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Old 04-28-2019, 03:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 3
Question Sudden Hedgehog Behavioral Change

Hi there,

I've had my hedgehog, Ali, for about a little over a year now and we bonded quite well for the most part, we even have the same birthday. However, recently his behavior has drastically shifted and I'm not sure what's wrong.

I noticed he's started to wake up at his usual time (7pm) to eat the few treats I'd leave out for him. After that he usually wakes up fully with more energy before hopping on his wheel for exercise but now he goes back to bed and sleeps again until 9pm or so before starting play time until about 1130pm. I usually like to take his wheel out of the cage after a few hours of play time so I can keep his cage clean and this time shift is really affecting my sleep schedule.

I thought a good resolution to the time shift would be to use a separate larger playpen for him around 7pm that was already setup for play time (that he's used before in the past with no issue) so he could wake up fully there. But Now when I interrupt his new play time schedule in the pen, he refused to get off of his wheel the other day and so I waited another hour and came back. He refused again, so I tried to gradually stop the wheel with my hand at the top slowing it down so he'd walk off and he just sat there when the wheel stopped for a long time, maybe in defiance. I tried to gently pick him up off the wheel and tilt it slightly so I could grab him easily but he dug in even more and refused to get off. I waited and he just sat there for a while again, so I tilted the wheel a little more towards me so he would slide towards me and his bonding bag and he went into the bag.

Ever since then though, he's been extremely aversive to both me and the playpen. His cage is really large, but I just wanted him to have an even larger area dedicated for play that he's always had in the past when we lived in a larger house. The past 2 nights that I've woken him up and tried to put him in the playpen, he'll just sit in one spot for an hour or more behind the wheel until I eventually pick him up and put him back in his cage. I finally had to acquiesce last night and put his wheel back in his cage later in the evening and just leave it there all night. I'm worried that he now no longer has only positive associations with me because of the wheel incident. He'll even stay balled up when I pick up to the point where I get worried he might have a chill and slipped into false hibernation even though the house is plenty warm. He won't even unball for mealies or other treats as easily and that NEVER used to happen.

I'm not sure what to do. Just wait out this behavioral phase until he comes around again or is there something else I can do to rebuild the bridge of trust? I just want him to have a dedicated large play area like he used to so he's not in the cage all the time and get him back on a good schedule that slightly overlaps with my own so I'm not completely tired all the time at work the next day. I love the little guy and I don't want either of us to be stressed. ALL TIPS WELCOME!!
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