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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay so here's my issue. I work at a reptile shop, have owned reptiles all my life and my coworker and I pride ourselves in providing the best first-hand knowledge to all our customers. Well, our shop was recently bought out and the new owner decided to throw exotic mammals into the mix, the first of which being hedgehogs. We've been doing quite a bit of research trying to figure out what to feed these guys, what temperature to keep them at, etc. We have a friend/customer that has a hegie and she's been helping us a little, but I wanted to get some second and third opinions. I've been looking through books for info but can't find much more than natural history, information on bathing, etc. but nothing on simple care.

The first issue is sexing them. From what I've read, I'm looking for a "belly button" on a male? We have 3 hedgies in one cage approximately 3' x 3'. We haven't noticed any fighting other than one instance of fighting over a superworm. However, I'm not sure what's going on at night so I want to be sure they're all females.

Second, I'm not sure if these are African or European hedgies, what is the difference, how can I tell?
Here's a picture of them:


Third, we are currently keeping them on aspen bedding. They seem to possibly be coughing from it, or is this just a normal noise they make? I saw on here somewhere to use fleece liners but I'm not sure if we'd be able to acquire that. If not, what is the best type of bedding for them?

Any other info you can give me would be greatly appreciated. We are trying desperately not to be a stereotypical pet store selling animals we know nothing about and I would hate for anything to happen to the little guys :( The only mammals we've ever kept are dogs and cats so we have absolutely NO experience with any type of small mammals. Thanks in advance!
 

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1. If you cant tell, then they really dont need to be in the same cage. they need a wheel and an igloo. superworms shouldnt be fed unless you cut the head off first.

2. they are definitely african pygmy. be sure and feed them low fat,/ high portein cat food from the list in the nutrition link. hedgehog food is bad at best, and lethal in some cases.

3. fleece liners arent that hard to get, you can just get fleece blanket and cut it to fit the floor. the bedding in the pic looks more like mulch. if you use aspen it should be kiln dried shavings and as dust free as possible. or carefresh is another option.

you can read all through the forums and find alot more answers to you questions
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Like I said, they were dumped on us and I'm trying to learn as much as possible. We gave them a wheel and some half-logs that they sleep in. We're feeding them a cat food that looked good from what we read at a book, meat as first ingredients, etc. but I think the fat content may be too high. I forget the brand but I'll write down the name tomorrow. The hedgehog food we got from our supplier (after the hedgehogs arrived, which is why I went and got them cat food) is 8-in1 which I noticed was on the "good list" of hedgehog foods. However, I am a firm disbeliever in processed pet foods and I know the deal with all that...since we are a reptile shop we have access to crickets, superworms, mealworms, and waxowrms. The shop stays at about 70 degrees right now and we have an infrared bulb over them.
 

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please dont misconstrue what i said as criticism, i was just numbering them more for my benifit so i could make sure i was covering all of the points you mentioned....they really need 15% fat or less....what kind of wheel do you have them on? it must be a solid bottom to keep them from hurting themselves. and 70 is a little cool...you may want to use a ceramic heat emitter with a thermostat....i would be afraid the ir light would cook them...lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
70 is the absolute coolest and the infrared is only a 60W. They like to sleep near it but not directly under it. And I think the fat content was something like 30%. We went to Petsmart, looked in a book and got what looked right but I guess we missed the part about the fat content. Do you think they'd be ok on the 8-in-1 and insects? And which insects should we be feeding them, how many and how often?
 

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i wouldnt rely on the 8 in 1 as a staple food, more of a treat if anything.....i currently feed mine castor and pollux natural ultrmix indoor and mix in grape nuts for more fiber. and are you using a water bottle or dish? most of the books about hedgies are very outdated from what i hear and some of them even have practices in them that have been found to be fatal to african pygmy hedgehogs.
 

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mongoose5971 said:
And yes the wheel is a large plastic one but they don't appear to be using it.
they are nocturnal so they would only be using it at night...if there is only one for 3 hedgies, they may be fighting over it....all three need to run or they run the risk of getting obese. i know these are more for long term than anything else, but they need to be as happy and healthy as possible before going home with new mommy or daddy
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yeah I ordered some books on hedgies chinchillas and sugar gliders (which we are also supposed to be getting in) and the book was more funny than entertaining. I thought I'd be able to learn about them from the book but it really told me nothing so now I'm on the internet trying to find out as much as possible. And they will (hopefully) not be at our shop long-term so I know it sounds horrible but we really can't spend a whole lot on food, just the best thing to feed them for a reasonable cost. I know if I go out buying three bags of cat food the owner will wonder what I'm doing when we have hedgehog food in the store. All of this is exactly why I worked at a reptile store...not one that sells mammals. Anyway, I just want the best for the little guys, but I really can't afford a whole lot, it's not exactly my money. I'm thinking since we haven't used much of the cat food Petsmart might let me exchange it...
 

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i understand, but i wouldnt even sell that particular hedgehog food, since most people are stubborn and no matter what you recomend they are going to buy that stuff just because it says hedgehog food
 

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and i understand you dont make the rules....just more of a rant than anything....why most people are against pet stores selling hedgies, because the owners of the pet stores dont want to spend the time or money to properly take care of them and sick and unsocialized animals end up getting sold to whomever will plop the cash down first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
dorasdaddy said:
mongoose5971 said:
And yes the wheel is a large plastic one but they don't appear to be using it.
they are nocturnal so they would only be using it at night...if there is only one for 3 hedgies, they may be fighting over it....all three need to run or they run the risk of getting obese. i know these are more for long term than anything else, but they need to be as happy and healthy as possible before going home with new mommy or daddy
I haven't seen any poop on the wheel, that's why I don't think they're using it but I think it also but be a little too high for them. Can they jump at all? This looks like the one we have

I also haven't noticed any injuries. One had a few scratches on its face when they came in but they have healed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
dorasdaddy said:
and i understand you dont make the rules....just more of a rant than anything....why most people are against pet stores selling hedgies, because the owners of the pet stores dont want to spend the time or money to properly take care of them and sick and unsocialized animals end up getting sold to whomever will plop the cash down first.
I know I want someone to hurry up and buy them already :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
dorasdaddy said:
i understand, but i wouldnt even sell that particular hedgehog food, since most people are stubborn and no matter what you recomend they are going to buy that stuff just because it says hedgehog food
I saw that particular brand on another thread mentioned as a good food...what is bad about it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
dorasdaddy said:
i wouldnt rely on the 8 in 1 as a staple food, more of a treat if anything.....i currently feed mine castor and pollux natural ultrmix indoor and mix in grape nuts for more fiber. and are you using a water bottle or dish? most of the books about hedgies are very outdated from what i hear and some of them even have practices in them that have been found to be fatal to african pygmy hedgehogs.
And we are using a bowl.
 

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mongoose5971 said:
[ Can they jump at all?
they are excellent climbers...we got dora when she was 8 weeks old and she has been using that exact same wheel since day one with no problems....you could always try tilting it a little, this will also help make it easier to clean daily when they start to run on it regularly
 

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mongoose5971 said:
dorasdaddy said:
i understand, but i wouldnt even sell that particular hedgehog food, since most people are stubborn and no matter what you recomend they are going to buy that stuff just because it says hedgehog food
I saw that particular brand on another thread mentioned as a good food...what is bad about it?
the thread said it was ok as far as hedgehog food goes, but still wasnt recommended to be the only thing fed
 

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mealworms, waxsworms, and crickets are best...and mainly as a treat...im slorry you are getting frustrated....and i looked at the ingridients for the 8-1 corn is the first ingridient....its protein and fat content are good, but it is made with junk ingridients....im sorry, im just trying to answer your questions...i was so excited to see that a pet shop was actually trying to find out how to care for the little guys, but they already seem to have become to much trouble for you as evidenced byt the "just someone hurry up and buy them" comment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
No I appreciate your help but yes I am frustrated. You have to understand I've been working there almost three years, recently promoted to manager under the new owner and now all of a sudden they dump mammals on us, something we don't agree with selling out of a shop in the first place. We don't just sell to anyone, I actually used to get yelled at by the old manager by "presenting my personal views and scaring away customers." I just really hope someone will buy them because honestly they don't seem too difficult to care for, as long as you know what you're doing but they don't belong in a pet shop. A big concern is if one does get sick or injured just because we didn't know what we were doing. It's just a really frustrating situation. Thank you for all your help though, I'm going to try and see if I can return the cat food and get the brand you suggested. I get my dog's food from a natural pet food store so I'll bet they have it there. I did soooo much research trying to find a good food for my dog and it was a big headache, now I'm having to do it all over again with money that isn't mine for animals I didn't ask for that might not even end up in good homes. :(
One thing I'm really praying is that they are all females. If not, I don't know where else we can put them if they need to be separated.

Anyway, thanks for all your help I'm going to bed now it's almost 2 AM lol. I'll be back on tomorrow night after work to do some more research and give you an update. Thanks again!
 
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