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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hedgehog Erinaceidae Head Domesticated hedgehog Eye

Hello everyone!
About a week ago, my Dad rescued this small hedgehog from the road after someone set fire to the woods around my house. Given how bad things look right now, we thought it'd be safer for the hedgie to come along. I named him Aristarchus, after the greek astronomer.

Now, as you can see from the picture, the first thing my dad fed him was a bit of sausage... Don't worry, I'm trying to feed him in a healthier way now.

I know nothing of hedgehog keeping, though I'm trying to learn quickly. I must confess, I'm scared I might hurt the little fella by doing something stupid. I always handle him with care, try to be as quiet as possible, don't shout, and I make sure I don't scare him.

He seems to be rather sociable, as he often lets me pick him up and give belly rubs, and eats from my hand most times. I read that I should play with him for about half an hour each day, and he seemed to enjoy as much - he never hisses, even those times when he gets a bit scared and jumpy.

Tonight however I might have played with him longer than usual and he changed his behaviour drastically - he started shifting around and trying to bite, and as soon as I let him on the ground, he started chasing my hands and feet. I tried offering a finger and he bit down harder than usual, though he left no mark. I got scared and left him in his room, and he resumed his nightly run.

Now I'm a bit worried. Does he hate me? Even when biting or chasing me he did not hiss at me, and even if he bit down hard, maybe he was just playing, and I reinforced this behaviour by scratching and rubbing his belly and nose, something which I always did these days. Problem is, he might have thought I was playing along, but I have no idea if he was or not.

The unusual reaction prompted me to search for more info, and I came here. I hope someone here can help me, because I really like this little guy and want to be his friend, but now I feel terrible thinking I might have offended or angered him.
Any suggestions?
 

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Holly is a female African Pygmy Hedgehog. She weighs about 463g and was born May 28, 2019.
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He is probably just in a bit of a shock after being in such a different place and being handled longer than usual. Take it slow, and if he shows signs of not wanting to be picked up, for now, it is best to let him adjust. He doesn't hate you, but he might be confused and scared about being in a new place and possibly away from his family, depending on how old he is. Give it time :)
 

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hedgehogs often have a “honeymoon” phase after moving somewhere new, everything smells so different and exciting so they’ll be nice but then they realize they’re not where they’re used to for a long period of time so they get a little more moody! it’s nothing you did wrong this happens often i’ve heard! give the guy some time keep playing with him and letting him get used to you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi! Thanks to both of you for your replies.
I had to live my house for a few days, during which Aristarchus was in the care of my family. He never attacked anyone, ate all his food like usual, and allowed others to pet him. When I came back (I had not yet seen Spiky_Floof's reply), he did not run away from me. He let me pick him up without hissing or trying to hide. At some point when I was on my bed he walked up to me and licked my face... I had no idea hedgehogs could do that.

Anyways, Aristarchus seems to be doing fine now. He enjoys his belly rubs, eats like a lion and poops like a madman. Every night I leave some food in his room (which is bigger than mine - I gave him an entire room until I can build a proper enclousure for him) and he goes for a "hunt" until early morning. Then he sleeps in the afternoon. I fear the heat might be a problem, but this summer is particularly warm so I don't really know how to tackle this other than leaving plenty of water for him to drink.

Thanks for helping me out, I'll make sure to post some pictures or videos later... when I figure out how the forums work. Thanks again for your kind words!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi everyone!
Came back with news.
First of all, I found out the little fella is actually a girl, and I named her Cassandra.
Second thing, it seems she's still biting... She's not strong enough to do any real damage, but she bites down and won't let go. At first I used to be able to pick her up and rub her belly for minutes before leaving her to do hedgehog things, now she starts biting after a minute or so.

I thought she might be hungry, but no - she always does this now. I'm being extra careful about how I handle her, and of course I'm also gentle when I try to free myself - I read somewhere that the best thing to do is to either stop moving until she lets go or gently blow on her. That kinda helps, but she still bites again as soon as she can, and I'm scared I might accidentally be hurting her somehow.

I can't for the life of me figure out if she's playing or if she thinks I'm food. I read that young hedgehogs often do that, so she should eventually grow out of it I hope. I also read that leaving some clothing such as a shirt in her room might help her get used to my odour, should I try that?
 
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