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Old 05-11-2018, 08:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 6mo Old Won’t Wheel

So for about 2 months I have been trying every trick I’ve found to get Shadow to use his wheel on his own.
The first month we had him we did not have a wheel as the pet store did not mention it was a staple nor had one in their own containment.
I thought it was too tall for him so I zip-tied the base to the top on the cage. It is stable.
Since I suspended it from the top of the cage he has used it twice. When I first put it up and one random night a few weeks later.

Once a week or so I put a book or my hand up to try and force him to use it for a few minuets. But he mostly wheels to escape or sometimes shakes the wheel in place, which I think is unintentional and that he doesn’t like the feeling.

I’ve tried using food and setting a hand made pillion to make the step down practically a non-issue.

All he wants to do is sleep in his hut and come out to eat, drink and go to the bathroom.
It’s worth mentioning his nails are trimmed but he seems to have been quilling for a month or so. Definitely at it’s peak right now.

I just want him to be happy in his home and to get exercise other than running around the house for an hour.

Is there a way to help him like the wheel?
Should I give up and remove it to give him more space?
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Old 05-11-2018, 08:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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What wheel are you using? How big is the diameter?

What is the temp of the cage? And are you using a lighting schedule?
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Old 05-11-2018, 09:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It is a 12” silent spinner (although I have MacGyver‘d the topple issue with suspension, I am aware of the nails getting caught issue. The store recommended it and at the time I was only aware that wire wheels were a bad choice.)
I have borrowed a friend’s bucket wheel and it bowed under him and he didn’t touch it at all in the near 2 weeks I had it.
Temperature is a steady 78 degrees with a black heat bulb that is on at all times. His light schedule is 7am—7pm. I usually take him out around 10pm-1am. He gets up to eat at 7am, 5pm and 8-9pm that I know of (I work 7a-5p.
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Old 05-12-2018, 05:24 AM   #4 (permalink)
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It could be the Black UV bulb effecting his nighttime activity hence why he only wants to sleep. It is recommended to use CHE (ceramic heat emitter) which emit no light. I first had a red light heating bulb it was plugged into a thermostat so would turn on and off when needed and my boys activity was really low back then. I switched to a CHE and his activity increased. One time I had to revert back to the red heat bulb for one night and that one night my boy did not use his wheel and this was the only time he had never used it, he loves his wheel.

So I'd suggest removing the black bulb and see if his night time activity increases. You need to buy a new lamp fixture suitable for a CHE bulb and definitely use it with a thermostat so it only comes on when required, they get pretty hot.

Also if you're having him out until 1am and then his light schedule begins at 7am that is only 6hrs of darkness = activity. They should get about 12hrs of darkness. Unless you are sitting in the dark during your bonding time? If you don't get him out until 10pm (like me), id move his light schedule until later, so starting at 12pm-12am, I use a light timer for this. Use a blanket to help keep his cage partly dark if the room is naturally light from early morning.

Re the wheel. You already know the issues with a silent spinner, personally I'd stop using it right away and not be encouraging my hedgehog to use it. You only need to look at people's horror stories on here, of their hedgehog's feet getting caught in one and left dangling in the air by it with severe injuries . Most people would recommend a bucket wheel, you can change the height setting and even the angle, which helped my boy get used to it (I tilted it back to stop him from running off it which they seem to do when first using one). How much does your boy weigh? Was it a branded bucket wheel like the Carolina Storm ones or a knock off? Most hogs use them with no problems of bowing. Perhaps your friend's one is faulty/heavily used... Or if your boy is really heavy, perhaps tilting it back would help solve this issue too or using an even bigger diameter/stronger one. My boy weighs around 460-470gs now and has no problems on a CSBW.
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