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Old 11-17-2008, 12:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default First Hedgehog / Running at night

So I picked up a hedgehog a couple days ago from a friend who was at school and didn't have as much time for the hedgehog as he thought he would. He is very shy and scared, so I try to handle him and lay around with him so he can get used to me. For right now, I'm using gloves to pick him up because he huffs a lot and sometimes his quills will pierce through the gloves and get me, so I can only imagine what it would be like with out the gloves. So I'm trying to do some reading to find the best practices to get them to open up.
Also, I've got a cage with a wheel in it, and the only time he runs in it is between 3-5 in the morning. I've got a ferret caged in the same room with me, along with the hedgie, and the running keeps both the ferret and me up. Are there any ways to try and switch his running habit from 3-5 in the morning to 3-5 in the afternoon? Thanks for any help.
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Old 11-17-2008, 12:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Hedgehog / Running at night

Hedgehogs a diurnal but most of their activity is at night. They do their running at night and you cannot change their habits without risking illness. You can spend time with him in the evening but he will still run at night. That is what hedgehogs do.
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Old 11-17-2008, 12:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Hedgehog / Running at night

Congratulations on the new hedgie.
You should really try to handle him without gloves. Scent is how a hedgie gets to know you, and if you have gloves on he can't smell you to know that you're the one trying to pick him up. If you have to, try sleeping with a towel and use that to pick him up so that he gets used to your scent. And put a t-shirt (with no loose threads) into the cage, as well. That can help. Most hedgies huff at first. You can't let that scare you, though. It doesn't hurt much at all to pick them up, and the more you do it the more your hands (and the hedgie) will get used to it.
As for getting him to be awake during the day, many people ask that question and the answer is always what Nancy said. It's just part of hedgie instinct to run at night, and to change that can make them really sick. Is it the wheel that's keeping you awake or the pitter patter of little feet? Bucket wheels are the quieter wheels, and you can make one of those or buy one online; if you're using a comfort wheel or any commercially marketed wheel that could be part of the problem.
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Old 11-17-2008, 12:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: First Hedgehog / Running at night

I'm not sure what kind of wheel it is. It was given to me with the hedgie. It is the wheel, though. The feet noises don't really bother me. I'll certainly look into that kind of wheel, though.
When I take him out and put him near me, I try to keep my hands near him so he can sniff them and get used to them, but if I get my hand near him at all, he balls up and starts huffing. I'm sure it will take time for him to get used to me.
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Old 11-17-2008, 01:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Hedgehog / Running at night

They ball up like that because you're a big blur to them and they aren't sure what you are until they smell you. Mine still does it, and he's totally comfortable with me once he figures out "Hey it's mom!" I would say try to pick him up with the towel instead of the gloves--and be sure not to move quickly from above because that startles hedgies. When you're interacting with him, put your hand near him and let him come out of his ball to sniff you. Because yeah, all hedgies ball up when they're a little nervous, and that's just what he's doing. Take it slow, but definitely don't let the balling up discourage you from having your hands near him; he's going to do that for awhile (a few weeks, at least) but you can't let that keep you from touching him because he'll take that as "Oh if I ball up that hand goes away" and that's not what you want. Take your time and slowly move your hand toward him; he'll probably ball up, but he'll come out and see what your hand is soon enough.
Oh! And don't feel bad about bribery and positive reinforcement. Anytime you have your hand near him and he balls up, leave your hand there and wait till he comes out, then give him a mealworm for coming out. Soon he'll associate that with treats, and not be afraid of it anymore.
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Old 11-17-2008, 01:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: First Hedgehog / Running at night

First of all, congrats on accepting the new hedgie, they are wonderful pets. I'm afraid they are nocturnal by nature, so the running is going to happen at night, most of the times. I made her cage quite pickable, so at night I leave the entire cage in other room, so the noise doesn't wake me up. Also, like the others said, try to get your hands used to the quills. Mine already have a few marks, and it doesnt hurt as much as one would think. Also, be prepared to expect some biting. While it doesnt ALWAYS happen, some hedgies are way more prone to bit than other. That hurts a lot more, but you also get used to it.
Also, bribes are an excellent way for them to associate you with nice things. Some cooked egg, mealworms and bit of fruit are excellent choices. Watch out for milk- related product, as those can be harmfule to your pet.
Basically, lots of love, patience, time and attention is what will make your hedgie quite used to you in no time
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Old 11-17-2008, 04:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: First Hedgehog / Running at night

So, today I took your advice. At first I used the gloves to get him out of the cage, but when he was out, I was sitting in my chair with him in my lap and took my gloves off and let him crawl around me using my hands as barricades, so he got to sniff me more. Once he started to sniff my hand, he was fine. I was even able to actually pick him up with out him huffing. He climbed up my chest and onto my shoulders (which was a very awkward position to pick him up with out him being scared and huffing) and he started to slide down my back towards the back of the chair, but I was able to catch him in my hands and he was fine. I'm so happy he's getting better.
About the positive reinforcement, I guess he's not a huge fan of mealworms. He just walks over them to get to the cat food. I was told he loves chicken, though. So I was thinking maybe tonight for dinner, I'll cook up some plain chicken breast and give him a little bit of it.
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:33 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Hedgehog / Running at night

Good, I'm glad you had some progress.
Hedgies definitely have different tastes. Some love certain things, some don't. Mine loves the mealworms but won't go near the beetles. Were they live mealworms or freeze dried? Because some prefer live and won't touch freeze dried ones. Mine loves chicken, also. He also likes those gerber turkey sticks you can get in the jars in the baby food aisle. I cut them into slices and give him one or two as a treat. Just try different things to find out what he likes.
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Old 11-18-2008, 02:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: First Hedgehog / Running at night

So I was just holding him, and when I went to pick him up to put him back in his cage, he balled up with part of my hand under his stomach, so he balled around my hand. Definitely not the best feeling. But before that, when I had my hands around him, he kept licking my hands. don't think I have any scent on them or anything, but I don't really know.
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Old 11-18-2008, 03:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: First Hedgehog / Running at night

Quote:
Originally Posted by hurleyint1386
. But before that, when I had my hands around him, he kept licking my hands. don't think I have any scent on them or anything, but I don't really know.
Hedgehogs have a fantastic sense of smell. They can smell things that you have no idea are there.
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