today so that way she will eat. She hasn't eaten much of anything over the weekend, and at least I have seen her drink water, but no activity what so ever in her cage.
My hubby is concerned more that she is an unexpected addition (I am too and I feel the same way) because I made everything I need for 1 hedgehog, not 2 and making room for 2 (I originally wanted my baby to be housed in our library, but Rhododendron is going to be housed there instead and my baby will be in our bedroom, until summer (when we put our air conditioner in), and then we won't know from there. We're still working on our home (settling in) so even though there is plenty of room, it's just the trouble of making a perfect spot a bit difficult because we don't have many desks/tables/furniture to put the cage on. I don't want to keep it on the floor because of how hard it will be to heat, and I have a cat (who so far is just overtly terrified of Rhody's presence, but I'm not taking any chances).
Yesterday, we took her out before the sun came up (we get up at 4am every day), and let her run around us in a pen. She was very huffy at first, but she soon got very jittery and started to explore like a madman (or madhedge?) It's a good sign she has vigor and is starting to get used to us. She kept crawling all over my husband and he got such a kick out of her biting at his beard (he has a big beard). He hasn't said anything about not wanting 2 hedgehogs (I'll be the main caretaker anyways, so he isn't worried there), it's just so unexpected. However, because she came the family of our best friend (who actually named her in the first place), he has expressed that we should keep her out of the goodwill of friendship (the hedgehog will mean a bit more to us becuase of the connection to our friend) and thus does not want to see her go anywhere else, and I totally agree
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Pindsvin, my metal loving Hedgehog
Treben, my crazy three-legged cat (with Pinkie Pie)
Nekkhalen, my kinked tail, laid back cuddle-bug cat


(R.I.P Rhododendron- Rescued Jan/13, passed away 11/26/13)
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:24 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Unexpected Hedgehog

Here is the best picture of her I could take (for the time being). The cage is the one she came with but I put in the blankets/liner/stuffed animal/blue water dish (since her other water dish was a plastic dish seen in deli markets). I don't have an igloo or anything for her, but I have been giving her shirts and that little striped tie blanket. It makes it pretty easy to pick her up since she becomes a prickly little cactus.

Can anyone tell me a bit about her coloration? I am just curious and I hope this pic gives a good look at her.



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Pindsvin, my metal loving Hedgehog
Treben, my crazy three-legged cat (with Pinkie Pie)
Nekkhalen, my kinked tail, laid back cuddle-bug cat


(R.I.P Rhododendron- Rescued Jan/13, passed away 11/26/13)
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:39 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Unexpected Hedgehog

she's a cutie pie. I'm going to go out on a limb and say- she's your hedgehog now.
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:39 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: An Unexpected Hedgehog

Yep, she looks quite at home and vey healthy. I'd say algerian chocolate and that is what my Percy is and they look much the same.
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Well, I better start on a new cage. Good thing I know what I know what I'm doing now (the first cage was an experiment to say the least). Hopefully she'll like it better than this one. It doesn't seem all that bad since it has a tall solid wall before the wire starts. However, it's been a tough cookie to heat and it's waaaaaay too tall for the Rhody.

I have to say something about my cat again, since he has been a part of this too (though not very willingly). He's still scared of her, and watches the cage (he can't get to it, but he knows it's there), but he seems to have adjusted a bit as well. Treben is not most cuddly of kitties, but he is used to having oodles of attention (since he's been my only pet). I have noticed that whenever I check on Rhododendron, no matter what he was doing, he'll come over to me and do all his cute little antics to get my attention. He is jealous!!! I think that is adorable!

After reading some other rescue stories about not-handled hedgies, I think I'm lucky she's at least doing well in adjusting. She's warming up pretty fast since she calms down after about 7-10 minutes and begins exploring. She isn't very fond of noise (any), but at least she doesn't ball up when we divert her from trying to crawl off us.

Less than a week and I am already seeing improvement in her demeanor. Hopefully a good look from the vet and a nice new cage will help her adjust quickly. I am expecting to keep her, since a month of leaving her be won't be good. She's already grown on me and my husband. He thinks she's adorable (he never seen a hedgie in person either), but isn't too happy about being pooped on.
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Pindsvin, my metal loving Hedgehog
Treben, my crazy three-legged cat (with Pinkie Pie)
Nekkhalen, my kinked tail, laid back cuddle-bug cat


(R.I.P Rhododendron- Rescued Jan/13, passed away 11/26/13)
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