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Old 01-09-2013, 09:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Bottle to Bowl - Need Help

I wanted to transition from our water bottle to a bowl. I have a small ceramic bowl that Axel can't tip over, and he eats food from one of the two I bought. But when he eats food from it, he sits in his bowl after standing on the edge of it for a while.
This really worries me, but I tried putting a bowl of shallow water in there, and just watched him.
Immediately, he ran over to investigate, and probably thought it was another bowl of food. He jammed his nose into the water and ran away from it. I dried him off then. I left the bowl in there, and he ran back to it a few minutes later and fell into it. I dried him then too and took the bowl out, just leaving the bottle.
:c
I'm worried about him breaking his teeth and whatnot...but I'm also worried he'll fall into the bowl of water again - especially if he falls in while I'm at school.
What should I do? Leave him with the bottle; despite all the things that could happen? If not, how do I get him to start using the bowl correctly?
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bottle to Bowl - Need Help

Water bottles are perfectly fine. Most people prefer bowls, but it's really a matter of personal preference. If he doesn't seem willing to switch after you try a few times to get him used to a bowl, there's really nothing to be worried about.

Both bottles and bowls have pros and cons. Personally I use bottles because when I was originally using bowls, I had too many instances of sleeping bags getting dragged into the bowls and the bag (and hedgehog) being soaking wet in the middle of the night. (Our hedgehog room is heated and the ONLY instances of hibernation attempts I've ever had were caused by that.) Also a lot of poop in the bowls. Bottles are more sanitary, as long as you actually wash and refill them as often as you should. I suggest bowls as a starting point to new owners - those getting babies from us included - because sometimes people will get into a habit of not washing or renewing the water until it runs out, which allows bacteria to build up. Then if a bowl works well, there's no reason to use a bottle. If some of the problems I mentioned come up, then a bottle is a viable and perfectly safe option.

The "chipped tooth" threat is virtually nonexistent. Most hedgehogs don't "chew" on the nozzle, they tap their nose/mouth against it to dribble out water. I've only seen the chewing behavior in hedgehogs that are first learning to use a bottle, while they're figuring out how it works, and it stops pretty quickly. I use bottles for all of my hedgehogs (~30 right now) and my mentor has used bottles for her entire 8+ years and hundreds of hedgehogs, without either of us having an instance of a chipped tooth. Sure, it can happen, but so can breaking your ankle walking up a flight of stairs. The chances are very low and I wouldn't at all consider a bottle to be "dangerous".

That being said, if you leave a bowl in his cage, he should figure it out. Especially if you position the bowl directly underneath the bottle, which is what I do. (For me the bowls aren't full, they're there to catch any water that drips while they're drinking, but they also serve well for transitioning.) For any hedgehog over weaning age (~6 weeks) there's nothing to worry about if he steps or falls into the bowl while figuring out that it's there and what it's for. He's not going to drown or anything, I promise.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bottle to Bowl - Need Help

That makes me feel a little better...
But Axel is a bit of a chewer. Anything 'metal' he loves to chew; like zippers, my ring, and even the water bottle's nozzle. That's kind of what worries me, and I'm not sure how much water he's actually drinking.
I don't like the thought of a bowl though. He likes to sit in his food bowl, and I'm sure he'd try sitting in the water one cause he's silly...
I've only seen him just 'tap' the nozzle with his tongue a few times, other times he's biting and pulling like crazy. Hopefully he'll stop soon and learn to use the bottle, otherwise I'll have to try the bowl again.
I was just concerned about the bottle mostly because I read that sometimes hedgehogs will get water in their noses and it causes them to get colds and such. Axel tends to make 'sneezing' sounds...almost like sniffly wheezing and talking. I can't tell if it's normal or because he's got a cold. I'm saving up to take him to a vet, because I just don't have the money right now as a student without a job. :c
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bottle to Bowl - Need Help

I've never had an issue with them getting water in the nose from a bottle. Is it sneezing or a sort of whistling/snuffling sound? Hedgehogs will make a soft airy whistle ("tweeting") when excited, curious, exploring, etc.

The only times I see mine chewing on the nozzle is if they're having trouble getting the water out. Make sure the bottle is full to the top, that gives the best pressure. I've also found that some bottles work better than others. (The PetCo ones aren't as good as the Lixit ones, for instance.) Make sure the bottle is working well by tapping it a few times to make sure water is coming out. If you know it's working and he's able to get water, and he keeps up nomming on it, switching to a bowl would be preferable. It can't be forced, though, if the bottle is what he's used to so far - the best you can do is keep them both in the cage, with the bowl right underneath so he encounters it whenever he goes there to drink.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bottle to Bowl - Need Help

His nose is wet, but isn't dripping, and he doesn't lick it too often. Nor is the area around his eyes as red as before. He's also not really sneezing. It's probably just snuffling.
But the moment he wakes up in his little hut, I can hear him making that noise. It's almost like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efg9T2JkglE
'cept it's snuffling. I've read somewhere that hedgehogs sort of make that noise when exploring. He just makes it very often.
I have trouble finding the right kind of word for the noise he makes. My mother isn't too worried about it, but I haven't owned a hedgehog before. So it's hard to say what kind of noises they are supposed to make. :/
He's my first hedgehog, and I'm probably just worrying too much.

I'll fill the water bottle back up. It's over 3/4 full, but I think extra pressure will help. And I check it often to make sure water's coming out. I just think he likes to chew and tug on metal. I have no idea why, but he does it. I'll keep watch on him and if he keeps chewing like he does, I'll try the bowl again.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bottle to Bowl - Need Help

Can try a smaller bowl? One that isn't so easy for him to get into? I have a shallow ramekin dish and it works really well. Heavy enough it won't tip but small diameter so they won't fit in it.
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:28 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Bottle to Bowl - Need Help

His bowl's as small as we can find currently that wasn't ridiculously high in price - though I'll start looking for even smaller. It's got a diameter of 12 1/2.
And Axel's a tiny boy. But like I said, I'll try finding a dish like your ramekin one. .o.
I should be going shopping this weekend, so I'll look.
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