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Old 09-21-2014, 01:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default my hedgehog is biting himself when stressed??!!??

My little guy Sly is biting himself after his nails are clipped. When I first got Sly I did not fully know what I was doing and accidently clipped his vein. Ever since he has been very uneasy and afraid of having his nails trimmed, despite many incident free occasions since. But recently (within the last month) he's started biting himself in his upper chest/neck area after I trim his nails due to stress. I'm not sure why and would really appreciate it if anybody could lend some insight because it's worrying me. He has now self inflicted 2 fairly bad cuts and I don't know how to proceed. Help please! Other than this sly is a normal happy hedgehog who is loved very much!
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Old 09-21-2014, 02:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hey, sorry to hear about your hedgehog. Try rewarding Sly with a mealworm (or any kind of treat that you know he loves) after you clip his nails. You want the nail clipping session to be as positive and stress free as possible. I would suggest clipping maybe just 1 paw per session, or just a few toes. You don't have to clip all his nails in one session. You can do 1 paw per session, which would take about 4 days. Have a friend help you (or roommate, sibling, partner etc- it's easier with two people in my opinion. But it's best if Sly is used to you doing it yourself because he will grow to trust you or he would at least get used to you doing it which would help ease any squirming or skittishness from Sly. It may help you from having another accident. You should choose what's best for you and your hedgie). Unfortunately I can't think of a reason for him biting himself after the accident that happened during your nail clipping session. It could be due to stress, so I would suggest feeding him a treat as soon as you finish clipping some of his toe nails. He would hopefully come to realize that after he gets his toe nails trimmed he will receive a yummy treat. That would help the session become more positive/exciting and less stressful. If he is socialized, try cuddling him after, or do an activity right after your trimming session that would keep him distracted from biting himself. You could bathe him while clipping his nails (if that's possible for you, it depends on your bond with him), once he's done bathing, clip a few toes and once you've finished you can wrap him in a warm blanket/towel and enjoy some cuddling time to keep him warm and happy. If his cuts are severe, you could take him to the vet to get it checked out. His cuts should heal though. I hope any of this info could help, hopefully this behaviour is just temporary and not permanent!
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Old 09-22-2014, 12:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank you so much for your advice! Sly typically has never particularly enjoyed bath time, he always wants out of the water but he relaxes after about a minute when he realizes he's ok. I will try doing one paw at a time and providing him with immediate rewards. I usually gave him extra meal worms with his dinner later on. Other than the one incident the first week I owned him, I haven't had a repeat. He just doesn't enjoy the nail clipping. The biting just worries me. He is a cuddler and I spend ad much time as I can letting him nestle into me. I am very greatful for the help here though as this behavior is out of his norm and just has me worried. The first cut healed up okay on its own, I applied some kid friendly anti biotic ointment very lightly to aid in the healing process. It just struck me as odd. Again thank you for the help I'm getting the hang of how to be a good hedgie owner but am still new to the game so Ill take all the help I can get. I'm sure Sly would thank you too now that he'll be receiving mealworms and crickets sooner than usual
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