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Old 05-16-2011, 04:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Spikey little lump

Greetings all,

This will be my first post as I am new to this forum. I have been reading random postings and have read a ton of great information which I have already used, and might I add, have seen great results from. :]

I have never owned a hedgehog before and became rather intrigued when my friend told me he had purchased one. After reading through the forums and I thought to myself "hmmm..maybe this would make a great pet for me". I kicked the idea around for a while and just when I was about to contact a breeder and ask some questions, my good friend told me that he felt he was no longer able to care for his hedgie friend :[. He asked me if i would be interested in giving her a new home..and without hesitation I drove over and went to pick her up. Initially, I don't think I was very well received; There was alot of huffing and puffing (the hedgehog made some noises too). I brought her home and the very next day I went out, purchased what I thought to be a spacious cage, and invested some serious time into trying to understand my new friend, Nikita.

The first couple of weeks I felt were the toughest. I found out my new friend was around 7-8 months old and by no fault of my friend(long work hours),she had not had a lot of face time with people. I was very determined to make some big strides with her and do my best to make her feel comfortable and safe. However, she did not really want to hold up her end of the deal and would curl up, hiss, pop, and hide in her igloo. I will admit that I was both sad and upset by this. I made it a point to spend some serious time with her, and even if it was not holding her, I would take her out and let her explore or just lay down next to her and let her come investigate me.

I have had Nikita for almost 2 months now and I must say that she is even more awesome than I expected. We are still working on trust issues, but I find that she lets me pick her up a little easier, she lets me pet her when I hold her, and she is becoming used to the sound of my voice. I could not be happier.

Now, after the long read which I have made you all endure, I have a question. My spikey little lump does not seem to have any interest in being active on her own ;[. I make her come out to play twice a night (once when I get home and once before I go to bed). She doesn't seem to upset after I get her out of her igloo. She explores the house, dives into her little pvc maze which I constructed for her, but I guess Im concerned that she is not getting enough excercise. I put her wheel in her cage at night but she does not seem to have any interest in it at all. I've marked the outside of it to see if she runs at night and I almost never see her move it...and the few times I do, it's only because she has pooped in it and take a stroll through it. What if anything can I do to get Nikita interested in her wheel so she can stay active and keep healthy?
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:06 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spikey little lump

She probably is using the wheel at night...if you find poop on it then she's defintely used it, but some hedgies poop less on their wheels than others.

Try waking her up before you go to bed, but skipping the wake up when you get home from work, and see if she's more active. Think about it...if your alarm clock is set for 6am and someone wakes you up at 3, even if you go back to sleep for a couple of hours, you'll feel groggy all day. Since she's sleeping during the day, waking her up at 6pm is like you being woken up at 3am.
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spikey little lump

aaaaawwwww....what an awesome story....you are doing everything right!!! Nikita (great name, BTW) has a great hedgie-mama!

Snarf is a maniac on his wheel, so I can't help a lot...I will just suggest the usual obvious things: are her nails trimmed? does the wheel work well and feel solid? what type of wheel?

More help will be along...
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Old 05-16-2011, 05:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spikey little lump

I totally understand the being waken up to early idea.....but I work afternoons and nights. When I get home, it is usually after 9-10pm. My younger brother keeps an eye on her during the day and early evening. He tells me she doesn't wake up/come out at all. I know she will wake up on her own eventually, but i just don't want her to be unhealthy by sleeping her hedgie life way.

Initially when I get in, I go over to Nikita's home and let her know I am there by calling out her name a few times. I usually can tell she is awake by the hissing or the little jumping I can see under her fleece blankey that she hides inside of in her igloo. She will usually come out and kind of walk around her cage and go eat and have some water. I take her igloo out of the cage at this point so she doesn't run back inside and start to doze off again. After I decompress from my day I go over for our second play time, which usually involves me following her around her cage trying to pick her up then taking her out for some good old fashioned quality time....cuddling, tubing, mani/pedis lol.

Nikita's wheel is a bucket style wheel, similar to the Storm wheel advertised on the forum...I made it myself D. It is very solid and it moves very well, It doesnt not feel like it takes a large amount of force to move/rotate. I made sure that there are no small holes for her little feet to get stuck in as it is a solid wheel. I did my best to trim her nails to a decent length so she did not have any type of paw pains and so they would not get caught in anything. I trim them after I give her the hedgie spa treatment. I also have a small rock that I keep in her cage and hide mealworms in so she is "forced" to climb it and hopefully helps keep her nails trimmed as well. The nights I see her wheel covered in poop, I know she has at least taken a lap or two, but I worry about the nights when I see no movement on her wheel since those appear to be the more frequent occurence. I have it marked and check every morning for movement.

I just worry that Nikita might not be getting enough excercise and I would hate for her to be unhealthy. I have only had her two months and I am very attached to her. If she gets enough activity during our play time and is not big on her wheel, I am ok with that. I just can't seem to gauge if she gets enough excercise.
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Old 05-16-2011, 06:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spikey little lump

I know there are a few hedgies on HHC who don't won't use a wheel...rivoli has one guy who gets his exercise pitter-pattering around the house but won't touch a wheel. I'm sure there are others, too.

I'm sure someone will stop by with advice...
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Old 05-16-2011, 07:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spikey little lump

My Zoey doesn't use her wheel very much either. Let me think...
Is it completely dark at night? I remember that Puffers' Loki wouldn't run unless it was completely dark. He started to cover part of the cage at night & that helped. As I remember, I tried it with Zoey & it helped for a little bit. I haven't done it in a while, perhaps I should try it again as well.
That's all I've got for now!



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Old 05-16-2011, 07:49 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spikey little lump

When I get in I turn the lights on and when we play as well. Once I put her back in her cage the lights go out. The only light after that is the light from the TV and when I turn in for the night there is a small night light I leave on in the hallway; It isn't very bright at all. Usually when I go to bed, if I wake up I can hear her playing with her toys.

I guess she just might not like running. I can't really blame her, I hate it too :T
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Old 05-16-2011, 08:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spikey little lump

Flickering lights from a tv may be enough to keep her from comic out. A steady light like a computer light can sometimes be endured. My boy never cared about my laptop being on, but never liked the tv light.

And perhaps try turning the hallway light off or covering the cage somehow to block odd the light. Some hedgies require complete and absolute darkness before they will come out.

Edit to add... What's the temp in the cage? They need to kept at around 75F. If it's too cold or too hot, some may not like being as active at night.
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Old 05-16-2011, 08:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Spikey little lump

And...PJ reminded me...sometimes if they sense we are in the room they won't wheel...I can't remember who said that their hedgie will. not. move. and freezes in place on his wheel if someone walks in, no matter how stealthy they are.
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