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Old 08-30-2010, 10:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Socializing a new Hedigie

Hey all!
We recently got a wonderful little Hedgie named Mr. Edward Sticklebottom. He is eating well and running around in his cage. He is still very puffy when I try and get him out to move him to his play area. which is a 5X5 square baby gate thingy. I have yet to sucessfully pick him up with out getting stabbed repeatedly. He is about one and a half years old. I really could use some advice in how to get him use to me and my family. I have tried the cloth with my smell ... I didn't have an old tee shirt so I grabbed a fabric scrap and slept on it for 2 days and put it in his tank! I don't want to stress him out and make him uncomfortable but I would like it if he could relax and be a part of our family.
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Old 08-30-2010, 11:30 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Socializing a new Hedigie

Where did you get him from? Do you know if he was handled by his previous owner? I got a rather unsociable hedgie when he was one year old and he's come around (it's been about eight months) so it is possible!

I have a couple suggestions. One, get a hedgie bag (little bags made of fleece that most hedgehogs like to burrow in- mine seems to be an exception, though) and pop him in it, and then he can sit on your lap for a while without you getting prodded. You can have him there when you watch tv or do something else, and that way he will get used to being out with you. You could also just use a blanket or something. It's also very important to make sure you get him out every night when you're still trying to create a new bond. Even ten minutes will help.

The second thing I'd suggest is treating him for coming to you. Mealworms are the first thing I'd try. When he comes out of his ball, give him a mealie.

Best of luck with your little guy! I know it can be frustrating, but it's so rewarding when they finally come around.
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Old 08-30-2010, 11:36 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Socializing a new Hedigie

Thanks for the advice. I and my kids are talking about making a fleece bag ourselves for him. I have a baby blankie that is super soft and i was thinking about doing that. I think for the first few months I may just get him out to sit in my lap when the kids go to bed and then slowly introduce him to them and their noise.. I will have to figure out where to get mealies!
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:25 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Socializing a new Hedigie

That blanket sounds like it would work. Most important think is for there not to be any loose threads he can get his nails stuck in or threads that can get wrapped around his legs.
You could also use the bag to help get him out of the cage. I leave mine in the cages & they use them to sleep in. All I have to do is pull the whole bag out & take it with me.
You can look for mealworms in petstores. I get mine from Petco. Usually with lizard supplies in a fridge.



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Old 08-30-2010, 06:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Socializing a new Hedigie

Quote:
I have tried the cloth with my smell ... I didn't have an old tee shirt so I grabbed a fabric scrap and slept on it for 2 days and put it in his tank!
Welcome, as you are new I was just curious what kind of set up you have for him. You mentioned "tank", is it an aquarium?

Does he have a wheel and is he using it? A good wheel will go a long way in helping them get rid of excess energy and maybe he will sleep better when on your lap.

What times of day are you taking them out? Mine seem to sleep better on my lap when I've woken them about 4 p.m. and towards 9 p.m. they are restless wanting their food and back to their cage. Each hedgie is different, you can experiment a bit with times to see if that helps.

He may never stop the initial huff and puff when you first retrieve him, try to get past that and just understand that he's startled, scared, and that's their reaction. Over time, though, he hopefully will settle down and sleep on you, or maybe poke his head out of the blanket and start to explore along the sofa with you. Have small goals, and relish them as he progresses.

Some hedgies never come around, I'm not trying to disappoint you or discourage you, just wanted to let you know that you might want to let the kids know this can be a long process so they don't get too frustrated quickly. I have one snuggler, one "ok if you insist I will sleep on your lap but every move you make I'll huff" and one "OH MY GOSH PUT ME DOWN" freak out hedgie. They are just individuals. Best wishes on your new hedgie!
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Socializing a new Hedigie

His place is a big aquarium and eventually when I hedgie proof our old ferret cage he will have a play area cage with stuff mostly tubes and what not. He also has a play area I can set up. We did make the bag and it was kind of a fail at first... I have to wash it since he pottied all over it..ugh. but we did make a successful understanding.. I gave him a meal worm and he kind of sniffed so I held out the other one and he took it and kind of rubbed him self on my hand for a second...as for the kids...I explained that it may take past Christmas for him to come around but that doesn't mean that we don't still love us and we should love him even if he is grumpy. We got him a wheel and I have yet to see him on it...but that doesn't mean at night when we sleep he doesn't play...he has a tube to play with and a plastic car to play and push around.
I can work it out and I have the forums to ask questions of people. I did figure out that half a grape will keep my mealies alive!
Thanks for all of the advice!
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Old 08-30-2010, 11:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Socializing a new Hedigie

Ferret Cages work well, just make sure the bar spacing isn't any bigger than 1.5 inches, otherwise many can squeeze themselves out. But good choice to dump the tank, they're just unhealthy for the little guys, namely ventalation, when they potty, they have to breath in their own fumes.

Wheel wise you may never see him on it, though he'll be wheeling at night. Most hogs enjoy close to or total darkness when they're out doing their own thing at night, but they tend to be shy about wheeling in front of people. My girl Hester will wheel in a dim light which is cool, but my boy Loki I never see, he likes utter darkness.

But definitely check around the forums and the stickies for information on good proper care, the one thing I always ask new owners is do you got him on a light schedule? Its something I didn't find out with my research before getting a hedgehog, they need a light schedule of at least 12 hours worth of light provided by any old desk lamp or room light during the day, don't depend on the sun as overcast / rainy days can block out the light needed. Main reason for this is to keep them from hibernating, if they don't get a lot of light, they think winter is coming and attempt to hibernate, which is bad for our little spiked guys. Also cold temps or them getting a chill from a cool draft.
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Old 08-31-2010, 01:15 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Socializing a new Hedigie

Well the tank makes him happy right now..I clean the bedding at least three times a day to make sure there isn't pee and poo all over the place. I have a ventilated top...I have to measure the bars of the cage... I think they might be a bit to far apart.
He is pretty happy with me now that I have mealies to give him... I didn't know about the light thing ... I will make sure that I toss it on when I get up at 8 and leave it on till 8 at night!!!!
Thanks for the advice
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Old 09-03-2010, 12:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Socializing a new Hedigie

So bed baggy made and happy hedgie!!! He sat in my lap for about 40 mins last night!!! and for the most part was pretty happy!!! Thanks so much all
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Old 09-17-2010, 09:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Update!

Hey all!
So have gotten Sticklebottom use to me. I made him a sleeping bag out of a pair of old fleece pjs I slept in. He is being a great little guy and coming out and visiting with use all. He has let the kids play with him and hold him. I downloaded the Hedgie book PDF and it is helping a lot. I found out he isn't a big fan of fruits or veg but I am going to try baby food next for treats. Mealies are his favorite though and the kids love to watch him eat them. Thanks for all the great advice. He is going today to the kids school to be talked about since they are giving away hedgehog related books when its a birthday for a child. I think he will be fine visiting with everyone. The cat and he have a soild truth...the cat will only look at him from outside his play pen area and Sticklebottom wont make the puff noise which freaks the cat out.
Again Thank you all so much!
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