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Old 09-08-2013, 04:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default First time owner, needing some help.

Hello friends,
I am a first time hedgehog owner who has some simple questions & concerns.
I bought my first hedgehog the other day ‘Xavier’. He is an Albino young boy. (I think he’s a boy) When I bought him I wasn’t told very much info about the care of a hedgehog. So please any advice will help!

My main questions are. . .

1. Since Xavier is an albino is there any special health concerns I should know about? (maybe sensitive to light?)

2. As far as foods, I’v done some research and found they eat manly cat food, worms & some fruits/veggies. I also found that you shouldn’t feed them dairy products, chocolate, nuts & avocados. Anything else I should stray away from? & is there any foods that are food for them to use as a treat?

3. How can I know for sure he is a boy?

4. Is there anyway of telling a ball park number on how old he is? The store said he was just a couple of months but he’s still very small and fit into the palm of your hand.

5. Play toys? What are some good play toys for him?

Im sorry if I asked way to many questions but I do need some help. Any advice is welcomed!

Thank you for your time.


A picture of Xavier is below.

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Old 09-08-2013, 04:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to the forum! I'm mostly going to throw you a bunch of links to take a look at, but if you're still confused or need clarification after checking them out, just ask!

1. Nope, there's nothing big about albinos. Most hedgehogs are sensitive to light a bit in that they don't want to run around much if there's bright lights on. At night, if they're in their cage and a light is turned on, they may freeze or run for their hideaway. All of that is normal for hedgehogs in general. I wouldn't go shining bright lights in his eyes, but other than that, you should be fine!

2. Here's some good stickies to read on nutrition, food, and treats. https://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forum...nutrition.html <- general information about nutrition and what to look for
https://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forum...oods-list.html <- some commonly used and recommended brands
https://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forum...ds-treats.html <- Different ways you can offer fresh foods and treats. The first thing on there is a link to safe fruits, veggies, etc.

3. Check out his belly - if he has something that looks like a "belly button" higher up on his stomach, that's his penis and he's a boy. If there's no "belly button" and instead there's a second opening near the tail and anus, that's the vagina, and you have a girl instead.

4. Once hedgies are past quilling ages (last big one is about 12 weeks), it's hard to tell their actual age. They'll sometimes go through small quillings at 6 months and 12 months, but it varies by hedgehog. If he's that small though, I would guess he's still pretty young and will be growing a bit more.

5. I would check out some threads started in the Toys forum - https://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forums/14-toys/ There's many threads started about favorite toys, easy homemade toys, etc. so that'll be a great place to get ideas! The one big thing is a wheel - it needs to be at least 10-12" wide, and a solid surface so they can't get nails or toys stuck. Comfort Wheels and Flying Saucer are common pet store wheels. You can buy bucket wheels and cake cover wheels online from breeders though!

I also highly recommend you download this book (for free!) and read all of it - http://www.westcoasthedgehogs.com/fi.../download.html It's written by one of our mods, LizardGirl, and contains a ton of up-to-date information (much of it is a distilled & better-organized version of what you can find on the forum).

Hope that helps! And like I said, if anything is confusing, just go ahead and ask. Xavier's a cutie!
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Old 09-08-2013, 04:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome!

1. Some say albino hedgehogs are more sensitive to light but most say they aren't.

2. Safe foods/treats

3. Males will have what looks to be a belly button (this is actually their penis) it can be found usually anywhere on the underside. Females will have their vagina right next to their anus. If you are still unsure, you can take a picture and I or someone else would be happy to tell you.

4. I wouldn't know how to age, but I can tell you that you can have some really small adult hedgies or some really big baby hedgies. So size really isn't a good indicator. One way you can tell I guess is by counting the quillings. So if he is quilling now he'll most likely be under six months. And to tell how old he is- just count how many more times he quills. Quilling is when they "shed" their quills and make way for new ones. This happens four times usually at roughly 4, 6, 9, and 12 weeks.

5. A lot of hedgies won't play with toys- but some toys are dig boxes (plastic shoebox with lots of fleece strips as an example), plastic toy trucks (some people put mealies or treats and the hedgie will sometimes dump the truck to get the treats), toilet paper tube cut down the size so the hedgie won't get stuck, fleece forest (fleece strips hanging down from top of cage), pvc pipes. Hope that gives you a good idea.


Couple suggestions:

Fleece liners will be more economical in the long run and safer (especially for males since wood chips can basically stab them in their penile sheath and cause infection or worse).

How big is that cage? Do you have a heating set up? A wheel? And what is that by him (Looks like a ramp. It looks too steep to climb and for any ramps they should have side enclosures as to make sure he doesn't fall)


It looks like you really want to see what's good for him and what's not! I wish all pet owners were like that. And there's no such thing as too many questions. Welcome to the forum!
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Old 09-08-2013, 04:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Darn, Lilysmommy! You beat me to it! :P
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Old 09-10-2013, 03:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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You guys are so helpful!

Tom, thank you for the warning about the wood chips. Im going to switch the bedding over to this soft paper like bedding for now and the next time I’m in town ill buy the fleece lining.

I bought Xavier from a store not a breeder and the store worker knew about as much as I did. ’nothing’
They didn’t know the date he was born, the sex, the housing. I bought $26 hedgehog food to find I could of bought cat food! When we were picking out a cage i was told a small cage would work. Its for a tiny hamster, he still has room to move around and there are two levels but its far to small... I didn’t know how active they were. I plan on getting him a bigger one once he is older.
-Because his cage is so small I do let him out everyday so far so he can run.

@lilysmommy-thank you so much for the links! Im downloading the book today.

Ohh and where can I buy meal worms? would wall mart or pet stores have them?
^^^^^Im sorry if thats a silly questions. iv never own anything like Xavier before.
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Old 09-10-2013, 04:01 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perhydrol View Post
You guys are so helpful!

Tom, thank you for the warning about the wood chips. Im going to switch the bedding over to this soft paper like bedding for now and the next time I’m in town ill buy the fleece lining.

I bought Xavier from a store not a breeder and the store worker knew about as much as I did. ’nothing’
They didn’t know the date he was born, the sex, the housing. I bought $26 hedgehog food to find I could of bought cat food! When we were picking out a cage i was told a small cage would work. Its for a tiny hamster, he still has room to move around and there are two levels but its far to small... I didn’t know how active they were. I plan on getting him a bigger one once he is older.
-Because his cage is so small I do let him out everyday so far so he can run.

@lilysmommy-thank you so much for the links! Im downloading the book today.

Ohh and where can I buy meal worms? would wall mart or pet stores have them?
^^^^^Im sorry if thats a silly questions. iv never own anything like Xavier before.
Yeah- hamster cages are too small! He should definitely have a wheel in his cage- if not he'll get really bored and fat since that's all of their exercise comes from. Some hedgies will wheel for miles and miles each night! Meal worms can be bought at some pet stores. Might be best to call around and see if they do. I know the two or three I go to don't carry live ones. You can get freeze dried ones in the reptile section from almost any pet store but they can cause impaction sometimes. I've never seen a walmart carry them though. You can buy a sterelite tub from walmart and use that as a cage- it's what a lot of breeders and owners do. How's your heat setup?

Oh and just an idea so you know the size cage you should have. That cage looks to be about 1' x 1'. They need at least two or three times. that space. The cage I use is 4' x 2'.

Here's the tubs that a lot of people use.
Sterilite Tub You could probably get away with using a smaller one than that but that's just to show you what it's like. But that would be a good size.

This cage This cage
is also fairly common in pet stores which is fine for hedgehogs.

There's also
this cage this cage
- I had it then returned it since it isn't very sturdy and is kind of hard to clean. But it's cheap and if you aren't used to having a solid cage with nice openings then it'll work fine. I prefer my cages having doors rather than a removable lid. But those are some ideas. You should most likely at least get that tub- your current cage is way too small. You could maybe return it to the pet store for in store credit and get that Super Pet First Home cage. (Extra Large is recommended - I don't know why it won't link to that one. ) In pet stores it also commonly goes by the brand Kaytee.

For wheels stay away from the silent spinner wheels. Comfort wheels and flying saucers are the only pet store wheels you should go with. Largest size .
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:01 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I have decided to purchase this cage : http://www.wayfair.com/AandE-Cage-Co...2-AEC1367.html

It will give him much much more room and it will look good in the house.
As far as heat he just stay in my house it stays between 65-75 degrees. is that okay?
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:12 AM   #8 (permalink)
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That looks like an awesome cage! Just keep in mind that you'll have to make sure the levels and ramps are enclosed (all the way preferably, especially the levels) so he doesn't climb or walk off them and get hurt. You'll also want to make sure the levels have something solid put over the grates to keep him safe. It looks very roomy though!

That's not quite enough for temperature - you're going to need to keep him above 72*. A lot of outdated information says that "room temperature" or "65 and above" is fine, but that's not really correct. A lot of hedgehogs will hibernate even at 70*. You also want to make sure the temperature doesn't vary by more than 2-3*, since a large fluctuation can cause a hibernation attempt as well. The best ways to heat will be with a space heater (heats the whole room) or a CHE set up (just the cage). Here's a thread that describes more about both of those things - https://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forum...implified.html
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Old 09-11-2013, 01:21 AM   #9 (permalink)
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That is a pretty cool cage. Ambrose would hurt himself in a hot minute, falling off a ramp despite all safety precautions possible, he is that determined to jump off things.

For what Lilysmommy is talking about, solid things over the grates, many people with wire-based cages use coroplast (corrugated plastic) or similar things cut to the size of the grating to make the surface solid. Hedgies, you may have noticed, have kind of dainty, slender feet and legs.
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Old 09-11-2013, 11:23 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Yes, I really like the cage as well! I can’t wait to get it and ill safe guard the ramps & get it set up for him.
Ohh & I got Xavier a wheel last night for the cage he has now. I can’t believe he ran all night long like everyone has been telling me. I was a little shocked about it He’s very tiered today. Iv personally only worked with horses. Iv also had dogs&cats but nothing super tiny like him. Im really enjoying him tho.



^^^^^Isnt he cute? :3
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