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Old 12-11-2009, 04:13 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default My special girl/things I've learned

So I have had an albino female for a few months now. She is hilarious! I bought everything in the world, but she's just a bit of a brat. I bought her a wheel that she refused to even go near. Ended up taking it back because it was just using up her space. Her favorite toys are toilet paper rolls cut once long ways, and a cat toy ball with a bell inside of it. I'd heard a lot of people tell me to try a stuffed animal, but she didn't care about that either. She gets her exercise by running around our enclosed pool cage. She loves it out there! She interacts very little with the dog and cat, they pretty much all ignore each other.

A lot of people warn against using wood shavings as bedding, but I switched over to Carefresh, and honestly, there's just as much dust from that as there was from the pine shavings when I clean out the cage. People also say not to use aquariums, but that's what she liked best. It's the only one she'd even think about coming out and running around in. Granted, I used a 55 Gal tank so she'd have room, but she loves it. And it's not tough to clean at all, really. Also, I ended up adding a cement block that I put her food and water bowls on. This forces her to walk across it to get to them, helping keep her nails trimmed. (Although she does sometimes squeeze on the side and just stick her head up high enough to reach, see above brat comment. )

While I'm not going to claim to know any more than anyone in here, I definitely believe this site to be a WONDERFUL source of information. I would just suggest for new owners to be ready for some trial and error with bedding, toys, etc. After all, it is all about making YOUR hedgie happy. Experiment with a few things and see what they react to best. And to those whose hedgie's use a litter box, you're lucky. Acacia won't touch one. She avoids it like the black plague (or the wheel I'd bought her. )
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Old 12-11-2009, 05:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: My special girl/things I've learned

I love this post! The only thing that I would change (for health sake) is changing the pine shavings to aspen shavings. Pine shavings have dangerous fumes that can harm little respiratory systems. Your hedgie may like it, but she doesn't know any better on what is healthy for her and what isn't. It's on your to provide the healthiest! And since you are using an aquarium, she's more likely to inhale more of those fumes since they won't escape as fast because it's semi air tight.

And I'm not just singling out hedgehogs. This goes for all pets that are on pine shavings.
Aspen isn't more expensive, also. Wal-mart has a GIANT bag of the stuff. I think it's like 25lbs for $10? I can't remember, but it's along those lines, and it last forever!

-Emily
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Old 12-11-2009, 05:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: My special girl/things I've learned

Alot of people warn against aquariums mainly because of poor ventilation not just because they are harder to clean. I personally wouldn't suggest using them as there are so many other safer options that aren't expensive. You said that the Carefresh you use is dusty so I'd be very scared to use this when there is already less ventilation from being in a tank. The cement block can tear there feet up and doesn't substitute clipping their nails, there is many threads on here where it says a hedgie walks on their feet more like a dog where its the bottom of their feet that are walking on the abrasive texture, and if there nails are long enough to touch then they are too long to begin with.

The choices you make for your hedgie are yours but I personally wouldn't recommend this set up to any new/or potential Hedgie parent that may be reading this.
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Old 12-11-2009, 08:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: My special girl/things I've learned

I agree with Hedgieonboard. I'm glad the OP hasn't run into any problems yet, but I certainly would not recommend caring for a hedgie like that to anyone. There are reasons people consider those things to be bad.



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Old 12-11-2009, 11:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: My special girl/things I've learned

First of all, the cement block was suggested to me by a very respectable breeder and rescue. The whole intent of this post was proven by the replies. Anyone can argue anything for any number of reasons. You think aquariums have "poor" air ventilation. Others warn of the dangers of toxins in the plastic used on other cages. A lot of people say a wheel is a "must have", while several realize that some hedgie's won't bother with them. There is no ONE right answer. As for the Pine vs Aspen thing... once again you find arguments both ways. You find breeders that have used nothing but pine for tens of years without a single problem with it. The main enemy is cedar. NEVER use cedar!!! Pine/Aspen... take your pick. Some will tell you Pine is worse, others will tell you Aspen is just as bad, that you should use a product such as Carefresh. And anyone who disagrees with how my Acacia is living, I challenge you to take a look at her and tell me 1, she's not happy. Or 2 that she's in any danger. Just take the posts for what they are. Opinions.
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Old 12-12-2009, 12:51 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: My special girl/things I've learned

as HedgieonBoard said...the choices are yours to make, we just don't want new owners thinking its all good.
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Old 12-12-2009, 03:02 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Actually, pine v aspen isn't opinion, it's fact. Fact-pine, even kiln dried, gives off VOCs. Pine soaked in urine gives off more VOCs. VOCs cause liver damage.

As far as "breeders" using pine, having known many breeders over the past 15 years of hedgehog ownership, often they go "least expensive" rather than "best quality". They also often rehome retired breeders so any cancer or health issues end up on the adoptive parent, not the breeder. In addition, they expect to lose so many a year and rarely do they have necropsies done to prove cause of death in older animals.

You may brag that your hedgehog has good quality of life. I disagree. Simple science tells me that she could have better quality air and a safer environment if you cared enough to put some effort into proper housing. But instead you put your energy into alibiing your poor care.

There's an old axiom that if one person tells you you're wrong, you should listen. If two people tell you you're wrong, you should think about it, if three people tell you you're wrong, you're wrong.
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Old 12-12-2009, 03:28 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: My special girl/things I've learned

Quote:
Originally Posted by HedgeMom
There's an old axiom that if one person tells you you're wrong, you should listen. If two people tell you you're wrong, you should think about it, if three people tell you you're wrong, you're wrong.
Heh, I really like this. It really strikes home for me right now, as I have a "friend" online who wants to get sugar gliders. I highly doubt she can care for the properly, and she has had no less than 10 friends tell her it's a bad idea. She won't listen to any of us and is determined to get a pair anyway. I have a strong feeling that these poor animals are going to get hurt or neglected by her. (Sorry this has nothing to do with the original topic. >.>)
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Old 12-12-2009, 09:42 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: My special girl/things I've learned

I don't agree that an aquarium is a suitable choice for a cage but a 55 gallon aquarium is much different than a 10 or 20 which is what many people who use an aquariums think is ok. Although a 55 still has poor ventilation and difficult to clean properly, if someone feels they must use an aquarium it is a better option than something small. Still IMO, not a good choice. Using shavings even in a 55 adds to poor air quality. What other cages did you try and why did she not like them and how long did you try each cage for?

I do agree with the OP though that not all hedgehogs will use a wheel. The vast majority will but often with those who won't it's because the wheel provided is not suitable. Wheels can be a trial and error thing with some hedgehogs. Sometimes the problem is the size, construction, running surface or angle of the wheel but some hedgehogs are very particular about which wheel they use and that can also apply to the colour. Some hedgehogs also take a long time to catch on to the wheel. I've had many that took 2-4 weeks and one of my rescues never touched a wheel in the months he was here but very quickly started using one at his new home. shrug Since you have only had her for a few months, and have already bought and returned her wheel, you cannot say that she won't use a wheel because you have not had her long enough or her a wheel long enough to accurately make that claim.

Walking on a cement block will not keep her nails trimmed. They walk on the pads of their feet and their nails do not come in contact with the ground unless the nails are very long and curling under.

As for litter training. Most hedgehogs won't ever become trained but as you have stated, some things are trial and error and litter training is one of those trial and error things. You may not have found the right litterbox, litter or location.

As you stated, you've only had her a couple of months and sure she might seem happy in the setup because that is all she knows. It doesn't mean the setup is a good one or that long term it won't cause problems. When there are safer, healthier options, why not use them? This is kind of like a parent who feeds their children junk food because they like it.
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Old 12-12-2009, 12:28 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: My special girl/things I've learned

Quote:
Originally Posted by dbrealey7
First of all, the cement block was suggested to me by a very respectable breeder and rescue. The whole intent of this post was proven by the replies. Anyone can argue anything for any number of reasons. You think aquariums have "poor" air ventilation. Others warn of the dangers of toxins in the plastic used on other cages. A lot of people say a wheel is a "must have", while several realize that some hedgie's won't bother with them. There is no ONE right answer. As for the Pine vs Aspen thing... once again you find arguments both ways. You find breeders that have used nothing but pine for tens of years without a single problem with it. The main enemy is cedar. NEVER use cedar!!! Pine/Aspen... take your pick. Some will tell you Pine is worse, others will tell you Aspen is just as bad, that you should use a product such as Carefresh. And anyone who disagrees with how my Acacia is living, I challenge you to take a look at her and tell me 1, she's not happy. Or 2 that she's in any danger. Just take the posts for what they are. Opinions.
I don't want to way in on what's right or wrong. My only comment is that I see so many people come back saying "well the respectable breeder of xx years told me so,""that's the norm in this country," "she's happy & doing fine," etc. That's like saying "well my friend has been smoking for 30 years so cigarettes don't cause cancer" or something similar. Everyone & everything reacts differently to things but if you've been given good reason to suspect it could eventually lead to something - may not, many people smoke for years & don't get cancer - why would you risk it?
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