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Old 02-20-2010, 08:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Hedgehog behaviors (new owner)

I have loved hedgehogs for the past 8 years, but up until now, was not able to get any. I recently adopted four--- yes, FOUR hedgehogs, almost a week ago. My two males (Oink and Optimus) I got from an exotic pet store and my two females (Artemis and Sunshine) I adopted from a breeder. My two females are acting like they should, getting up at normal hours (21:00 - 06:00), but my males have no regular sleeping pattern (which I attribute to living in a pet store for 2 weeks.)
My problem is, Oink and Optimus have peculiar behaviors that I haven't read or seen on this board yet and I'm worried it could be detrimental to their health.

Oink is a 6 week old salt/pepper/snowflake combo (or at least thats what the breeder told me) who doesn't act like a hedgehog at all. In fact, he acts more like a dog. He would rather sleep with my year old puppy than sleep in his cage, he runs after me like a little puppy dog, and he sounds like he's attempting to growl like a dog when he plays with my puppy. Of course, their play time is ALWAYS supervised, but my dog will just lay down with him and lick him, or nose him around his bed. They will sleep together, and on occasion, Oink will run into my puppy's kennel to sleep. Is this odd to anyone else? I've never seen different species get along so well before. Chevy (my dog) will also whine and cry next to Oinks cage until I take him out. Oink also does not sleep in a balled position, he prefers to pass out with his belly on the floor and his legs stretched out in every which way. Is that good for him to do? I've never seen him sleep in a ball before, he's never quilled up on me-- I'm starting to think he can't or doesn't know how to. (that or he's a dog trapped in a hedgehog's body!!)

On the other hand, my other male, Optimus (Cinnacot colored), is even more concerning to me. He's also 6 weeks old, but hardly ever sleeps. He runs on his wheel for hours at a time. He hasn't gained any weight since I adopted him, and I have only seen him eat once or twice since I adopted him. All he seems to do is run, run, run. It's worried me so much that I've started to remove his wheel from his cage for small amounts of time to get him to take a break. Sometimes he'll go to sleep, or eat/drink, but most of the time, he'll run around his cage in a fury trying to find his wheel. Is this behavior OK? I am worried about him, he's healthy but TINY next to Oink, and they are the same age.... maybe he's a runt, I don't know, but I worry for my little guys

Can anyone help me?
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Old 02-20-2010, 09:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedgehog behaviors (new owner)

First off...DON"T let your males and females be together at all! They are old enough to breed, and it only takes a split second, believe me! Also being with females like that can make them territorial and the males will start to fight. The females, who are induced ovulators, will ovulate over and over which isn't healthy for them. They are solitary animals and opposite sexs should never be together except for planned breeding.

You can try to add high fat kitten food to just Optimus' food, that may help him put on weight. If he really stresses when you take the wheel out I would leave it in there. Count his kibble at night and again in the morning so you know exactly how much he is eating. You should get a kitchen scale that weighs in grams and weigh your hedgies at least once a week to make sure they aren't losing weight.

Since they are all babies I would add a bit of kitten food to everyones dishes.

Good luck.
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Old 02-20-2010, 09:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedgehog behaviors (new owner)

Quote:
Originally Posted by nikki
First off...DON"T let your males and females be together at all! They are old enough to breed, and it only takes a split second, believe me!
They aren't ever together-- that picture was just the first night I had them all. I know about the breeding and have done the research... I'm actually too afraid to breed them, I wouldn't want to lose any females-- and I don't think I could ever let the babies go to anyone but me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nikki
You can try to add high fat kitten food to just Optimus' food, that may help him put on weight. If he really stresses when you take the wheel out I would leave it in there. Count his kibble at night and again in the morning so you know exactly how much he is eating. You should get a kitchen scale that weighs in grams and weigh your hedgies at least once a week to make sure they aren't losing weight.
What is the advantage of having cat food over hedgehog food? My hedgies are already eating mealworms and waxworms in addition to their hedgehog food and fruit/veggies. Is there a specific brand of cat food that is best for them?

Thank you!
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Old 02-20-2010, 10:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedgehog behaviors (new owner)

Some hedgehogs run all night. That is quite normal

The first hedgehog sleeping flat out
They do this if they are too hot sometimes

but your hedgehogs will need time to settle in, could be the reason one of them is not eating so much
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Old 02-20-2010, 10:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedgehog behaviors (new owner)

Pretty much all hedgehog food is crap compared to a decent cat food with real meat as the first ingridient. Most of the hedgehog foods have fillers like corn as the first ingridient whhich Pygmy hedgies can't digest well as well as nuts and dried fruit that are choking hazards. There is a food list here with a lot of good recommended cat foods, check it out.
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Old 02-21-2010, 12:32 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedgehog behaviors (new owner)

I'm glad to hear you don't let them be together, and thank you for not getting offended by my comment, it wasn't meant to offend, but alot of people are told that hey only breed once or twice a year..or that they have to be at least 6 months before they will start to breed, neither of which is true. I was just being careful

Commercial hedgehog food was developed for european hedgehogs, which have very different nutritional requirements than our African Hedgehogs. High quality cat food is closer to their natural diet than commercial hedgehog food. If you look under the nutrition section you will see a list posted by Reaper that lists alot of good food for hedgies.
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:26 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedgehog behaviors (new owner)

Quote:
Originally Posted by anna m
Some hedgehogs run all night. That is quite normal

The first hedgehog sleeping flat out
They do this if they are too hot sometimes

but your hedgehogs will need time to settle in, could be the reason one of them is not eating so much
they also lay flat when they are really comfortable
I forgot this

I'm not sure I would let a hedgehog loose in the house and a dog might attack a hedgehog so you need to be carful here
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Old 02-22-2010, 12:05 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedgehog behaviors (new owner)

Quote:
Originally Posted by nikki
I'm glad to hear you don't let them be together, and thank you for not getting offended by my comment, it wasn't meant to offend, but alot of people are told that hey only breed once or twice a year..or that they have to be at least 6 months before they will start to breed, neither of which is true. I was just being careful
Oh, don't worry. I was TOLD they don't breed until they're a year old. I immediately went online to verify this was true. I was glad that I checked, because I found out the truth!! I immediately bought a second tank and put my girls in it. I'm actually ordering cages for each of them sometime soon.

I really appreciate the help!!
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Old 02-22-2010, 06:34 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedgehog behaviors (new owner)

Hi Oinkers,
My boy Bolt sleeps with his legs out when on my bed, or under the covers, he sleeps on his side with his nose tucked when in his pigloo. Jadyn does this too, but when she sleeps on my lap she streches out and dangles her legs over mine while tucking her nose in my knee crease.

Your kids will settle down, and remember, every hedgehog is different
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