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Old 09-08-2010, 11:14 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default My hedgehog is a biter.

Hi all,

This is my first post here.

I've had my hedgehog, Garrett, for two weeks or so now... and he seems to be fairly happy, and a bit grumpy.

I've learned not to bother him during the day, at all. That is his "alone time."

He usually starts wandering about his "tank" when we put my daughter to bed, and then he is more open to being handled.

Lately, though, he has decided that huffing and curling up into a ball of spikes when annoyed or scared isn't enough.

He has begun biting.

I did some reading, and the suggestions to adjust this behavior range from "blowing in his face" to "Push back into his mouth with a finger." The later is suppose to cause a bit of discomfort, which the hedgehog will associate with biting, and thus stop.

Well, when Garrett bites, he doesn't chomp down and hold on. He lunges, nips, and then pulls back and covers his head with his spikes. That means that "pushing back" isn't really an option.

I've tried blowing in his face a few times, with inconclusive results. He definitely does not like it when I give him a puff of air, but moments after you blow, he uncovers his head and will make another nip at fingers.

I thought it might just be me, but a day ago he nipped at one of my wife's friends as well. It is also not as if we pester him.

We were both sitting on the floor with Garrett between us while he wandered around in between us. Our legs were spread with our feet touching to make sort of pseudo-walls for a playpen. One particular time he decided to climb up her leg, and she put a hand out to keep him in the pen, and he stopped, sniffed, and then nipped her.

He did not break the skin, but she did yelp, and had small teeth marks on her fingers.

He has bit me about half a dozen times now, and has broke the skin once. He would bite me more often, but sometimes I am quick enough to yank my fingers back out of the way.

So, does anyone have any possible remedies for this behavior? Or has anyone had a hedgehog that liked to bite, and can possibly tell me, "Oh, it's just a phase," or "Yeah, you had best keep all fingers away from this guy."

Thank you in advance for any help.
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Old 09-08-2010, 11:51 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: My hedgehog is a biter.

Have you tried washing your hands with un-scented soap before handling him?
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Old 09-08-2010, 11:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: My hedgehog is a biter.

I'm also wondering how old Garrett is? Is it possible he's extra cranky because he's quilling?
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Old 09-08-2010, 12:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: My hedgehog is a biter.

If not the soap, it could also be the result of scented lotions.
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Old 09-08-2010, 12:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: My hedgehog is a biter.

When we first brought home Cholla, he kept nipping my husband. Figured out later that he had been eating doritos. I agree with Larry, the first thing to do is wash hands good with unscented soap. See if that helps. We haven't had an issue since then.



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Old 09-09-2010, 02:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: My hedgehog is a biter.

I have a biter. I thought maybe it was just because my hands smelled yummy to hedgies, but I adopted a second hedgehog and nothing about my hands has changed, and he's never even considered biting me.

In the year I've had my biter, she has grown more used to me and will relax in my hand. But if I move while holding her, or accidentally leave a finger near her face, it's chomp time. She's a little old lady and doesn't have very many teeth left but she can still break the skin.
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Old 09-15-2010, 04:15 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: My hedgehog is a biter.

Garrett bit me hard enough to draw a very small amount of blood last night. Barely broke the skin, but his biting habit continues.

His quills were not "raised," nor was he hissing. He would simply sniff my fingers a few times, and then tilt his head, open his mouth and lean forward.

The first couple of times I would pull my finger back, and he would then look at me, and then the empty air where my finger was a few moments ago. So I would put my finger back, and he would repeat.

Until I left my finger there, just to see what he was up to. I thought maybe if I let him "try me" he would realize that he was biting my finger.

He chomped with a decent amount of force, and let go almost instantly. I believe I may have startled him when I yanked my finger out of his mouth, as he then pulled back and covered his head in quills.

I have been diligent about washing my hands with either unscented soap, or just hosing them down with water as best I can.

I would also like to point out that he never bites when I carry him. Or when he is playing on my lap/chest. Only when he is on the floor. Perhaps it has something to do with coming at him from above? Perhaps he sees that as a predatory attack or something?

Or maybe I'm just tasty.
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Old 09-15-2010, 04:45 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: My hedgehog is a biter.

The only thing I can tell you is when he starts to sniff @ your hand, move it before he bites.
Sorry I'm not more helpful. But perhaps that way he will eventually forget abt it.



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Old 09-15-2010, 06:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: My hedgehog is a biter.

sorry to say this but some hedgies are just biters. sometimes it is not curable (but you could always try, esp if it's a baby hedgie).

from my experience with Harvey who is a biter, you can learn to scoop him up and handle him in safe ways. minimizing biting opportunities seems to be the best strategy to me.
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Old 12-20-2013, 02:04 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I have a biter, too. He only bites me, not my husband or anyone else who touches him. He does not bite out of aggression, but rather ANY time that my bare skin is visible. I use no scented soaps or lotions, but just to be sure I have changed soaps a few times to no avail. I have NO idea why he bites me, but I have to watch him CONSTANTLY or suffer the painful consequences.
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