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Old 10-15-2015, 11:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Oct 2015
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Unhappy We're trying everything :(

So we got our hedgehog from a reputable breeder about a month ago (maybe not quite). When we chose the one we had our 9 year old son hold, and my husband and I did as well. He didn't seem to ball up and he seemed like a good choice. It took him a solid week to actually eat the food in his new home (we used the same high quality cat food from the breeder).

He also has increasingly become more afraid of contact. At first he'd ball up when we picked him up so we learned to use a towel. He would then warm up shortly and walk on our moving hands and what not. He is increasingly jumpy and hissy for a long while after we take him out. We all have contact with him nearly every night for him to get used to our scent. We have the room fairly dark, tv on for white noise, and no sudden movements. We also talk to him.

After awhile he walks around and plays around but still hasn't gotten used to us. He's bitten my son and me once each in the last week. We did not put him back in his cage, and did not have food or strong scents on our hands. We don't hand feed him so we don't know why he's doing this.

The only thing we haven't tried yet is the tshirt in his cage - there are 3 of us, how do we choose whose shirt to put in? He's now eating, playing, and going to the bathroom regularly, he just seems so terrified of us each and every night. What are we doing wrong? I'm sure I missed certain things we've done to help but I'll add anything else that I think of.

The only time he really lets us "play" with him is during bath time because he doesn't quill up and we're able to hold him and walk in our hands and even put him, it's wonderful.

Sorry for the novel, but I wanted to be thorough in what we've done to help the situation. We want Quilbert to be comfortable with us and feel safe and from what we've researched we're doing everything right.

Thanks in advance.

ETA: We also ensure that the temperature is 73-75 degrees 24 hours a day.

Last edited by quilbert; 10-15-2015 at 11:32 PM.
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Old 10-16-2015, 05:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 284

Hello! Just wondering how long has your hedgie been with you? Everything that he is doing actually is normal behavior. Some hedgies take time to adjust in a new environment, whereas there are those who only adjust in a matter of weeks. My Chestnut felt comfortable around me after a year only (he still bites me sometimes); whereas my rescue Kodi felt comfortable after 2 weeks only. It just really depends on the personality of your hedgie. Just continue what you are doing - bonding time not less than 30 minutes and the used t-shirt trick. Perhaps the one who handles him almost daily should be the one to put his/her used t-shirt in his cage so at least he knows that scent first. Good luck!
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Old 10-16-2015, 06:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm guessing you got your little guy around 6-7 weeks old from the breeder? If that's the case, he's around 10-11 weeks old now...which means he's right in the middle of quilling time! A lot of hedgehogs are extra grumpy & defensive during this because their skin is so sore. His behavior is discouraging, but perfectly normal. Hedgehogs don't deal well with change (hence the tough time adjusting to a new house & cage), and they take a very long time to warm up to new people. It can take weeks, and sometimes months for them to really calm down around their new humans - and sometimes they never fully "tame". It just depends on the hedgehog & their personality. My friend has a boy that she got as a baby from a good breeder, and has had for a year. He's still a very huffy, hissy ball of quills more often than not, particularly with anyone that isn't her.

For the quilling, just be patient. It's like babies going through teething, except it's all over their skin. You can help him out by giving oatmeal baths, which seem to help soothe the skin a bit. Try to avoid petting his back right now, since it's bound to be sore.

Past that, just keep doing what you're doing. Handle him for at least half an hour each night. It might be helpful to focus on one person handling him more often right now, like Nutty suggested with the t-shirt. Have one of you handle him for the majority of the cuddle time, then you can have the other two hold him a little bit. He may be overwhelmed with everyone around him at the same time, since everyone is big & scary.

Good luck & hang in there. Quilling is very tough for both hedgies & their new owners, but it won't last forever & he'll hopefully calm down a little bit once he's feeling better.
~*~*~ Kelsey ~*~*~

RIP my sweet Lily ~ 6/12/08 - 1/20/12
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Old 10-16-2015, 04:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 101

Daily bonding is very important. You gotta feel that the hedgehog is content during bonding. If he poops on you it's probably good - means he's relaxed with you.

Like others said, he might be quilling, but it will just take time.

I've had my Floyd for 5 months now and he still freaks out at me constantly. They just like their privacy I guess.
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