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Florianne 06-12-2019 06:18 PM

New to hedgehogs
Hello all!

So since yesterday I am the carer (and probable new owner) of a little hedgehog as for now nameless. It was rescued from a wildlife centre where it was to be euthanized (as invasive species) and kept with rats for some days in the meantime.
I had a glimpse under it and pretty positive it is a female, otherwise no idea about age. I think it is an African pigmy hedgehog and probably adult?
I am attaching photos here. I set up a cage quickly for her, I am planning on improvements such as an exercise wheel and a big play pen and toys, just starting.
The little one is quite stressed and huffs and puffs a lot and stays hidden most of the time. I have her on my lap now sleeping in a t-shirt.
Also she does lick and nip which kind of concerned me cause I don't mind spikes but would rather not have a pet trying to eat me.
So this is only day two! Lots to learn!https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...2955f7b2ae.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...a116514efb.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...b16035d8d3.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...be6a527a1e.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...3a83502580.jpg

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Darcie 06-12-2019 07:13 PM

Hi there! That's great that she is letting you handle her already that means she's pretty tame. She's definitely an adult. Kinda scary she was in with rats. Kind of you to rescue her. They really need as much space as possible for excercise so getting a wheel is important when u can one that's solid not made of mesh where they can get their nails stuck . A high quality catfood with meat being the first 2 to 3 ingredients is ideal and insects too there's lot's of information in the nutrition department. There's a lot of people on this site that are experts regarding all your questions. I just thought I'd give you a little head start and say good job and keep her warm around 78 degrees.👍😉

Mecki 06-12-2019 07:54 PM

Congrats! She's doing fantastic if she's opening up like that and walking about on you already.

Just a possible caution (I'm a new owner too) but I thought I read that bowls are better for offering water. Something about a bottle not being ideal, possibly a hazard? Maybe some others can comment on this.

Aj.t 06-12-2019 10:28 PM

If it’s a bottle where the ball rolls around in the straw, it’s safe. The hazard comes in with bottles that have that little ball attached to a spring (flip the bottle upside down- if the ball falls into the straw it’s fine) where small animals can get their tongues severely pinched. With that being said, speaking from personal experience, my hedgehogs have all been observed drinking more water when offered in a bowl as it’s easier for them to access and less frustrating. If she is drinking fine and you notice a decent amount gone each day, then you shouldn’t have any worries!

Ria 06-13-2019 02:39 AM

To be honest even if it is a bottle that has the ball that moves, I personally still wouldn't use it, as they can still struggle to drink from it, and its better to be safe with a bowl for water than the bottle where you could run the risk of dehydration.

Also your cage, its not bad considering you got it quickly but those bars at the platform ideally need to be covered up to stop your little one climbing them and getting hurt. Especially as at the moment you have no wheel, and climbing is another way that they let out energy when there is no wheel available but they will climb up and then just fall down, also if they try putting their head through the bar it can get stuck which is a reason why its not very safe. So you'll just want to cover the bars up high around the top of the platform bit.

Those ears look a little tattered too, get some coconut oil and just rub it on the ears, this works great for helping them.
When I touch Holly's I start slowly and gently at the top and then work my to touch the rest, have a go and see is you touch the ears then try the coconut every other day for the ear.

She seems to be very relaxed with you !! Which is really great.
If you want to be 100% sure it is a she, boys have what looks like a belly button (for their man parts) and girls don't - this is the easiest way to check.

As for the biting, are you washing your hands with unscented soap before handling ?? If your hand smells nice then your very likely to get bitten.
Another reason could be that she's scared or she's had enough of being handled. Though to not reward the biting you don't want to put her back straightaway. Theres a sticki on biting in the in the personality and behaviour section.

Florianne 06-13-2019 05:59 AM

Many thanks for your replies and really helpful! I feel like running home and putting a bowl of water, I really don't want her to be dehydrated! I will be home in a couple of hours and will do that first thing. I don't think she's been drinking enough. And coco nut oil on the ears if she lets me.
As for the biting or rather nipping, it may really be because I was handing her pieces of chicken and had them in my hand, so I will try not to smell so appetizing next time.
My idea is to take her for a vet check up in a few days. I know the rats were feeder rats for the birds of prey and they were in the same cage which is basically a naked mesh cage, quite crowded and not very hygienic.
I will take time to read through the forum/caresheets but maybe you can direct me to tips about the temperature issue. Shall I add an infrared lamp or ceramic bulb over the cage or a reptile heating mat under? What is the best option and how do you regulate the temperature? I am sure that is all written somewhere already.
Also I have a big play mat that is two square meters and I plan to make a little fence to transform that into a playpen for her so I can leave her cage open if she wants to explore. But no hurry cause she is just about settling in and hardly comes out even at night, just a bit to eat.
I will weigh her and let you know the result. I don't know if she is eating enough. I have high protein kibble the best brand I could get, some frozen crickets and a few bits of zucchini and peas and some chicken out there for her. I know she does eat a bit, she also ate on my lap.
I have cared for european wild hedgehogs and sincerely I don't see her much more tame than them whilst they were in my care. She does relax after some minutes a bit but remains very jumpy. That is ok, I don't mind as long as she feels happy and healthy. I have to say that sadly there was another hedgehog in there, one with long ears. But it had mange and the worker that rescued her (he sneaked her out in his bag) took this one that looked healthier. Those hedgehogs get dumped before summer holidays, they are not well socialised and people realise they prick and get tired of them. So they either "let them free" or hand them over to the wildlife centre.
I never considered a pet hedgehog, my main issue with them is that their lives are too short (even my dog... hate to see him grow old faster than me), but unless a very good home comes up she is probably staying.

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Ria 06-13-2019 11:16 AM

Heating I would get a ceramic heat emitter with a dome holder and rest it in the middle on the top bars (it shouldn't heat the bars much if at all) and thermostat to keep the temp from going below whatever temp you pick, also make sure you have a thermometer in the cage to check the exact temperature. Therese a section called heating under housing and accessories if you want to have a look there. All hogs like different temps, so just keep playing with it until you find where she is most comfortable with being active, but dont let it got below 20c

I'd definitely recomend looking in the nutrition topic at the beginners guide to hedgehog nutrition - its a stickie I can put it as link if you need

You can cover up the back and two sides if you find it looses too much heat. By doing this you still get plenty ventilation but it will hold more heat.

Florianne 06-13-2019 06:12 PM

Thank you Ria! I will go on to check resources so much reading to do [emoji2962]

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Brooke Lancelot 06-14-2019 05:29 AM

Call her Flower! Or Tulip! Lol, she's absolutely beautiful, gorgeous. She's so lucky to have you. Nips and licks are normal, especially when they get to know you. Maybe she'll even anoint with your scent when she's more comfortable 😂

Florianne 06-18-2019 05:24 AM

Hello folks. A little question. Do you guys have an outdoor enclosure? Does it work well for these guys in summer? Do you let them spend the night out if it is warm enough?

Thank you!

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Ria 06-18-2019 09:57 AM

Generally people dont have out door enclosures, and I would never leave them outside no matter how warm it is.

Emc 06-18-2019 02:06 PM

Is she eating that food without issues? The pieces look a little large. Is it cat or dog food> That is also a lot of food for one hog! I wouldn't offer her so much; 1.5-2 tablespoons is more than enough for the majority, and she should also be getting a wide variety of live insects too.

If her ears dont clear up soon with the coconut oil, a vet check up wouldn't hurt to rule out the possibility of a fungal infection which can also give ears a tattered appearence like that. Definitely do switch to a water bowl though - not only do water bottles not release enough water, but they can also damage teeth. Hedgehogs teeth do not continuously grow so when theyre gone, theyre gone. Water bowls allow them to drink in a much more natural position, and are just overall cleaner too - a lot of gunk builds up in water bottle spouts, and theyre just a nightmare to throughly clean!

Florianne 06-24-2019 09:35 AM

Hello guys. Little update. Doucette is doing well, eating and pooping regularly and she accepts different foods (cat kibble, crickets, worms, apple, chicken). I find her a bit skinny though, like her skin is too big for her. She weighs 320g. Since it looks like she may be a permanent resident I have ordered a pen and a wheel. She has a little outdoors enclosure as well but she only stays there for 30 mins or an hour. Then she goes to sleep and I take her back in. She has a water bowl from day 2 already. Best wishes!!

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Florianne 06-24-2019 10:40 AM

Sorry I am trying not to appear on the photos but she moves quick! She does not roll in a ball anymore but she does this jumping puffing thingee a lot. I have a feeling that this is just going to be the way it is... https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...ab339ed203.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...0b051bad1b.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...4e9918e7fe.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...24d331eac4.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...a75fc96736.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...ac0e440694.jpghttps://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201...1673ad804f.jpg

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moustachemoose 06-24-2019 11:50 PM

She is such a beautiful little lady, and it's incredible how comfortable she is with you already!! You've given her a wonderful home and I know she will be very happy with you :)

Florianne 06-25-2019 12:14 PM

Thank you moustache! Today I received her exercise wheel... Will see tonight how she like it! It is the Kaytee exact 12 inches one.

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Mecki 06-25-2019 01:14 PM


Originally Posted by Florianne (Post 1075246)
Thank you moustache! Today I received her exercise wheel... Will see tonight how she like it! It is the Kaytee exact 12 inches one.

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I don't see a "Kaytee exact" wheel, only their "silent spinner." Is that what you received... the silent spinner?

Florianne 06-25-2019 02:12 PM

Yes sorry. I meant silent spinner. It is huge! Do you know how to entice the hedgehog to run on it? I am not sure she will take to it.... she does not come out of her hide very much

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Mecki 06-25-2019 02:26 PM

There are warnings against using the Silent Spinner... in case you weren't aware.


Typically they will come out in the middle of the night to run on their wheel. You'll usually know because they poo while they run!

Florianne 06-25-2019 07:38 PM

No I wasn't aware... what happens does it cut the feet of the hedgehog? Can I stick some fleece inside or something? I live in Spai where it is impossible to order anything from the US and here that was the only bigger wheel I could find... urgh.

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Florianne 06-25-2019 07:46 PM

I will only have it in her play pen though and will monitor closely. Most likely she will ignore it completely anyways!
I will try making more photos of her to see if you guys think she is too skinny. I don't really like that her skin looks a bit big for her. Is 320g too low?

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Mecki 06-25-2019 09:18 PM

It's the seam in the center of the running surface that has the potential to catch a nail (and rip it out).
There is always the option to build your own bucket wheel.

Aj.t 06-25-2019 09:19 PM

I use silent spinners and have had no problems. It has been known to cause hedgehog nails to get caught in the vent slits, but your hedgehogs nails shouldn’t be so long that that happens anyway. Others have said its top heavy and tips over, but I’ve not had issues with this. It is two pieces attached, so cleaning is a bit harder than Carolina storm buckets because you have to detach those two pieces. I personally love them though.

Ria 06-26-2019 01:56 AM

82 Attachment(s)
It also has ridges which loads of people are against. Ridges are fine depending on the type of runner your hedgehog is.
Hedgehogs that run none stop, the ridges will hurt their feet, where hedgehogs that run for a while then stop then run ect its not likely to cause problems.

People have also said that the two pieces come undone when the hedgehog is running, but I don't how true it is or if its something like once its old and worn out it might.

320g isnt too small hedgehogs come in all weights, and you can get smaller hedgehogs like yours at 320g. I know of someone whos hedgehog is over a year old and only weighs 240-250g and is the perfect size and totally healthy. Doesnt even look too skinny.

Florianne 06-26-2019 03:48 AM

Thank you AJ.t and Ria. I have managed to get her to run a bit in the wheel last night (to my surprise) and she even seemed to enjoy it for a minute. At least it is big enough for her to turn around and not fall off. I have ordered a playpen so when the set up us complete will send a photo!

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Emc 06-26-2019 03:50 PM

Nails don't have to be overgrown to get caught in the slit of silent spinners; if you're going to use the wheel, you need to secure it or you're taking a risk. Yes, many people do use the wheels without issue - but we can't ignore that other many incidents where they have caused problems. The gap can be sealed with hot glue, or tape - but it might make cleaning a pain.

As you're in Europe, I would recommend looking into TicTac wheels. 320g also isn't too small for a hedgehog as already mentioned, they come in many shapes and sizes - more pics would certainly help determining if she could benefit from gaining a couple grams but from the pics already provided, she looks perfectly healthy to me.

Florianne 06-30-2019 01:33 PM

Very helpful, many thanks! She does have long nails. I should look into how to trim them. But as I said she is not very chill... I am not sure she let's me hold her foot. Will try!

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Florianne 06-30-2019 02:02 PM

I am not sure if she is the right size but I am encouraged by her very healthy feaces everyday!

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