2nd Hibernation Attempt - Hedgehog Central Hedgehog pet care & owner forum
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Old 01-26-2017, 12:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy 2nd Hibernation Attempt

My hedgie is almost 2 years old and she just experienced her 2nd hibernation attempt 2 weekends ago.

About a year ago, my mother in law was taking care of her and didn't realize she got her fleece blanket in her water dish and wrapped it around herself. She was stiff and it took about 30 minutes to "come to" after I got home and warmed her up under my shirt.

We have been OK ever since. We have a CHE and she has plenty of blankets that she burrows under. Typically the CHE keeps her cage around 72-78F (depending on the air outside of the cage, which is typically around 68). We have never had issues since we got the CHE until this past attempt.

I checked on her after work and her temperature seemed fine, around 73, but she was cold. She wasn't as stiff as the first attempt, but her belly took about 30 minutes to warm up. She was acting slow but not as bad as the first time around.

Ever since, we have done everything we can to heat her up and have been paying close attention to the lighting in her room (I'm suspecting the winter light has been the issue and just purchased a timer). However, this morning her belly was cold again (not AS cold, but definitely not her usual snuggly warmth). It's happened 3 times since her 2nd attempt and I'm getting really worried about her. She's still eating, drinking, pooping, and running on a regular basis. Do you think she needs to see a vet?

I also just ordered this for additional heat: https://www.amazon.com/Manufacturing...+for+hedgehogs

it says it only heats to their recommended body temperature and I am hoping she will be OK with it in her cage (of course, she is picky and gets mad/stressed when we put new things in her cage).

Any suggestions are appreciated!! She also has dry skin and I would love to give her an oatmeal bath with a little olive oil, but of course I haven't been able to since the attempt!
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Old 01-26-2017, 01:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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How large is her cage? do you have a thermostat that you check daily / check every area of her cage? have you checked for drafts? I took a candle and put it in various areas of hedgies cage (while he wasn't in it, of course) to see if the flame flickered at all. If you suspect a draft or cooler areas of the cage you can try putting fleece around her cage at night (leaving a space for the heat to get in of course.) Some hedgies prefer warmer temps, you could try moving the CHE lower so its warmer or getting a larger bulb (if your lamp permits.) You could also try a warm mist humidifer by her cage (not inside.) it will heat the air a little and help improve her skin. Again, only speaking from my personal experiences - not a breeder or expert
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Old 01-26-2017, 01:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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How big is your cage? You may need to set up second CHE to help keep the temperature higher throughout the cage. I have a four square foot cage, and am considering adding a second CHE, even though we keep our home warmer. A breeder told me that after a hibernation attempt, they're more susceptible to further attempts, and therefore may need a higher temp (same is true for older hedgies).

I personally wouldn't use a heat pad, even though it says it's for small animals. If it malfunctions, it could cause low degree burns to the hedgie, and also be a fire hazard. Plus, some hedgies enjoy the warm spot too much, and won't come out to wheel, etc. I would hook a second dome and CHE bulb up instead!
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Old 01-26-2017, 01:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Heating pads are not recommended for hedgehogs since they need the air warm. How about a small space heater with a. Thermostat?
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Old 01-26-2017, 01:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thank you both!! We use a large tote as her cage and we do have a digital thermometer that is inside of the cage to read an accurate inside temperature. Good point about her staying on the heating pad, I didn't even think of that!! I don't think there are any drafts as her cage is located on an inside wall, upstairs, in a house. In fact, she is very close to the heat vent (not right up against it). I am going to keep monitoring her light/heat closely and if there are any signs of illness will reach out to the vet.
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Old 01-26-2017, 01:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I agree - I was thinking more of an additional source of heat when she's cold as the CHE doesn't seem to be getting her cage warm enough. I suppose a second CHE might be better, but her cage is not that big.
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Old 01-26-2017, 02:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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If her cage is close to the heating vent, there can still be a draft that messes with the temperature (warm or not) and hedgies are sensitive to drafts! You might want to light a candle, and hold it in several areas near her cage. If the flame flickers, there may be a draft that is hitting the cage. It took several of these checks for me to find a draft free spot for Hazel!


For your tote, what wattage CHE bulb are you using? It might be worth going up in wattage to see if that will help with the heat. Also, a 10" dome spreads the heat better than an 8" dome!
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Old 01-26-2017, 03:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thank you so much for the tips!! I need to try this!!

I honestly don't remember what wattage bulb or size dome I have. When I got it a year or so ago after the first hibernation attempt I looked all over these forums for suggestions! A higher wattage bulb could definitely do the trick! I am going to check out our pet store nearby to see if they carry any.
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Old 01-26-2017, 03:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yes, I use a 150watt to heat my four square foot cage, and it works fairly well. You can usually find the CHE bulbs at the major suppliers like Petco or Petsmart, but you can also get them a little cheaper at Amazon.com.

Measure the opening of your dome, as you could always purchase a 10" one to see if that helps spread the heat better.
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Old 01-26-2017, 05:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Do you have the CHE plugged into a thermostat controller? A thermostat will turn the CHE on and off as needed to hold the temperature steady. Even a few degrees of fluctuation can cause a hibernation for some hedgehogs.
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