Wheel interferes with litter training?? - Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 05-01-2016, 12:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Lightbulb Wheel interferes with litter training??

Hi,
I'm a new hedgie owner and I've done LOTS of research before deciding to get my hedgie. One thing I am concerned about is litter training and his wheel. I've read that when attempting to litter train your pet, you should keep the wheel out of the cage because it distracts them and they'll use the bathroom on it instead. But I've also read the contrary where owners state that the wheel does not affect a hedgie's ability to learn where to potty. At this moment, I plan to keep the litter pan in his cage, and once he is litter trained, for the most part, I'll purchase him a wheel.
Is this correct? I don't want him to develop any weight problems, so I did get him a big run-about exercise ball for him to run around in during playtime.
Thanks in advance for all the advice!
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Old 05-01-2016, 02:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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No removing the wheel. Generally speaking, almost every hedgehog will pee and poop on their wheel. It's not something you can control or train out of them - the few hedgehogs that don't potty on their wheel do so out of personal preference. It's not fair to them to remove their main source of exercise and enrichment in order to try & control how and where they use the bathroom. Cleaning a dirty wheel is part of hedgehog ownership & something to get used to. Please make sure you get a wheel before you get your hedgehog & have it available to him right away. The best way to work with them on litter training is to have the litter box under the wheel to catch run-off and keep the mess limited to that area of the cage. Litter training can be hit-or-miss depending on the hedgehog and the wheel isn't going to affect that either way.

That all said, I would personally recommend taking the exercise ball back. They're not recommended for hedgehogs by most people. They have cracks for ventilation that are not only insufficient for proper ventilation, but can risk catching their nails & toes and causing injury. They also don't allow for the hedgehog to do what they typically naturally want to do - find someplace to burrow & hide. This can cause them to panic and be very stressed out, which can be hard to recognize as they don't always just ball up when upset or stressed. Sometimes they just continue running frantically, trying to find a way out or a place to hide. It's best to allow them free roaming time in a hedgehog-proofed room or in a playpen with supervision.
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Old 05-01-2016, 02:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Litter training should never come before the wheel. Hedgehogs should have a wheel with them 24/7; most hedgehogs can't be litter trained well or completely anyway so it wouldn't matter much. Poopy wheels are a part of hedgehog ownership and basically you're lucky if your hedgehog will use a litter box -- but don't expect it.
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Old 05-01-2016, 02:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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To add to the previous answers, in the ball they will pee and pop and the mess will be all over them so you'll have to work harder because not only you'll have to clean the ball but also a dirty hedgie.

There are people on here that will tell you they enjoy the ball because they run in it all the time and they will never take it away but as Lillysmommy said, it's more out of fear, anxiety and panic than out of enjoyment that they run in it.

About the litter training, when I got Ichiro the wheel arrived like 4 days after I got him and he was litter trained in 2 days, great right? Well, after I put the wheel in he forgot about the litter box and took the wheel and litter pan under it as bathroom. I agree the wheel is way more portent than the litter training.
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Old 05-01-2016, 02:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you guys for the info! I'm so glad I asked before I possibly hurt my hedgie! So would it be easier to just not purchase a litter pan and just let him go wherever? That way, the litter pan won't take up space and he can run around more, and I'll save more money.?
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Old 05-01-2016, 02:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think a litter pan is worth it to an extent. I like to have one under the wheel to help contain the mess that comes off. Plus, that can extend the length of time before changing bedding, especially if you're using liners. You can change the substrate in the litter box nightly & it helps keep the cage from getting messy or smelling too quickly. It's not perfect, and they may still potty elsewhere, but it does help a little. And if you have something like a small cookie tray, a plastic food storage tray, etc. that just fits under your wheel, it's not really taking up a lot more space. Those are pretty cheap as well, or you can get some coroplast (I had extra after making Bindi's C&C cage) & make a litter box out of that. I put packing tape along the top edges since coroplast is a bit sharp on the edges.
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