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Old 01-01-2013, 10:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Inactive Hedgehog

Hey guys, so my hedgehog is really inactive. During the day and through the majority of the night she will sleep. It isn't until I am in bed does she start to run on her wheel, I know this by all the poop that is sitting on the wheel when I wake up. I go to bed around midnight or 1 AM so it isn't like I go to sleep before she has a chance to wake up.

At first I thought she was hybernating, but she does not wobble when she walks and is plenty warm in her cage, I checked the underside of her belly. I have tried making it really bright in my room to stimulate the day and then shut off the lights around 6 PM, then I will take her out around 9 PM. I take her out by the shirt she sleeps in because she is always rolled in a ball and hisses, making it hard for me to get a good angle to slip my fingers under her and pick her up. When I take her out of the shirt she will immediately uncurl and start to run around for a few minutes, do her "business", and then she will run into a corner and try to sleep. I get that I woke her up from her slumber and she might be cranky but I don't know what else to do to bond with her.

How long does it take a hedgehog to get used to being handled around the same time every day? It makes it hard to bond with her if she only wants to sleep, she won't even sleep in my lap, she will crawl off me and run into a corner and sleep. Is it my hedgehog's personality? Is there nothing I can do to make her want to interact with me more?

Please help, I want to make a connection with her but when she won't even sleep in my lap it makes everything disappointing. I have had her for a week, and she is not a baby hedgehog, she is about over a year old, she was given to me because her owner could not take care of her any more.
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Inactive Hedgehog

To be honest...you have a perfectly normal hedgehog there, so it sounds like your expectations are a bit off and you may have to adjust your thinking here.

Most hedgehogs are going to sleep all day and for much of the night. A lot won't come out until later at night, though it does depend on the light schedule. But a lot of it is just hedgehog preference. Make sure she's getting at least 12-14 hours with the light schedule, and keep it regular - that'll prevent hibernation attempts. If she's in your room, it's also not too surprising that she doesn't come out until you go to sleep - if there's any light on at all, a lot of hedgehogs will not move around or come out. Some are sensitive enough that they're even bothered by little night lights, etc.

If you've only had her for a week, you're still very, very new to her. It'll take her awhile to get used to you and being handled by you - patience is the single most important thing for hedgehog owners to have. She won't bond with you right away - it's going to take weeks of handling her every night for her to start becoming friendly towards you, and for some hedgehogs, they never will. It just depends.

Do you have a hedgie sleeping bag or do you hold her in a blanket or anything like that? Hedgehogs like to be covered up and snuggled into something when they sleep. Try holding her in a fleece blanket or getting a hedgie bag and let her go in there when you take her out. There's a good chance she'll settle down and sleep in your lap then and you can have her do that for a couple hours every night.

If you want to try encouraging her to explore more, make sure the lights are as low as you can get them (maybe only one dim light on), and set up a hedgie-proof area for her. Lay on the floor and try letting her walk around. You can hide treats to encourage her to sniff and look around too. Some hedgehogs just aren't very exploratory though, at least not when us weird humans are watching! Over time, you'll start to learn what she likes to do and what treats and things are a good incentive to encourage her to explore and play more with you watching. Good luck and hang in there!
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:07 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Inactive Hedgehog

I recently acquired my first hedghog Pippin a little over two weeks ago. While our time together isn't very active, Pippin is starting to be curious about me. I leave her be during the day, when I get home from work in the evenings I pull her enclosure out, while talking to her or have the TV on, pull her hedgie bag out and start the task of cleaning her wheel, or her "poopy corner". If needs be I change out her liner and put her enclosure back in its place leaving her and her hedgie bag on my bed. (A whole 10 feet from the desk her enclosure sits on) I spend a lot of time in bed once I get home from work due to a serious back and neck injury just a couple weeks before getting Pippin. I just set her bag in my lap and watch TV, text or talk on the phone. If I get up, she comes with me, bag and all. Within the last few days, she's decided that I'm a curiousity and has started poking her head out while I clean her enclosure, and once the sack is in my lap, I'm her jungle gym. I still randomly get pooped on, but thats what papertowels and hand sanitizer are close at hand for. She explores my bed, and has found that my dirty laundry basket is a great burrowing hole to go back to sleep in, if she doesn't find her sack first. I expect within another couple of days or a week she'll be coming out of her sack to interact with me a bit more. I'm letting her set the pace, however, no matter how much she huffs and puffs at me, I still make it a point to pull her out of her sack for a little while and check her feet for poop boots (which so far I've only had the pleasure of cleaning twice in two weeks), and rubbing her ears so she gets used to handling. In two weeks I will be taking her for her first vet visit, now that she's a little more settled in.

I will say that while my hedgehog experience is limited, every hedgie is different. Having been involved in Greyhound rescue, dealing with shy or nervous animals is something I'm very used to and for some reason seem to be drawn to. I love the challenges and the rewards of working with a shy animal and watching them come into their own, and become more confident and trusting of the people and places around them. For me, and my limited hedgehog experience, having a pet that is typically a shy animal to begin with is that much more enjoyable, although it wasn't what I was expecting, prior to having one of my own. People can tell you a lot of things about hedgies, and you can learn a lot from the information you are given. Ultimately, you know your hedgehog better than any of us in cyber land ever will, and you have to trust your gut. How much work are you willing to put in, and if you were expecting one of those hedgies like we see on Youtube that is super loving or interactive, you have only seen a small portion of hedgies, and behavior that is not typical with the species.

If you want her to sleep in your lap, my best advice is invest in, or make some hedgie bags. The materials are fairly inexpensive, and even someone like me (who isn't very crafty) can put one together fairly easily. Pippin came with two sacks from the breeder, and I have a total of 7 sacks all together. I find them to be more than helpful to have around since I do like to interact with my housemates when theres room on the couch for me to stretch out. We also have 2 cats and a dog in the house, so keeping the hedgie in the sack keeps her safe, and exposes dog, cats, and hedgie to each others smell. When she finally gets brave enough to explore with them around, they won't be so shocking as a new smell. The bag keeps her safe, as well as the other critters in the house safe from her. It also allows for her to become accustomed to a typical day in my home. The more she's exposed through the bag, the less shocking it will be when she decides to wake up and be a part of the sounds, smells, and sights of the house.

Even if your hedgie is sleeping in the bag, you are interacting.. just interacting through osmosis is the best way I can explain it. You are bonding, and she is becoming familiar with everything about you and her envioronment.
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Inactive Hedgehog

Buffy is very similar, it's totally normal! She won't do ANYTHING unless it's pitch black in her cage (Well, she'll eat, poop and then hide under her wheel sometimes if there's only a dim light). The posts above me pretty much cover it, but I mostly want to reiterate that it's super normal for them to sleep a lot.
I definitely suggest getting a fleece bag if you don't have one. It's the best for a hedgehog that's a little grumpy and likes to sleep- you can pick it up in the bag and it won't hurt if she huffs up, and then you can let her hang out in the bag on your lap and sleep some more :> I can't know exactly what your hedgehog's personality is like, but right now she sounds really similar to mine when I first got her, so if she is similar in character she'll probably warm up to you after a little while of just having her out in a bag with you- Buffy is now super comfy sleeping on my lap, but it took a bit to get there and that's almost 100% what she does when she's out with me... sometimes she'll go digging around in my blankets if we're in bed, but that's usually just to find a comfier place to conk out again.

I should also make a note that for the first week or so I had Buffy I would take her out for like 6 hours while I did schoolwork and just let her hang out and sleep in her bag by me. It will probably take longer to form a bond worthy of lap-snuggles if you don't have time to just sit with your hedgie for 5 hours each night ^^; haha
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