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Old 07-06-2018, 04:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Questions about Hibernation Avoidance and Threshold

I previously wrote a detailed post about the topic but maybe I forgot to post it so I'm giving my first attempt to seek advice from the community another go. My son and I are first-time hedgehog owners and I have two concerns for upcoming winter. My hope is that with your help I can be certain to avoid any hibernation attempts.

1) During the winter season, our place is kept at 69 degrees. I'm not too concerned about his cage because I have thermostats and proper heating (via heating lamps). Obviously, the room temperature during winter is too low for him, especially considering we have hard wood floors. I am wondering the following:
  • How long would Knuckles (my son's hedgehog) be safe to be out and about for his roaming time in a 69 degree room temperature that has hard wood floors? Would 30 minutes be okay? 60 minutes? Or, none?
  • If such a temperature is not safe, would it be fine for cuddle time on my son's or my lap in that temperature (up against our clothing)?
  • If neither are okay, would using a small space heater for one room be an option or is there another option I am not thinking about (other than just increasing my whole place's room temperature)?
2) During the weekends, my son visits his mother, from Friday to Sunday. I have attached two 42 lumen LED flashlights to his hard plastic travel cage and she also has an efficient cage setup for Knuckles. My concern is when temperatures outside get to freezing or below freezing. Knuckles will be first exposed to a couple minutes of house temperature of 69 degrees and, then, about 1 minute or so of that frigid outside temperature. Consequently, I was wondering the following:
  • Is that amount of exposure safe for Knuckles?
  • While I have hand warmers, would that be enough to safeguard him if he isn't safe with nothing but his cage?
  • Considering that my son--and his hedgehog--will go back and forth each weekend, hand warmers are hardly cost efficient. Is there another way to handle this situation safely?
Any insights or suggestions you guys have would be a great help, particularly with the questions I have specifically posed. Oh, and by the way, I'm too to the forum: Hi. You guys are great: Everything I've read so far has been invaluable.
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Old 07-08-2018, 03:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hi! Welcome to the forum! I only come on here randomly so I feel like I'm not super part of the community but I totally agree, everyone I read from on here is so great lol.

I think it depends on the hedgehog when it comes to their tolerance to cooler temperatures. I've heard of people who's hedgehogs are fine in 23 or 24 degrees celsius (73 and 75 degrees farenheit) but mine has actually shown some signs of starting to hibernate at those temperatures so it depends. I would think though that cuddling should be okay, especially with a blanket over top of them or with them inside a snuggle sack. After all, when a hedgehog does start to hibernate and their belly is cool to the touch the best way to warm them up is by body heat.

I might be a little concerned though for play time in a cooler temperature. Odds are they wouldn't want to run and play anyways if they feel like it's cold. Space heaters work though as long as you can barricade them from the hedgie so they don't burn themselves on it. My hedgehog is in a separate room where I always switch between two oil heaters that I always have on. So if having a room you can heat up for a period of time to play in is something that's doable for you that should be fine.

I'm admittedly a little bit confused with the details of the second part of your question but I'll tell you how I've handled winter travel for my girl. I make sure to heat up the car first, and I keep her bundled up in blankets from the house to the car. I'm assuming that both your cage for the hedgehog and the cage at the mother's place have either ceramic heat emitters or a room that keeps the temperature, so it's really just the transportation that's a concern. And like I said, if you keep the vehicle at a good temperature, a minute or two going straight from the car into the warm cage while being wrapped in a blanket shouldn't be too bad. I have a soft bag that I put my hedgehog in with a blanket for traveling. I keep her on my lap (I don't drive) which I feel like adds a bit of warmth to the bag and blanket she's in as well as the heat on in the car.

I'd keep an eye out though just for any signs of stress. Moving the hedgehog around every weekend could possibly be stressful on them, but I understand you're probably doing it because your son always wants to be with the hedgie. Green poop is a pretty reliable indicator to show if they're stressed so just something to watch for.

I hope this could help
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