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Old 07-08-2019, 09:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Hedgie Acting More Shy and Scared Than Usual

Hello! Long time browser, first time poster!

So I've had my hedgie (Olive) for about 6 months now, picked her up from her breeder at 8 weeks, and from the start she was very nice and outgoing, granted a little shy at the beginning. This is the second hedgehog I've owned so I have some experience under my belt.

Recently she's been very hissy and jumpy and I'm not sure why. I cuddle with her in a blanket and every time I make the slightest move she hisses and quills up (though not completely, just a little bit), even if my hand moves over the blanket and makes a shadow she does it. She's also biting me a lot more, I'm used to a bite or two a week but now it's every time I take her out. I try not to react and to keep petting and playing with her but she just keeps trying to bite me.

She's also been very energetic and spastic recently. Whenever I take her out of her cage in the evening she immediately starts running around and when I put her in her blanket she won't stop running around and sleep like she used to.

The only things I noticed that are different is that she's burrowing under her fleece at night (even though I keep the temp between 76-79), I started to mix in a little trail mix into her food every night (has dried mealworms, dried scramble eggs, etc.), and around the time she started acting differently I clipped a couple of her nails a little too short and they started to bleed (I made sure to keep them clean and free of infection).

I tried to cover all of my bases to make sure you guys have all the information you might need to help me solve this puzzle. Is she maybe just going through a bratty toddler phase?? Whatever help or advice anyone can offer is greatly appreciated!!
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Old 07-08-2019, 10:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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If she’s 6 months old she’s probably into full blown quilling. This process is just like babies teething and is extremely uncomfortable for them during this time, so behavioral changes are almost always noticed for a bit.
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Old 07-09-2019, 12:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If she’s 6 months old she’s probably into full blown quilling. This process is just like babies teething and is extremely uncomfortable for them during this time, so behavioral changes are almost always noticed for a bit.
She already quilled when she was around 4 months old, she was completely done about a month ago and hasn't lost a quill since. I noticed she was acting a bit strangely around then, but looked it up and found out that was normal for quilling. This behavior is different.
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Old 07-09-2019, 03:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Its possible for it to still be a quilling. Check her skin, look to see if you see any quills poking through.

Other than that, has anything in the house changed? Windows open that weren't before allowing odd smells in? I've had one or two that behaved oddly when the window was open at night. Not sure if it was certain flower smells, maybe a predator was coming up at night scent marking, or who knows what was the cause.

Weather been overly stormy? I had a few that got jumpy when storms were in the area.

Comb through her quills, look to see if any are ingrown or maybe one is poking her in an ear or other sensitive area. Sounds odd, but I had one who had a quill that got stuck in a position that was poking her in the back of her ear.

How is her appetite? When she eats do you see any sign of wincing?

When she is jumpy does she seem to favor a side? Has she pawed at an ear or if you touch a side of her head does she react more than the other?

Sudden change in bahavior and becoming jumpy/bitey can certainly be a symptom of discomfort/pain. It can be tough to figure out what is causing it or if its just a behavioral issue caused by some other environmental change. I've seen it from a late quilling, quills poking sensitive areas, mouth infections that showed up eventually.


If you cannot find a physical cause it could be a behaviorial issue which you'll need to work through. I have one now who when we trim her nails she gets jumpy and bitey for a day or two afterwards. Not sure what her prior life was, but until she calms down and decides I'm not there to hurt her, I have to watch my fingers around her.
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Old 07-10-2019, 12:00 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Wait, what does the wincing when eating mean? And how precisely does it look?
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Old 07-10-2019, 03:19 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Wait, what does the wincing when eating mean? And how precisely does it look?
Wincing while eating means that they are in pain when they eat, its generally a sign for mouth issues. I cant really describe how it looks.
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Old 07-10-2019, 12:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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^^^ What Ria said.
I guess I'd describe the motion as a flinch when they are biting down on something. I've seen small hedgehogs do it when they try to eat large/hard kibble. To me that means their kibble needs to be broken up smaller or softened.

But I've also seen it in hedgehogs who have something going on that is causing discomfort. Seen it with mouth issues, but I've also seen it in a hedgehog that had an ear infection. These little ones tend to try to hide pain, but you might catch them wincing before the issue gets bad enough that it becomes clear where the issue resides (does that make sense?).

Basically its just something else to look for when you are at a loss of what is happening.
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Old 07-10-2019, 10:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Kalandra View Post
Its possible for it to still be a quilling. Check her skin, look to see if you see any quills poking through.

Other than that, has anything in the house changed? Windows open that weren't before allowing odd smells in? I've had one or two that behaved oddly when the window was open at night. Not sure if it was certain flower smells, maybe a predator was coming up at night scent marking, or who knows what was the cause.

Weather been overly stormy? I had a few that got jumpy when storms were in the area.

Comb through her quills, look to see if any are ingrown or maybe one is poking her in an ear or other sensitive area. Sounds odd, but I had one who had a quill that got stuck in a position that was poking her in the back of her ear.

How is her appetite? When she eats do you see any sign of wincing?

When she is jumpy does she seem to favor a side? Has she pawed at an ear or if you touch a side of her head does she react more than the other?

Sudden change in bahavior and becoming jumpy/bitey can certainly be a symptom of discomfort/pain. It can be tough to figure out what is causing it or if its just a behavioral issue caused by some other environmental change. I've seen it from a late quilling, quills poking sensitive areas, mouth infections that showed up eventually.


If you cannot find a physical cause it could be a behaviorial issue which you'll need to work through. I have one now who when we trim her nails she gets jumpy and bitey for a day or two afterwards. Not sure what her prior life was, but until she calms down and decides I'm not there to hurt her, I have to watch my fingers around her.
Thank you so much for such an in depth response!!

I did remember that around that time my family went to the beach and we took Olive with us. So maybe going to the beach for the first time did something to her?

She does seem to be more responsive and hissy when I pet her on her head, a little further behind her ears, like an inch behind her ears on her back. I tried to look through her quills for any poking through or even maybe an ingrown quill, but I can't get her to hold still long enough to check. Do you have any suggestions for holding them down or calming them down long enough for me to get a good look?

Other than that there hasn't been any environmental changes, hasn't been stormy recently, she's been eating normally, no wincing. Do you think a vet visit is in order?
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Old 07-12-2019, 03:33 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Ok thank you! Reason I asked is cause Igor winces when he eats kibble. So, now I know he might be in pain. I'll go to thr vet and schedule a mouth check.
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