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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just have ask a few questions. :)
First off "Mr. Popples" (makes me laugh every time) is 15 months old, and we've had him for 1 week and 1 day. His previous family seemed to have been responsible owners.
Mr.Popples seems to be warming up to us rather quickly, which from what I've read, is surprisingly fast. We spend about an hour, from 8pm to 9pm, give or take, with him each evening. He doesn't pop and/or hiss anymore when we go to pick him up, unless we wake him, which I understand to be normal grumpy behavior when being woken unexpectedly (I am a morning person myself, but from my observations, as a wife and mother, this is perfectly normal human behavior as well).
He is a healthy eater, drinker, and poo'er. We have fleece blankets as liners in a 2 bin (rubbermaid) enclosure connected by pvc. He seems to be an almost too healthy poo'er, as we have to change and wash the liners daily. He so far has refused to use the litter, and may be too old to little train? I have read that semi-loose and/or discolored poo can be normal in a possibly stressed hedgehog. Is this correct? His poo (I haven't talked poo this much since my first child was born) mostly seems to be normal with little odd ones popping out every once in a while. On a side note: He did get the runs yesterday after my daughters and her friends decided it would be a good idea to stay up all Saturday night with him and feed him ferret treats. He has recovered from being over-snacked, and his poo appeared normal today, and everyone got a stern talking to. At what age does their digestive system begin to slow or act up?
We attempted a bath in the sink to wash he nasty poo'ey feet and he didn't freak out other than trying to get away and down into my shirt, which startled me, but was otherwise pretty humorous. We've tried the bathtub as well a couple of time already, which worked much better, although he tends to be extremely hyper after. I assume that is normal?
He does indeed love the wheel (16 in solid plastic, not wire). It is hilarious to watch him run on the wheel for 30 seconds, jump off, run through the tube to the other enclosure, around the igloo hut, sniff his food and water, then back through the tube, jump in the litter pan, and it's back to the wheel for another 30 seconds or so and repeat, and repeat, and repeat, etc.... But, he seems to be rather clumsy on the wheel at times. The first night he kept tripping while running on it, which freaked me out until I realized he was not tripping, but instead slipping. I bought some of those bathtub traction sticker things, which seem to be helping, but he still seems a bit clumsy.
And the final two things: One, which does seem to be abating, is sneezing. He was sneezing like crazy the first few nights. Like I said tho, the sneezing does seem to have abated, so I am wondering if it maybe was just all the new smells?
The second is he seems to tire easily (I am in my 30's also and tire easily sometime too). The first night we had him he just collapsed on the wheel spread-eagle. He looked totally pooped, the poor little guy. Tonight, however, freaked me out. He woke on his own, and I came in to watch him run before taking him out, but he wasn't running. He was half on and half off of the wheel. His bottom and hind legs were perched on the wheel. His front half was hanging off and he was just laying on his face and was...just lying there. I watch him run every night and so far have not witnessed him fall off of the wheel. Now, the bedroom light had been turned on by daughter, and I have noticed that he tends to be light sensitive, so I'm not sure if it was the light, sleepiness, laziness, or something else. The attached picture is an example if him exhibiting, what seems to me to be tiredness. Maybe, hopefully, we just have a lazy Mr. Popples.
With the new place, the new people, and the new stuff maybe he was just overstimulated and exhausted, I don't know, we may just be overwhelming him in all our excitement, but was hoping maybe someone would have some insight?
I am concerned most about these last two and we have an appointment with the vet just to be sure anyway, even if just for a wellness exam and help with little hind toenails (they have turned out to be difficult, to say the least). As far as diet is concerned, his previous family fed him dry cat food in the morning, wet food in the evening, and cottage cheese as an infrequent treat. We are sticking to that for now, but are planning on working out a better diet plan with the vet at our appointment.
Anyways, thanks for reading my novel and any comments, concerns, and/or questions are welcome.


394 Posts
Re: Geberal Health: Newbie Questions

Haha, you wrote so much, i love it.

Cute, ridiculously cute. I love his huge pinto spot.

For a lot of general questions you can always do a search at Hedgehog Wiki

I am glad you got a very well tempered hedgehog. It takes Vex (my hog) about 30 minute a night to get used to me being around. He is much better than he was. And yes, waking up a sleeping hedgehog does cause some grouchiness. A hedgehog knows you by scent, so until he can smell you, he doesn't know if you are going to eat him or give him eats.

You are playing with him an appropriate amount, and i am glad you enjoy his company =D

Very good on using liners, they are the cheapest in the long run.
Vex is the same way, he doesn't use his litter box, so i have to change the liners daily. One thing to try is to put paper towel in front of his cage so that any spillage will go onto the towel, and when he steps off the poopy wheel he will be able to get some of the mess of his feet.

Litter Training
I don't believe a hedgehog can be to old to litter train. It is all how the hedgehog naturally is. Some hedgehogs are natural neat freaks and will ALWAYS use a litter box. Most use a litter box or their wheel, and some will go wherever they please no matter who is watching. Even stranger is shy hedgehogs. Some hedgehogs will only go to the washroom when no one is watching, so giving a "potty house" may help. Also if you notice he is always pooping in one spot, try moving the litter box there. Hedgehogs pick where they want the litter, we just obey.

Also put paper towel in front of his litter box, and when he poops put the poop in the litter box, then show him it is in there and then give him a treat. This will help enforce that in or around the litter box is best.

Semi-loose stool or discolored stool is a sign of an upset stomach. An upset stomach can be caused by stress, or by illness. Since Mr.Popples is new to you and has been getting ANY new treats, then he will most likely have strange poop. Even a change in environment or temperature can cause a shift in bowel movements. If the strange poops are consistent for 3-4 days, then it is time to take concern, but one odd poop is completely normal for a hog that's new to you.

I know you couldn't control what your daughter did, but treats should probably not be introduced until the hedgies poop has been completely normal for about a week. After that you can introduce one treat OR new food at a time, in small amounts. This way you will be able to see if a change in treat causes a bad Bowel movement, and you can stop giving that treat. Also a change in amount of treats can cause a messy poop, so always introduce new foods in moderation. A little to start, and then more as time progresses.

Also i am not certain if ferret treats are healthy for hedgehogs, but i am going to assume that they should not be fed to hedgehogs at all unless someone else states otherwise. Ferrets do not have the same nutritional requirements that hedgehogs do, and the hedgehog may not have been able to digest the ferret treat, causing the messy poo.

Digestive System
A hedgehogs digestive system gets used to the treats you feed it. If you introduce new foods, or change the quantities of food, no matter how old he is, he may experience a strange poop. As for slowing down, a hedgehog will start pooping less after being about a year old, so just imagine how much more poop he would have produced when he was 7 weeks, and be thankful you didn't have to change liners twice a day =D

Vex is extremely hyper during, through and after a bath. When i try and clean him he will climb up the toothbrush to escape into my shirt. Afterwards all he wants to do is run around on me, and when i put him on the ground he wants back up (he scratches at my leg). He likes to burrow in a towel after a bath for hours.

Good job on getting a proper wheel for him. Vex does the same thing. In the wild hedgehogs are scavengers, so they run and look for food. I believe hedgehogs exhibit this strange wheeling behavior because they run and think they leave the food behind them, and when they get off the wheel they expect to find something new (just like they think they leave their poop behind when pooping on the wheel).

Some hedgehogs, when to warm, will splat out will legs out in all directions. This is done to get the body closer to the wheel cooling them down. Make sure the cage is between 74*F and 78*F, as he may be overheated, or extremely comfortable around you.

If you are using a bucket wheel, when he urinates, it can turn into a slip and slide. Vex often runs to close to the edge of his wheel and will step off of the wheel. If you want to see the slip and slide just youtube "Hedgehog Slip and Slide".

Some hedgehogs are naturally sleepy, and will fall asleep on your lap or anywhere. Usually babies are generally sleepier than adults, but some adults just want to nap around you.

Many people describe their hedgehogs as cuddlers or explorers. One wants to sleep, one wants to run around and see EVERYTHING.

Once again, the spread eagle thing was probably him splatting out. See: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1369&p=11761&hilit=splat#p11761

As for the half on half off the wheel, chances are you scared him. Most hedgehogs are closet wheelers, and will not run unless all lights are off and no one is watching. This is probably the case. When a closet wheeler is caught poopy pawed, they freeze and pretend to be invisible. If you are sure he had his eyes closed and was asleep, he probably just feels very comfortable around you, and doesn't need to hide to sleep. My vex would dig in his litter box and just sleep there.

Most hedgehogs are light sensitive, as the are crepuscular, meaning they are active at dawn and dusk. Most hedgehogs won't come out in the light. That being said hedgehogs need 14 hours of light a day to help regulate their internal cycles, and it helps prevent hibernation.

Some hedgehogs grow out of light sensitivness, but this is rare. Most people have to play with their hedgies in a very dim room, or use a red light on the other side of the room. (Some hedgehogs don't mind red light, while others hate ALL light)

When hedgehogs go through a lot of changes, some just sleep it off. Vex didn't use his wheel for the first week and just slept and climbed about his cage.

You should definitely get this checked out as it could be caused from an upper respiratory infection. As he is on a low dust bedding, it would not be from that. Was he on something other than liners before you got him? URI are very serious matter, and you should bring it up to your vet.

From what you are describing there seems to be nothing wrong with Mr.Popples other than the sneezing, and good for you on taking him in for a wellness check. It is always a good idea to have a checkup exam done annually. Make sure you bring up the possibility of a URI with the vet. You may also want to have a skin scraping done, and stool sampled to make sure there are no internal or external fungus/yeast/parasites.

I find vex's back feet hard to do as well. usually if i give him a meal worm he will let me play with his feeties, and he has gotten better after a while. Anesthesia should only be used as a last resort if his nails are ridiculously bad.

After a month of having him, you will most likely want to put him on a diet of a mix of at least two high quality cat foods with 25-35% protein and <15% fat. You should not have to feed any wet cat food unless he has teeth problems. Other than that cottage cheese is fine as an occasional treat, just remember hedgehogs are lactose intolerant, so if you feed to much, you will get messy poop.

Other than that, Mr. Popples is extremely cute, and WELCOME TO HHC!

2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: Geberal Health: Newbie Questions

Thank you for the reply!
We've taken the ferret treats completely away, and he is currently only eating the dry food. His poo has normalized.
AND....Mr. Popples received a clean bill of health from the vet. No URI, no mites or skin conditions, no parasites in stool culture, no sedation, and he was well mannered. She said he was perfectly healthy and happy.

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