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Old 05-08-2014, 12:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Completely new to Hedgie

The pet store I frequent twice/week for crickets for my other pets had a Female Hedgehog for sale for months. Someone had turned her in, and since she was full grown and a bit pricey, was not getting adopted. Since the folks at the store know me well, they "twisted my arm" and I ended up with Miss Pickles coming into our family. She is 8 months old, and I have had her for 2 months now.

I am simply going to tell you what I'm doing, as well as ask some questions, and I urge you to criticize, suggest, etc. I am knew to this. I've read a book as well as purused this site and others, but just feel like I could use more input.

She is living in a 20 long aquarium with a paper bedding and some cotton nesting material. She has a 1/2 log she generally sleeps under, a flying saucer (more on that below), water bottle, food dish, ping pong balls, and a tube.

She will not use the flying saucer. She's had it two months and has zero interest. She may poop on it or sleep below it, but that's about it. Keep it in there??

I have not found any food she'll eat except Snap Peas (other than her regular FROMM food). I have tried broccoli, asparagus, an organic wet cat food, and a few other veggies (all fresh). What are some "sure things" that hedgies are bound to love?

I have yet to trim her nails and she now needs it. Hoping to give that a whirl tonight when I clean her cage!

She's not the happiest little lady... I will scoop her out in a towel and let her lay on me for a bit until she's done hissing and what-not. Sometimes, she's having none of it and just falls fast asleep, other times she'll venture about the house and roam all over the place happy as a clam. If she's happy as a clam, she has no issues with me holding her and crawling on me. Sound pretty normal? She's also a delight after a bath or a swim. She LOVES nothing more than the bath.

The house is always at 72 degrees, so I don't currently have a heat lamp of any kind on her.

So... let me have it. What am I missing? I just feel like... she's bored I take her out nearly everyday, but just don't feel like I'm being the best mom to Pickles I could be.
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Old 05-08-2014, 12:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to the forum! Some suggestions for what I'd recommend changing -

- different cage: aquariums aren't really suitable for hedgehogs because they don't have great ventilation. They're also not usually big enough unless you have a very large one that's also heavy & difficult to move or clean. You want a cage that's a minimum of 3-4 square feet so there's plenty of room to have cage furniture and still move around. A store-bought plastic-bottomed wire cage would be better, and C&C cages, Ferret or Critter Nations, vivariums, etc. are all also popular options. There's a lot of examples of all of those on this thread - https://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forum...-examples.html

- I'd get rid of the cotton nesting material if it's that cotton fluff they sell for hamsters. It's not really safe (for hamsters either). She might like a fleece blanket to sleep in, and you can also have several, sleep with them for a couple nights, then put them in her cage so she can get even more familiar with your scent (though sounds like she's getting more used to you!). People also make & sell hedgie sleeping bags, I think there's a couple threads in the For Sale forum.

- Have you tried an upright wheel for her? It may be that she's just not a fan of the FS itself. The only safe upright wheel you can get in a pet store is a Comfort Wheel, and you need the giant 12" size. Alternatively, I'd suggest going for a cake cover or bucket wheel, which you can find online made by breeders who sell them (you can also make your own). They tend to be quieter, easier to clean, and they last a very long time. You can also usually adjust the height or tilt of the wheel (depending on how they're made) to allow pee to drain out, but still keep your hedgie happy with it.

- It might be a good idea to try getting a heating set up for her. She might be perfectly comfortable at 72, but it's a little on the low end. Many hedgies are happy around 75, and she might be avoiding running or being very active at night if she's just chilly enough to not want to be active, but not enough to attempt hibernation. Is there any way you can boost your house temp to 75 for a couple of nights and see if it makes a difference to her? If it does, then you can get a heating set up & know it'll help for sure, and if she splats out & seems uncomfortable, you'll know she likes it cooler (as some hedgies do). Though, if you've not had her during winter yet, it may be a good idea to look into a heating set up anyway - I live in Michigan too & I know it can be hard to keep things warm in our winters!

- Some hedgies are just picky! You could try baby food & see if she likes that at all. Lily was a little carnivore & loved meat baby foods, wet cat food, plain cooked chicken, etc. I found that if I mixed a meat baby food with veggie ones, she'd nearly always eat the mix, as long as it had the meat. You could also try steaming the veggies & see if they seem more appealing then. There's some more ideas for offering treats here - https://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forum...ds-treats.html Lily's favorites were peas baby food, sweet potatoes, & the meat foods. She occasionally would eat green beans baby food or applesauce plain (without any meat) too.

Sounds like she's pretty normal interacting with you, really! Many hedgies like to just curl up and sleep on their human, which was Lily's favorite past time with me. To be honest, she does sound like a pretty happy hedgie! Most hedgies do a bit of hissing & huffing when you first get them out, especially if they're newer to you. It can take months before they get past the initial "Oh wait, you won't eat me? Are you SURE?" thing, and sometimes they might never do so. Most hedgies hate being woken up too, and Lily usually gave me a huff or two to remind me of that.

A couple last suggestions - if she likes baths & water so much, it may make it easier to try & clip nails in the bath! It works for some people, not so much for others. Could be worth a try though! And lastly, you said you read a book, was it a printed one from the pet store? They're mostly out of date, so I'd suggest checking this one out instead - http://www.westcoasthedgehogs.com/fi.../download.html It's free to download & full of great, up-to-date info!
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Old 05-08-2014, 12:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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First of all, welcome!

72 F is a bit too cold, most hedgehogs like it around 75 F. She might become more active when she's kept at a proper temperature (somewhere between 74 F - 82 F). You'll need a heating set up, most people prefer CHEs (ceramic heat emitter) or space heaters.
You'll always need a thermometer inside the cage, because a house set on 72 F doesn't mean the cage is that exact temperature. It can vary a lot within one room.

What do you mean by "20 long aquarium"? A 20 gallon tank? Because that is way too small. You need a cage with a minimum size of 40 x 20 inch. Also, aquariums aren't too good, since they have limited air flow. They are only open on the top, you want something that has more air strips like a terrarium (or a wire cage).

Are you sure she isn't running on her wheel? Since you say there's poop on it. Most hedgehogs poop while they run, so she might be using it at night.

As for treats, most hedgehogs love insects! Crickets, meal worms, super worms.... mine absolutely love pinkies as well. Some hedgehogs are just really picky while others love everything.

Edit: Lilysmommy was a bit faster!
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Old 05-08-2014, 02:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You guys are FABULOUS! Thank you

A 20 long is a 20 gallon that is shorter in height so it has more "floor space." But at that it's only 30x13. I had read NOT to get any wire cage tops b/c they can hurt their legs if they try to climb and fall, but frankly, as Lily's mom mentioned, that book is totally out of date. I'll upgrade her to the other kind of cage. She might even like the flying saucer more if there's more room to get on and off of it! As mentioned, she totally might be using it more at night than I'm aware of, so I'll pay more attention to that.

Is it true they shouldn't have anything they can climb? Like a platform/second level with a ramp?

Heating set-up. I have two for other critters - turtle & bearded dragon - so I'll just borrow it from the turtle and see if that makes her happy. Easy way to get my answer before buying another one! Do you leave it on all day and night?

Awesome idea on the fleece instead of cotton... she does love to curl up in blankets and what-not. Also a fantastic thought of clipping nails in the tub!!

I can't stand super worms *LOL* But the beardie eats them, so I'll try one out on Pickles.

Thanks so much! Totally appreciate it. Off to check out the links provided!!
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Old 05-08-2014, 03:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The e-book Lilysmommy mentioned is great, it's up to date and a great read!

I have Ferret Nations for my hedgies and I use the second level. But I have closed it off so they can't fall. Hedgehogs have bad eyesight/depth perception so if you use a second level and ramp you'll need to make some adjustments so it's safe enough.
If you get a wire cage with vertical bars they can't climb. If you have one with horizontal bars, or if you're getting something like a C&C cage, you can add something to the sides (like coroplast) to prevent climbing.

If you're going to use the heat lamps you want a good thermometer which controls the heat - otherwise it might get too hot, especially in a tank. So I just have mine set to 23/24 C and the thermometer controls everything, if it's getting too cold it turns on and if it's warm enough it turns off.

I don't really like super worms either, but my hedgies love them! My boy loves fresh spinach too. But that might just be his thing
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Old 05-08-2014, 04:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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To add to Draenog's answer, most hedgies won't try to climb if they're occupied with other activities, like running on a wheel, etc. But if she does try, you can do as suggested & block off a bit more of the walls with coroplast or plastic placemats, etc.

And just to fix a quick typo - Draenog means you need a thermostat to control the heat lamp, not a thermometer! I typo that all the time. Thermostat turns the lamp on/off to control temp, thermometer will read the temperature of the cage so you can double-check that the thermostat & lamp are working correctly.
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Old 05-08-2014, 04:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Sorry... so many questions! I am noticing that in the "Cage Set-ups" thread a bunch of people are using just a blanket/cloth on the floor instead of any kind of pet-store disposable bedding. Why? Is that somehow easier to clean? Can't lie, she the cage doesn't smell great
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Old 05-08-2014, 05:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yup, a lot of people on here like using fleece/fabric liners. Some people find that it does fine for odor control, others find that it does worse, so that kind of depends. If you change them often enough, IMO, they work fine as far as odors! Changing time depends on hedgehog - some people need to change them every other day, I didn't have to change them more than twice a week, usually. They're also cheaper (since you can wash & reuse) and less messy (since bedding doesn't get stuck in quills, etc.). You can either use just a single layer of fleece cut to size (which is what I did), or if you can sew, you can make your own, which means you can use other fabrics too. You just need to make sure stitches are all hidden on the inside. If you like the thicker liners, but can't sew, there's a few people that make & sell them, if you check the For Sale section.
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Old 05-08-2014, 05:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You are fantastic, Kelsey. Thank you!

You as well Draenog! I'm excited to get out of work and go Hedgie shopping!
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Old 05-08-2014, 06:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I just call everything a thermometer (I think most people do in my native language) Mine is both a thermostat and a thermometer.

I've used different types of bedding and fleece liners smell the worst, in my opinion. Unless your hedgehog is litter trained but not all of them are (and some of them never will). I switched to cardboard bedding (Finacard) which works great for me, but they don't sell it in the US.
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