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Old 02-24-2012, 03:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I've had my hedgehog for a little over a week now, and I've been handling her every evening (aside from the first night). I just let her sit in my lap with a fleece blanket or snuggle sack and do her thing, which usually involves sleeping, huffing (at movements or noises) or sometimes sniffing me. The first time I had her out, she started licking me and gave me a nibble, and she's done it a few times since. I usually just move my fingers away and figure, no big deal. Last night, however, she was being an absolute terror! Every time she came in contact with my flesh, she bit me. She does it to my pants if I have her directly on my lap, too. The odd thing is, she was crawling around on my boyfriend's lap as well, and sniffing and licking him, but NOT biting. What's the deal?? Has she decided I'm extra tasty, or extra scary and she has to protect herself?

When I first put her into her new cage with a shirt of mine, she immediately anointed with my scent. She went straight from being a huffing, clicking ball of rage to doing that. So maybe she just really likes me? Boyfriend hasn't held her quite as much as I have yet. The breeder told me she'd never bitten anyone before. Guess I'm special. :\

She is my first hedgie, so I'm getting used to interpreting her behavior. If anyone can help shed light on this for me, I'd appreciate it.
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Old 02-24-2012, 03:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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First thought I had was something you're wearing or smell like that he doesn't. Do you wear perfume at all? Any kind of scented lotion? Scented body wash? Anything like that may be catching her attention and making her try and nibble/bite. Laundry detergent as well might cause this. Try removing any scented things you have and/or switching to non-scented and see if that helps the problem.
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I don't wear any perfume, and my boyfriend and I share all the same bath products, soap, and unscented laundry detergent. I do use lotion on my hands since I get very dry skin, but that's not scented either. I also wash my hands right before handling her ever time.

Someone in another community suggested that I blow on her face every time she bites, and she will learn to stop. I just don't understand why she's biting ONLY me.
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Some people blow in their faces when they bite, but I don't because it may teach them to be afraid of you. Harvey is a very oral hedgehog. I typically just handle him so that he cannot bite my skin. I also hand feed him mealworms, so skin smells like mealworms and mealworms smell like skin. It's probably confusing for him. The weirdest thing is that he's so gentle when he takes a mealworm from my fingers. Anyways, Harvey can snuggle right into my husband's arm and has never bit him. It's just weird. I should stop handfeeding him mealworms, but I really like it. But Harvey will move things in his cage using his mouth and when he got into my shirt one night, he chomped on that soft skin near my armpit to hang on so I wouldn't remove him. I guess he was comfy. I just learned to handle him so that he can't get any of my skin in his teeth. And when I hold him in my hand, he gets this dazed look on his face and stares into my eyes. I don't know if he is loving me or planning my demise.
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Old 02-24-2012, 08:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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So they can tell that the blowing is us, and not just some random consequence of their biting? I definitely don't want her to fear me. I worry that she already does, or that she dislikes me for some reason. I just don't want to allow the behavior if there's something I could do to discourage it. Probably easier to nip the habit in the bud now, if possible.
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Old 02-24-2012, 08:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainy
And when I hold him in my hand, he gets this dazed look on his face and stares into my eyes. I don't know if he is loving me or planning my demise.
Haha, he's a hedgehog, not a cat. Probably loving.
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Old 02-25-2012, 12:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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it will take time to bond... my Adia was like that also..... biting but not a ferocious bite. and I observe also she do that with the other hedgehog that she was with when they are still a baby... and she does it to anything she find interesting

In her early weeks we had her.... I use to blow if she attempt... but i figured out that it is not good preventive approach (it may be good temporarily but not always) because its not a hedgie way of doing things and may associate me and it(blowing) as fear...

so i guess in my quest for being a good guardian, from my experience perspective there are 2 things i think i done that lessen the biting (at least to me, like i said she is curious she would bite anything she find interesting).

1. bond with her when she is ready that means not on their sleep time, but when they are awake and doing their stuff. this need to be constant repetitive, like a routine. so she would get the idea you are a part of her world. I remember the first bath i made her. she was crawling to me ( i think she did not like the water) but made it sure she felt that I'm there for her. after the bath that is the first time i saw her do the anointing. I observe also that biting was lessen after that first bath and observe also that when i put my hand on her cage she is willing to be catch and held outside her cage.
2. think and act like hedgehog when i'm dealing with her (I just adopted the concept of Cesar Millan of dog whisperer, for dogs). I guess the concept would apply with any kind of animals. one example. is when she would try to bite me again i would stiffen my hands (stiffness does not mean gripping hard to an extent she would suffocate or go ball, the stiffness i mean is for her just to feel there are tension) as if joints are lock and try to mimic the huf sound they create. (just got the idea as i mentioned i observe the other hedgehog do that when adia would try to bite the other hedgehog)

recipe 2 is a little bit absurd but the concept of Cesar about animal psychology (as to him or his show its dog psychology) is a good concept. that is why i always read on behaviour portion of this blog just understand hedgehogs further ( since Adia is my first hedgehog)
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Old 02-25-2012, 02:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Gas, I understand where you're coming from with the dog psychology. I love that tv show. But I don't think that would work with hedgehogs very well. Dogs are pack animals and have to have an alpha. That keeps things in order and helps them to survive in the wild as a pack, to find food, shelter, mating, etc. Hedgehogs are solitary creatures. They only come together in the wild to mate. Even babies go off on their own relatively early. I don't think hedgehogs understand being submissive unless they are dealing with a predator. I don't think your hedgie is going to see you as a pack leader. I approach my hedgehogs in soft quiet tones, low lighting, patients and just letting them get used to me. I try to keep the environment we're in as calm as possible so they can stay calm. It is usually the human that gets trained to understand the needs of the hedgehogs.

I am not a breeder and I've only had my first hedgehog for about 10 months. I could be wrong on this, but that is just how I approach my hogs.
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Old 02-26-2012, 01:10 AM   #9 (permalink)
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@Rainy sorry had not emphasize thoroughly what i mean. what i would like to say is that if your pet is a hedgehog be a hedgehog act like a hedgehog or maybe the better way to say this is to let the hedgehog understand you by they way they understand things(because they are hedgehog) ... if your pet is dog (just like the show does... be a dog). I know they are solitary animal that is why i suggest (and most would suggest) that bonding with them should be on the right time when they forge or when they are active, since in the wild this is the time they tend to look for food and interact with outside world possibly cross path with other creature and possibly crossing path with another hedgehog.

your approach is what i practice also. and I'm too is a beginner with hedgehog (that is why HHC is like a bible, since there are limited resources about hedgehogs). your statement "It is usually the human that gets trained to understand the needs of the hedgehogs." is correct this is the underlying wisdom of the approach of the show but again the show is about dogs not about hedgehog so whatever on that show is all about dogs. What I mean is the approach, like what you stated, with this we can ensure we are good guardians to our hedgehogs.

I hope I made myself clearer
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Old 02-26-2012, 02:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Oh, I'm sorry. I misunderstood. I thought you meant that you were trying to be dominant and the "alpha" to your hedgehog. I apologize.
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