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Old 03-21-2014, 10:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy New Worried Hedgie Owner


*I know this is a long post but PLEASE read! Felix and I need you!*





Hi Everyone!

I just bought my hedgehog, Felix, a few days ago & everything had been going great.

The first night he slept just fine, the next day he was still fine & him and I cuddled while I watched TV, he laid in his sleep sac while I did homework on my desk, and he did some exploring (but not too much). Well the next day (Yesterday) he was fine in the morning--took him a little while to come out from his cage but I know he still is not used to my smell or voice---but while I was getting ready for work and had him with me but just in his sleep sack still he started huffing/hissing, jumping around, and actually jumping out at whatever he was huffing/hissing at.

He would not calm down, even when I tried holding him, rocking him, cooing at him. It is literally like a light switch went & he just was so unhappy/scared.

I put him in his cage and went to work, I work in a bar so it was the afternoon (we still have a strange schedule since I got him home so late/just getting used to stuff), he was still very unhappy & wouldnt go in his bed even.

When I got home from work I found him outside his sleepsack, not covered in any blankets which worried me more than ever.

I had bought all new things for his cage because the bedding was too messy and I wanted him to be toasty so I had to take him out for his cage to get it cleaned.

He wouldn't come to me after almost an hour of cooing, letting him smell my hands...all he did was go crazy and run like he was "looking" for something, digging in all 4 corners of the cage, then getting upset and ran again, etc.

I would say I would think he was playing but he was hissing and huffing, all quilled up while he did it. He was certainly unhappy.

When I finally picked him up he was just beside himself and i tried calming him down with his sleep sac and to snuggle and he went in and went CRAZY. He was hissing, clicking, he did not want to be in that snuggle sack so I took him out.

Since I had to change his cage I had to put him somewhere where he was safe, first I put him in his new running ball that he hadnt been in yet and he curled up in a ball and didnt move. Then I moved the ball and put it on the couch to be "comfy" and he fell asleep but it was so soon after (not sure if he was actually sleeping) that it worried me. So I took him out and put him in a tote container with a few new stuffed animals and blankets I got.
He was freaking out which I knew was normal but he eventually fell asleep.

I changed out his cage, put a soft material bedding down, added his new bowl for food and water, tried to add a litterbox but the one I bought didn't fit correctly (need help on finding litterboxes they use---size wise), and then had to wake him to put him and his toys in.

He didnt like that at all..and of course was huffed/hissing at his new crate
He started running around the edges and actually tried climbing the sides of his cage (which has me super worried) and fell into his water dish a couple times he just wouldnt calm down

I left him alone though and went to bed
When I woke up this morning his cage was "messy" but I assume that to be a good sign of exploring.

However there was poop squished everywhere--on the sides, on his stuffed animal. I know I didnt have a little box so I planned for him to go and I just had to clean it up but I found it odd how it was squished and randomly everywhere.

As of now I am at work and I hope he is sleeping
I am just very worried because his behavior is very bipolar it seems
He is almost 2 months old and I believe his has started quilling which I know makes them irritable but just the 360 in his behavior was startling.

I would give him an oatmeal bath as suggested to help with the quilling, rub his quills, cuddle him, etc but he seems to just hate me right now. I'm afraid if I put him in water he would just die from fear.

Can someone please let me know what I can do for him...I just want him to be happy and to enjoy his home.
I know he will take a while to get used to everything but the startling change of behavior has really made me worry...one minute he was snuggling and relaxed then he became super paranoid.

Thank you...any help/advice is appreciated.
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Old 03-21-2014, 12:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hmmm...

The most likely things are:

*Heat change

*New scent around cage

*Unknown environment (what with all the new things you have in his cage)

*Boredom

*Quillling

First off, what type of heating system are you using with your hedgie? CHE? Heating pad? Space heater? It might be too hot (or too cold) for him which might be causing his strange behavior change.

Has anything around his cage changed? Any cleaning products used around him or in the cage?

You are right about the exploring, some hedgies just love to mess up everything in their cage, and 2 months old is still very young, so they tend to poop A LOT, haha. Does he have a wheel in his cage? If not, that can cause hedgehogs to run laps around their cages due to boredom and pent-up energy, which can also lead to escape attempts (clawing at the sides of the cage for example).

Annnnd of course quilling seems to be one of the more likely causes of his behavior change. At this point his back is probably VERY tender, so touching his quills a lot is probably painful for him. =/ I know you are nervous about bath time, but as long as you just put him in a shallow dish or sink with the water level being fairly low, he should tolerate it alright. An oatmeal bath would work wonders for his skin, as well as a bit of olive oil or flax seed oil on his back after the bath to help moisturize him. An oatmeal bath will do more good than it will harm, especially if you keep the water level low if it is his first bath and you are nervous about how he will react.
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Old 03-21-2014, 07:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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My girl freaked out after we did a thorough clean of her cage and changed things a bit. She slept under her wheel for two days and nights, would not go anywhere near her pigloo! If you don't have a wheel you really must get one. Don't be discouraged if it takes him a while to use it, but he needs one.
If he is eating and drinking well then that is good.
Not sure why he would freak in his snuggle sack other than perhaps his quilling is hurting him, he can't say "ow"' they hiss and pop.
We bath our girl in a very shallow sinkful of warm water with a washcloth lining it for traction. My daughter uses pure organic coconut oil for dry skin/ quilling. Use a small amount as it gets very slippery. We just kind of ladle the water over her back with a cupped hand. While she doesn't love it, she doesn't freak out so badly.
After bath time and drying time she gets a cricket or other treat.
Good luck!
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