Hedgehog Central banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I have recently purchased a hedgehog back in April.

She's about 8-9 months (previous owner did not give me exact date) and has been a bit of a nuisance since the start.
I do love my hedgehog with all my heart but recently the problems with owning her have been getting bigger and less easy to ignore.
First of all I should say that I did get her off Craigslist ( as I was to impatient to contact or wait for a breeder ) and she did come in perfectly good health, and she still is.
Her name is Queen Elizabeth the Third, and I mostly just refer to her as the queen.
I do consider myself well educated in the area of knowing how to care for a hedgie, and what to expect when buying one, but Elizabeth has just been getting worse.
First thing I should mention her timidness. Ever since I bought her she has been very very shy, and skittish.
I know that this is natural for a hedgehog, but I would have thought that by now she would have shown some improvement.
She does uncurl in my hands, and seems to be able to handle being held. But if you move at all while holding her or even go in her direction, she curls up (not all the way into a ball, but she hides nonetheless)
I've tried multiple ways to get her used to me to no prevail.
Putting a used t-shirt in her cage did nothing, all though she did sleep in it. And I take her out of her cage to sit around with me and chill for about a half hour eachday at the least.
And the second problem I should problem ( probably is the worse ) is the smell.
I was aware that they did smell ( like any other small pet ) but this is completely terrible. It's gotten to the point where I have to move her out of room and into a seperate room because the smell is so bad.
I really like her but, the smell isn't worth my room smelling so bad I can barely sleep.
She makes a point to step all over her poop, drag all her toys around in it, poop in her food and water, and get hers paws all poopy (which is normal ) to scrape the walls of the cage, and get it entirely coated with poop.

Please, I really like her, but this really wasn't what I was expecting to get my first hedgehog only to give her away. I'd hate to get rid of her but lately i've been getting really upset with her, and have stopped spending as much time with her.
I will give her away if needed, but I wouldn't know where to go!

Please reply, as I need other peoples opinions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,289 Posts
If you do decide to rehome her, don't get another. Sounds like hedgehogs might not be your type of pet.

You've only had her since April, that's 3 months or even a bit less. Not a very long time at all, it takes time especially if you get a hedgehog that isn't very well socialised. They aren't cuddly pets anyway.
I've noticed with badly socialised rehomes the first mayor 'breakthroughs' tend to come around 6 months, or at least that's when I started noticing things were really changing. Depending on how much time you spend on them of course, and the personality of the hedgehog. She doesn't sound too bad to me to be honest - just normal hedgehog behaviour, a little skittish.
There are no magic tricks. It takes time and patience. Keep handling the hedgehog, let it sleep on your lap, put it down on the ground or in a playpen and just go on walking around the room (it'll make them more used to movement and noises). It is defensive behaviour and you need to be confident in handling the hedgehog.
If you stop spending time with her it will obviously not get better.

Hedgehogs shouldn't smell that bad.

* what do you feed her?

* what kind of wheel and cage does she have? What kind of bedding do you use? How often do you clean the cage?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
284 Posts
Everything that your hedgehog does is normal behavior. When I got mine last December, he was a bit of a grump because he had no socialization. Yet now after 7 months, he has slowly opened up to me. Time and patience are keys when bonding with a hedgehog. There are no hard and fast rules when having a hedgehog as a pet. They are not like dogs and cats that cuddle with us. We need to earn their trust and sometimes, it takes a long time to do so. Also, to add to what Draenog has said, if you clean her cage everyday, it shouldn't smell at all.

I hope that in the event that you truly decide to rehome her, that the home that you would choose for her would love her and give her the care that she truly deserves.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
498 Posts
Seconding the smell thing. Hedgehogs smell a little like any animal, but if it's so bad you have to take her out of the room something is wrong. Either you're not cleaning enough or she may be sick. The first sign I had that my hedgehog was sick was his poop smelled absolutely foul. It honestly smelled like rotten food or something, completely unbearable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,553 Posts
The smell, that boils down to a husbandry issue, diet issues,a sick hedgehog, or a combination of any of those. Yes they poop, in the wild they leave their poop behind. You put her in a cage and are surprised she steps in his poop? To her it isn't there. She left it. She doesn't really care if she steps in it. So part of owning a hedgehog is cleaning up after a hedgehog, sort of a package deal.

Now your other issue, she is shy. She is a prey animal. She isn't totally convinced you aren't planning on eating her for your next meal. It is ingrained in her to be skittish. If hedgehogs weren't shy and nervous creatures there would be no hedgehog central because there would be no hedgehogs, they would all be eaten. It takes time to break those instinctual thoughts. It takes patience. It takes work. You didn't buy a dog, you bought a hedgehog. You can't give her a biscuit and expect instant friends.
Put the time in, accept that she will never bring you your slippers or greet you at the door with her tail wagging. She may never come around, but she won't if a person doesn't invest time and patience with her.
If you are going to Rehome her, I agree hedgehogs are not your kind of pet. But please try and find a good home for her where someone will understand and appreciate her.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for the replies. I do understand that they do make a huge mess with their poop and what not so I'm sorry if I sounded silly, the only thing now that's conserning me is the fact that she may be sick.
And yes I do agree that hedgehogs are probably not my type of pet, but I just can't get over the fact that I would be getting rid of her. I know this doesn't have anything to do with it and it probably seems as if I'm making up excuses but I have seperation anxiety and major depression, so I don't want to have the thought that I totally left her over my head all of the time.
As for food I use purine kitten food as it has a high source of protein. I did notice that it has fish meal in it and that can make hedge poop smell really bad.
She has a standard cage (flat bottom bin, and caged walls) and she has a lot of room to run around and play, as for bedding I have been using the clean fresh bedding that I was recommended to use.
And if she is sick, which is my biggest worry, where would I take her? And I dont have that much money as I can't get a job yet. But I don't want her to go through any pain.
And if I were to re home (which is sounding like the best option) were would I bring her.
I don't need money for her, I just want her to be safe in a place that shell be worked with and loved.
Is the humane society a good idea?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,561 Posts
No, I wouldn't take her to the Humane Society. Hedgehogs are not a normal animal for them, so they wouldn't know how to care for her properly. They also wouldn't be able to educate potential owners on their needs.

You can however relinquish her to the Hedgehog Welfare Society. They have rescue stations all over the place. Sorry, I don't have a link handy atm and I'm trying to get out of the door. If someone else doesn't have it, I'll find it and link it later.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,963 Posts
There's nothing wrong with finding a new home for a pet that you're over your head with. Sometimes animals aren't a perfect fit with a person, and that can be either species-wise or due to individual personality. It's usually worse to try & keep the pet and be miserable (and possibly risk not taking care of the pet as well as it should be) than to find a new, loving home that is ready to take the animal on board.

That said, I'm willing to bet the poop & smell are both due to her food. Purina's foods are mostly pretty poor quality, and it sounds like you probably have Kitten Chow? The chow foods are unfortunately some of the worst. Low quality foods have a lot of fillers, which means lots of poop because there's so much of the food the hedgehog/animal can't use. And yes, low-quality fish ingredients can cause stinky poop, or the food just might not agree with her.

If you'd like to keep her longer than a few more days yet, you can start switching her food over to something better quality to see if it helps. But it's a lengthy process, typically 2-4 weeks at least. You have to go slowly to avoid causing tummy issues. There's more information on good foods & what to look for here - http://www.hedgehogcentral.com/foru...3034-beginner-s-guide-hedgehog-nutrition.html and here - http://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forums/12-diet-nutrition/23042-recommended-foods-list.html

If you'd rather find someone to take her in & deal with changing her food, etc., no one here will blame you. Here are the links for the HWS for relinquishment & the list of rescue contacts - http://www.hedgehogwelfare.org/relinquishment.asp and http://www.hedgehogwelfare.org/rescuecontacts.asp
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,553 Posts
Agree the smell may be from feeding icky food. Also think about this for a second. If you eat mcdonalds every meal for a month, it will effect more than your stomach. Your energy and moods will be affected as well. If you can get her on a better diet, you may notice more headway with the skittishness.
If you decide to keep her, embrace where you are with her. She won't ever do dog things. The fact that she doesn't stay balled up is headway in itself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
498 Posts
I would strongly recommend rehoming over trying to force things to work. It's okay to acknowledge the pet just wasn't a fit for you or your lifestyle. Honestly, if you are struggling with money as well, you're not in much of a position to own a pet.

Story time: I got a pet ****atiel when I was 9 years old after moving to a new city. I guess my mom wanted me to have a friend or something. As I got older, I had less time with work and school and my mom frankly was too lazy to fulfill any responsibilities. Sometimes I'd come home from school at 4:00pm and my bird was still covered up from the night before, no fresh food or water. He was left alone all the time, which leads to major depression in parrots. Eventually we made the decision to give him to a friend of ours who had a few budgies. My mom visits him occasionally and she always says he's much happier, he's learned to talk and sing, his plumage looks brighter, etc.

It was a hard decision at the time, but definitely worth it in the end. If you truly care about your pet, you'll do what's best for them even if that means giving them away.

Even my hedgehog came from another family having almost the exact same issue. Reggie has a much better life with me now than he did with a neglectful 13-year old.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
944 Posts
Hedgehogs take time and patience.

My first hedgehog Nara didn't really get to "like" me until she was about 2-1/2 years old. Even then, she still huffed when first disturbed and when picked up. She was extremely shy and wouldn't be out in the open if anyone was in the room.

My new girl Rana doesn't care if anyone sees her out and about, running, eating or sometimes comes out during the day to see why I cleaned her cage. She is very huffy but I have only had her about 8 weeks and she's been constantly quilling. I don't really care if she ever "likes" me, but she does use me as a jungle gym.

What I am saying is that it takes time and patience and it also depends on the hedgie's personality too.

Hedgehog poop will smell really bad RIGHT after they first poop. If you can pick it up right away before they run thru it, you can keep things cleaner. You have to know their routine. Some hedgies are neater than others.

But please either give her to an experienced owner or to the HWS. It's only fair to her to give her to someone that can care for her properly and can afford to do so.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top