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Discussion Starter #1
I've observed a curious correlation between an empty dish of food and wheel use.

For the past two weeks (he's been with me for a month and a week now), I've been filling the food dish at 7pm and around 10am, in an attempt to encourage daytime appearances, and it's working perfectly. He'll take some food around 12pm and then some more at 5 or 6pm, finally waking up at 9-10pm for the night.

What I observed is -by way of the messy evidence- the wheel gets used the most when I find the food dish empty in the morning.

My take is that if he runs out of food, he'll walk/run trying to find more.

Could that be possible? If so, maybe there's a surefire way of encouraging exercise in overweight hedgies.
 

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I've often thought of this question in regards to my mice. especially since they stop every so often and look out the wheel. It seems like they are trying to run to see if they can get somewhere else.

When I was first taming my girl Amy. She was so terrified of me that as soon as I would put my hand in the cage she would run like crazy on her wheel. If I put my hand closer to her she ran faster. I'm sure the poor thing was trying to get away.

I'm not sure if hedgehogs are trying to get somewhere when they run but it's possible.

As for using this for overweight hedgehogs I think it would be a little mean. Most hedgehogs are free fed even if they are overweight so they should always have more food in their bowl than they will want to eat. So therefore their bowl would not be emptied except the rare time the hedgehog ate extra. It's an interesting idea though. I wonder if anyone has ever tried it with really hopeless weight loss cases.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm totally in line with you Hedgielover, I don't mean to drastically reduce food availability, but if maybe 2 nights a week we put a teaspoon less of the usually consumed kibble and that triggers more walking, could be beneficial, and (I'm guessing here) no stress involved.

And remember, a fresh food serving is right there in the morning.
 

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Yeah if weight is a problem it could work. I'm not experienced enough with weight management problems to say for sure. It's certainly and interesting way to encourage wheel use. I've never heard it done before.
 

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I'd view the phenomenon a different way. I think running and eating go hand in hand.

Hedgie is up all night running and eating and running and eating and running and eating... Then you get up in the morning, find a super messy wheel and empty dish

Hedgie is up part of the night running and eating and running eating... Then you get up in the morning, find a sort of messy wheel and food still in the dish
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Heh, you've got a point.

Anyways, I can't think of a hedgie walking and running "just because". My stubborn mind needs to think about it as a means to an end. If the critter lives in the woods and finds a good food stash close to home, walking would be superfluous, if my line of thinking is ok.

Being the nerd that I am, I'm already thinking about buying a night vision cam and setting up a couple of surveillance nights :)

Cheers!
Andres
 
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