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Old 05-05-2013, 06:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Any tips?

Hi, I've had my pet pygmy hedgehog (skittles) since last October. Before I got her, I'd researched into keeping and caring for a pygmy hedgehog for two years and was seriously keen, whilst I don't think anythings wrong, I just want a few others opinions as there are few owners in my region. Skittles has a fairly regular routine, where I get her up every night between 8-11 for at least one hour, has a large bucket wheel, big cage, litter and eats kat dried cat food, along with treats. She's overly attached to one of my old jumpers so that's her bedding. So I was just wondering a few things:

1. Skittles only lets me handler her, not my parents, sister or boyfriend - otherwise she goes into a ball or bites, is this normal?

2. She's overly attached to one of my old jumpers which is her bedding, but when I often get her up I take it downstairs with us because I think she has a hiding personality and likes to snuggle up with me or her jumper. Is this normal too? She also doesn't seem to take much interest into toys and looks for places to hide, particularly my shoes.

3. Since its been a very cold winter, I've put a thermal bag into her cage that I put her jumper in, and on especially cold nights I put a low electric heater on in the room, but I've noticed she hasn't been running on her wheel as much; its clean as the rest of her cage and is working properly, is it just because of the cold because I am slightly concerned? Despite the fact that it's spring/summer, its still about 4C on a night so I'm keeping her cage warm.

4. Although Skittles is getting a bit older is there any other toys I could try? I just feel sad for when I get her out and all she wants to do is cuddle or hide - I know this might be her personality, but I'd like to try anything - she loves playing in tunnels though looses interest quickly, likes toilet roll tubes, takes no interest in cat balls, toys or plush toys and occasionally runs around in a giant gunie pig ball though even then I think she has to be in the mood. Any other suggestions or is that just her?

5. She's often very social in my hands, though sometimes 'backs up' (as well call it) so I put her down on either floor or bed, and 90% of the time she'll just huff or ball up. But once I go to pick her up or scratch her chin, she's fine, is this normal?

6. Also I try to bath her at least once a week in warm (but not too hot) water with no tear shampoo, she absolutely loves her bath time! She adores being scratched under the chin, though whilst in the bath lifts her chin up and expects to be brushed with the toothbrush being used to wash her, does anyone else have a hedgie that likes this?

And oh! Does anyone else find that their hedgehog becomes very attached with their clothing? Im very careful with what I wash my clothes with now because she has a tendency to run off with any clothing I have on my bed when I'm doing my ironing, especially since she loves chewing it too.

Some general advice with her personality would be nice! Thank you!
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Old 05-05-2013, 09:09 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Any tips?

Quote:
1. Skittles only lets me handler her, not my parents, sister or boyfriend - otherwise she goes into a ball or bites, is this normal?
It is not in a hedgehog's nature to be trusting. She trusts you - a good thing. A big win. Some hedgehogs will carry your stamp of approval over to other people. Others might not be keen on doing that. With her, you may have to introduce a new person on a very regular basis and build a trust - which she may not give.


Quote:
2. She's overly attached to one of my old jumpers which is her bedding, but when I often get her up I take it downstairs with us because I think she has a hiding personality and likes to snuggle up with me or her jumper. Is this normal too? She also doesn't seem to take much interest into toys and looks for places to hide, particularly my shoes.
The most that I ever get to actually see of Sophie is during her three-a-week mini-baths, which is why I time them and have gradually increased her time in the bath, which she handles very well. Although we get a lot of 'together time', for her that means sleeping with me - in my shirt, in her hedgie sack at my desk, napping together with her up under my shoulder . . . . . as long as she gets to nap. She must sleep, even now, at least 20 hours a day.

I don't use her hedgie sacks or lap squares in the cage. They are just for 'together time', but that's just a choice that I've made.

She has never had any interest at all in toys of any kind.

She lives to hide. Her cages have an igloo house and three PVC tunnels. The igloo and one tunnel are stuffed with fleece strips and squares as burrows. She will hide in the open tunnels and sleep in a fleece burrow.


Quote:
3. Since its been a very cold winter, I've put a thermal bag into her cage that I put her jumper in, and on especially cold nights I put a low electric heater on in the room, but I've noticed she hasn't been running on her wheel as much; its clean as the rest of her cage and is working properly, is it just because of the cold because I am slightly concerned? Despite the fact that it's spring/summer, its still about 4C on a night so I'm keeping her cage warm.
I am concerned, based on the text, that heating is not adequate. I consider a thermometer inside the cage at all times to be essential; and placed in what is likely to be the coldest spot in the cage. I use a La Crosse Technology, Model 302-604S (The 'S' just means silver.) It's best feature is that in addition to showing the current temperature, it logs the highest and lowest temperature since the last reset. It's really nice to check the temperature in the morning, and also be able to check the absolute lowest temperature reached during the night.

4C is only 39F. That is cold and I would be very concerned about your not using ceramic heat emitters to control the cage temperature. It gets very cold here - teens F. I keep the room temperature at 65F with an oil-filled, radiator-type room heater. Her CHEs bump the cages up to 75F around the clock. One cage, on an outside wall, needs some extra help at night so the emitters don't have to work harder than necessary. That cage gets some fleece covers over much of the top to slow heat loss at night. Works like a charm.


Quote:
4. Although Skittles is getting a bit older is there any other toys I could try? I just feel sad for when I get her out and all she wants to do is cuddle or hide - I know this might be her personality, but I'd like to try anything - she loves playing in tunnels though looses interest quickly, likes toilet roll tubes, takes no interest in cat balls, toys or plush toys and occasionally runs around in a giant gunie pig ball though even then I think she has to be in the mood. Any other suggestions or is that just her?
Quote:
. . . I just feel sad for when I get her out and all she wants to do is cuddle or hide . . .
Me too, but this seems to be what Sophie likes best. Hedgehogs aren't cat-or-dog-type pets. She has no interest in toys. Never has. Lots of opportunity, though. She loves her tunnels - empty ones for running through or hiding in - and the one stuffed with fleece to make a burrow is where she usually sleeps.


Quote:
5. She's often very social in my hands, though sometimes 'backs up' (as well call it) so I put her down on either floor or bed, and 90% of the time she'll just huff or ball up. But once I go to pick her up or scratch her chin, she's fine, is this normal?
Many times there is just no understanding why animals do things. Aren't people often the exact same way? I had a nice 'running around' area set up for her as a change of pace from her house. She kind of liked it sometimes, for a while, but came to not like it at all, even if I was with her. She would find a spot to be afraid in - for no reason - but she was clearly very unhappy. I stopped using that area completely. Because her cage is so large, way bigger than average, I think that she limits her 'happy places' to her cage and to sleeping with me. Variety is not something she wants.


Quote:
6. Also I try to bath her at least once a week in warm (but not too hot) water with no tear shampoo, she absolutely loves her bath time! She adores being scratched under the chin, though whilst in the bath lifts her chin up and expects to be brushed with the toothbrush being used to wash her, does anyone else have a hedgie that likes this?
I started Sophie on baths right away when I got her, at 6 weeks old. At first she hated them. Three foot-and-belly baths a week, with nail inspection and clipping. Her mini-baths are water only, but I set her in several inches of water and give her a good quill brushing through most of the bath. This cleans her quills, and I think that she likes the 'massage' of the brushing. It certainly keeps her nicely occupied.

Over time, she went from hating the bath, to being very good with them. Seriously, the most 'face time' that I get with Sophie is during bath time. She used to squirm every which way when I handle her feet. Now she just sits very nicely against my chest.

Her behaviors are interesting. She has never like being held on her back in my hand. I still do it every bath when inspecting her belly and feet, and she still doesn't like it - so I don't force it. Like yours, she lets me pet her chin and her mouth and her face for several minutes at the end of bath time. I hold her up against my chest. There is NO other time when I would be allowed to do any of those things. And yet, woe be to me if I try touching the top of her head. She flairs up her visor quills, lowers her head, and huffs for me to stop. I go back to petting her face and everything is wonderful again. Go figure.


Quote:
And oh! Does anyone else find that their hedgehog becomes very attached with their clothing? Im very careful with what I wash my clothes with now because she has a tendency to run off with any clothing I have on my bed when I'm doing my ironing, especially since she loves chewing it too.
Mostly, she has her own fleece stuff; hedgie sacks, lap squares, and whatnot. I do put on large t-shirts for together time and she expects to be able to hide inside. She really only bites if there is new taste or smell that needs investigating.
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Old 05-05-2013, 09:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Any tips?

PS --- She gets full baths, with her Aveeno body wash and big under-the-faucet rinses, every two months, which I may increase to every month. I was overly worried about 'dry skin' at first. I've decided that is something to be monitored, but not worried about with specific cause.
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