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Old 02-11-2014, 04:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Depression? Hibernation? Sick? Need answers.

Hey guys, sorry if this is a repeat thread, I did my best to scour the site to see if this was already posted, but couldn't find anything that quite fit.

My hedgie, Harley Quinn, is about 18 months old, we bought her from a very reputable breeder here in town, and she has been a sweet little thing. She goes through typical mood swings (not unlike my own, honestly), and after one costly vet visit that ended up being a false alarm, I have learned not to be quite the paranoid first time parent, and have found that if she does something "strange," well, she is not alone. Hedgies are strange little prickle babies, and I need to cool my helicopter parent side down.

That being said, the last couple days, she has not been eating so well. Backstory on her food situation, I (admitted helicopter parent) make her food out of ground chicken breast, fried egg white, steamed carrot, broccoli, sweet potato, and edamame, with a dash of dry hedgehog food (sunseed Vita Exotics). I mince all ingredients up, add the dry food (dry food only consist of maybe 1/6th of the mixture) so that she cannot be picky and not eat her veggies. She still, magically, manages to spit out the dry stuff every day though. Eh, what are you gonna do?

Ok so she is well fed, has a draftless room that stays at 76 degrees, with her ceramic lamp in her cage keeping it around 80. She is warm, has the right amount of light (2 windows), we have cuddles every night (2-3 hours worth) before I settle her in with food and her "apartment" (hurricane wheel, sleeping bag, igloo with scraps of fleece, tubes to run in, and a few toys). She has a c&c cage, and it is clean.

That being said, the past few nights I have settled her in, only to find that the next morning, she hardly ate (night before last, ate about 2/3 of bowl, last night only about half a tablespoon) and is cool to the touch when I pick her out of her igloo to check on her. I don't know what's happening. Her nails are clipped, her cage is warm, she has food that she is very familiar and comfortable with, and nothing has changed. Last night along with little food intake, she did not run on her wheel, which is very not like her.

I have her out now, and she seems fine, is warm. I don't know of this is a growing thing, or if she is depressed or what. It makes me sad, and I just want to do whatever I need to do to help her out.

Thanks for taking the time to calm my nerves!
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Old 02-11-2014, 04:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Cool to touch is a hibernation attempt. I'm not sure where you're located, but I'm willing to bet that she's not getting enough light if you're just relying on the windows. Daylight often isn't enough, especially in winter months when it's less than 12 hours of daylight (and a couple hours of that are pretty dark still).

Try leaving on a light in the room for her for 12-14 hours. If you have trouble remembering to turn the light on/off, a lamp on a timer works great. I forgot to leave my room light on for Lily once, which caused a hibernation attempt. I got a lamp to clip onto her cage, set it up with a timer, and had no other light-caused issues with her.

As well as fixing the daytime-light situation, double check to make sure there's no lights in the room (or coming from those windows) at night to throw her off & keep her from going about business as usual.

If you're 100% sure that she's getting enough strong light every day with a lamp, try boosting the temperature up one or two degrees, and keep a close eye on her. Hibernation attempts can be signs of impending illness, and can cause URIs. But it could just be that she's getting a little more temp-sensitive. Lily started doing that around 18 months as well, and ended up needing the temp from 78-81* at all times. If it dipped below 78* at all, I'd find her with a cool belly.
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Old 02-11-2014, 11:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Kelsey, your response was thoughtful and well thought out. I am going to try the lamp in the room idea. Living in the Pacific Northwest, it is darker for longer hours (though our days were shorter a month or two ago, but maybe it didn't bother her until now?) do you think the eating pattern is related to the hibernation attempt? I sure love her little self, but dang, she is a picky little diva
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Old 02-12-2014, 01:01 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Ah! Yes, as another PNW'er, daylight isn't enough. Put a light on a timer, 12-14 hours light per day (10-12 hours dark, so in the long summer nights you might need to cover her cage).

In a post-hibernation-attempt, you'll want to crank the heat up to 78-80F for the next month or so.

Yes, the lack of eating is related to the hibernation attempt. If she doesn't start on her own, you may need to remind her to eat by syringe-feeding her tonight.

If you haven't seen it before, this is a lovely guide for covering hedgehog-care. Sounds like you've got it figured out already, but I didn't find it for months after meeting my tiny friend, so I make sure to always greet new forum users with it.
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