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Grumpy new hedgehog

3532 Views 11 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  hogmother
I brought my hedgehog Priscilla home 4 days ago and have taken her out a few times to play with her. She's obviously very nervous and it took a lot to get her to even take a mealworm from her bowl with me there (she doesn't seem too fond of them). I'm trying to just use my hands to touch her and play with her, but on the occasions I've had to pick her up in a hurry I've needed rubber gloves as she huffs and puffs quite vigorously and it REALLY hurts, even with gloves!

I realize it is very early days but is there anything I can do, or any advice on getting Priscilla to trust me? She's happy to flatten her quills down in her cage, and even when she is out on the floor if she isn't touched she's fine, but as soon as she feels something brush her back she's balled up and making the most awful huffing noise.

I have cut up an old non fraying tee that I slept with for a night and left it in her den, which is a large plumbing tube. She kicked it out, but at least it's in the cage to get used to. Today when I played with her she clambered all over me although if I even flinched she was back in a ball - hedgehog quills on tummy? Very painful.

Her night life is good; she is running on her wheel (too small but I am giving her my home made one later today) and eating the things I'm putting out for her, which have so far been a hedgehog food soaked in water, a small bit of Whiskas fish cat food and little bits of what we might have for dinner, such as a few bits of plain rice or some small chopped up cubes of pepper.

She seems to have horrendously dry skin - at least I think - but I am having trouble finding images of what healthy skin should look like. It looks very flaky between the quills although her pink underbelly is lovely and smooth. I've got her first vet check up next Tuesday to make sure she's doing well from the get go, but any advice would help. I know about Aveeno baths but I don't want to freak her out with the prospect of water quite yet.

Any advice you can give me on stopping her from being quite so nervous and defensive would be great. I see these images of hedgehogs upside down in their owners laps and I want that for us one day.
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If you aren't, sit with her on your lap, or lay down and put her on your chest with a blanket over her. The blanket will make her feel a little more secure and the closeness will let her get used to your movement, sound and scent.

Create a schedule for her. Take her out at the same time, give her the same amount of attention, feed her at the same time, etc. It helps them to figure out what is going on.

If she is a baby, some of the grumpies could be from quilling. It usually passes, but continue to hold her and continue with a schedule.

I just took in an adult 2 weeks ago. She was pretty uncertain of what was going on. She's extremely friendly, but freaks out if she is exposed. However with each day that passes I can see improvements where she is starting to figure things out. I have her on a schedule and we just lay together watching tv in the evenings. I don't "play" with her much. We mostly just lay together and I let her do what she wants to do. I want her to just learn to trust me. Learn my voice, learn that when I move its OK. She's also learned that when i pick her back up out of her cage at 10pm that she is going to get mealworms. She now sits in her sleep bag and watches.
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Oops missed your food question. Is she eating all of the food? If she is, give her some more. If she is young, she will eat a lot of food and needs it to grow. Most hedgehogs will not over eat. I have one who would eat an entire bowl, and later stopped that when we gave her a larger wheel (12"). I think she was uncomfortable on the smaller size wheel and just got bored so she ate.

I give mine 2 tablespoons each night and if they eat it all, I'll give them a little more in the morning. I see some weight fluctuations, but for the most part my hedgehogs' weights stay pretty steady.
I posted to another thread recently some tips on how to pick up without gloves. Its at: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=601&p=5623#p5623

See if either of those help or give you an idea of how you may want to approach the situation. Everyone seems to do it a little differently.
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