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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First of all thanks for a very informative forum, i have lurked a little and have found most of the topics very useful so far. I apologise in advance for those who will read this and think "here we go again" !!

I picked up my hedgehog on Sunday, shes 9 weeks old and i bought her from a breeder 220 miles away - poor thing has been through quite an ordeal!
She is my first hedgehog so i want to try my best for her. From what i understand, hedgehogs have their own unique personalities and behaviour, and hopefully someone may see a resemblance and can advise me of how best to handle my little hog.

Since Sunday i've tried to leave her alone in an effort to allow her to settle into her new home and feel as safe as possible. The only time i have held her is transferring her from her travel box to her cage with a pair of heavy duty gloves from halfords!!
She did uncurl fairly quickly and seemed quite energetic and curious as she was running up my arms and all sorts. However, it was only for a few minutes at most.

Although energetic, she is a timid hedgehog, i have tried to bring some mealworms to her in her cage with a glove on but she is so afraid - she curls her head in a little and will then try and turn around and run away. So i have left them in there for her to come and eat when she is ready.
I did try to pick her up tonight but she curled up and grunted and hissed at me, so i let her be.

On one hand i really want her to settle and feel safe so i want to leave her alone to have her space, but then on the other hand i am worried that might make her more used to going without human contact and i really dont want her to feel afraid of me.
I am very nervous myself about how i should interact with her as i want her to feel safe and happy first and foremost. And i am not sure when really is the right time for me to start picking her up and taking her out.
I would be grateful if anyone had a similar experience at first, and could tell me how they worked around it. I might be worried over nothing but i would really appreciate some feedback.
Thankyou
 

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Her behavior seems very normal for a hedgehog. They are naturally timid creatures, and the huffing and rolling into a ball are things that may never go away completely. The more time you spend together and the more she gets to know you, the better the chances that those behaviors will lessen- but keep in mind that she will probably always be defensive or timid, it's part of being a hedgehog.

As for you, I think you're doing just fine. Giving her a few days to get settled is good, but after that, I'd recommend starting slow and handling her. First of all, lose the gloves. Although they seem like a good idea, they're really not. Gloves mask the scent of your hand and may actually scare her more because of the bulk. The only time gloves should be used is when you HAVE to forcefully pick up a very angry hedgie. As for a gloveless and friendly strategy, try putting your hand by her face (she'll huff and ball up, ignore it and leave you hand there) palm up. Let her sniff your fingers and explore a little. If she starts licking, blow gently on her nose so that she won't be inclined to bite. Once she feels comfortable that you aren't a threat, try gently scooping her up from underneath- you're less likely to be poked. Most of all, just go plenty slow and give her plenty of time. You might need to do this a lot before trust is established.

Lastly, good luck. You don't need to worry quite so much, and you'll do just fine. If you have any more questions, everyone here is very willing to offer advice and suggestions- don't be afraid to ask!
 

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If you are still uncomfortable picking her up, you can use the gloves, but as soon as she is in your arms you should take them off. As you become more comfortable, you will soon be able to get rid of the gloves, but try to use them as little as possible. As well, even if she is balled up, try putting her in a towel and then just letting her sit in it in your lap or near you. If she is energetic and inquisitive she will start to look around. While doing this, try not to make any sudden movements since until they get used to you, the hedgies can be very timid.
But you are doing very well so far! Just make sure that she is eating and drinking properly and going to the washroom.
Other than that, good job !
 

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Do not use golves, it masks your scent and makes you smell even more like a predator. and when she hisses, pick her up anyway...otherwise she will continue to do so and you will have a very unsocialized hedgie.
 

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Don't use gloves. If you can't pick her up, let her snuggle up in some fleece and pick that entire bundle up. Or you can use a shirt with your scent on it to wrap around her to pick her up.

But definitely ditch the gloves, they won't do you any good if you want to socialize your hedgie. ^_^

What I do with mine, is he's always sleeping in his fleece blanket pile. So I pick the entire pile of fleece up to get him. Once I have him out of the cage, I "unwrap" him.
 

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I know the quills might seem a little intimidating at first and I'm sure many new weary hedgie owners are inclined to wear gloves, but they aren't as sharp as you think. Occasionaly when my Puff is being a grumpster I have to scoop her up out of her cage by rolling her into my hands. Even when I don't get her belly-side down, as long as you use two hands, the quills are distributed evenly enough across your palms that it really doesn't hurt that much. Kinda like that whole lying on a bed of nails trick. Good luck! It takes a bit of bravery at first but once you handle your hedgie enough without the gloves, you won't even feel the quills :) Just try not and step on a baby quill with bare feet, now that you will feel! Ouch :lol:
 

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lol true snuffle puff.
My sister stepped on one and she thought that it was a piece of glass!
But it's also true what snuffle puff says pighog. After a while you don't feel the quills anymore. It gets sooo easy. No worries. Soon you'll be able to pick up your hedgie like a pro! and everyone else is right. Blankets and shirts and fleece are MUCH better than gloves.
 

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Congratulations on your new little girl. :)

The first few days are always a little difficult. You don't want to stress her out, and yet you want to interact with her too. The answer to your question of when to really start interacting with her is: right now! A little at a time at first, then increasing amounts as she gets more comfortable.

The gloves aren't good because hedgehogs don't see very well so they identify us by smell. By using gloves, to her you could be anything--even something big that wants to eat her! She's doing exactly what a hedgie does when she balls up like that--trying to protect herself from this big blurry thing she doesn't recognize. The best thing to do is take a t-shirt or a small blanket and sleep with it, then use that to scoop her up while you're getting used to the quills. After awhile, when you're more confident, you can scoop her up barehanded--it's really not as hard as it seems. Just put your hands on both sides of her body, palms up, and slide them slowly under her belly.

When you're giving her treats, don't use the gloves. I find it easiest to feed mealies while my little guy is out at interaction time. I'll lay them in the palm of my hand and he'll take them from the palm without biting (feeding from fingertips often results in accidental nips because they can't tell finger from worm--my little one can't anyway, it seems). Treats coming from you--with YOUR scent, no gloves--results in associating your scent with good things. If she's still too timid to do that, try putting them on your pants leg and letting her eat off your lap instead.

Do you have a hedgie bag? Sometimes letting them sleep with you in a snuggle sack/hedgie bag while you watch TV or do your stuff online will help them to bond, also.

I'm still a basket-case when it comes to Quentin, who's been with me for almost a year; I worry about the littlest things. So don't worry about worrying too much or feeling like you're not doing something quite right: you'll get the hang of it! It sounds like you're doing a great job so far. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I'll definately lose the gloves then! :shock:

I've just woken her up and held her in the top i wore yesterday before it gets put in the wash (the top not the hedgie!)
She poked her head out as i chatted to her and then i gave her a mealworm. She seemed fine. :)
i'll carry on picking her up in my tops for a while as the material is thin enough for me to be getting used to the prickles, but is still comfy and a fairly balanced base for her if she wants to move around, plus i guess she will get used to my smells and hopefully will associate it with nice treats and her lovely mommy :lol:

Thanks for the invaluable advice :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thought i'd post back with a little feedback after taking some advice from you lot :)

I feel like i've already made loads of progress with her this week just from following your advice :)
i started putting my previous days top in her cage with her every day, and when she is with me (and only when she is with me) i have had her in my lap feeding her mealworms.

Yesterday and today she didnt hiss once when i've gone to take her out, she still puffs up but i cant imagine she ever wont do that?? Besides, she sticks her head out after about 30 seconds and then shes fine.
also i think i have turned her into a big brother fan :D

Tried to give her boiled egg, carrot & lettuce and shes not interested :( i guess i will just keep experimenting with different things .
 

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Yes, many hedgehogs will still huff a bit and half-quill up when they are first picked up from their cage. She may never quit doing that, but it's nothing to worry about, if she calms down once in your hands.
 

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The way I think of the huffing is just a startled reaction, it doesn't necessarily mean the hedgie is stressed or upset it's like a reflex. Like if you've ever had a friend or family member jump out at you from behind a door and you jump a mile even if you were expecting it.

Anyway hedgies sometimes hiss at strange things too. Quigley seems like he's constantly mad at his blanket. And sometimes he'll start hissing in the middle of the day when he's sleeping in his blankets, I call this his nightmares.

Anyway I guess my point is that it's nothing to worry about as many have already said.
 
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