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Old 01-07-2011, 07:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Things i should know

Helloo im currently on a waiting list for a little hedgehog and have been doing a lot of reserch so i will know hoe to care my my little one and have a few questions i have yet to find anwsers for or want a better opinion on....
1) how often do i give my hedgehog a bath
2)What is the best cat food for them and is it better to give them two different kinds?
3)How often and how many worm or crickets do i give them?
4) if so how bad do they stink?
5)are heaters necessary i usually have my reg heater on in my room but is that enough?
6)best ways to get it used to me?
Thank you guys
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Old 01-07-2011, 07:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Things i should know

I'll answer to the questions I know. You'll find alot of these answers in the forum if you go to the main index and look at care, health, food, etc. I've found HHC is very consistent with requirements and feedback and that seems to work very very well with breeders hedghogs and other users hedgehogs as well.

1) When they get quite dirty but limit to maximum 2 a month because their skin dries out alot if you give them more than that. don't forget nail trimming!

4) If you clean the soiled areas every day, and completely give the cage a wash down when it is necessary (Some hedgies are cleaner than others) Then it shouldn't smell much at all. I can only describe Napoleons cage as a faint hamster smell when my face is RIGHT there changing her water or her food. It smells alot more lately cause she has babies and I dont want to disturb her with cleaning.

5) It all depends on the consistent temperature of your room. It should be more than 23 degrees Celsius (I don't know what it is in Fahrenheit ) but that being the bare minimum. Hedgehogs have been known to go into hibernation at even 25 degrees. You should get a thermometer that you can put on the cage or near where it will be so you know the temperature before getting the hedgie.

6) Patience! for my Napoleon I made sure to give her a few days to let her settle in her new home before taking her out. a little treat also works really well

Hope this info helps. And a breeder will probably be along with more information
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Old 01-07-2011, 07:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Things i should know

Thanks
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Old 01-07-2011, 07:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Things i should know

I give mine a foot bath maybe once a week depending on how dirty their feet get from using their wheel. But you dont want to give them too many baths because it can dry out their skin. I also give them one mealworm a day or so as a treat normally no more then three a day. Mine dont smell as long as I clean there cages out once a week or atleast everyother week. A wheel is a must! and I have a heat lamp on my babies because my house gets really cold and I try to keep their cage at about 70-72 degrees. Although make sure the wheel is not directly under the heat lamp or else the plastic will melt happened to me. Its too cold out right now but mine love to be taken outside and explore. I got mine used to me by giving them an old shirt I didnt care about and put it in their cages. I have three and they all still sleep w/ one of my shirts. Right now I have three hedgehogs and it is amazing how different their personalities are.. one is a grump, one is sweet and loves to cuddle and the other one is super curious. I hope this helps!
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Old 01-07-2011, 07:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Things i should know

Welcome to HHC, couple things to add to Pooka Dotted's reply (more just other things).

Another way to help your guy bond with you is wear an old t-shirt for several nights while sleeping, and then place it inside their cage for a bed. Make sure there are no loose strings attached (they can wrap around legs and cut off blood flow). Hopefully the hedgie will sleep inside the shirt, and then they associate your smell with being 'safe'. Also when you're bonding with him or her outside the cage, its always good to cover them up with a blanket or provide a place for them to hide and feel safe.

2. Many people mix two or three cat foods together for many reasons. One is there is no specific food that provides everything a hedgehog needs in a diet, so multiple different foods helps cover that. Its also in case one food is recalled or taken off the market, as hedgehogs can be picky eaters and sometimes it can be hard to find what they'll eat. Below is a link to the recommended food list.

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=15

3. This seems to vary from owner to owner, some give only a couple of mealworms a night, I personally was giving my guys 7 per night until our local pet store closed. If you have a very active hedgehog, its a good idea to give them a fair amount (both of mine are wheelers). If they're lazy, then you can just give them a couple. I'd assume same goes with crickets, never fed them to my guys.

Also to fight against any hibernation attempts, there should be a light setup near the cage that is on for at least 10 to 14 hours during the daytime. This helps regulate their internal clocks, otherwise if they sense 'shorter' days like we have in winter, they may attempt to hibernate. Doesn't need to be a special light, just a desk lamp or room light. Most people setup a lamp near or on the cage with a timer, so the lights turn on and off at the same time everyday.

And at night when the hedgehog is up doing their own thing, darkness can be a factor, but depends on the hedgehog. Some won't mind dim light from a tv or computer, others may not wheel and be active unless they get complete and utter darkness. During bonding time its usually a good idea to have just dim lighting, obviously total darkness can't be done, otherwise you couldn't see the hedgie. They'll be active with lights on, but its always good not to have it super bright.

A 'good' temperature to keep them in is 73'F to 78'F, most people aim to keep the cage around 75'F. Extreme jumps in temperature can trigger hibernation or a URI, and in some cases a few hedgehogs have been known to get too cold even at 73'F. 75'F is a good number to shoot for.

Hope that helps!
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Things i should know

I can only address what I know so far. I haven't tried to feed mealworms to my little guy yet. He's only been home for 2 weeks.

I have to argue the point of leaving them alone for a day or so before handling them. The breeder I got mine from said to start handling him as soon as we got home. He had warmed up to me by half way through second day and became perfectly content to cuddle and sleep on my lap by day 3. As Puffers315 said, having a shirt in the cage that smells like you definitely helps them get use to you. I always fold the bottom part of my shirt over when I have him with me just to give him a place to hide if he wants one. He usually burrows in there and takes a nap. Spend as much time with your critter as you can, but be prepared to be used as a toilet for a while.

I have a space heater in the room he's in since my thermostat is almost right under a heat vent and screws up the temperature in here. The space heater I have lets you set a temperature for it to maintain and I have it set to 74F/23C. The breeder kept her house at 22C so I'm keeping him just a touch higher than that since it's what he was used to.
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Things i should know

1. Quilling babies can be bathed once a week. They get very dry skin while they are quilling and bathing helps to sooth it. You should use Aveeno oatmeal unscented body wash, or wrap some oatmeal in a cloth (I use a sock) and put it in the water swish it around and squeeze the cloth a few times until the water becomes cloudy (this is an oatmeal bath). After the bath a quick rinse with flax seed oil will help soften the skin even more. You buy flax seed oil from the drug store in capsules and break open a capsule into a small cup of luke-warm water and carefully poor it down the hedgehogs back make sure not to get it on the hedgehogs head so it doesn't go into eyes and ears. Adults can be bathed with all the same stuff but only 2 times a month max. Like pooka dotted said.

2. Yes you should mix at least two different foods. There is no one best cat food that is why people use a mix. A varied diet is very important for hedgehogs. No one can tell you what the best food will be for your hedgehog, all hedgehogs have different tastes and not all foods are available everywhere. You will have to find the high quality cat foods in your area and choose which ones to feed. read this topic viewtopic.php?f=6&t=15 and the sites it links to. The first link in that post will be helpful in teaching you how to read labels which you will need to know how to do when choosing a food. If you know how to read labels then you can just go browse the pet store and be able to pick a food out without having to constantly refer back the recommended food list.

You should know that for the first two weeks at home your hedgehog should be eating the same food that he was eating at the breeder. After that you can gradually add in one new food, after a few weeks of being on the new food you can start to gradually add another and so on. This goes for treats as well. Only offer one new treat at a time. This is so that if your hedgehog has an allergic reaction (or some other negative reaction) to the food you know exactly what it was that caused it and can remove that food from the diet. They also have sensitive stomachs and changing food too quickly can be really upsetting to their digestive system.

3. The number of worms or crickets they eat really depends on the hedgehog. For instance a less active hedgehog cannot have as many meal worms because it would cause them to gain too much weight but a hedgehog that has trouble keeping weight on or runs a lot can have many more. On average people say that you can feed 2-3 meal worms a night. when I feed crickets I only give about one or two at a time. If you don't feed them every night you can give a few more at a time.

4. Fresh poop can really stink. People have said that they cannot even walk into the hedgehog room in the morning because the wheel smells so bad. Babies apparently smell worse. If your hedgehog eats food with fish in it the poop smells worse. However once the poop is cleaned off the wheel or out of the cage smell is gone.

5. If the room is a constant temperature and warm enough (between 73-78) you do not need a heater. If the temperature ever fluctuates by 5 or more, or is less than 73 F then you do need a heater. viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4579
Heating is very serious hedgehogs that become too cold, do not get enough light during the day, can feel a draft, or feel a temperature drop will go into hibernation. Hibernation is very dangerous, if a hedgehog tries to hibernate and it is not caught in time they will die, if you catch it in time and the hedgehog survives the hibernation attempt their immune system is compromised putting them at risk for illness. viewtopic.php?f=5&t=41

6. Become familiar with how a hedgehog typically behaves. Be consistent with your handling. Let your hedgehog sit on your lap hidden in a fleece blanket. Just sit with hedgie at first, no petting, moving hedgehog to look at him peeking under the blanket. Just let the hedgehog get used to your smell, breathing, and voice. Be aware that your hedgehog is not hissing because he hates you or because he is mad. He is afraid and it is a natural reaction to being startled, afraid or threatened. Most hedgehogs will always hiss a little when you go to pick them up. Read this viewtopic.php?f=16&t=13
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Old 01-07-2011, 09:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Things i should know

Here's a link to LizardGirl's book, the best book every hedgie owner should read: http://www.hedgehogbook.webs.com/
It tells you everything you need to know and more! Also, it's a free download.
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Old 01-07-2011, 11:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Things i should know

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nebular
I have to argue the point of leaving them alone for a day or so before handling them. The breeder I got mine from said to start handling him as soon as we got home. He had warmed up to me by half way through second day and became perfectly content to cuddle and sleep on my lap by day 3.
In the end I think it depends on the personality of the hedgehog. Some are neutral, some are really shy and timid, some could not care. I've had three hogs and they've all reacted differently.

Vera (RIP) - Didn't care, came out, ate and went about her business hours after she got home.

Hester - Was shy at first, I remember looking over at the cage the first night only to see her nose sticking out of the fleece. I went over and offered her some kibble, and she ate some, offered her more, etc. Then after a few hours, came out and explored carefully.

Loki - 2 year old when he came to my house, didn't see him for half a month, he's really shy and actually I don't see him unless its via the camera in his cage, I get him out, or if I put chicken in his dish. For chicken, he'll come right on out, eat it, and run back into his house.

I think its basically said leave them for a few days, mainly because 'new' new owners have yet to learn to read their hedgehog's reactions.
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