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Old 01-03-2014, 10:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Red face Proud new owner of a Hedgie-saurus

Hello all!

I am a newbie hedgie owner. I've owned my new baby girl, Murphy, for about 2 weeks now, and despite reading all the books available in my library system and watching oodles of videos on youtube, being a hedgie owner is harder than I thought it would be! I wasn't expecting my hedgie-saurus to take to me in day one, but I can't help but get a bit frustrated when it feels like I make progress and then its like I take a few steps back.

I've gotten my hedgie to eat treats from me, but now she seems to think I'M the treat and always wants to chew on me. (She also seems to think my wedding ring is tasty too, which is weird.) I've had her on a towel in my lap as well as in bonding bags. Sometimes she'll explore, other times she won't even uncurl. Are hedgies usually this tempermental?

She has dry skin, which isn't being helped by winter making everything dry. I bought aveeno oatmeal wash and I want to give her a bath to hopefully relieve the itchies, but I don't want to traumatize her. Does anyone have any tips?
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Old 01-03-2014, 10:43 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Awww, welcome to the forum! It sounds like you didn't hit upon the wonder-resource during your research, this book written and maintained by a breeder (and forum-member). Read it. I promise it will help.

Yes, hedgehogs can be quite temperamental, and absolutely take a while to warm up. They reward our patience! This thread on behaviour expectations might be enlightening for you.

My little guy panicked when I bathed him in a sink, but grumpily accepted the inevitable when I switched to a bathtub. Make sure the water is comfortably warm (stick your elbow in, like you would for a baby's bath)

Dry skin is a chronic problem. Avoid over-bathing, try adding oil to food or directly to hedgehog (olive oil, flaxseed oil, vitamin E, coconut oil are all popular; do NOT use tea tree oil, it's toxic!). Some hedgehogs refuse oily food, and too much oil on the skin can lead to be infections, so be careful either way.

My computer is wigging out at the moment, so I'll end there and leave all other advice and welcoming to other excessively-friendly forum-users.
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Old 01-03-2014, 11:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Lol at the excessively friendly forum users

Hi welcome aboard! New hedgies tend to be nervous, shy and temperamental at first but they get used to you in time. I noticed females tend to be more nervous than males that even the slightest sound could make them puff. Just try placing your hand near her head when she balls up til she sniffs you then try holding her again. A long, gentle push from their rear is usually enough to get them to uncurl and start walking.

As for bathing, an oatmel bath is the best. bath water can or can't be deep. They can swim well but slowly. First time bathers should have their water at belly level to prepare them for increasing water depth later on in life, then supplement rinsing water with your hand. For frolicky foot bathers, just place yur hedgie on an inch high water and let their feet soak for a few minutes before wiping it clean.


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Old 01-04-2014, 11:31 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Rings and metals seem to be a popular chew toy for hedgehogs. I don't know why.

I would avoid hand-feeding for the very reason you describe. Hedgehogs can't see well, so they just chomp on anything that might be foodlike. If your hands are always with the food, then your hands might be food too! I would stop hand-feeding and make sure to always wash your hands if you've touched food before handling her.

And be patient. Two weeks is not a long time in hedgieland. My girl was pretty friendly from day one, but that's because she thinks she's a big scary beast and isn't afraid of anything -- she is definitely NOT the norm. (And in some ways, her attitude causes its own set of issues.) Keep taking her out every day and spending time with her. She'll get used to you. You can also sleep with a towel or an old t-shirt for a few days to get it all you-smelling, and then put that in her cage to help her get used to your scent.

Welcome to the forums!
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Maryland, United States
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Hedgies can be very temperamental indeed! From what I can tell, the Senator is way on the friendly side of the equation, and she still managed to draw blood the other day when I tried to pick her up while she was in a ball.

But, when taken as a whole, not just one incident, she's much more bonded and loving now than she was when I got her a month ago. It's all about slow, incremental progress. Because hedgies are prey aminals (unlike cats or dogs), and not social by nature (unlike rats or mice), they start from a much different baseline than most other common pets.

Also, welcome to the forum!
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Old 01-04-2014, 06:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for all the advice everyone!

Annie&Tibbers I did download the book, thank you for the link. I've perused a few bits and its very helpful. (actually a lot more helpful than most of the books I have read!)
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Old 01-04-2014, 06:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Welcome! Most hedgehogs are certainly temperamental
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bathing, dry skin, grumpy, new hedgie

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