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Help! New 2 yr Old Hedgy with BIG Attitude Problem

4840 Views 27 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  hedgielover
Hey everyone,

I just recently aquired a 2-3 year old hedgy from a family who could no longer give her the love and attention she needs due to their daughter going off to university for the year.
They say she is a little grumpy but it wasn't that big of a deal. Upon our first meeting the hedgy bit me and my boyfriend. The family was shocked and said the hedgy had never ever bit anyone. Where they lying? I don't think so. So I take her home anyways, hoping she'll warm up to me once she gets to know my smell. I've had her 5 days and I have not been able to get her out of my cage. She tries to bit, and quils out and huffs when I stick my hand in the cage or try to pet her. I read about putting a shirt of mine in her cage with her so I did that. She immediately attacked it - biting it, and taking it into her hut with her. Why is this? Is it something about how I smell? I don't wear much perfumated body products so it wouldn't be that. I need help on how to deal with this problem. I know she needs to be let out of her cage but I just have had no luck doing it. I thought about taking her to the SPCA but I think I'm going to stick with it for a while. And well, she's just so darn gosh cute.

Hopefully some of you friendly hedgy folk can help me.
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Well first of all, even the nicest hedgie will quill up and hiss when you take them out of the cage. You just have to get over it and pick them up. Don't use gloves, because it's even scarier for the hedgie. If you're scared of the quills you can use a blankie to get them out. Usually once hedgies are out of their cages they'll unball and either calm down or go exploring, but if you try to approach them in the cage they get huffy.

Also, it's only been 5 days. Everything that was normal to her is gone now, and there is an adjustment period. Hedgies are sensitive to change- even getting water from a different source can cause stomach upset.

Hedgehogs also have extremely sensitive noses. You should always wash your hands (preferably with unscented soap) before handling, so that there are no foreign smells that could cause hedgie to bite. My understand (which could be very wrong) is that if they smell things on you and bite it's because they think it would be something edible. They don't recognize you by sight/sound or anything-- it's by smell. So if you have an inconsistent smell or if you smell tasty, they'll probably bite. A warning sign is licking, so if you see that.. they're not being cute, you should pull your hand away.

You also said you don't wear MUCH perfumed body products, but if you wear any it could be the culprit. (I think)

In rare cases, some hedgies are just biters, and you just need to make a concerted effort not to put your hands in front of their mouths.

Other people could probably offer more advice, but mine is: make sure everything is unscented, and always wash your hands before handling. I'm still a new owner so if anything I said is misinformed, I'm sure someone will correct me :D

Congrats on your new hedgie :)

[edit] You should read this sticky because it has a lot of great information about hedgehog behavior and what you should be expecting.
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threesisters said:
she basically panicked and flopped off my lap. (Bad eyesight of course)
I'm not sure if this means she fell off, but be really careful about that! Falls from even an inch can kill a hedgie, and they don't even exhibit signs that anything is wrong (internal bleeding, broken bones, etc.)

Congratulations on making progress with your hedgie
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