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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, I would just like first to introduce myself. My name is Mike and I was very lucky to be able to pick up a gorgeous boy hedgehog this past Wednesday (2 months old).

Since then I am pretty sure I have made the normal mistakes of a new owned, and possibly then some. The day I brought him home he was of course scared and confused. I put him in his cage and set him up nicely. I help him for perhaps 5 minutes that day and put him back in his cage to hopefully keep him from freaking out too much. The second day I tried holding him twice, the first time which worked great, he even let me hold him in a ball for a little bit. Then that night when I tried to hold him the second time, I let my girlfriend try and he freaked out jumping back into my hands.

Here is where my "problem" started. Saturday I didn't get home until close to 11 at night (crazy day) and before coming home I played with my old dog at my parents house (forgot to wash my hands). When I cam home and try to handle him he puffed into a huge spike ball ( i assume now it was from the smell of my dog) and he wouldn't let me hold him or do much with him. So I left him alone until Sunday.

Now on sunday I do believe my brain fell out and I did my best possible to be a "bad" owner. I tried handling him when I woke up and need to get a shirt to help me pick him up (he was having none of that). I eventually moved him to the bathtub so I could clean his cage which I did just fine. However each time I tried to pick him up to put him back in his cage he would puff up snort and do his best to scare me off, until I got the shirt and got him in his cage that way. Well then I took the stupidity a step further and filled his little bathtub I got him to try and get some of the poop off his feet. So I gave him a bit of a "mock" bath (no soap just water/tooth brush) which I thought went quite well. He didn't puff up snort at me or try to prick me, just kinda did laps (didn't use the bathroom either) until we were done and I was able to towel him off and put him back in his cage. After which I gave him some mealworms in hopes of buying some love.

Now later that day, I tried to pick him up in the night to try and just hold him. He was more "aggressive" that time with the puffing and snorting. When I was able to pick him up and he uncurled in my hand he went and bit my finger. The first time not so hard ( I work with my hands somewhat so they are kind of tough) the second time though I could tell he really tried to chop down to do some damage. At which point I put him back in his cage.

This morning I went to replace a t-shirt I had had in his cage for a bed, just a folded up t-shirt with a box over it he could hide in. Originally he would sleep in the box, since I have replaced the bedding in his cage he burrows UNDER the tshirt and hideout (I did double the amount of bedding that was in the cage when I cleaned it so perhaps that is why he "burrows" now? ).ANYWAYS, when I went to replace the shirt I put my hand near him, I didn't touch him but I was close with my palm open (trying to show him I meant no harm like you would for a dog) and he went to bit my fingers twice, just as hard as he could, this time I backed it up with a stern "NO" at which he stopped and went to the other side of the cage and I was then able to put in a new shirt, and put his hideout on it, which he is currently hiding under the T-shirt and hideout.

SO I guess what I am asking is have I alienated my hedgie by handling him too much and giving him a bath? He just recently did the biting yesterday. Since he did that yesterday aside from giving him a new shirt to sleep on/under I have not messed with him. I wasn't planning on picking him up today because I'm afraid I'm going to make him that much more afraid of me/hate me. What should I do with him at the point? Wait a day or so and then start handling him with a blanket or shirt until he uncoils ?

BTW: He does still take mealworms out of my hands, if I offer one to him he will come up and take it from me, then run back and hide (So i think not all is lost? I hope )


I hope I didn't ramble on too much, thank you everyone for all of your help ! !
 

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Hmm... You've got quite a scared little hedgie there.

If you've got quiet time in the evening such as reading a book or watching television (nothing loud, ie a war movie, my hedgehog hates explosion noises or yelling.) take him out in the shirt he's curled up in. A), he'll be more comfortable, and B) it's safer for you and him by having a mostly teeth and quill proof barrier between the two of you. Also, if he decides to ball up, there's no danger of you dropping him which will really, really, hurt your hedgie.
Then, just set him in your lap and watch tv or read your book etc. Resist the urge to bother him. If you can do this for a few nights, I'm sure he'll come around.

Also, don't put your hands in his face. He will bite you. My Basil does. And it hurts!

Basil was a ball of spikes for three weeks before he came around and he's a snuggle bunny now. He loves sleeping next to my dad when we watch tv in the evenings. Again for the tv, if you're in the mood for something scary or loud, best leave him be.

Don't give up hope! Just take it super slow.
 

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Welcome to HHC :)

Sounds like you may have pushed things a little too quick a little too soon with your hedgie so my advice would be to just step back, take a deep breath and start over.

There's a lot of great advice about socializing hedgehogs, so just read up on it in the behaviour forum. The "search" function works wonders, and you'll find a lot of your questions have already been answered 100 times over.

As for the biting, sounds like your hedgehog is either biting you out of fear, or out of you smelling nummy.

Always wash your hands with a non-heavily scented soap before handling the hedgehog.

Hand-feeding mealworms isn't always recommended, as they may try to bite your fingers if the mealworm scent remains on your fingers, and often they can even confuse your fingers as part of the mealworm.

You've obviously scared the little one, but the best thing you can do now is stop beating yourself up over it, throw all previous expectations out of the window and take it SLOW. Your hedgehog will tell you what kind of pace your bonding will move at, and the best thing you can do is listen.


Best of luck :)
 

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Welcome to HHC and congrats on your little guy!

#1 Dont let his grumpiness discourage you! He is very young and scared; the hissing and puffing is perfectly normal; my little man is 6 months old and still does that to me when I pick him up.

Putting your t-shirt with him is a great idea! Another thing I did every night was sit in my room on my bed and hold him in a blanket in my lap. For the first few nights he was tightly curled in a ball, but I would rub circles in the middle of his back and he would slowly start to uncurl and look around a bit. It takes awhile for them to gain trust. Just be consistent and don't let his behavior scare you away; otherwise he will keep doing it in order to keep you away.

With the biting, Little Foot did that once the first night I got him. I put my hand out for him to sniff and he latched on to my finger. Hedgies are attracted to odd smells so always make sure you watch your hands with unscented soap and don't eat while holding them. I'm sure he will grow out of it as you bond and he gets older.

Good luck! If you have any other concerns or questions we are here for you! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you everyone for your replies. I will be doing my very best to go as slow as I can this time and be very patient. I left him be yesterday when he finally did come out I tried giving him a raspberry, he didn't ball up or puff up, just smelled the berry and went back to running on his wheel. So I guess there is hope if I just go slow. Tonight I will try getting him in his tshirt so we can sit around and watch cosmos :D which I think will be great for bonding time, no loud noises! Thanks again everyone for your help, thank you as well for the welcome. I hope me and Twixx enjoy our stay here.
 

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My suggestion. You need to start over and go for a slower rebonding experience.

If he was mine I would continue to hold him daily and I'd likely hold him for at least 1 hr if he will settle down. If he will snuggle and sleep on you, you can increase the time. During the time he is with you, sit and watch a quiet television, read, play on the computer, etc. Hold him in a blanket on your lap or chest, minimize touching, and talk to him quietly. This type of interaction will let him get used to your scent, your sound and help him to understand that you aren't going to hurt him. He should start to learn that being with you isn't that scary, and start to settle down. Do keep in mind that it can take a long time for some hedgehogs to settle. New homes can be very frightening. Be patient and understand he is scared and act accordingly.

If he is getting extremely upset and acts like he is going to bite, back off. Talk to him in a friendly quiet voice, reassuring him that everything is ok.

If he bites, do not put him back in his cage. Try to avoid bites by keeping your fingers away from his mouth. Should he bite, keep him out for a while longer. He has likely learned that if he bites you go away, which is what he wants right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Kalandra said:
My suggestion. You need to start over and go for a slower rebonding experience.

If he was mine I would continue to hold him daily and I'd likely hold him for at least 1 hr if he will settle down. If he will snuggle and sleep on you, you can increase the time. During the time he is with you, sit and watch a quiet television, read, play on the computer, etc. Hold him in a blanket on your lap or chest, minimize touching, and talk to him quietly. This type of interaction will let him get used to your scent, your sound and help him to understand that you aren't going to hurt him. He should start to learn that being with you isn't that scary, and start to settle down. Do keep in mind that it can take a long time for some hedgehogs to settle. New homes can be very frightening. Be patient and understand he is scared and act accordingly.

If he is getting extremely upset and acts like he is going to bite, back off. Talk to him in a friendly quiet voice, reassuring him that everything is ok.

If he bites, do not put him back in his cage. Try to avoid bites by keeping your fingers away from his mouth. Should he bite, keep him out for a while longer. He has likely learned that if he bites you go away, which is what he wants right now.
Thank you very much for the advice, I will be doing just that tonight. I was thinking of sitting him in my lap in a t-shirt while I watch cosmos. When I held him the first few times he would crawl everywhere trying to get away. If he does that should I just roll the shirt over him and put him back in my lap ? Thank you very much for all of the help everyone !
 

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Cover him with a blanket or with your shirt. I've found that with many that are trying to get away are often just trying to hide. The blanket will provide him with a sense of security and it will likely help settle him down too.

Although there are thosethat are just very active hedgehogs will prefer to explore. In those cases I will try to cover them with a blanket and let them crawl around on me. If he wants out from under the blanket, well that is fine too. If they try to crawl off, I often will put them back on my lap, or just prevent them from getting off of me. Moving around on you is good, it means he is secure enough to uncurl and explore.

If he is overly active and you feel he is adjusting, create a play area for him that he cannot get out and sit inside with him. Let him move around you. I like doing this and offering treats when they come to me.

If he is exploring and you are having good interactions with you, you can also offer him mealworms or some other treat that he loves. A mealworm can go a long way to promote trust.
 

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I typically pick the later hours as it is often closer to the time when they are likely to wake up anyway. Earlier and you may find that your hedgehog just wants to sleep. Whatever hour you pick, be consistent. I feel that hedgehogs do really well on a schedule. They learn what to expect and when to expect it.

I wake mine at 8pm and interact with them until 10pm (which is their feeding time). Mine typically will sleep on me for the first hour and then may or may not start to move around for more interaction. Although I tend to end up with snuggly quill kids that are happy to snuggle almost the entire 2 hrs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well everything went pretty well last night with mr Twixx when it was time to hold him. He was a bit reluctant when I first picked him up in the shirt, after about 30 minutes he managed to lay out in my lap instead of being curled up in a ball, or trying to burrow into the shirt :D. I found it really interesting that he would lay out and kind of look at me, I wonder how well he can see (since I know it isn't very well). I will keep with the routine of holding him for an hour at 9. Thanks again everyone for all of your help !
 

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YAY!! Sucess! Keep up the good work. :D

I'm not sure how much they can see. I know mine spooks at shadows (Ie moving my arm to pet him or to reach something over him.)
 

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That's great! I'm so glad that method had success for you. It works for me, but I'm always afraid it won't work at all for others!

Isn't it just an awesome feeling when they lay down on you and look up at you? I fully feel they can see better than we give them credit for.

Stick with the routine. Hopefully he will continue to open up to you and you'll be able to gain his trust and finally bond.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Kalandra said:
That's great! I'm so glad that method had success for you. It works for me, but I'm always afraid it won't work at all for others!

Isn't it just an awesome feeling when they lay down on you and look up at you? I fully feel they can see better than we give them credit for.

Stick with the routine. Hopefully he will continue to open up to you and you'll be able to gain his trust and finally bond.
Worked pretty well the first night, I don't know so much about last night. Last night my girlfriend was over and I think Twixx is afraid of her, at least since he doesn't know her smell yet. He stayed in a ball more this time with his spikes up....also he used the bathroom soon as I sat down on the couch with him and she was looking over my shoulder. Not that I was alarmed he did it, just WOW there was a lot of it, dunno if he just had to go or if he was showing me what for ! Mostly what he did last night when he did relax was lay slightly on his side with his legs kind of sticking out. I don't know if he was trying to "push" me away, keep his distance, or if that was just comfy :D. Oh well, I will take him out again at 9 and hold him for awhile again, hopefully he warms up to me :D
 

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Alot of times hedgies will go to the bathroom very shortly after waking up. One thing you can do to decrease the risk is when you first get him up just give a little time for them to eat and do their thing. If he doesn't want to do that while you are there you can always bring a towel just in case because they can go a lot as you found out with your little one :)

Sometimes hedgies will sleep with their legs out so it sounds to me like he might have found a comfy spot.

Sounds like you are doing good though :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Last night went pretty well with Mr twixx, I wasn't able to get him moving around before I picked him up, he tried to nip at my fingers or just stay on his shirt. So I just held him in his shirt for awhile, when he wasn't puffed up from my girlfriend looking at him he just kind of laid there with his back legs sticking out : ). I kind of think I upset him with his wheel, I attached it to his cage and he didn't run much at all last night, so I put it back on its stand this morning, hopefully he will forgive me tonight. I noticed when he had his legs sticking out he has a few really long nails, when should I look to try and trim those? I don't want to scare him or take anymore steps backwards getting him use to me. Thanks again everyone for making this as painless and not scary as possible for me and my new hedgie!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Like I said in the post just above, he didn't run much in his wheel last night, and I noticed two of his nails on his back right leg last night were VERY long, if he doesn't run much tonight, should I look into cutting hit nails ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
nikki said:
if his nails look long you should trim them whether he runs tonight or not. Nails should always be kept trimmed
I will try and trim them tonight then, hopefully I don't have too much trouble. I read in one thread about setting them ontop of the cage and trimming the nails when the feet fall through. Has anyone tried this method/ had luck with it? Any better methods people have come across?
 

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its a male thing i think they try to act all big and bad and my lil fuzz would rather me hold him than as to my boyfriend they are just like that but the first week when i got mine he would do the same, never bitten me though? but i had enough with the shirts and trying to get something to pick him up with so i just started rolling him over in his little ball shape until i could find his face once you have there face exposed its ezer to pick them up well at least for mine it is ^_^but your hands are ruff so just pick him up! and show him u can and u will! lol also though if you just poke at him from a deep sleep and try to pick him up hes not going to like you haha i try letting lil fuzz know when im going to wake him up and pick him up by talking to him i let him wake up before i just pick him up talk to your little guy he will learn your voiuc soon! than you wont have a problem getting him to unball if your having trouble getting him to unball take a milworm put it close as you can but not to close and blow on it that way the scent travels to his nose and he will slowly come out and unball so that you can pick him up scoop him or have your thumb and pointer on the outside of the middle of his body kinda like pinching him up but dont squish him lol also that way the spikes are not getting you you will be on his hair like , i think the more you handle him the better he has to get use to you, and hes winning everytime you end on a bad note , with mine i just laid in the bed for an hour one day and we established a friend ship and once he gets use to the nnoises in your house he will get better w u as well dont take me as good advice im a bad speller and only had mye hedgehg for a year



you can do it!
 
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