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Old 06-28-2009, 12:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2
Talking Is twitching normal?

Hello to all!
This is the first time I post. I have tried to read all I can find about hedgehogs and I'm in several groups as well. But I'm a first time hedgehog owner & I feel like a brand new mom that has to take her baby to the Dr because she doesn't know if things are normal or not
First of all, my name is Grace, I'm from Puerto Rico (I don't know their legal status here) but for several years I have I saw a hedgie at a pet shop here & just fell in love!! Well I finally got one, maybe it's been 3 weeks already. His name is Poeky I think he's Algerian Chocolate or Dark Grey I don't really know. This has been a roller coaster ride for me because, I read about temperatures and heating pads and all sorts of stuff, but it is definitely different here. I think today was in the high 90's so I'm confused with the climate in addition to humidity since the rain forest is to my left & the beach to my front, I don't know if the Caribbean climate is an issue for him.
The other problem is food! I started him on cat food, which he was eating good, but then here comes "super mom" with brand new hedgehog food FOR hedgehogs! I don't know if I done worse changing his food or if it's the climate that has caused all this. I bought him a whole deal of stuff at Dr. Fosters & Smith.
Something that I'm kind of worried about the hideout house I got him. I think it's normal plywood inside but then on the outside I think it's covered with pine, I guess to give it a log house look, but I've read that pine is not good for them (or is it the pine bedding? by the way I don't have him with bedding he has a liner) I don't know if this is affecting him as well.
I don't have mealworms and they don't sell them here either. I ordered a can from exotic nutrition pet company, but now I'm so worried to give him any because I don't know the origin in his behavior, that I don't know what to do. The only good thing was that I bought a litter & he started using it.
I believe he's like 8-10 weeks old, they never told me. I did see some thin white quills falling when I got him & last week he had a whole bunch of them coming out, they looked like little teeth. He's always sleeping and grumpy.
Right now although he is getting a little used to being held, he looks for where ever to hide (I read it was normal as well).
The real problem is this...I have been noticing that in occasions he may move or walk around, suddenly stop & make these twitchy movements (like an absent seizure or petit mal seizure in children) and then continues on. Do hedgehogs get epilepsy? Well in the other forums some said it was normal so I've just been watching him.
Then problem #2 came, as I mentioned I changed his diet to L'Avian and Sunseed (no nuts they are pellets that are supposed to have mealworms) he started with black stools!(well apparently the food change) but then he didn't have bowel movement until almost a day, I was told they usually go twice a day but here comes the worries...since the little one has grown he doesn't fit where he used to so he went under a piece of furniture & trying to slip out imagine all the mess he left behind! Okay, that was sort of a relief.
I was told to give him baby food so I bought Gerber step 2 vegetable & Chicken which apparently he liked a lot, (this was yesterday) but a couple minutes passed by and he started with another weird movement, I don't know if he wanted to vomit or he was constipated! (sort of gagging, mouth not opened so he wasn't choking) Today he has been under his blankies the whole day, he's eaten some but no bowel movement again..I saw him with the same belly gagging move again and decided to put him in a little water (he had bowel movement and a lot! There after, I dried him with a towel put him in his playpen & there he started again, he would stay still his breathing got slower and his nose started touching the floor, either he was really sleepy or somethings wrong.. He had several twitchy movements then went in his house. It is almost 12 am here and he has been hiding all day & now again! No interaction, I haven't seen him play, he doesn't like his wheel...I'm so confused! Is this something serious? Please let me know what you think about the movements & if I should go to the vet even if I don't know if they are legal here. I wouldn't like to loose him do to lack of knowledge or getting him taken away...
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Old 06-28-2009, 08:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Toronto
Posts: 1,558
Default Re: Is twitching normal?

Hey, congrats

Most people on here are from Canada and the US I think so climate is very different. Unless it gets cold at night I wouldn't worry about finding a heat source for your hedgehog.

I don't know the legal status of hedgehog's in Purto Rico either. You should try to find out. My guess is that if they sell them in pet store they are legal. Usually in places that they are illegal people have to get them from illegal breeders or smuggle them in.

Cat food is fine for hedgehogs to eat as long as it is good quality, check the Diet and Nutrition section. There should be some posts right at the top about which cat food to feed.

Dr. Fosters and Smith do not make the best stuff. Especially when it comes to food and treats. They are not a reliable source.

Get rid of the log house and put an extra liner in instead. He'll use the liner as a blanket and hiding spot.

His stool sounds normal, it is supposed to be black, and may have been brown or green at first because of the change in environment when you brought him home. If it's black it means he's adjusting well to all the changes.

It sounds like you are doing a great job with him and like every new owner you are plagued with constant worry. Try not to worry so much.

The last thing you mentioned was the twitching. If he's moving his stomach/hips and tucking his head under his belly. This is normal. It sounds like he is masturbating. Here is a thread about it.

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=2578&p=21225&hilit=+masterbat ing+boy+time+#p21225

Edit: the link is actually just talking about twitching. I couldn't find the one about masturbating.

RIP Quigley, I miss you my little grumpus.
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Old 06-28-2009, 08:39 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Kingston, Ontario
Posts: 8,950
Default Re: Is twitching normal?

Yes, twitching is normal as I told you when you emailed me two weeks ago.

Sunseed and L'avian are not recommended foods. A couple of good quality cat foods are much better. Sunseed is ok in a mix of better foods but chances are good he won't touch it once something better is introduced. There are many stickies and threads here with good food options.

Fresh stool should be brown and the shade of brown will depend on how dark the food is. The darker the food the darker his stool. Often once it has dried overnight it looks black but fresh shouldn't be. Fresh poo should not be black and is probably being caused by the food change. I'd continue with the cat food but you can leave some of the Sunseed in.
* * * Nancy * * *

Retired from breeding

Rescue contact for both the Hedgehog Welfare Society and the IHA
Rescued over 70 (and counting) hedgehogs needing a new home
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