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Old 05-30-2010, 03:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Cage vs. Play Pens

Here is the basic question, how nessessary is it to have a playpen for your hedgehog?

I can see where some would need it for the exercise, such as my Vera was not a climber, she was more of a sleeper than anything but she never attempted to climb anything, thus I can see having a large open space for her to run around in was a good thing. Since she's past, I know have Hester Sue, who is still a baby at 18 weeks though twice the size of Vera, and she is a climber. I rolled over one night to see her peering down at me from her igloo, the top of it. Unlike Vera, she is up and about at a much later time. Vera was up at 7pm and asleep by midnight. Hester doesn't get up and active until about 1, 1:30 in the morning, so its hard to get her into a playpen without forcing her awake at an earlier time, which I'm more one to let them do what they want, we socialize but usually after about 30 minutes of sniffing and walking around on me, she'll settle in and go to sleep. Now as I type this roughly at 2am, I can hear her doing 90 on her wheel and she has a set play pattern. Wheel, jump off, lap around the cage, up the tube to the loft area where her food and water is, maybe grab a drink or a kibble, back down the tube, back on the wheel, repeat until tired. She doesn't sleep in her igloo, she loooves being under the liner.

So this is my general idea. I have a Ferret Nation double decker, originally intended to have her and Vera in their own seperate levels. With Vera passing, the bottom half is now vacant. So my idea is to open up the bottom half for her, build more tube ramps from her main cage at the moment down to the bottom level loft, and then another tube down to the main floor. She likes to burrow so I'm thinking the very bottom half of the cage I would fill with good size fleece pieces, so she can dig and burrow to her hearts content. Do you think this would be enough space for her to play and thrash, without the need of a playpen? I figure between burrowing, digging, running up and down all the ramp tubes and such, would be plenty of exercise for the girl.

What do you guys think? For now I'm going to stick to just her, thinking about getting a baby from a breeder but I probably won't do that until the fall.

(Her current setup on the top floor)
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Old 05-30-2010, 04:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cage vs. Play Pens

I think play pens have 2 uses really. For people with cages on the smaller side, they provide more exercise for the hedgehogs. However if you already have a huge cage, playpens still have benefits - they are a safe outside-the-cage interaction place for you to spend with your hedgehog. It sounds like your new hedgie might be an explorer, so I would think she would quite enjoy the time outside the cage in a playpen (because it's new and exciting). That being said, you could also move around things in her cage each night to keep things interesting.

If you're worried about the pain of setting up a playpen and/or the cost, I would buy one of those hard plastic kiddie pools. They're harder to store than collapsible playpens, but much easier to set up. I think I paid like $5 for mine. That way your hedgehog can interact with you safely outside the cage.

Or if you have a designated hedgehog room like myself, you could simply just hedgie proof it and let your girl have supervised roaming time.

All that being said, if your hedgehog turns out to be a snuggler outside the cage with you, then a playpen or hedgie-proof room isn't neccessary and you can just spend time together cuddling.

Playpens/pools do provide a safe place for the hedgie during cage cleaning though, unless your hedgie is like mine, and will just stay sleeping in their hedgie bags outside the cage.

Congrats on your new hedgehog btw and also I am sorry for your recent loss of Vera
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Old 05-30-2010, 11:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cage vs. Play Pens

Cost is definitely not a factor here, was just more exploring if there was a need, I'm not sure if she is an explorer yet, more like a snuggler burrower type. Our interaction has mainly been her on my lap sleeping on me, starts out with her as a major ball of hissing, popping cuteness which she comes out of pretty quickly, followed by a little sniffing and exploring of me, usually a biting session with my shirt so she can annoit with it, then she splats out and we sit here staring at each other, I watch her eyes slowly close, she has yet to actually sleep but she gets pretty close, only been a week so I'm sure she's still unsure, kind of doing the 'one eye open' sleep with me.

At 18 weeks she's still pretty much a sleeper, at least I haven't seen her out all day, and I know when I'm at work she comes out, I always find poop in her access ramp, but I think cause I'm here at the moment, she's sticking to sleeping. I actually just checked on her and she huffed at me with a half visor. As said I'm more prone to let them do what they want, rather than what I want. Tonight I'll leave her be and she'll be up around midnight to do some eating and wheeling, then tommorrow we'll go back to snuggling. I guess I'll play it by ear and see how her personality turns out as she gets bigger, though she's a big girl at 390 grams / 18 weeks.

Either way I'll still fix up the bottom half of the cage for her, and if she is an explorer, then we'll get her an escape proof play pen.
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Old 05-31-2010, 12:00 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Cage vs. Play Pens

Play it by ear and see how things go. If she ends up to be a cuddler, can just get a small kiddie pool.

I have a kiddie pool for my boy, just for when I have to put him down for a few minutes, so he has somewhere safe to continue sleeping. So if I have to cook, get the door, or even bathroom breaks, I'll have a place to set him down if I need to. Just makes things easier. ^_^
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