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Old 08-21-2011, 02:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Suddenly a mean hedgie

I have had Norbert for 6 weeks now, he was born in May. I was so happy to have him and fell in love with the moment I saw him. I quickly found out he was a very active and curious hedgie , more interested in discovering the long lost corner of the couch or solving the mystery of the new scent than curling up and sleeping on me. Often times I would spend more time catching him than actually being able to hold him since my little guy has no fear but recently I moved to college and his behavior has been deplorable.
When I first got him, like I said he was more into having an adventure instead of curling up and cuddling. I grown used to that even though my heart would melt those few times where he would take a time out for a breather and curl up on my lap for a couple of minutes before he was off exploring again. It was a week or two into bonding that he would let me pet him from head to tail. He would never ball up or huff at me when he was in his cage or out. But now…
He hisses, curls up and pops whenever I reach my hand into his cage, even to give him more food, he gets even more so when I try to scoop him up for a play date with me. When he’s out he is more fidgety than exploring, never finds a spot to snuggle with his towel just digs and pops at it whenever it touches him (it’s any towel of his and it’s the same cleaning I have always used). And especially now when I go to pet him he doesn’t curl up he just goes BERZERK.
But what I am most worried about is his biting. It isn’t like when he would nip me on accident when he was getting more food from my hand but this is aggressive biting and meant to hurt. He has done it constantly and unprovoked. He actually came out from his towel and across my lap to chomped down and refused to let go. How am I going to socialize him more if all he does is bite ppl? I want him to get used to my roommates (who are not here yet and moving in in a few weeks)
He is getting up at the same time (same time not counting the time zone change) eating is the same, temp I have made sure to make it the same or as close as I can to at home, and light is the same. His bathroom habits are the same (I have to clean his wheel just as much as when we are at home) But he has very, very dry skin. He’s always had dry skin, I just follow the breeders advice and add a little olive oil to him if it ever gets too bad.
What can I do to have my laid back hedgie back? Not this mean little guy that’s nothing like the Norbert I fell in love with? I know moving can be hard for hedgies but this is beyond anything I was expecting and able to read about! and I have been through his quilling before and he was grouchy not angry.
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Old 08-21-2011, 02:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Suddenly a mean hedgie

When quilling ends you can end up with a completely different hedgehog its not uncommon however I think he got accustomed to his old surroundings and now the new surroundings are alarming to him and he is defensive and scared.

He now contends with new scents, sounds, and an entire change in environment which may take him time to get used to.

Hedgehogs bite for multiple reasons:

Defense (Usually Last)
Fear (Part of Defense)
Taste/Scent
Senses a Threat (Again Defense)
Chronic

Some hedgehogs like flesh I have a girl whom I still handle often I just got used to handling her differently and hiding my flesh from her and she lets me pet her.

As anything change on you?

Body wash?
Perfume?
Lotion?
Detergent on Clothes?

Hedgehogs are very sensitive and the move can be more stressful of one then the other. My suggestion is treat it like its day one again and keep in mind the biting issue, it may dissipate it may not.

If your hedgehog bites you do your best not to pull back or react it might convince him that biting does no good if he is doing it because he feels threatened. It can also hurt your hedgehogs mouth to do so and I know its hard not to react trust me.

It may take a lot of time but he may go back to how he was or may not, I would hold off on the roommates it might stress him more and adapt your handling and bonding time to his new personality, he may return to how he was and he may not. Either way he will still be a hedgehog you'll love for all his quirks

Also for dry skin get a humidifier to increase humidity it can really help with dry skin.

Flax Seed oil is very successful as is Sunshine Factor and Booster for dry skin.

Its also possible he is aggressive because something is wrong and he is ill and hiding it, hedgehogs are good at this and obviously a hurt animal even if you can't see it is more defensive. A vet might with hedgie experience might be able to find something wrong that might get him back to normal if its something bothering him or hurting him.

IS he still losing quills and if so are new ones growing? Is he scratching a lot mites can make a very grumpy hedgehog

Also what is the temp exactly?
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Old 08-21-2011, 03:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Suddenly a mean hedgie

His cage is 74. I used to have a heat lamp but anything above 76 would be too hot for him and he would be lethargic. And same on all counts for the detergent/lotion/body wash. I was thinking it might be mites but i can never get him to stay still long enough for the black shirt test, and since even his breeder knew he had dry skin and didn't think it was mites I haven't gotten any frontline.
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Old 08-21-2011, 03:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Suddenly a mean hedgie

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Originally Posted by Me&Norbert
His cage is 74. I used to have a heat lamp but anything above 76 would be too hot for him and he would be lethargic. And same on all counts for the detergent/lotion/body wash. I was thinking it might be mites but i can never get him to stay still long enough for the black shirt test, and since even his breeder knew he had dry skin and didn't think it was mites I haven't gotten any frontline.
Frontline isn't what most people here recommend and if its a sudden and rapid change a experienced vet might be able to help with Revolution if its mites but IDK if that can effect behavior.

76 made you hedgie lethargic? that's really strange most people here have the temp at 75 + because nay lower has been know to cause hibernation in hedgehogs.

If you don't have a consistent heating source how do you know its always 74 degrees?

Dry skin can agitate over time I can't imagine over time its any more comfortable for any creature.

I would adapt your handling and see if he comes around its hard to say if its the move or not but radical behavior changes could mean something is wrong with your hedgehogs potentially and a vet would be the best bet to find out.

Though as previously mentioned its not unheard of for a hedgehog to do a 180 on personality from baby to adulthood.
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Old 08-21-2011, 03:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Suddenly a mean hedgie

I have a thermometer in his cage and I check it constantly almost whenever I walk by even. I had the heat lamp on one side so he was able to go from either side depending if he was hot or cold and on the side closer to 76-80 he would only rarely go and when I completely removed the lamp he was much more energetic and would be on his wheel more since it was by the lamp. he also downed water like crazy when the lamp was on. ( i also thought I could tell the change in skin flakes when I took it away.) but its been almost three weeks since no lamp and I check to see signs of hibernation.
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Old 08-21-2011, 03:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Suddenly a mean hedgie

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Originally Posted by Me&Norbert
I have a thermometer in his cage and I check it constantly almost whenever I walk by even. I had the heat lamp on one side so he was able to go from either side depending if he was hot or cold and on the side closer to 76-80 he would only rarely go and when I completely removed the lamp he was much more energetic and would be on his wheel more since it was by the lamp. he also downed water like crazy when the lamp was on. ( i also thought I could tell the change in skin flakes when I took it away.) but its been almost three weeks since no lamp and I check to see signs of hibernation.
I just brought it up cause if your going to have room mates they may play with the thermostat and I am guessing your going on the room temp and as it gets colder it can fluctuate especially at night.

For peace of mind I'd say a trip to the vet might be in order but if food intake is consistent as is the poop and wheeling it may just be the environment and you'll have to adjust to your hedgehog
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Old 08-21-2011, 03:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Suddenly a mean hedgie

How long has it been since you moved? Do you have room mates and if so, do the room mates bug at him? Is it noisier or more activity where you are now? Some hedgehogs do not like noise and activity around them.

If it hasn't been long, he may just be adjusting to his new surroundings.
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Old 08-21-2011, 03:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Suddenly a mean hedgie

Quote:
For peace of mind I'd say a trip to the vet might be in order but if food intake is consistent as is the poop and wheeling it may just be the environment and you'll have to adjust to your hedgehog
Thanks I think that I might have to do that. I saw there is a Vet listed on this site that is an hour away. I'm going to call and see if they can get me an appointment or even have a phone call conference. I just feel like he changed so much from what he used to be that I figured maybe someone else who has gone through it and help. Thank you!
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