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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, I'm really hoping I can get some advice on what I can do to help my hedgehog. I've tried everything to help him calm down and relax but nothing seems to help. Here's the situation:

My hedgehog is a 2 y/o male, I've had him for 1 year. I did get him online and so not through a reputable breeder (I know, big mistake) and I did learn from his previous owner that before me he had been through 2 owners, one of whom neglected him completely and the other (the girl I got him from) let her 50 pound dog use him as a toy! I felt so bad for him, his cage was horribly dirty, no wheel, nothing, so I took him.

I expected him to have some issues but nothing like this. He hisses and puffs constantly, at the slightest sound (touch is even worse), in his cage or out. He bites, although not frequently, hard and repeatedly. Although he has improved in the past year (I didn't even see his face for the first 2 months) he is no where near as good as what I think of as a "normal" hedgehog. He has a wheel (proper size, solid), clean cage, he's on a high quality diet (royal canin) which I have tried changing, his cage is the proper temperature, and I've had him checked by a vet who says he is in perfect condition. Every night I take him out for at least half an hour and I lie still so he can walk around or most nights he just naps on me (in a ball). I see his face 1/5 nights, maybe, if I stay perfectly still. He doesn't even come out long enough to eat a vegetable or a meal worm.

I don't know what else I can try. I feel like in a whole year he hasn't bonded with me at all. I'm worried he's going to be like this forever. Any advice you could give me would be very much appreciated.
 

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Hi there,

I don't think he's necessarily aggressive, but given his past history probably just incredibly scared with adjustment issues. Only advice I can give is to keep being patient and give him all the love you can. He might not turn into a model hog but you can sleep easy knowing you're giving him way better than what he's had before and he may come around, even if only a little bit! Maybe holding him for a bit longer every night might get him a bit more used to you, with dim lights and not too much sound?

I wish you the best of luck!
 

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You are amazing for being this dedicated to him! It is so amazing to see someone care this much about a hedgehog, I hope the best for you and him! I don't really have any tips as I have never had a hedgehog this traumatized. It does sound like you're doing as much as you can without stressing him out to the point of making him worse!
 

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Poor little guy has had a rough life.
Have you tried putting one of your old t-shirts that smells like you in his cage? That can help.
It really does sound like you are doing the right things. He is just scared and trying to keep himself safe. You are making progress, although probably at a slower rate than you would like.
Does he like baths? Sometimes that can be a good bonding experience. But then some hedgies also hate baths, so I would try that with caution.
Some hedgehogs personalities are just more standoffish than others. He could have been like that anyway and what he's been through has just intensified his behaviour.
All I can suggest is keep loving him and continue doing what you've been doing. He's lucky he ended up with you.
 

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Poor guy sounds absolutely terrified. He's been through a lot of trauma in his life and it could take a long long time for him to recover from that. Have you tried turning off all the lights in maybe the bathroom and just sitting on the floor with him, and letting him explore you on his terms?
 

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Does he have a snuggle sack? My Beauregard is like that but without the previously traumatic life. He's just that way a lot of the time. Super grumpy. But I find that when I do bonding time with him in his snuggle sack he tends to relax better. I just hold the sack close to my body and some nights if he feels safe he will come out and other nights he will just stay in his little fleecy sack all safe and warm and protected from the big bad world. It just depends on how he is doing that day.
It's a thought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi everyone,
Thanks so much for all your kind words, it really does mean a lot to me!

@Melanie G.: I bathe him once a month because he really seems to dislike it with oatmeal pet shampoo, so he sheds less and he doesn't have any more skin flakes (he did when I got him). I also do put things of mine in his cage, and often he chews on them and 'annoints' with them. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
I also forgot to mention that we mostly have bonding time in low light with low volume tv on so he can be exposed to the sounds a bit.
@ gracefulchaos01: I did sew him a snuggle sac as well, which he really did not like. I think he likes having a solid surface under him and then a blanket over him. Mine is lined in felt also, in case that changes anything.

Again, thanks everyone for your support, it means a lot to us (me and Hobson Brown, my hedgie!)
 

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One of the theories I've heard about anointing, is that the hedgehog places your scent on him and that it was supposed to be a good thing in terms of bonding. Although we still don't know why hedgies anoint, it seems like as good a theory as any. Its not a bad thing by any means- just normal hedgie behaviour.
The setting sounds really good for bonding.
 

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Mine is lined in felt also, in case that changes anything.
)
I don't know why but Ollie HATES felt, I was making a flower felt barrette for her (picture contest), and she was playing next to me, she started to walk over the felt and the second her feet touched it she backed up and then made a big stink and walked around it, then wouldn't go near it!!! I don't know if it was the texture or what. Maybe use some super soft fleece?
 

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And for note. While Beau is in his snuggle sack there is usually a semi solid surface beneath him, such as a pillow. He also is not really a fan of being off solid ground as it were. So... pillow, soft fleecy sack with plenty of room to move around in ( mine are about 12 x 12 square and double lined reversible ) low lighting and low volume sounds.
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When did you adopt my hedgehog? :) they could be siblings except Beauregard is the only one in the batch who is so sensitive. I call him my emo trouble marshmallow because he is so afraid of everything.
 
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