Be sure not to have any strong smells on your hands. Some adjust quickly to new people and others take some time. So he is a baby, he is most likely quilling. Give him a bath. Put a couple of drops of Jojoba oil in the water or get some Aveeno Bath to bathe him in. It will help some.
Don't give up yet! He sounds like a normal baby. The breeder I got mine from mentioned that sometimes they bite a bit when they are teething. Like daneen said, make sure your hands are clean (unscented soap, no lotion) the few times mine has gotten a bit nippy I just try to hold him where the big flat part of my palm is closest to his mouth so he can't latch on the way they can with fingers and the side of your hand.
It can take hedgies a long time to stop teh popping and hissing. Mine started out very friendly and outgoing, but once he quilled he started with the popping and hissing. Now that he's through his second quill he seems to be going back to his origional sweet self.
I bet he will grow out of it. Part of the fun of a hedgehog is gaining their trust. It can take MONTHS to do that, but once you have it, you will have such a special bond with him.
The first month after I brought Aries home, he huffed, popped and growled, and bit anytime we had him out. The first few days, he clicked, too! He was trying to scare us off. It was that bad attitude that had him living in a pet store for a year before being sold for $50 to me.
I would lay out a blanket on the bed and let him walk around on and beside me on the bed. We did this nearly every night, and each night I held him or petted him a little more. He likes to play in my hair and "comb" it with his front paws before chewing on it. He was sniffing around in my hair one night when he bit my earlobe! He chomped, then pulled! It hurt so much!!! I couldn't even blow in his face to make him stop! At least I had taken my earrings out.
We've had him for a year and a half now, and he's a big old sweetie. He still likes to bite, but he's slower at it, like he knows about the puff of air if he goes through with it. He got used to us very slowly, but now if he's awake when we pick him up, he doesn't even raise his quills. Don't tell Zeus and Artemis, but he's my favorite for cuddling.
The only time any hedgehog has ever drawn blood was when Zeus bit me. I wasn't listening to him when my 4 year old niece and I were playing with him--she's very gentle and we weren't holding him--but he got super mad that we wouldn't leave him alone to sleep, so he bit me. He was overwhelmed, and I deserved that bite. Is there any chance your hedgehog is all "cuddled out" and overwhelmed when he bites? Zeus gets really jumpy before he starts biting.
Some hedgehogs like to cuddle more than others. Your baby needs a lot of sleep, so let him do what he wants to do. He might be a cuddler as he gets older, or he might be more active. It might depend on the day! And if he plays, then goes back to sleep, don't bother him! Have you ever been trying to take a nap and someone keeps bothering you? I go into super grumpy mode, too! You might see if he likes being petted very, very gently as he's falling asleep. Zeus doesn't like being petted on his back, but he loves having his face stroked. Try stroking the fur on his nose up to his hair (spike?) line with one finger. Aries is okay with it, Artemis hates it, but Zeus's eyes get heavy and he blinks really slowly until he falls asleep.
The moral of the story: give your baby lots of time to get used to you. Think of how human babies put everything in their mouths--they do it to everything until their parents teach them what is and isn't okay to taste! Be patient with teaching him, and don't give up! Give him lots of mealworms when you play with him--it will help! Good luck! Don't give up! And let us know how you get on!
He sounds like a normal baby and just needs patience. There is a chance that any hedgehog may be social or not but the important thing of taking on a hedgie for a pet is to realize they may never like to be touched and then taking care of them reguardless of the outcome. If you are already getting this frustrated over it at the 5 day mark when they are still getting accustom to their new home it probably will not make a difference to take him back for another. Hedgies are a joy but take lots of time, work and patience.
My advice is don't give up and be consistent. It takes time. A small suggestion I would have is at this time keep your hands away. Use a small fleece blanket when handling him, or the t-shirt you've given him to learn your scent with. Just keep the bare hands away until that behavior stops.
For as many You Tube videos as there are of friendly ones, I could make a dozen more of my Whyte who hisses and pops. I do not think you should turn him back in as its a roll of the dice with any hedgehog. Like any animal we can't control who they are but we can control how we treat them and whether or not we try to build up that trust. Some animals never trust, as well as some people never trust. Its not personal, its his level of fear. Help him overcome that fear and he will be yours.
I read somewhere that shorter more frequent interactions are better for them when building that trust than long durations so I've been trying that with Whyte. It makes sense since we are trying to convince them that each time we handle them it will be ok and the initial picking them up seems to stress them out the most. (at least from what I've noticed)
I understand its disappointing, frustrating, and at the very least annoying. But you can do it!
Biting hurts. And my boy is missing the real sharp chompers (his vampire fangs). He has bitten my arm, my fingers, my boyfriend's fingers (and drawn blood), my chest, my arm pit (that one really hurt and made me cry). Once you've gotten through the pain there is nothing to be afraid of if it happens again you'll get through it again.
Like rainbowcookie's Zeus, Quigley bites when he is overwhelmed or frustrated. If we've been out for a walk for too long. If I won't let him jump off the chair or the bed or explore somewhere he's trying to get to. After a few times of relocating him away from dangerous edges and gaps between furniture he'll get mad and chomp so usually I put him in the playpen before that happens. The time he bit my boyfriend we were clipping nails and probably pushed it a bit too far. He likes the laundry room in my building and gets mad at me when I'm done doing laundry and bring him back up to the apartment. He doesn't like sitting still and gets mad if I try and make him.
What I'm getting at is that hedgehogs all have individual personalities and likes and dislikes. Sometimes it takes a long time for a personality to shine and for owners to recognize it. Quigley and I have been getting to know each other for a year and a month. Sometimes he's still a huffy ball of quills, sometimes he gets mad and bites every so often his friendly side shines. Get to know your hedgehog, his triggers, his likes and dislikes, his preferred schedule etc.
If this is too overwhelming for you and you don't want to wait months for your hedgehog to come round a hedgehog may not be the right pet for you and you'll have to make that call. The people on here can help you and will tell you if your expectations are reasonable.
I just wanted to mention something that I don't think anyone else has....You shouldn't be putting him in a bath every time you take him out. Most hedgies don't like baths and if he starts to associate you picking him up with being put in water everytime, he's going to hate being picked up. Just pick him up in a blanket, keep the blanket between your fingers and his mouth for now, and let him sleep, cuddle do what ever HE wants. Most of mine just curl up and sleep when I have them out, which is great, I love cuddlers. As he gets older he may decide to spend more time exploring, but right now you just want to make being picked up a pleasent experience, but baths are not pleasent to them. If he has a treat he likes, start just giving it to him when you have him out, just don't hold the food in your fingers.
Thank you guys all so much for giving me the great advice.
I think I was just so worried that he simply hated me... but I have a better idea of what's going on now and I do look forward to earning his trust. He's progressed a lot since I last posted and I was just expecting too much out of the little guy. He's becoming so much better with the surroundings and interacting.
Also, Nikki, your post was especially helpful because I honestly didn't even think about that. I'd just done SOO much research on hedgies and I've been letting every little bit of info sink into my brain without logically thinking about some things. I'd been doing it because someone made a whole page about how to handle the more grumpy hedgehogs and they said if he/she takes too long to come out of his ball & etc. then you should just start putting him/her in a warm bath before playtime so when he's in there and you get him out he'll look at you as someone who's saving him. Hahah, kind of weird to think of it that way, i guess.
I'm really going to use your advice and work with it.
I'm really excited to continue working with him and I'll post again sometime soonnn.
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