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Old 11-01-2011, 12:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Is This Hibernation?

I just moved to a new house and am still learning it's peculiarities with heating and whatnot. I had my hedgie in the kitchen, where she is part of the goings on, but it stays quite a bit cooler in there. The first few days she was normal, although I did notice her poop was more watery and plentiful than usual.
Last night I went to get her for some play time, and she didn't want to come out, and bristled at my touch even after a few minutes. I eventually pulled her out and she stayed balled up in my hands the whole time, she's a player not a cuddler so this is very unusual for her . I put her down near her food and she licked her lips, but wouldn't eat. When she went to walk she did this weird waddle, shake thing, and didn't really get anywhere. I gave her a luke warm bath, because she was moist on her belly, and held her while she dried. I put her back to bed and moved her cage into a room in the warmer part of the house.

This morning her water bottle was moved so I think she drank, and a normal amount of food seemed to be gone. I'm hoping this means I am fixing her up.

Anyone have this experience, or advice?

Thanks
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Old 11-01-2011, 12:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is This Hibernation?

Yup, sounds like a hibernation attempt, especially with the wobbly walk. I've gone through several with my hedgehog in the three years I've had her, she's very temperature-sensitive.

Do you have a thermometer for her cage? You really want to be able to keep an eye on the temperature fluctuations in her cage to make sure it's staying warm enough. It's recommended to keep the temp in the cage at least at 73 and most hogs need it even warmer than that. You also want to make sure it stays pretty steady, with no more than a couple degrees change. A sudden drop or rise in temperature can cause an attempt as well, as can not enough light (they need 12-14 hours).

If you have a thermometer or get one and realize the cage isn't staying at a safe or steady temperature, you'll want to look into heating options to make sure she stays healthy and safe this winter. A popular choice is a Ceramic Heat Emitter set-up, which is a bit pricey to set up, but works well and keeps just the cage to a good temperature.

Also, just for future knowledge, signs of hibernation are just what you described - less activity/eating, wobbly walk, and also a cool belly. If she attempts hibernation again, I wouldn't give her a bath, as that can stress them out further (if she doesn't like water, like most hogs), and it can give them a chill, even if you're holding them while they're drying. The best way to warm a hibernating hedgehog is to put them under your shirt against your skin, or against your chest over a t-shirt, and put a sweatshirt on over them. Your body heat will safely warm them up without doing it too fast, and without risk of burning them like a heating pad (though heating pads work too, as long as you don't leave them unattended).
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