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Old 11-22-2012, 11:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Hibernation for no reason???

Hi HHC... I came home tonight from Thanksgiving dinner to get out my Hedgie and she did not want to unball and her belly and sides were very cold! I am warming her up now and trying to get her to eat bc I know this is a hibernation attempt but I don't know why. None of her environment is changed. The lighting is right and so is the temp- she is 3 yrs old. She has a light on a schedule and thermostat controlled cage... How could this happen?? What can I do??? Help please!
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Old 11-22-2012, 11:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hibernation for no reason???

Don't worry if she doesn't eat right away - just get her warm for now. Let her system recover from the hibernation attempt before it has to deal with digesting food. Is it at all possible that she could have had a draft going through her cage, despite the heating set up? There's also the chance that because she's starting to get a bit older, she might be becoming more temperature-sensitive. This happened with Lily, starting even earlier. She was up to needing the temperature from 78-81 her last year or so, and if it went to even just 76, she'd get cool. Try bumping the temp up a couple of degrees and see how she does.

If she attempts hibernation again even with the temperature higher, or if she has any other symptoms (stops eating or eats less, less activity, change in temperament, etc.), it might be a good idea to schedule a vet appointment - hibernation attempts can sometimes be because they're already sick with something, or they can lead to sickness from lowering the immune system.
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Old 11-22-2012, 11:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hibernation for no reason???

Thanks.. Ill try anything! I don't really want to bump up her temp anymore tho- she's had her cage at 81-84 forever. She's one of those hedgies that prefer it warmer. (I had a hibernation issue when we first got her). As far as a draft goes, she hasn't had any problems before and she has been in the same room/w same light/ temp for months. She has been eating and drinking- the same amount of activity. I guess ill keep an eye on her
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hibernation for no reason???

Does anyone think I should bump up the temp even though its already 84? I'm afraid she might need it warmer? It's been a day and no hibernation attempts but I'm afraid she will try again since I haven't changed anything since her first attempt. Any thoughts? Thanks
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Old 11-23-2012, 11:09 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hibernation for no reason???

84 is quite high...seems strange that she would hibernate at that temperature. That makes me lean more towards something underlying causing the attempt. I'm not 100% sure though, so hopefully you get some more opinions here! I'm glad she hasn't had another attempt yet, at least.
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hibernation for no reason???

Thanks for your help LillysMommy! so far so good- no hibernation! I put her heat disc under her liner last night and this morning she was next to it. I will be gone all day so I am going to put a hand warmer next to her igloo on one side in case she needs to snuggle up to one side. I read something last night that said when females get to be 2 1/2- 3 yrs old thats when they "retire" from being able to have litters and they generally need a temp boost so that they don't try to hibernate. Is that why they need a temp boost? Anyways it snowed here last night for the first time this year so I really need to watch her. Oh my little Munchkin...
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:55 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hibernation for no reason???

It makes no difference if they are retired breeders or not. Some of them once they hit a certain age need more heat and sometimes need the warm cage as well as a heating pad in bed. I've had numerous that needed a heating pad the last couple years of their lives. Interestingly, all were girls.

Also watch her closely for illness. Feel her all over for any lumps or bumps. I've also had a couple of girls that became temperature sensitive and then ended up with an illness a few months later. Of course the question is, did the hibernation attempts weaken their immune system, or did the developing tumours increase their temperature sensitivity.
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Old 12-02-2012, 01:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hibernation for no reason???

I have been monitoring Munchkin's behavior for over a week now and I think I have found her hibernation trigger. Tell me what you think.

I have her on a fairly strict schedule during the week. Bag time at 8:30-10 with lights out at 10. Lights on at 6:30 before I go to work. On the weekends I give her bag time at 10:30-12am with lights out at 12am. Lights on at 9 the next morning. There are some nights when my husband and I visit friends and don't come home until after midnight, so I set a light on a timer to go off at 12am. When I come home I always take her out, check on her, feed her some baby food and then I go to sleep. I get up at 9 to check her and she has attempted hibernation again. When she does this, I notice that there was little activity from her in the cage. Could it be the lack of bag time? Could it be me not waking her up and her having to get up on her own when the light goes out? She has never had an issue with it before, but it has become a pattern from when I set a light on a timer and not give her bag time. Any suggestions? I don't know what else to do except for not go out until 9:30-10 and keep her on a super strict schedule.
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:18 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hibernation for no reason???

Nancy, what do you use as a heating pad and where did you place it? I have a snuggle safe disc but I feel like it gets too hot for her. Plus it cools down when I am at work. I don't want to use an electric pad bc she may chew the wire. Any suggestions would be great! Thanks!
Also, I have noticed that she hasn't been pooping as much as usual but she is eating normally. Could constipation be a trigger?
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:28 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Hibernation for no reason???

I always used a human heating pad set on low and usually wrapped in a towel. The best place for a human heating pad is under the cage so hedgie has no access to the pad. Depending on the temperature of the floor of the cage, sometimes it needed a few layers of towel so the floor wasn't too hot.

There are pet heating pads which I have never used but many people have and have given good reviews. They go right in the cage.

I would try to keep her lighting schedule the same regardless of her bag time. Have the lights out by 10 and if you decide to have her bag time later than that, try using a very dim light or a red light. It may make no difference whatever, but certainly worth a try. Some are very light sensitive and she may have issues with the differing lighting schedule.

As they age, and that includes young ones too, their lighting and heat requirements can change. What they tolerate as babies, they may not at a year old, or two, or three. I've had a few that started hibernation attempts around a year old.

I also suggest keeping a chart of activities, both hers and yours and see if there is something else that could be triggering the attempts other than lighting and bag time. What about your house heating? Do you turn it down at night or when you are away? Sometimes the most unlikely thing could cause an issue.
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