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Old 01-17-2014, 07:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy New 6 month old hedgie, behavioral issues?

Hello! So I am a regular as far as wildlife and domestic animal rescue and fostering goes, but I have never had a hedgehog! Today I picked up a desperate hedgie who was going to be seemingly dumped if I did not help. She seems to be very frightened, however she also seems as though she was well taken care of. I have a cage ( No wires) a bucket wheel, food and water bowls, litter pan and hiding hut so she is all set up with equipment. Her skin is very dry under her quills and her ears are rather dry as well. I did the mite test with a black cloth and flashlight and she seems to be mite free. This is probably just a case if dry skin. My concern is with her constant "hissing", hiding, and spiking of her quills. Will this subside over time? Is there anything I can do to help her feel more at ease? I plan to give her an oatmeal bath this evening as well as a flax seed oil rinse to try to moisturize her skin and give her some relief. I've only seen her scratch herself once.

Help???
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Old 01-17-2014, 07:50 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Wildlife rescue, I already like you!

Welcome to the forum! Sounds like you're already doing a great job with your new little friend. Her behavior is totally normal for a nervous hedgie in a new place with a new human. Do you know what her past home was like at all? If she wasn't handled often, that'll likely have an effect on how long it will take her to come around to you (if at all). Some hedgehogs take weeks, some months, and some are still a little huffy no matter how long you have them.

Some suggestions for putting her more at ease...Handle her every night for at least half an hour, but more if you can - the more you handle her, the more she'll come to realize that you getting her out is not immediately followed by you eating her. Evenings are best, closer to the time when she would naturally be awake anyway. Low light can help, as well as some soft background noise (movie, music, etc.) to help cover little sounds you might make. For most hedgehogs, it's good to start things off with letting them sit in your lap, covered by a blanket. Being covered will make her feel more secure and she may be more willing to explore around on you instead of just sitting in a ball.

Another thing you can do - if you have an old t-shirt you don't mind possibly getting pooped on, or if you can get a small fleece blanket, etc., sleep with it for a few days, then put it in the cage for her. Having your scent around in the cage can help her get used to it more quickly.

And lastly, here's a great hedgehog care guide that's free to download - http://www.westcoasthedgehogs.com/fi.../download.html Like I said though, sounds like you're right on top of things! Your plan for the bath sounds good as well, good luck!
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Old 01-18-2014, 11:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Oh wow!!! Thank you so much! She seems to be doing much better after bathing her. She calmed down immensely and even let me trim her toe nails. It's normal for a few quills to drop after bath time right? I treated her skin with some flax seed oil and she cuddled up with me for a few hours. Thank you for the great advice! I look forward to reading, discussing and learning more about hedgies and their lifestyle. Thanks again!
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Old 01-18-2014, 06:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Glad she's already doing better! Trimming toenails is definitely an impressive feat this early on, so that's fantastic. Yup, it's normal for them to lose a couple quills. Putting flaxseed oil on dry skin can cause a couple to come out if they're already loose, and most hedgehogs lose one or two every day or occasionally anyway, similar to how we lose hairs (except less frequently). Some hedgehogs also go through a 6-month quilling, though it's very minor compared to the earlier quillings. Quill loss isn't usually worrisome unless there's a LOT of them, you're not seeing quills grow back, or if it's paired with unusual-looking skin, lots of scratching, etc.
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