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Old 10-20-2017, 06:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Help with hedgie rescue

Hello!

I took in a neglected hedgehog about 2 weeks ago. I was initially under the impression that the previous owner just didn't have time to spend with him, however it seems that he didn't have time to learn about or even care for the hedgehog. I know the basics about hedgehog care (I work in the animal care field and I'm studying zoology in college), but he's a bit of an advanced case.

To begin, Nosferatu, came with his nails curled around his little feet. It was evident that this was painful and, honestly, they were incredibly unhygienic (poop was crusted under and in all of them). It took a couple of days (he wasn't socialized whatsoever) to get them cut, but they are nice and short now.

The previous owner gave me 3 bags of Sunseed Vita Hedgehog food (the name is something along those lines), which I know is not the best diet as cat food is recommended. I haven't made the switch though because of the next issue: I fear he's too thin. He isn't plump like other hedgies I've seen and I don't think he has a "runners body". On all fours, it looks like his spine is protruding. I know that he eats (he sure does poop) but I'm thinking that the food just doesn't have the nutrition that he needs.

Any food recommendations to put weight on him?

The third problem I'm noticing is that he has very dry skin. I noticed that the bedding was getting stuck between his quills and I was concerned that it was what's drying out his skin, so I removed the recycled paper bedding that the previous owner was using and replaced it with fleece lining. I'm going to pick up Aveeno Baby Wash (with oatmeal) to give him a bath with in hopes of soothing his skin.

Any recommendations on helping his dry skin?

Lastly, and I apologize for such a long first post, what do you offer to your hedgie to keep them entertained? His enclosure at the moment is a bit dull with only a wheel and one hideaway. I want to offer him more things to do and to entertain himself with, but I'm not sure what's hedgie friendly.

Thanks, in advance, for the help! Nosferatu and I really appreciate it!

-MK

Last edited by MKNosferatu; 10-20-2017 at 06:16 PM.
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Old 10-21-2017, 06:03 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Firstly I just want to say, it's great to hear you've taken in this poor hedgie and it sounds like you've done your research and are already quite knowledgable about hedgie care, he's lucky to have found you

I'm no expert so maybe someone more experienced will chip in... But yes hedgehog food is rubbish so it would be a good idea to gradually get him off it. A high quality cat food should be slowly introduced. There's a nutritional guide on here and cat food recommendations you can read through. As in to help put on weight, I'd feed him live insects if you can? Or canned is also good. This really helped my boy gain weight gradually and he absolutely loves them (exspecially superworms and dubia roaches). Superworms daily and occasional wax worms were the key to getting him to gain weight, it took only two superworms every night for him to steadily put on weight but if he's never had insects I'd suggest starting off slow, like 1x 2-3 times a week and see how his poop is to make sure he can digest them ok. Then once all ok feed them every day, then once he's used to that give two a day and so on. That's just my opinion and what I did and it worked. I've had to go back down to just X1 a night as he was continuously gaining weight lol, but I've added other insects like dubia roaches which are lower in fat for extra nutrients. There's an insect guide on here as well if you want to know more information and nutritional values.

The spine protrusion doesn't sound so good, could it be from using a small wheel or maybe because of his severe long nails, they made him have to walk/run in a certain manner? In terms of weight, the best way to tell if he is underweight, is by looking down on him, facing forward and uncurled. If his body curves inwards on the sides like this ) ( then he's underweight. If it's more straight | | then he needs to put on some weight. He should aim to be a tear drop shape.

I think it was a good idea to put him on fleece bedding. Try giving him a bath if he smells like he hasn't had one in a while but I wouldn't give them too often. Footbaths are better to clean poopy feet with just water when necessary. You'll probably find whilst switching him to better nutritious food, his dry skin will improve. It helped my boy

I can't really help with entertainment as my boy doesn't really like toys. There's a thread on here for 'enrichment' with many great ideas to try. I like to hid insects' pupae for my boy to find and forage ~ you can do the same for canned insects too ^^

Hope this helps you and Nosferatu ♡
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