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Old 12-03-2015, 11:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Won't stop attempting hibernation

My hedgie Lola attempted hibernation last week. The temperature on the thermostat in the room she is in read 75 degrees. We warmed her up right away and bumped up the temperature to 77-78 degrees. Today when I got her out, she was in a tight ball and had an extremely cold belly; just like the time last week when she attempted hibernation. We warmed her up again and bumped the temp up to 80 degrees. When she was thoroughly warm and active again(about an hour), we put her back in her cage. I wanted to check on her one more time for the night, so I just got her out of the cage a few minutes ago. She was in a ball again and I could tell she was getting cold again. She was not as cold as earlier today, but cool to the touch. She was not lethargic or anything this time, but she seemed like she was going to attempt hibernation AGAIN. I don't think that 80 degrees is too cold... I have read that 82 degrees is the warmest you should keep hedgies before they get too hot. Any advice on why she is doing this and how to prevent it?

Side note: I have another hedgie Penelope who is almost 2 and has never attempted hibernation. Back when we got her, we didn't even know hedgehog hibernation was a thing, and I just kept her at room temp. She has never been a problem. She and Lola have cages in the same room and I'm worried if I bump up the temperature to 82 degrees, Penelope will get too hot. Is that something i should be worried about as well?
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Old 12-03-2015, 11:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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With hedgehogs it's very hard for it to be too hot. They handle too hot much better than too cold. Not that there isn't a too hot, and it will vary among individuals, but it is less of a worry.

My first question is what is Lola's light schedule like? It's not just temperatures that can cause hibernation. Days that are too short can as well. Typically we advise having a steady light schedule of 12-14 hours a day to simulate long summery days. This can be accomplished with just a regular lamp on a timer. We see a lot of posts about hibernation attempts this time of year because the days got shorter and all those hedgehogs decided winter was upon them and it was time to hibernate.

Either way, since there have been multiple attempts at this in such a short period of time, it is definitely time to get to the vet. The sooner the better. They may be something else going on. Either because of the hibernation attempts, or as an additional cause of the hibernation attempts. URI's are common afterward which can lead to other problems.

Some hedgehogs are also just simply very temperature sensitive. You may have one of those. You may need to keep her at 80+ from here on out. But get to the vet first and go from there. Let us know how it goes!
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Old 12-03-2015, 11:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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First, a question - do the hedgehogs have a light schedule of 12-14 hours of light during the day, that is not dependent on natural light? Some can be more sensitive to this than others, and lack of light can cause hibernation attempts.

Some hedgehogs can become very temperature sensitive, but this seems to be very sudden to me. In my experience, Lily had several attempts, but over a period of weeks/months until we got to 78-81F as her comfortable range. The temperature is highly dependent on hedgehog - My room got up to 86F during the summer sometimes & Lily never seemed bothered by it (though it made me nervous). Whereas some hedgehogs can be too warm at 78F, even though that's within the recommended range.

If it were me, I would schedule a vet visit for Lola, if you're sure that the attempts aren't light-related. Sometimes hibernation attempts can be caused because there's something else going on & they can't keep their body temperature up.

If it turns out there's nothing wrong health-related, I would get a CHE set up for Lola's cage so that you can keep the temperature higher & see if it keeps her comfortable, without the room being too warm for Penelope. As far as Penelope's comfort, watch her body language - if she's too warm, she'll show it by splatting out on her stomach, being more lethargic, having cool-ish, clammy skin (not cold as in a hibernation attempt, but it'll feel like she's sweating because she is), drinking more water, or even panting (in which case she needs to be cooled right away, but carefully).

Edit: Sorry for repeat info, Shiny & I were posting at the same time!
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Old 12-03-2015, 11:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thank you both for your advice! I think I will be going to pick up a CHE to keep Lola's cage a little warmer. I also think a vet visit is a good idea as well. I didn't know her hibernation attempts were too close together for it to be typical.
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Old 12-03-2015, 11:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Also, the answer your questions, their light cycle is artificial and goes on at around 8 in the morning and goes off around 9 at night. So I don't think that it is light related.
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Old 12-03-2015, 11:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Are you measuring the temperature in the cage or the room? Is the temperature consistent 24 hours a day, or is it cooler at night? Also is the temperature the same through her entire cage or does she have a cooler side?
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Old 12-04-2015, 12:06 AM   #7 (permalink)
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The thermometer reads a low of 78 degrees on it, so it might go down at night even though I set the heater on 80 degrees. The side of her cage where she sleeps also is next to a wall on the opposite side of the heater, so that could be it as well. I think I'm going to take Lilysmommy's suggestion and get a CHE for her to keep her entire cage warm. (even the side by the wall)
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Old 12-04-2015, 12:54 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Make sure if you get the CHE that you also get a fixture rated for a CHE, not all fixtures are rated for them. You'll also need a thermostat for the CHE so it will turn on and off when needed to keep the cage a constant temperature.
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Old 12-04-2015, 01:14 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Honestly, I've kept Tinkerball's cage at 84 degrees since her hibernation attempt last winter, and she does fine. (Although I'm measuring the temperature from the middle of the cage and it wouldn't surprise me if the ends that her bed and wheel are on are a bit cooler.) She's still very active and still sleeps under her blankets. I've also never seen her "splat" in her cage, just on a water bottle on my lap.
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