Possible hibernation attempt...? - Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 01-03-2016, 06:18 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation Possible hibernation attempt...?

Last night I believe I might have had a hibernation attempt.

My smaller hedgehog is typically pretty grumpy and has a hissy fit every time I do anything around the cage and when I go to feed him he always runs out to eat right away. I was out of the country for the last two weeks and only got home the day before but was still very concerned when he wasn't hissing when I filled both his food and water. I tried nudging him to get him hissing and when he didn't even after I pulled him out of his cage I knew something must be wrong. He and his blankets weren't very much warmer than anything else in the room and his breathing was significantly slower and lighter than usual.

I immediately wrapped him in a clean blanket and built a nest out of a second larger blanket. I put that on my lap and sat next to the small fireplace in my room (gas powered with a glass cover so no worries of his ending up in it) for about a half hour. He started responding a little but I was still quite concerned so I put him (still wrapped in the first blanket) into a small cage and put his food next to him and took a shower hoping he would be a little more recovered by the time I was done. After getting out he had crawled out a little to get closer to the fireplace and when I offered him water he drank a pretty good amount, and then ate which made me feel a lot better. He was still pretty lethargic and as my other hedgehog ate and went straight back to his dome (which is very unusual for him, he usually runs right after eating) I was still pretty worried for both of them so I moved the cage to my room for the night since it was significantly warmer after having the fire going for over an hour in such a small room.

I'd keep them in here permanently but I really don't have very much room. I'm not unwilling but a different solution would be ideal.

I moved in with my cousins this past August and am not allowed to use a space heater as I am in the basement which is a very large area to keep at 73F and since my cousin's husband is a firefighter who, from what I've heard, has seen a good number of fires caused by space heaters. It wasn't a huge problem up until now but since it is getting pretty cold outside (20F give or take at night) it's getting colder inside. I would guess the basement they (and I) are in is getting to 65 give or take so I've been worried about this happening since before winter started. If anyone knows of solutions that do not include a heat lamp or space heater I'd love to hear them. I haven't talked to them yet about what I would be allowed to use but as I'm very jet-lagged and it's about 4 in the morning, I haven't had a chance yet.

Just trying to get some brain storming in since I know they will want to hear whatever different options I know of before deciding anything. Please let me know if you have any ideas!
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Old 01-03-2016, 08:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds like an hibernation attempt. Next time he feels cold and is lethargic, put him directly on your skin (under your shirt is easiest) this will warm him up. Never give him a bath since it'll only make him colder after.

You will need a heating system. ASAP. 65F is way too cold - you need an evenly heated cage of about 75F, no colder than 72F, which is already on the cold side. The best way to achieve this is by using a CHE (ceramic heat emitter) set on a thermostat. The thermostat will regulate the temperature and turn the lamp on or off when needed. With such a cold room, you will probably need at least one 150W CHE, possibly two depending on cage size and type of cage. If you're not allowed to keep any type of heating devices in the basement you need to find another room where you can give him a proper heating set up, and if that's not possible, need to find him another owner who can provide basic care - there really is no way around heating the cage, it is an absolute must. I don't think ceramic heat emitters have started many firers (none that I know of, at least) but your hedgehog will get sick and possibly die if the cage is not heated.
Also, the cage needs to be evenly heated and without much fluctuation, so your room with the fire is not going to provide the needed heat.

Are you keeping your hedgehogs together? Are they both males?
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Last edited by Draenog; 01-03-2016 at 08:39 AM.
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cold, heating, hibernation, hibernation attempt, please help

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