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Old 08-03-2010, 01:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Hedgehog biting hard and humping

Hey guys-
As you know from my other posts, Herby is going through puberty and quilling at the same time. He's a bit angrier than usual and hates for me to pet him now, probably because it hurts growing in those new quills. What his new thing is has to do with biting. He sniffs around for my fingers or hands, sometimes the arms, and then he attacks it by biting. HARD. This morning he sniffed my forearm, then he bit it and held on (as in locked jaw). I think he was doing a humping motion with his rear end, too, and since he wouldn't let go I had to blow on his face to make him release.

Here's the thing--the vet said he was going through puberty, so his attitude may be like aggressive and agitated for at least a month or two. On top of the mites he had two weeks ago, he's growing in a hefty amount of new quills--30 in just the one area that the vet examined with a microscrope tool. He tried to bite the vet, too, and when my husband held him against his shirt, Herby bit the shirt hard and began to pull away and lift his rear end. The vet said that he was humping the air, probably a sign that he's going through puberty right now.

Have any of you guys seen your male hedgehogs bite down on something and then try to hump it? I'm asking because none of the books I read have any tips as to how to calm this act down. He hurt me pretty bad this morning, and I hate to blow on his face cause then he doesn't want me to hold or touch him at all.

The vet suggested neutering him since he was, and I quote from the vet "very well endowed", and since his actions are rough, they indicate that Herby likes "it" rough, probably. According to the vet, hedgehogs during mating will bite down on something and hump away.

I just want him to no bite me anymore. I'm afraid to let him crawl on me or my hands because he constantly wants to attack me. Any tips or help would be great. Should I neuter him? He's never going to breed and the vet said it will take away his aggression altogether.

Thanks guys-

T.
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Old 08-03-2010, 02:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedgehog biting hard and humping

Rarely, males that bad, but if he is really aggressive, I would go ahead and neuter him.
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Old 08-03-2010, 03:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedgehog biting hard and humping

Just remember that neutering, in hedgehogs, is much more invasive than spaying (which I find REALLY weird, since it's almost always the other way around in other animals) so there's more risk involved. If you have a really good vet who has operated successfully on hedgehogs before, though, I don't think you have much to worry about.

I speak from experience on this one, as my hedgie girl, Quillamina, needed to be spayed in January to to uterine cancer. You will definitely worry about him, but there is no reason to think the worst, as long as your vet knows what he's doing.
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Old 08-03-2010, 07:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedgehog biting hard and humping

Thanks guys. I'm thinking of having his spayed or neutered. The aggressiveness is so bad that there are times when he lets him pet him and hold him, but it's rare now. He honestly attacks my hands and body and tries to bite me every chance he gets.

Guess the guy's gonna lose his balls. Hopefully it will put him back to normal. You think all the hormones are the problem?
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Old 08-03-2010, 07:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedgehog biting hard and humping

Is it okay to not handle him while he's going through this, since holding him may hurt because of his new quills coming in? Besides, he's biting hard so trying to pick him up in any way is impossible right now.
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Old 08-03-2010, 08:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedgehog biting hard and humping

My male never went through this with puberty. If he is being that aggressive though I wouldn't blame you if you were unable to handle him. Normally I'd say you could try taking him out and letting him run around in a playpen with you but if he's actively seeking you out to bite then that doesn't seem like it would work either. This is a hard one because I don't hear to many stories where a hedgie is that aggressive. Hope it all works out and good luck at the vets, please keep us posted on the little one
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Old 08-03-2010, 09:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedgehog biting hard and humping

I don't know about hedgehogs but in dogs, by the time that much aggression is shown, neutering is useless. This is due the fact that testosterone is also made by the adrenal glands and is regulated by the pituitary gland. When the testicles are removed, the deficit is made up for by the body.

Without seeing him in action, I'd wonder if the "humping" is actually him trying to ball up when he's biting, which many hedgehogs do. I'd also wait until he's finished quilling and see how much it tones down before doing something as drastic as neutering. It's a very invasive surgery that can go quite wrong with an inexperienced vet.
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Old 08-03-2010, 10:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedgehog biting hard and humping

I've never had a male have such a drastic puberty related change. Females yes, but not a male. I'm betting it is more quilling related. Keep handling him gently. Let him sit on you but don't pet him. Keep exposed skin out of mouths reach and if you need to, use a small cloth or hedgie bag to hold and carry him. He is too young to be neutered anyways and it is a more risky surgery.
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Old 08-03-2010, 11:36 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedgehog biting hard and humping

Thanks everyone. I guess I should wait till he stops quilling to find out if it was just that, but in terms of the whole biting and humping, it's definitely humping. Ever see those mating videos on youtube? It looks EXACTLY like what the male would do to a female during mating. It's funny cause the vet said he was well endowed and probably very frustrated. He's at the right age to go through puberty. I guess quilling plus puberty is what is making him very aggressive at this point in time, so I will wait a month and see how things go.

I hope that me blowing on his face when he locks on doesn't make him scared of me even more. Hopefully he'll be okay with me again. There are times when I can pick him up with some huffing but no biting, and mostly in the early morning around 6am when I clean his cage. Any time after that, I'm screwed. Also, the time to hold him at 6am is brief, cause he starts biting after a good 10 minutes.

I'll use a cloth and long sleeved shirts for now to prevent him from biting me, or just put him in his blankie on the couch next to me for 30 minutes a day just to get him used to me being near him. Do you guys think this is a good idea?
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Old 08-04-2010, 07:40 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hedgehog biting hard and humping

I wouldn't blow in his face or use any type of punishment. Just keep your fingers and exposed skin away from his mouth. Right now he is hurting from quilling and also doesn't know if he'es coming or going. Think baby teething combined with puberty in a human child. He needs gentleness and kindness and blowing in is face is possibly going make the behaviour more permanent.
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