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Old 12-29-2013, 02:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default New owner, not sure what's going on?

First off, I apologize if this question is in the wrong part of the forum, I was moving quickly to get my question up. Okay, so my boyfriend got me a hedgehog for Christmas, I had no idea it was coming, so I was a little unprepared, don't get me wrong, I'm in love with the little girl. The thing is that a lot of the information i have located online is worst case scenario and I'm trying really hard not to freak out just yet. Her name is Glinda (you know . . . cause glinda travels around in a ball,LOL) Well, she was born on November 11th so her paper says and today is december 29th.) She is incredibly friendly, she already follows my scent, every time my hand is in the cage she just runs right on over. I was a little late to the party getting her a wheel, because the first one I got for her was too big she seems to love that thing now. I have aspen in the bottom of the cage. So here is where my question comes in - she looks a little unsteady from side to side when she walks, ocassionally when I touch her feet or belly she is cool to the touch, I have a space heater across the room (I didn't want it too close to her) and I have a digital thermometer on top of her cage that says it's always between 72 and 79. She doens't seem to have any issues waking up, if i disturb her other than normal just-woke-up grogginess. She wouldn't eat for the first day and a half, the breeder told me she needed wet catfood, but she didn't want anything to do with it, she seems to like this last kibble I got, called blue buffalo freedom, she ate that up in the middle of the night. But the shakeyness when she walks . . . is it the aspen bedding making it difficult to walk? is it normal for an aporx. seven week old baby to still be unsteady? I am a little reluctant to put her on the floor to view her walking on a solid surface, because there are other animals in the house and the floor was treated with pesticides a few months ago. I mean she sleeps alot, but that's pretty normal in any baby living thing.... I don't really know how to post a video from my phone, but with some instruction I would be happy to. I would be heartbroken if I'm doing something wrong and she suffers from it I can most certainly text message anyone a video from my iphone if they want to PM me about it.
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Old 12-29-2013, 02:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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She's attempting hibernation, that's what the shakiness and coolness are from. She's not staying warm enough, and the temperature's not staying steady enough. You need to find some way to steady it out - aim for keeping it between 75-77* at all times, especially at night.

To help her right now, get her out of her cage and either put her on a heating pad set on low (and stay with her until she's warm) or put her against you under your shirt or under a sweater. You'll need to keep that up until her belly feels warm to the touch again. If she doesn't warm up within an hour or so, she needs to go to the vet, just in case. Hibernation can be a deadly situation, but it doesn't sound like she's too bad off yet. Make sure you do NOT put her in water at all now or in the next few days. You'll need to stay extra vigilant with the temperature for the next week or so as well, and make sure she doesn't attempt hibernation again. The space heater might be enough, but it might be easier for you to get a CHE set up that will heat just her cage and keep it warm enough and keep the temperature steady. There's more information about those here - https://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forum...implified.html

Another factor for hibernation attempts that's only slightly less important than heat is light. She needs 12-14 hours of light each day and daylight isn't dependable enough. You'll need to make sure there's a light on in her room that gets turned on/off at regular times each day. A timer ($5-10 from Walmart) can make that much easier.

Edit: Forgot to mention that once you have her warmed back up and the temperature issues solved, another thing to keep an eye out for for the next week or so is any symptoms of a URI. That would include sneezing, a stuffy-sounding nose, breathing through her mouth, reluctance to eat, and a runny or often wet nose (which can prompt a lot of nose-licking as well). If you see any of that, get her in to the vet as soon as you can. URIs need medication to get rid of, and without that, they can progress into pneumonia, which can kill a little animal like hedgehogs.

When you have some time to breathe after all of the hibernation & temperature things...here's a great book that I'd recommend you download and read as soon as you can - https://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forum...implified.html It's free to download and has a ton of up-to-date information for new owners. Welcome to the forum, though I wish it was with a little better circumstance! We're happy to have you here though.
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Old 12-29-2013, 02:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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what is a che system?
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Old 12-29-2013, 02:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If you click the link I posted, there's more information about them. CHE stands for ceramic heat emitter. It's a heating set up that looks like a lamp, but the bulb only gives off heat, no light. It's one of the most common ways of heating a hedgehog's cage since it heats only the cage rather than the whole room. It might take you a few days to get all of the parts if you decide to get one though, as thermostats are required & often not found in pet stores (so you have to order online). So make sure you find some way to keep her temperature more steady until you can figure out a more permanent solution.
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Old 12-29-2013, 02:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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okay, I read that page, one further question, where should I keep my thermometer? right now it's on top of the cage bars, it also reads 77 degrees, how on earth is she still cold??
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Old 12-29-2013, 02:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The problem isn't that the temperature is too low - it's that the range is too great. The temperature fluctuating from 72-79 is too much variation and that can cause hibernation attempts too. It's best to keep the temperature in a 2-3* range, which is why CHE set ups are nice (because that's exactly what they do). 72* may be too low for her as well, and most hedgehogs do pretty well around 75*, so an optimal temperature of 75-77* would be best to try and maintain and see if it solves her hibernation issues. Don't forget to make sure she's getting enough light too!

For thermometer placement, most people have a digital thermometer with a probe and either hang the probe a couple inches down into the cage or tape it to the side of the cage, around the middle of that side.
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Old 12-29-2013, 02:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thank you for all your help, I don't know if I can get her to a vet until I get paid again, I have to admit she's been like that for a day or so, but the room was plenty warm....so...I thought maybe she was weak from not eating well at first and you know....being seven weeks...oh my, I hope I haven't hurt her.....
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Old 12-29-2013, 02:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Just make sure you warm her up yourself if she's cold right now. If she's already cool, it's best to give her a little extra help with warming up & make certain she gets warm, then stays that way. Good luck with steadying the temperature out! Definitely check the book out that I linked once you have time, and feel free to ask any more questions if you need to. We're happy to help! I'm sure she'll be fine once you get the temperature issues straightened out. Make sure she continues to eat though, as she will get weak again if she doesn't keep that up.

Edit: It'd be a good idea to start setting aside a bit of money each time you get paid for a vet fund. Exotic vets can be a bit pricey sometimes, and often when a hedgie needs to go to the vet, they need to go in the next couple of days or ASAP rather than the next time you get a paycheck. So it's always nice to have money set aside for a "just in case".
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Old 12-29-2013, 02:55 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Oh, I agree with you and that's sound advice, I usually read up on everything I need to know before I take on such a responsibility. He was trying to be sweet and I had mentioned about a year ago I thought I might like to get one sometime (he's a true animal lover, he raises and breeds snakes currently, but has done so with birds, dogs, horses, and everything else you can think of) do home improvement stores carry the CHE? I would assume they have a thermostat.
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Old 12-29-2013, 03:00 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I'm not sure if they would...generally I only see or hear of the parts being in pet stores since they're usually meant for reptiles. I know you can sometimes find lamps in home improvement stores, but you'll need to double check that they're rated for use with CHEs. I've read varying reports about whether you can find CHE-safe lamps at those stores or not.
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