New Hedgie Mom Questions.
Hi! I'd been waiting to get a hedgie when I got my little guy Merlin from a family who could no longer put the time in to take care of him properly. I've got a cage set up that has over 4 square feet of floor area in it, but it seems like it's way too small. I forget the exact measurements, but I think it's about 18 inches wide and 40-something long. By the time I put his hut, his litter box, his wheel, and his food dishes in, it seems like there's not enough room for him to move around. I can't even fit the tunnel I bought for him in there! I want to give him more toys (right now he's just got a toilet paper tube split down the middle) but there doesn't seem to be enough room. From what I've read on here, more people seem to use the C&C cages. If that seems like a better option, I can make one of those, but I don't know what measurements would be best.
Also, he seems to be a little bit chubby because the family who owned him before was just filling up his bowl whenever it was empty, and feeding him huuuge amounts of meal worms. Is there any way to get him to lose a bit of weight or will feeding him properly and him running on the wheel fix it itself? I'm feeding him a mix of Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul Light and the food that he was eating with his old family.
He seems to be really cuddly at certain times of the day, but extremely standoffish at other times. For instance, I got him out when I woke up at about 9am on Tuesday and gave him a bath and trimmed his nails, and he cuddled right up to me while he was drying off, then later roamed around my bed, burrowing in my blanket. Yesterday, I took him out in the afternoon and it took him about two minutes to stop shaking and puffing up. After that, he would do the same after every small movement, even just the blanket moving. This is abnormal for him, and he usually just puffs up when I get him out of his cage, and then goes back to normal right away. Is this because of the time of day?
Finally, I just wanted to know if there's anything else I can do to help with bonding? He's about a year old (the family didn't know exactly how old) but there was a while where he went without being handled. I've already got one of my old, worn shirts in his hut with him, which he burrows into and sleeps under, and I try to take him out for at least an hour every day. Hand feeding was suggested to me, as it seems to work to build trust with other animals, but most times he seems utterly uninterested in his food and puffs up when I bring my hand too close, and Petsmart has been out of meal worms for days. Would hand feeding actually help, and is there a way to do it properly without him becoming scared or uninterested?