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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, I just got my little Sadie on Sunday. She is 7 months old, so she is socialized. What I am having trouble with is picking her up out of her cage to bond with her. Whenever I get close, she freaks out, huffs, and goes into her ball of quills. I would like to get her out faster because I feel like if it takes me a while, she will be stressed out and be even more angry and scared. I guess what I need help with is how to handle her when she is balled up, and how to calm her. Also, if someone could tell me what it feels like to get poked with a quill, that would be great because I am a bit scared of her quills :roll: Thank you!
 

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You've only just gotten her. Even the most socialized hedgie can sometimes take a bit to get acclimated to a new home. Just make sure you keep on handling her. Have you ever handled a hairbrush with metal bristles? I've thought that's what most closely approximates holding a huffy hedgehog. I doubt you're stressing her out by going slowly when picking her up. If you pick her up very quickly you run the risk of scaring her further, and possibly even scaring yourself if you're uneasy about it. When you've had her a little longer and her digestive system is in sync with her new home and possibly new food (no idea if you switched or plan on switching her diet up) you can always offer a treat when she comes out so she starts to associate you with treats and good things. I'm still a bit of a newbie at it, so that's pretty much all I know about socialization. Good luck!
 

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Before you pick her up, let her know it's going to happen. Make a routine so she'll know what's up. Choose the same time every night. Talk or sing to her. Rustle around her house first - filling food and water dishes. Put your hand near her so she can smell you and get used to your scent... make sure to wash up first with an unscented (or really really lightly scented) soap.

When you're ready to pick her up, you can use a little scrap of fleece to protect your hand if she's really quilly. It'll feel prickly, even through the fleece, but not painful. Hopefully, after she's out and sitting on you (in your arms or hands), she'll feel comfortable enough to unball and you'll be rewarded with her soft warm tummy and little pudgy hedgie feet.

You can help calm her by singing or talking softly, dimming the lights, and making sure she has a place to hide. If you've used fleece to pick her up, that can now go over her to make a hiding place while she's with you.

Eventually, you'll be able to pick her up without fleece... but I know it can seem scary at first with all those quills. I've been poked a few times. It's a little like holding a cactus if she's really quilly. Or like the end of a small paperclip (or a bunch of small paperclips). It doesn't usually penetrate your skin, but I have had that happen... like if I've been washing dishes and my hands are all soft and my hedgie has backed up into me.
 

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You've already gotten some great advice, so I don't have much to add. I just wanted to mention that while going slow when picking her up is just fine, try to make sure you don't hesitate a lot, or pull back when she huffs or pops. Going slow will be less likely to scare her, but if you hesitate or seem very nervous, she'll pick up on that and in turn be afraid. Go slowly but steadily and she should get more comfortable after awhile. :)

Also, congrats on your new baby!
 

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Just wanted to add you can help reduce the initial "ouch-factor" if you try to distribute your hedgie's weight across both your hands when picking up/holding. It's kinda like that old laying on a bed of nails trick, one nail will go right through you but when you lay on a whole bed you can hardly feel it.

That being said stepping on a stray quill is like having a nail go through you so inspecting the hedgies play areas before you step is usually a good idea :lol: Getting poked by one ON your hedgie really isn't too bad though, although some people (including myself) do get a bit of a skin irritation from the quills at first, so you might want to wash your hands after handling your hedgie the first few times if you start to notice this. My irritation is pretty much gone though, so it does seem like it goes away.

Don't worry about being too nervous. To be honest I still usually lift my hedgies out their cages with their "hats". Once their out and about it's a lot easier to pick them up by scooping under their belly but I guess some just never outgrow that "just woke up why the heck are you picking me up!" mood when you first try to get them out.
 

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Herisson was three months old when I got him. I used cotton baby receiving blankets folded over to make layers. He felt secure and the quills do not poke through. I held him every day and started by just resting my hand on him and moved on to stroking him gently over the blanket. After a few days, I started removing a layer of the blanket at a time until it was just him. I still pick him up to this day in his bankie. He loves them so much I bought several and have a nice decorative bucket full of clean rolled ones next to his house. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you so much everyone. All the advice really helped! We had a wonderful little bonding time tonight. I used all of these techniques and she was as calm as I have seen her, and I was much calmer myself! I am no longer afraid of her :lol:
 

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Meatapastatarian said:
Thank you so much everyone. All the advice really helped! We had a wonderful little bonding time tonight. I used all of these techniques and she was as calm as I have seen her, and I was much calmer myself! I am no longer afraid of her :lol:
YAY!! :D
 

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Glad that you had a great snuggling night! When Sylvie first came home I would pick her up in my old t-shirt that was already in the cage.
 
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