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Old 08-28-2014, 10:22 AM   #41 (permalink)
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... for hibernation attempts.

Usually I bump this up in early August so I'm late this year. We are into a risky period for hibernation attempts. The shorter days and cool night put our little ones at higher risk of hibernation and it's time have heating and lighting set up if you don't already.

As an example of what happens at this time of year, last night my hedgie room was 82F. This morning it was 73F. Rarely does my house ever cool off that quickly but this time it did. Thankfully, everyone was fine. Phew!

Do you have an accurate digital thermometer? This is high priority and nobody can accurately guess the temperature of the hedgehogs cage without one. A thermometer should be one of the first things purchased before you get a hedgehog.

Is the area hedgie is in draft free, away from windows, off floor level and preferably on an inside wall. Regardless of how new your windows are, in front of a window is cooler than away from a window. Floor level is the coldest part of a room. Sitting the cage on a table is a warmer location. Exterior walls are always cooler than an interior wall. Draft zones are near the bottom of stairways, near windows, floor level, near furnace ducts, and near outside doors.

Temperature is important. Although it is generally recommended they need temperatures at or above 73F/23C, this is often not warm enough. Most hedgehogs seem to like 75F/24C but there are some that even this is not warm enough. Each hedgehog is individual and just because it's parents or siblings are comfortable at 73, doesn't mean yours will be. If a breeder tells you their hedgehogs are fine without extra warmth, don't pay attention. Most hedgehogs are not fine at the temperatures most of us keep our houses at.

Using supplemental lighting is a must at this time of year. With shorter days, less intense sunlight, and more dull dark days, light coming in a window is not enough. All that is required is to leave a light on near the cage from 7ish am until 9ish pm. Some people recommend a broad spectrum light and this is fine to use but a regular light will work as well. Some hedgehogs are really light sensitive and will attempt hibernation if they are not getting enough light. Even though they are in their dark hedgie bag or igloo, they still must have adequate light. It's best to either put the light on a timer, or make sure you remember to turn the light on.

Signs of hibernation or being too cool
If your hedgehog is in a full hibernation attempt it will be in a curled up quilly ball and be unresponsive. Cold radiates from their body. This is serious and the hedgehog needs to be warmed up immediately but slowly.

Put hedgie under your clothing so he can warm up slowly. If you have a human heating pad, you can set it on low, lay it on your lap and set hedgie on it. Make sure hedgie is not warming up too quickly. NEVER leave an unresponsive hedgehog on a heating pad or any heating device.

Depending on how long hedgie has been trying to hibernate, he may come out of it within a few minutes or it could be half an hour or more. If hedgie is not responding within 45 to 60 minutes of warming, he needs to see a vet immediately. This is an emergency life and death situation.

When hedgie first comes out of it, he will be wobbly on his feet and be a bit disoriented. This should go away fairly soon.

After hedgie has attempted hibernation, his cage needs to be kept a couple of degrees warmer. The chance of him attempting it again within the next week or two is high so make sure he doesn't not risk getting cold again.

Sometimes hedgie is not quite warm enough but is not at the point of a full hibernation attempt. Decreased appetite and less activity are two signs hedgie is not warm enough. His body may feel slightly cool but he will still be responsive. Sometimes they may be wobbly on their feet and lethargic. Hedgie needs a warmer cage.

DO NOT put hedgie in a bath. This is the worst thing you can do but unfortunately often it's the first thing people think to do. The sudden warm of the water shocks their system. There is risk that hedgie will aspirate some water. Once done hedgie is wet and at even more risk of getting chilled.

Hibernation attempts lower their immune system which leave them open to respiratory infections, mite outbreaks and other diseases. Some wonder if repeated hibernation attempts make the hedgehog more at risk of cancers and other diseases. Hibernation attempts should not be taken lightly.

Don't ever assume your hedgehog will not need a heat source. Most do. If you are not comfortable leaving a heating device on 24/7 or while no one is at home, a hedgehog is not the pet for you.
* * * Nancy * * *

Retired from breeding

Rescue contact for both the Hedgehog Welfare Society and the IHA
Rescued over 70 (and counting) hedgehogs needing a new home


Last edited by Lilysmommy; 08-28-2014 at 11:46 AM. Reason: "thermostat" to "thermometer"
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Old 01-01-2016, 04:45 PM   #42 (permalink)
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Default How to Control Heating EASY

There's an easy way to control heating.

First, get a ceramic heat emitter. Zoo Med, Blue Spotted, or a space heater. I use Blue Spotted 60W (50-70W work best).

Then, I bought a Zoo Med thermostat. When I set it to 20/21 degrees c, it only turns on if the temperature is too low, and turns off if its too high. It works great and saves a lot of power!

Personally, I think people overreact with keeping your hedgie in a high temperature. 20 degrees is fine for my hedgie. My house temperature during the day is 20, and at night is 17, then I turn on the thermostat and ceramic heat emitter.

Hope this helps!
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Old 01-01-2016, 05:56 PM   #43 (permalink)
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You may think it's fine. It may be fine. Until your hedgehog disagrees and comes down with either a URI or attempts hibernation. My first hedgehog was fine her first winter at 20 because my breeder told me she didn't need additional heat, that house temperature was fine for her. It was a miracle that she made it through that first winter. I didn't find the forum until January, and when I realized that the breeder was wrong, I had to argue quite a bit with my mom to get proper heating supplies for Lily. I started keeping her at a higher temperature, around 73F (22.7C) and things were fine. The next autumn, in September, she started hibernation attempts, she was around 1.5 years. She continued to have attempts until I had to keep the temperature at 78-81F constantly in order to keep her from attempting hibernation. I still wonder if not keeping her warm enough initially had anything to do with it or not. Some hedgehogs are more sensitive to temperature than others. Some might need it cooler, some need it warmer. IMO, leaving your hedgehog at 20C/68F is just asking for trouble.
~*~*~ Kelsey ~*~*~

RIP my sweet Lily ~ 6/12/08 - 1/20/12
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Old 01-01-2016, 06:08 PM   #44 (permalink)
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This goes for anything you do.
You can choose to learn from your mistakes. You can choose to learn from others mistakes. Or you choose to continue making the same mistakes.

It may seem to be overreacting. I would safely bet that those of us who are the most adamant about avoiding hibernation have learned from our mistakes and hope others can learn from our experiences.
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Old 01-01-2016, 06:42 PM   #45 (permalink)
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I just wrote up a thread about this, as I'm currently dealing with the repercussions of not remembering what I've learned from past mistakes (or more accurately, Bindi's dealing with the repercussions ) - https://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forum...need-heat.html
~*~*~ Kelsey ~*~*~

RIP my sweet Lily ~ 6/12/08 - 1/20/12
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