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Old 01-09-2013, 09:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
moxieberry
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Port Orchard, WA
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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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