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Old 01-09-2014, 03:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Red face Newbie needs help.

Hello everyone, I recently got a hedgehog called Larry, he's over a year old and I adopted him a bit over a week ago. However, I have a couple of questions

1. His previous owner told me he used the wheel very often, but since arriving at my house he hasn't used it at all. I got him one which is the appropriate size and type. Is there anything I can do?

2. I'm a bit worried his cage is a bit too small, it's a small rabbits cage. Roughly 35cmx50cm. Is this alright?

Thank you for your help :3
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Old 01-09-2014, 03:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to the forum! If you haven't seen it, this is an excellent care-guide for hedgehogs.

A decrease in activity can be a whole realm of things.

1. Is he warm enough, and getting enough light and dark? Hedgehogs need a stable warm temperature (74-80F), with regular day/night cycles (12-14 hours light, 10-12 hours dark) or they can try to hibernate. Reduced activity is an early warning sign, as is a cool belly, decreased appetite, or wobbling when walking. If your hedgehog is showing any of these signs, it is important to immediately and slowly warm him up using your bodyheat or a heat pad (not warm water which can temperature-shock and chill them).

2. Is it dark enough at night? Some hedgehogs are very private about their wheeling time, and won't use their wheel with any light. Even a full moon, or the light from a tv or computer screen can be enough to upset them! If he's in a room with some ambient light at night, you can try covering his cage so he has true-dark.

3. How do you know he isn't using his wheel? Some (rare and blessed) hedgehogs are tidy and don't poop on their wheel, so you can only tell they've used it by dusting it lightly with flour to look for footprints, or attaching a bicycle odometer. (Most wheels are imperfect, and have a distinct orientation the wheel will naturally return to, so marking a spot and seeing the wheel in the same place doesn't always mean something.)

4. What type of wheel are you using? Comfort Wheels are typically wobbly and some hedgehog may demand you stabilize it (by attaching it to the cage, or weighting the base). Some wheels are noisy and require a bit of oiling (usually vegetable oil or something else that is hedgehog-safe in case your little critter decides to investigate). Bucket wheels have adjustable tilt, and sometimes tilting forwards or backwards can make it more comfortable.

5. How do his nails look? Some hedgehogs boycott running if their nails are too long.

If none of those ideas help, we can come up with more possibilities!

As for cage size... that really is on the absolute bare-minimum size. Minimum-size is 2 square feet, with 3 square feet more preferable. If you can find something bigger that's still safe, can be heated, and works within your space and your budget, it'd probably be a good idea to upgrade.

How's it going otherwise? Normal eating, normal poop? After a week with you, is he starting to open up and decide that maybe you aren't going to eat him?
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Old 01-09-2014, 03:50 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I think Annie&Tibbers explained most things already Congrats on getting a hedgie!
His cage is indeed way too small, the minimum recommended size here is 100 x 50 cm.
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Old 01-09-2014, 04:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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1. I have my heating on in the room daily and most of the night, at 25 to 27 degrees (about 78F) and have a light on next to his cage all day which I turn on at 8 - 9 and off at 10. He's very active when when he's out of the cage.

2. I can try putting a blanket on his cage and see if that helps. I have thin curtains, so moon light comes in sometimes.

3. The previous owner said that she had to keep on cleaning the wheel often, and I've tried the flour trick with no luck. I can try using the mark trick, not a bad idea at all.

4. I don't know the brand of the wheel (I forgot to check before throwing the packaging away), but it's attached to the cage and makes minimal amount of noise.

5. I can try getting his nails cut and see if that helps ^^

I will go and see if I can get a bigger cage the moment I have time.

He's doing great. He's still a bit moody at times but he's getting used to me and my boyfriend handling him. I was surprised by how fast progress was going, I was expecting it to take a lot longer for him to relax. He's currently trying to dig a hole into my hod die pocket during bonding time and only hisses when I first pick him out of his cage or when I startle him. And he eats and poops a lot.

Thank you so much for your help :3 both me and Larry really appreciate it
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Old 01-09-2014, 04:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If you can, maybe post a photo of the wheel, see if we can come up with any ideas to make it more stable, at a more comfortable angle, or otherwise cater to unknown hedgehog-whims?

To upload a photo, click the "Go Advanced" button, then click "Manage Attachments."
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Old 01-09-2014, 04:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Lets see if it worked. Added a photo of Larry swell :3
Attached Images
File Type: jpg DSC_0227.jpg (207.4 KB, 29 views)
File Type: jpg DSC_0221.jpg (160.0 KB, 31 views)
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Old 01-09-2014, 07:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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First, that is one cute little hedgehog. Hi, Larry!

I haven't seen that type of wheel before. Hard to judge scale -- it's 12" diameter? (widest point). I don't see anything obvious to suggest. Maybe if you can find a way to adjust it so it tilts inwards a little bit, instead of outwards?
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Old 01-09-2014, 07:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I don't have any extra advice on wheels, but I wanted to say that that is one handsome hedgie!
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Old 01-10-2014, 03:10 AM   #9 (permalink)
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it is a 12''. I can try tilting it and see if it helps at all. Thanks

And thank you Senator. He is indeed very handsome
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