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Topic Review (Newest First)
10-29-2012 09:50 PM
Re: Thinking about getting a Hedgie, but have some q's

Cons: A LOT of poop. Like you will be amazed how big they are and how much there is, I've had a hedgie for over a year and I still cant get over it haha. Babies will poop a ton more than the adults, and it will be smellier too. Don't be afraid of a poopy wheel either. A poopy wheel means a healthy hedgie. They are expensive, and not just for the hedgie itself, but with all proper supplies it can cost a pretty penny. And they need space, meaning a cage at least 2x2 ft is recommended to be sure there is space for everything they need and a little leg room too. They do need heat, but CHE (Ceramic Heat Emitter) are preferred over heat lamps because they need constant heat bwtween 72-80F (75F is usually most comfortable) but only 12-14 hrs of light each day so keeping the lamp on can be disruptive to their inner clocks and cause hibernation attempts. Thats another thing you have to worry about. Since African Pygmy Hedgehogs are a hybrid breed of two different African species, they are not equipped for hibernation and it can be fatal. Let's see...biting. Biting is pretty much a last resort for a hedgie that is terrified, but there is a big difference between their terrified biting and curiosity nibbling. Fear chomps will hurt and are capable of drawing blood but that only happens if the hedgie is seriously angry or scared, and the best way to react to that is to not react at all. You have to teach the hedgie that biting will not get them their way, and keep handling the hedgie regardless. Curiosity bites are when a smell or something intrigues the hedgie and they try to figure out if its food or if it will hurt them. These are usually small little nips and dont really hurt, and usually lead to anointing. And lastly, attitude. Each hedgehog has their own personality, and despite how much effort is put into bonding, there are some rare hedgies that will just never become friendly. You have to be prepared to accept and love your hedgie even if they never warm up to you.They will never come when you call (or even recognize their names), they will never wag their tails or brush against you for affection. Usually though, a hedgie that is exposed to a lot of new experiences and people tends to become friendlier and maybe even cuddly. But it is possible that will enough time, patience, and care your new hedgie will learn to love or at least tolerate you haha.
10-29-2012 09:34 PM
Re: Thinking about getting a Hedgie, but have some q's

For me fleece is the easiest and I just cleaned it out everyday. I have about 14 liners and double them up then wash them once a week. I find it much easier than cleaning out bedding, because I always found that the dust particles of the bedding get all stuck to the pee and the whole mess sticks to the bottom of the cage and then I have to scrub it out. Also with hedgehog quills you can expect any particle bedding to get everywhere, it gets all stuck in the quills and in the hedgehog ball if the hedgehog balls up when you pick him up, then when he unballs out of the cage he leaves the bedding behind. It also gets piled into water dishes and personally I would never us a water bottle with a hedgehog, I just don't think they are safe for hedgehogs. I also found that my hedgehog right now only does about 2-3 big poops and 2 big pees a night. He does these while he's running around the apartment during his out of cage time, so I clean them up right away. During the night in his cage he only does a few little poops. If your hedgehog ends up mostly pooping and peeing on the wheel the fleece will not get as smelly.

Hedgehogs in general are great lap pets. They are warm, flat quills are awesome to pet and it's such a heart warming moment when you get to the point where you can pet flat quills if you've had a long bonding time. I used to sit for hours with a hedgehog on my lap or beside me on the chair or splatted on my belly if I was laying down, I loved it. That being said my current hedgehog is not cuddly at all. He is the squirmiest hedgehog I've ever seen I cannot get him to sit still for anything he just runs, he barely ever raises his quills or balls up and I can pet him but he doesn't like to sit still with us.

If you're still not sure about a hedgehog I would recommend mice as a small, easy to care for, social mammal. My female mice became crazy social and were so friendly. I used to put a towel out on our coffee table or kitchen table for them to run around on and my first female was an only mouse for a while so she would sit on my shoulder while I was washing dishes or sit in my lap/crawl on me while I was watching TV, I was able to spend so much time with her and then when I didn't have as much time I got her some friends and they tamed so fast because they saw she wasn't afraid of us. They were awesome pets and even friendly to strangers after they got used to us. They would come to the edge of the cage and stick their nose out between the bars when they wanted attention. My first female even came to the sound of my voice and would climb on my hands if she was out on the table and wanted to go back to her cage. I think since you've had rats you probably have an idea of how great a pet a mouse would be. If you only want one you could get a male although male's are supposed to smell more (I've never had a male so I don't know).
10-29-2012 08:56 PM
Re: Thinking about getting a Hedgie, but have some q's

Personality varies a lot, but in general babies from breeders have good temperaments - though it may not be apparent right away since when you get them at 6-8 weeks, you'll have to deal with some amount of quilling. If you want to be sure about the personality you're getting, go for an adult. Breeders often will have retired breeding females available for a reduced price, and their personality will already be "set" - you won't have the quilling period. Usually even adults, as long as they're not very grumpy and defensive adults, are just as capable of bonding as babies are. With a baby, a lot of it is the amount they were handled as babies, before going to a new home, but also how much you handle them in the first few months as they're going through quilling and still developing their adult personalities. I like to think of it as similar to socializing a puppy - if you expose them to all sorts of different places, sounds, smells, people, etc, you'll have a much more relaxed and less defensive hedgehog. Some of them will still have a grumpy streak regardless, but for me it's the distinct personalities that make hedgehogs so lovable.

Even "good" temperaments have a wide range from cuddly to insanely active and adventurous, and everything in between. We have 20 right now - five of those are downright cuddlers and never raise their quills, two are very similar but with a little bit of prickle, six are very friendly but more active and less snuggly, two are currently fairly grumpy from quilling, and the others are some combination of friendly and independent - happier doing their own thing but not "grumpy" by any means. Archimedes, my first hedgehog, was incredibly well socialized as well as being from a fantastic breeder, and he manages to be something of an "ambassador" while still being kind of territorial of his cage and having more of a grumpy streak than most of the others. We still adore him, and even he has his cuddly moments and will "splat" and fall asleep on one of us. There's definitely not a single "type" by any means.
10-29-2012 08:55 PM
Re: Thinking about getting a Hedgie, but have some q's

I'll add my two cents. It's personal preference. Are you a night person, then yes. Do you want something that sleeps in your lap while you do things, then yes. You can also use a "baby" pouch to help you bond while your at home.

I play with my bird and geckos between 7-11pm and then my hedgehog after that. Mornings are for spot cleaning cages, cleaning the wheel/litter pan, spraying water in the geckos and red-eyed tree frogs cages, changing out water dishes and fresh foods in all and then checking the cricket/mealworm/waxworm cages for water gel and food.

I personally like the fleece. Mimzy usually uses the wheel and litter pan (lined with paper towels). She only sometimes poops on the fleece. Easy to spot clean with a baby wipe. Sometimes, her poop will stink and sometimes not. I guess it depends on what she's been eating.

Mimzy is grumpy when I first wake her up but she gets over that quick - and she is doing her 8 wk quilling! I spot clean spines too.

It all depends on what you will put up with and it sounds like you've had reptiles and small animals b4 - so good luck!
10-29-2012 08:18 PM
Re: Thinking about getting a Hedgie, but have some q's

A rat cage with many levels isn't really going to work unless you modify it with barriers and ramps because they will fall off. I personally use a large rabbit cage. A guinea pig cage is going to be too small, unless you get a very large one?

As for the smell, it really depends. I've had three hedgehogs, some had poop and were smellier than others. The one I have now works fine with fleece liners as she only poops on her wheel and in her litter box, but I had another guy who would just crap all over the place regardless and that didn't really work for him. With wood shavings you have to be a little careful cause they've been known to get caught in sensitive areas. The worst smelling thing is when they poop on their wheel and then run on it, sometimes that smell can linger is it's fresh but you'll probably be sleeping when that happens. They aren't like rats or bunnies though where you can just smell it coming out their cage after one day.

Some hedgehogs can be super grumpy, or super friendly, or somewhere in between. In my experience, I have had two rescues, and one from a breeder. The one I got from the breeder has been the friendliest hedgehog I've had, I'm sure because of all the handling she got as a hoglet, but she can still be grumpy.

As for snuggly? I wouldn't count on it. Most won't cuddle with you, unless you consider them sleeping in a bag on your lap snuggling. I don't find much interaction either, with all my hedgehogs when I'd take them out what would usually happen is they would run away from me looking for a place to sleep. If you pick them up, they will usually just try to get down. I would definitely say that most "tolerate" human interaction as opposed to actually enjoying it. They will "sleep" while you watch the tele, work on art or play video games but they probably won't just sit there. I think most of the time they'd rather be left alone, lol.

As for cons, sometimes they can draw blood when they bite, you have to clip their nails and its a huge pain in the ass (some are better than others), and I find them to be illness prone, a lot of them get tumours/cancers when they get older, or have quill loss, mites etc.

BUUUUUUT after all that they are still awesome pets! and I'm sure you would enjoy one if you got one
10-29-2012 02:03 PM
Re: Thinking about getting a Hedgie, but have some q's

Good Just remember though, higher than 80 heat can be just as bad for a hedgie as the low temps, so be careful
10-29-2012 01:57 PM
Re: Thinking about getting a Hedgie, but have some q's

Regarding heat, it isn't a worry with me- I have several heaters on at all times in my room for the reotiles within, so it hovers between 80-90 degrees, the lowest is around 75. Nocturnal or dinural pets are definately for me, an office worker! haha!
10-29-2012 01:33 PM
Re: Thinking about getting a Hedgie, but have some q's

I found the fleece smelly as well since mine refuses to go on his litter box and he poops a lot in his cage. The positive side is he doesn't poop much on his wheel since he usually stops to poop somewhere in his cage. I use finacard.
There are a lot of options when it comes to the cage, but they need quite a lot of space for such small animals (I can see mine really enjoys his current cage more than his first one, which was smaller - 40x20 inch). The wheel and everything takes up a lot of space.
Some people connect 2 bins with a pipe. For the burrowing behaviour, I have fleece strips in his sleeping hut and he has a dig box with small river pebbles. He doesn't dig much in the substrate.

Good luck with making your choice
10-29-2012 01:32 PM
Re: Thinking about getting a Hedgie, but have some q's

I found that with the fleece, Auri's cage smelled far better and it was easier to clean. You save money by being able to wash the fleece vs buying bags of bedding. I don't recommended the shavings, as they can get caught in bad places and can also harbor mites. With Auri, I put a cookie sheet ($1 at walmar) under her wheel with some paper towels, and when she poops/pees on her wheel, I found that the tray catches it just fine. She rarely, if ever, poops on the actual fleece itself.

As far as temperament - some can be cuddly, and some can be huffy. Each hog has their own personality - and it's not likely to change because you want it to :P

How are you with temperatures? They constantly have to be at 72-80 degrees F or they will attempt hibernation and that is not good for them.

Cage wise, they need a hide away, and a wheel (I have a 12inch wheel and an igloo) - some can use water bottles, while other prefer bowls. As for their food, some of the foods are expensive to get, but last a while considering they only need to eat about 2 tbsp of food a day. I use a smart pet rabbit cage for Auri - she likes it, but I feel it's a bit small, so we will be building her a C&C cage soon. They cannot be in wire cages if there isn't a solid bottom and sides that they cannot climb, and solid glass tanks are terrible for them because of bad ventillation. If you have the time, building the C&C is best

And as a typical pet owner, you know that hedgies require the same amount of attention and love as a cat or a dog would. They have vet bills, and they aren't very willing to tell you when something is wrong! They are nocturnal, so if you're never around at night, or can't give them their attention when they are willing to be awake, a different pet option might be best!

Good luck!
10-29-2012 01:18 PM
Re: Thinking about getting a Hedgie, but have some q's

Hm, either or works for me. I have some sterelite bins left from when I kept snakes in them, before I built my display cage- I will take a look at the example thread! I'm glad to hear there are various options- I've been tossing between sugar gliders, hedgies and a few other things, but sadly my ferret cage won't fit in my room with the arrangement I am in now, so large/medium exotics are out for now!

I'm a bit biased against fleece, to be honest. I found it smelled worse, and was harder to spot clean, because my rats (the animals I had with the fleece) would go all over it and didn't like their litter box. I'd also like to allow for natural burrowing behavoiur. I would not be averse to trying it at first to see how it works out and keeping if it does though!

The behavour definately sounds like a mix of cat and skink, haha! Misha will come out and settle on me but she doesn't NEED it. This is the part that goes most into consideration for me, especially right now. I love the lil guys but are we compatible at this point in my life, is the big question!

I hope to hear more input to steer me one way or another!
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