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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I've had Lima for 3 months now. She's always been really friendly with me and my girlfriend and anyone she's introduced to. I've had her nip at my fingers a couple times but not hard enough to hurt and obviously just a taste test bite. She's never bitten in defense (just uses her quills). However, recently she's been starting to bite often, and hard enough that it really hurts. It's always when we're just holding her calmly, nothing out of the ordinary, she's been eating, drinking, etc.. She doesn't seem to be scared of us at all. Her quills are always completely down, but she'll occasionally just start to go for a finger until she gets it or I pull my hand away. When she met a friend of mine she bit his finger before he was even able to touch her, which seems like a defensive bite but I thought it was strange that she didn't quill up or ball up or hiss or anything like that. Most recently we gave her a bath and then were warming her up afterwords. Again, quills down and seemingly calm, she latches onto my hand between my pointer finger and thumb and doesn't let go. I use my other hand to try to open her mouth but I can't so I just wait about 10 seconds for her to let go, during which she actually chewed on my hand a little bit.

We were letting it slide at first but it's getting to the point where it's almost unpleasant to take her out of her cage because we basically just spend the whole time watching her to see if she's about to bite. I have no idea what to do at this point. We don't put her back in her cage immediately after she bites. She seems to be eating, drinking, and exercising fine. She doesn't seem to be sick or injured. And she doesn't seem to be scared when she bites. It seems like she's just really aggressive for some reason. Is there any effective way to discipline hedgies when they bite?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Actually I did hand feed her mealies a couple of times a while back because we thought it would be cute if she could learn to eat from our hands. And then I read that hand feeding could lead to biting so I stopped that right away. I forgot about that but I guess it's possible that those 2 or 3 times I hand fed her back then could have led to her being a biter. If that's the case, is there any way to change that association she has with fingers and mealies?
 

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Marc said:
Actually I did hand feed her mealies a couple of times a while back because we thought it would be cute if she could learn to eat from our hands. And then I read that hand feeding could lead to biting so I stopped that right away. I forgot about that but I guess it's possible that those 2 or 3 times I hand fed her back then could have led to her being a biter. If that's the case, is there any way to change that association she has with fingers and mealies?
You only done it 2-3 times..That's most likley not the cause.
 

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Is she an explorer or snuggle type hedgie?

Mine is a snuggle sleeping type, and he gets very very grumpy if I disturb him while he's sleeping. He'll sleep for hours in my lap and he won't do anything. If he climbs out on his own he just sniffs around, then crawls back into his fleece, or find another place to burrow.

However, if I dare poke a finger at him while he's snuggled up sleeping, he wouldn't hesitate to try and nip at my finger. He's never gotten my finger, because I know this fact, and I understand this fact. When he's already awake, and I move slow, I can rub his face, his nose, his forehead and his ears with no problem.

It does take a bit to figure out exactly what is causing it, what triggers it in their mind.

Is there anything that you do that might trigger that reaction? (kinda like me poking my hedgie when he's sleeping)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That's a good point that there could be something we're doing without noticing it that's triggering the biting.. I'll start taking note of exactly what's going on when she bites. I think she was a sleepy snuggly type who transitioned into an exploring type. The problem is she also looooves to poop outside of her cage despite our litter training attempts so we try to keep a tight leash on her (figuratively) so she doesn't go pooping in my bed or on us without us noticing. Maybe she bites us when we're holding her but she wants to explore?
 

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If you wash your hands (or don't) before handling her, she may also smell something on your hands that warrants a taste test, although hanging on for so long doesn't really sound like a taste test. Try washing your hands with soap before handling her, or changing the soap you use if you already do wash.
It could be that she wants to get down from your hands, kind of like a toddler squirming to get put down. If she seems to enjoy exploring, try making a play pen for her, using a small animal play pen, and putting a plastic tablecloth underneath it in case of poop. It'll give her more room to explore but won't cause too much of a mess.
Also, a way to discipline that I've read is to gently blow in their face when they bite. If she hangs on, you can gently push your finger towards her face to encourage her to let go.
 
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