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Old 12-20-2011, 07:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Constant biter.

My newest little girl, Lillith, seems to have quite the taste for human flesh (not my hedgehog named Hannibal, should have been the other way around!) She was in a terrible pet store for the first year of her life, so I understand her fear of humans. She is getting much much better thanks to daily cuddle times and whatnot, but she still has one major issue. Every time any little bit of skin comes anywhere near that cute little face of hers, she chomps down. I don't mean a quick little nibble either, I mean a won't-let-go-leaves-a-welt chomp. Pretty painful and pretty scary. I've learned to just keep my flesh away from her face, but I'm really hoping one day I will be able to hold in my hands without some sort of fabric between us.

My other hedgie is the sweetest little creature on the planet who LOVES cuddling with me, so it's quite a strange change for me. Any suggestions? She is just over a year old, by the way.

I know that trying to hold her in my hands is a good way to go about doing this, but honestly, the thought is pretty scary to me right now.
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Old 12-20-2011, 08:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Constant biter.

Have you washed your hands before handling her?
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Old 12-20-2011, 10:40 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Constant biter.

What's her temperament otherwise? Does she ball up, hiss, or really seem scared/stressed near you? Whenever Petunia bites me (she's only done it twice), it's because she was super stressed out by the situation. Afterward, I held her in a blanket and spoke to her in a soft voice until she calmed down. Did you try putting an old t-shirt of yours in her cage to get used to your smell?

Try not to get discouraged. I know it's kinda scary to handle a bitey hedgie, but hopefully by keeping her relaxed, she'll eventually come around.
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Old 12-21-2011, 12:11 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Constant biter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christemo
Have you washed your hands before handling her?
Every single time, always with the same soap. The funniest part about it is that it doesn't have to be a hand - an exposed knee has been attacked before.
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Old 12-21-2011, 12:13 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Constant biter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sar-uh
What's her temperament otherwise? Does she ball up, hiss, or really seem scared/stressed near you? Whenever Petunia bites me (she's only done it twice), it's because she was super stressed out by the situation. Afterward, I held her in a blanket and spoke to her in a soft voice until she calmed down. Did you try putting an old t-shirt of yours in her cage to get used to your smell?

Try not to get discouraged. I know it's kinda scary to handle a bitey hedgie, but hopefully by keeping her relaxed, she'll eventually come around.
She is pretty terrified of us. She is getting MUCH better, but she is still pretty freaked out. Oddly enough, the worst bite she has ever given was at the one moment I thought she looked positively content with life. Quills were not up, nothing. No warning either.
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Old 01-01-2012, 11:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Constant biter.

I have the same problem! I think Amy just likes the taste of human flesh or something...
She'll be perfectly fine, give no warning, then bite my finger. Once when she was younger, she drew blood.
She wasn't a very nice hedgie when she was younger, but she's nicer now, though, she's more of a "Leave me alone, mommy, I'm trying to chillax in this cave I found" hedgie than a "let's cuddle" hedgie.
She's otherwise very nice, I just have to not put my fingers in front of her face.
I think she assumes they are food because she can fit the end of one in her mouth...
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Constant biter.

Yoshi used to be the same way. Except instead of skin, it was, well, anything. Anything near his face, he would bite it - with purpose. I read somewhere that they often think biting will get them what they want. Do you put her down or leave her alone if she bites?

With Yoshi, I had to let him bite... I had a little fleece blanky of his that I would hold him in, and put it near his face. He would chomp down (thankfully on the fabric, not my finger!) and I wouldn't do anything. Eventually I'd start petting his tummy and face until he bit, and continue petting him while he's chomping. After a week or so of this, he learned that biting won't do anything to stop what I'm doing. :P

Unfortunately, I guess this wouldn't really work for you... I read that you're supposed to just let them bite, but I tired that with Yosh.... My poor pinky finger swelled up something bad.

I hope someone else will have some advice to help you!!
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Old 01-04-2012, 04:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Constant biter.

If soap or handling accidentally something food like just before going near your hedgie is not the problem, I'd recommend Bannick's Bitter Apple. Only had to use it once to stop a mild nipper I had in the past.

Lightly spray Bannick's Bitter Apple on your hands before putting your fingers near your hedgie. It is a "taste deterrent for dogs" that also discourages hedgies and ferrets from biting. It may take a few rounds for hedgie to associate your fingers with the taste, but persistence pays. Good luck
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