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Old 09-04-2009, 12:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: Austin, TX
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Default Appropriate play time?

I have a 1 year old hedgie who i've had for just a week now..
I see that most people have separate play pens for their hedgies and I was wondering how much time they spend in it?

I don't have a play pen yet.. Bacon stays in his cage all day..
Then around 6pm every day after I come home from work I wake him up and play with him in my backyard/garden for about 30min-1hr. (which is very difficult since he'll find somewhere to hide no matter where i put him lol) I've tried to make him play longet than that but he'll just find a bush to hide in and try to sleep there or if I block off the bushes he'll just stubbornly sit in the grass with his face pushed onto the ground.. as if I won't see him as long as he doesn't see me.. lol
Then when we come back inside, I try to let him run around my room so that he'll stay awake and have fun but as soon as he's inside all he'll want is to sleep.. AGAIN.
I've given him a bath twice and that seems to energize him a bit and he will run around like crazy.. but if he finds anything that he can hide and go sleep in he will immediately.
If I leave him alone for a bit he falls asleep and gets really grumpy (3times more than usual), so now I've just started to put him back in his cage after he's done with his little romp outside.

I really want Bacon to be more active and have fun, but he refuses to. Would it help him be healthier if I kind of force him to stay awake and run around by eliminating all hiding places or would it stress him out? Is 1-2 hrs outside his cage enough time for him to play?
He does have a wheel in his cage.. and he has started to use it.. but only after i turn off the lights and go to sleep.
Maybe it's a lighting thing... Would he play more if I put him in a dark room by himself? Should I get a playpen and have him play in there all night and then keep him in his cage to sleep during the day? What's the normal routine for you guys?

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Old 09-04-2009, 09:02 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Appropriate play time?

Sounds like he does not want to be up that early. Try getting him up later in the evening. Some hedgehogs are ok being up in early evening but some don't come alive until 10, 11 or 12.

You can also get him up early and just let him sleep on you. Over time with routine he may be more active in the early evening. Don't try forcing him to stay awake, he will just get grumpy.

You've only had him a week so don't try to force too many changes on him all at once.
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Old 09-04-2009, 08:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Appropriate play time?

It's also highly possible that your hedgie is not an explorer type.

My boy is NOT an explorer, it doesn't matter how far away I put him, he will , run back to me, hide under my leg, or climb in my lap to sleep. It doesn't matter what time I take my boy out, he is happy to just chill in my lap and sleep, or lay on my bed with me while I watch tv and he sleeps. That's just how he is and I've accepted that. I know he runs on his wheel plenty at night, because I hear the pitter patter of his little feet on the wheel, and wake up to a lovely personalized "finger painted" wheel, just for me

I don't believe it would be healthy to force him to stay awake, as it would just stress him out more, make him unhappy. Hedgies are nocturnal and are happiest to come out when it's completely dark. When I take my boy outside to play(in the afternoons), we stay out there for about an hour(all just of him trying to snuggle up next to me to sleep) and once I put him back into his cage, he gets left alone for the rest of the evening and night, as he tends to sleep in later. On a normal night, I usually just let my boy cuddle up to me and sleep, so I'll actually have him out for anywhere from 2-5 hours, and I'll usually take him out at around 9pm, earlier if I'm giving him a foot bath(like 7pm)

On a normal night, my boy wakes up at around 10pm on his own. And it has to be dark. And if it's not dark enough for his liking, then he'll come out to eat, then run back to wait for me to go to bed, so he can come out and wheel.

I wouldn't recommend putting him in a playpen overnight, as it's not a stable structure like a cage, which makes for a possible escape. As long as he has a wheel that he likes to use, and decent floor space, then that's more than enough for overnight.
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Old 09-05-2009, 04:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Appropriate play time?

Thanks.. I just wasn't sure how much exercise he was supposed to be getting.
His cage isn't that big.. about 2x1.5 feet so I feel bad having him cooped up in there all night. During the day while I'm at work he probably sleeps so I don't feel bad about that.. But I wanted to give him as much play time as he can get at least while I am home, and 1-2 hrs doesn't feel like much.

Grr.. On a sidenote, it's frustrating that I finally got a job that pays enough for me to have a stable housing situation and lifestyle that enables me to take care of a hedgehog... but it makes me too tired to stay up and play with him!! which was the whole point of me getting a hedgehog because I've always been a nocturnal animal myself. lol... oh life.... poor bacon will just have to adjust to getting up a little earlier than he likes or else he won't get any play time at all. I will keep up the routine and let him get used to his schedule and see if he gets more active.. All I want is for him to be healthy, and if it's ok for him to be out only 1-2 hrs a day I am fine with that.

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Old 09-08-2009, 11:24 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Appropriate play time?

I would say as long as he has a wheel in his cage then he is fine, they just need room to fit a snuggle sack or the likes in, a wheel and their food bowls etc. His wheel will be all the exercise he needs if all he wants to do is sleep on you when you get him out.

My little hedgie is the total opposite as soon as i get him out, he sits there for 2 mins to adjust himself to being awake, then he wont stop running around for the rest of the time. He's a little scamp!
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