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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm sorry if the questions that I am about to ask seem unnecessary to some of you but I am new to hedgehogs and sometimes no matter how much research you may have done you still feel unsure about the things you've read -especially when it comes to hedgehogs because opinions online are often contradicting.

So I got my hedgehog, Nelly, a month -and some days- ago. She was two months old the day I got her from a nearby breeder. Since the first day that I got her she has balled up probably four-five times and I huffed probably two or three times. She will allow me to reach in her cage and pick her up at all times and uncurls even if she was sleeping -though I only wake her up during the day if I absolutely have to and never keep her up long.

She spends all day sleeping. I wake her up everyday at 9 pm to feed her -I have never seen her wake up on her own- and she eats regularly, only catfood (I have yet to find a store that sells mealworms where I live and she doesn't eat any other 'hedgie-proof' treats or veggies).

After she eats she will drink some water, leave me some 'gifts' in the cage and then go to her bedroom and sleep again. And I wake her up about an hour later and let her out for playtime that lasts 1 to two hours. She has a secluded area in my hall that is 100% hedgie proof and big enough for her to constantly run around for an hour.

If I don't sit down with her, she will probably just stay sleeping. But if I actually sit on the floor next to her she starts running around. She will run to me and sniff me the moment I sit down. She climbs all over my lap and often tries to sneak in my sleeves or pockets. She usually comes back out and keeps running around doing her thing.

We have napped together once or twice on my bed. I just lay on my side reading a book and she sticks her muzzle beneath my tummy and sleeps. I have occasionally tried to pet her while she sleeps. Sometimes she won't react to it -which I assume means she likes it?- and others she will lift her quills a little bit so I instantly stop. She has let me pet her face and tummy a few times and I have touched her paws while she was on my hand. I can bring her really close to my face and actually give her an 'eskimo' kiss and still she won't react.


I should probably start those questions now.

1. I understand that not hissing or balling up means she probably doesn't mind my presence but how can I tell if she is enjoying something I do?

2. How should I pet my hedgehog in order for them to enjoy it? I know a cat or dog has some spots you should aim for but what would those be in the case of a hedgehog? I also understand that unlike a cat or dog she will not wag her tail or purr or anything, I'm just wondering about their body language and what signs can I look for to know she is enjoying something -if there are any and whatever those may be.

I'm sorry if this came out long and boring but I am really worried and anxious. I love her already and don't want to accidentally be hurting/annoying her. I can't stand the thought of it.

Thank you in advance for your responses :)
 

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Initial knee jerk response: No. Hedgehogs don't like anyone. :lol:

More thoughtful response:

It's really hard to say what a hedgehog does and does not like, if they enjoy our presence or if it's simply tolerated. It's sometimes easy to pretend they have affection for us when they're being sweet, and it's even easier to assume they hate us when they're being salty. Largely, if what I'm doing isn't causing an obvious negative reaction, I assume they're at least ok with what's happening. If you're giving a gentle rub behind their ear and they seem to lean into it, they may even be enjoying it.

Every hog is an individual, so some prefer to be pet in different spots. Some like having their quills stroked, others don't. Some like belly rubs, others can't stand them. You'll just have to try things and see what the reaction is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
shinydistraction thank you for your response. I guess I'm just stressing too much over it, probably because I am inexperienced and they are one unique animal. :)

nikki, I wake up to a mess everyday so I assume she does xD I have given her a DIY bucket wheel but I never see poop on it...just some bedding the first nights. The wheel is steady and rolls easily enough. I lined the traction with duck tape for friction, in case that was the issue. I have yet to see her use it :-(. At playtime she runs around for 2 hours so I have not started to worry yet. She is 3 months old and 300gr. She gets natural light 7am-6pm and then I leave her light on for another two hours. HEr cage is kept at 22C during the day and I gave her a heatpad under her bedroom cage. At night I turn on the CHE and it goes to 23-25C.
 

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22 is in the low side. You need a thermostat with the CHE so it can keep the temp in the cage steady you don't need to turn it on and off also a digital thermometer in the cage. You should remove the heating pad since they are not safe and she can get burnt and sometimes they are too comfortable with the heating pad and refuse to move from there, therefore, eat less, drink less, poop less and don't run.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Artemis-Ichiro, thanks for all the advice :). I don't leave the heating pad in during the night. It's only there during the day to make sure she won't be cold because I know 22C is the minimum temperature. I have the CHE on during the night to make sure she's comfortable. She eats regularly and poops a lot too xD When I take her out she will run around like crazy which I assume is a sign she does feel comfortable with the temperature and I sure hope me as well.

The heating pad is custom made, with cotton socks and rice. I always put it under her fleece liners (I should mention that she can't burrow under them) and check to make sure she is safe by placing my hand onto the spot for 30 seconds. If it irritates my skin I let it cool off a bit and try again. She sleeps in her snuggle sack under her igloo. So she has 3 layers of fleece to protect her from the surface of the heating pad anyway. Is possible that she will get burnt or it annoys her? :-/

I don't think that she is experiencing major temperature changes but is it a problem that the temperature she's in might drop 1 or 2 degrees during the day? I always check on her in the mornings before uni and when I get back in the afternoon and her tummy is always warm. So is the spot she is sleeping in.
 

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I'm a new owner too but I read this posts every day to have as much information as I can.

The consensus here is no heating pad because they need constant temperature in the air. The CHE MUST have the thermostat otherwise it will keep running and overheat the area, the Che with thermostat should be always on so the thermostat turns on when the temp begins dropping and turns the Che off when is back up that also helps with electricity so it's not running the whole time.

Your hand cannot accurately measure the temperature of the heating pad.

Don't remember if I said it already, but you also need a digital termometer
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the advice! I will remove the pad. I already have a digital thermometer in her room but my CHE only has a timer on. I'll see what I can do to have a thermostat attached.
 

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Timers are great for the light setting but I really insist on the thermostat to keep the temperature even and avoid hibernation attempts if you search on the forum you can find a sticky that talks about heating the cage. If you have more questions, feel free to ask
 
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