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Old 03-21-2013, 02:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default handling

I know I'm postinf a lot and it seems like i didnt do my research but i did. Everyones telling me to handle luna with my bare hands. I pick her up with my blanket and shirt that has my scent and eventually she will walk around on me then go burrow/find a place to hide. I know not every hedgie will be cuddly but i read all these stories of ppl after a week who can hold theirs etc and i feel like ill never get there. Im trying to let her come to me and be patient. Do i need to pick her up with my bare hands more to successfully bond or will she let me do that in time? I just wsnt to know if im handling her right.
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Old 03-21-2013, 04:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: handling

Pick her up with your bare hands. Stop worrying about whether or not she likes stuff, or is huffy, or what not, and spend at least fifteen minutes twice a day interacting with your hedgehog. Pull her out of her hidey hole and rock her back and forth and hold her, let her cuddle on your lap under a blanket, etc. Hedgehogs are stubborn and it takes a lot of time and effort to get them to bond with you.
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Everyones telling me to handle luna with my bare hands. I pick her up with my blanket and shirt that has my scent
Hedgehogs aren't pets in the way that cats and dogs are pets. If you can pick your hedgie up with your hands, great. If it is easier for you and your hedgie to use a blanket or shirt, then that is the right thing to do. Over time, perhaps you both get more comfortable with barehanded handling. If so, great. If not, so what?
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and eventually she will walk around on me then go burrow/find a place to hide.
Sounds pretty good to me. I have always had an easy time handling Sophie, but she won't walk around on me hardly at all. She just wants to hide and sleep; in the crook of my arm, in my lap, in my shirt . . . . . She's happy to snuggle up with me, but 'handling' her? Ha! For a minute or two, maybe. After that, it's "Hey, I just want to hide out." I don't get much 'face time' with Sophie, but she'll happily nap with me for as long as I want. I accept her as she is.
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I know not every hedgie will be cuddly but i read all these stories of ppl after a week who can hold theirs etc and i feel like ill never get there.
Hedgehog personalities and behaviors can be modified to some extent, with consistent handling over time. But, they are who they are and you have love them for who they are. Trying to 'change' a hedgie is like trying to change a person.
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Do i need to pick her up with my bare hands more to successfully bond or will she let me do that in time? I just wsnt to know if im handling her right.
Pffft. I bet that you are doing just fine. I would think that over time, handling will be become easier bit by bit, perhaps at a rate that you don't notice day by day. Perhaps only in looking back from one point to another will you recognize 'improvements'. If you always need to use a fleece or t-shirt to pick her up and that never changes - it would be unusual, but it wouldn't be a 'bad' thing at all if your relationship is generally pretty good, if your hedgie seems healthy and happy.
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: handling

I always had to pick mine up with some layer between us too, she was just way too pokey! I don't anymore, eventually a few things happened: my hands got more use to the feeling, she got calmer and more use to me and less pokey, she had a quilling and the adult quills seem less sharp. Also what helps for me, when she is in her spikey ball of fury I use two hands to pick her up, it seems to distribute the weight better and is less painful.
"Handling" or bonding time for us almost always looks like her sleeping cuddled against me under a blanket while I'm on the computer, watching tv, reading a book, etc.
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: handling

Thanks so much guys I picked her half up with my hands Lol but She balled. I think I'm too cautious when I try , I'm just not sure how to continue picking her up when She balls and like I said she's prickly so i was wondering what others did. This is all very helpful. I've been spending 2 hours with hereverynight , she bit my finger when crawling on my hand last night but She didn't bite hard so I'm assuming this is normal since they lick or bite what they like the smell of or are nervous. I will keep bonding and having patience no matter what but I would like to be able to handle her without a blanket eventually: ) ohhhhh and She totally poops in her wheel a lot is this odd behavior or normal? Does anyone know? I always clean it of course., and She can get to her litter box fine.
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The wheel pooping is totally normal In fact, almost all hedgies prefer to poop on their wheels when they are running. It surprised me too when I first got mine! Most people put the litter box or a tray or paper towel right under the wheel to catch the run-off.
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:55 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I think I'm too cautious when I try
Over time, she'll probably learn to trust you more, and you will definitely learn to trust yourself more. Fully deployed, those quills are seriously sharp. You will get used to the feeling. She will probably get better and raise the quills less seriously. And you will learn how to handle her. With experience, you'll be probably be able to pick up a fully balled hedgie with your bare hands if you want to. Of course then she'll probably 'pop' - there's an experience. Ha!
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she bit my finger
Sophie's not a biter, but she will bite. You'll want to watch for the cues and discourage this, but not in a way that she could interpret as being rewarded. Biting typically follows licking pretty quickly. If she senses a new smell or taste, expect it to be investigated. Clean hands are important for washing off unintended temptations.
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She totally poops in her wheel a lot is this odd behavior or normal?
Most hedgies do 90%+ of their pooping and peeing on the wheel. Sophie has a big litter pan with a fleece liner that goes under the wheel and extends out 10" or so. She's taught herself not to poop or pee anywhere else in the cage.
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Old 03-21-2013, 02:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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OK awesome I'm waiting to buy fleece liner should I just get something at a fabric store? Yeah I think the bite was her smelling me and investigating plus thinking I'm tasty Lol should I bath her eerytime if shes running in poo because i know it dries out their skin
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Old 03-21-2013, 04:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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should I just get something at a fabric store?
That will be fine. I prefer the heavier weights. You aren't restricted to fleece. You can use cotton, flannel, etc, just so long as you can hem the edges. With fleece, no sewing skills or equipment is needed because fleece doesn't have loose threads. Threads are a hazard, so fleece is easier for a lot of people. Fleece isn't terrific for absorbency, but it does okay for most people. That's what I use for most of Sophie's stuff.
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should I bath her eerytime if shes running in poo
Sophie gets a foot and belly bath (with nail inspection and clipping) three days a week. This keeps her feet nice and clean. Also, I use several inches of water, so her belly fur gets a good cleaning. Her baths last for about 10 minutes. To help keep her occupied (not becoming bored and looking to escape) I brush her quills with a toothbrush. This also gives the quills a light, regular cleaning. Not that much water gets on her back; just what I put on with the brush. Water is warm; not cold, not hot.

She probably gets 'rained on' a bit with poop and pee from the wheel. I don't notice that her skin or quills get especially dirty, but think that a light brushing and rinsing on a regular basis is probably a good idea. You see the dirt on her feet, but she benefits from an overall light cleaning. (If you have reactions to quill pricks, it is very possible that it is a result of contaminated quills. It is very easy to get tiny little pricks that you don't even notice at the time, pricks that insert and seal bacteria or other irritants under your skin.)

She gets a full bath with soap and big-time 'under the faucet' rinse, every three months. More often wouldn't hurt, but because she has a really good 'maintenance schedule', it seems fine.
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because i know it dries out their skin
It can dry out skin, but it is not a given. Some hedgies are more prone to dry skin than others. It is something that you should watch for. If you catch it early, you can prevent a lot of misery by adding a bit of oil to diet and/or directly to the skin. You wouldn't want it to get out of hand.

It's never been a problem for Sophie, so no need to moderate her bathing schedule or quantity of water. I 'squeegee' her belly fur when she comes out of the water, then just let her dry naturally after that.

Some folks use hair dryers on low to help drying, and some hedgies seem to like that. It isn't something that I do. If I did do that, I would take extra care to monitor the skin for drying out. Rapid drying (evening with very low heat) could certainly trigger a problem with dry skin.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: handling

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Originally Posted by ByeByeBeautiful1
OK awesome I'm waiting to buy fleece liner should I just get something at a fabric store? Yeah I think the bite was her smelling me and investigating plus thinking I'm tasty Lol should I bath her eerytime if shes running in poo because i know it dries out their skin
You don't have to bathe her every time if her feet are poopy from running. You can put a small amount of water in the sink, enough to cover her feet, and let her walk around in that.. the poops will come off.

The biggest thing with handling hedgehogs is confidence in handling. I know they're pokey, but if you show them it doesn't bother you, it's a big boost towards bonding. If you don't handle them gingerly and recoil when they puff or pop they will feel much more secure in your hands. It might take awhile but you'll both get the hang of it.
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