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Re: Geberal Health: Newbie Questions

Haha, you wrote so much, i love it.

FIRST!!!!:
Cute, ridiculously cute. I love his huge pinto spot.

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

Behavior
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

Bedding
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.

Stool
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.

Treats
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

Bath
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.

Wheel
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".

Tiredness
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.

Light[/i]
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)

Sleep
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.

Sneezing
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.

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.

Toenails
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.

Diet
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!
 
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