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Old 12-26-2012, 02:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Unable to interact with hedgehog

I had a hedgehog last Spring, had him for 4 weeks and within that time he would jump into my hand and couldn't wait to roam the room, after a rough vet visit and a long night he passed away.

Now, my cousin gave me her hedgehog. I just got the animal and cannot pick her up. She will hiss and roll up into a tight ball to the point where I do not wish to push her. When I walk into the room and sit next to the cage she will stop running on her wheel and hide behind it. I have tried talking to her and even have some of my clothes draped over her cage and have a old tank top in her cage as well, just for her to get to recognize my scent. Before I took this hedgehog home, I watched my cousin pick her up and even though the hedgehog hissed she still was able to pick the hedgehog up. Once the hedgehog is picked up she gets over her fear and will sit in your hand. My cousin has had this hedgehog for a year and I understand that a bond will not be made over night, but I know they should be handled every day but with this show of fearfulness I am afraid to push the hedgehog and worry that she will not get the interaction that she needs.

Please any advice would be great, I don't know what to do and after my last loss I do not want to harm this new hedgehog.
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Old 12-26-2012, 03:07 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unable to interact with hedgehog

Take her out anyway. Invest in a cuddle bag and/or a carry bag. Use a piece of fleece to pick her up if she's too spiky to do it comfortably. You should handle her a minimum of 30-60 minutes every day, regardless of how grumpy she is. By not handling her in response to the grumpiness, it just reenforces the behavior.

USDA licensed breeder in Port Orchard, WA.
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Old 12-26-2012, 10:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unable to interact with hedgehog

She's not going to get less fearful from being left alone. She's reacting more with you than with your cousin because she is in a new place and you are new to her. Since she calmed down with your cousin after being picked up then after a few days of holding her for an hour or so each day she will probably start to calm down for you as well. Also hedgehogs are naturally shy and private creatures. Not all hedgehogs are shy but it's normal for her to ball up when you come close or to jump off her wheel and hide. Balling up is mostly an automatic reaction when something startles a hedgehog. If you pick her up while she is balled up she'll start to realize that she was afraid for nothing and come out of her ball. I like to compare it to being startled when someone comes up from behind you and you didn't hear them coming. I bet everyone has had that moment where you've jumped out of your skin a bit because someone came up to you when you were not expecting it. The person could have been a friend or family member but you still jump. It doesn't help you if that person backs off or leaves. After you get over your initial reaction you probably greet them and have a chat.

Your new hedgehog may always be easily startled but you have to give her a chance to calm down while you are holding her.

RIP Quigley, I miss you my little grumpus.
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Unable to interact with hedgehog

Thanks for your help guys, I just needed the extra encouragement because it has been a while since I handled a hedgehog.

She is not as shy now but she'll be active for 30 minutes, max, and then wants to go back to sleep. I am hoping to change her biological clock into being more active around the time I wish to interact with her. She normally is active around 2-3 AM till 5 AM. She won't move unless to eat and drink until I wake her up around 9 PM. I don't think she is trying to hybernate so I am hoping getting her used to a new schedule will be better.

Thanks again guys!
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