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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I'm Liselot, I live in the Netherlands with my boyfriend (fiancé)and our four cats.

This summer I was introduced to hedgehogs as pets when I saw an ad on a cat forum for a two year old hedgie named Tommy in need of a new home. His owners were rehoming him because they had started their own business and did not have the time to give him any attention besides feeding him and cleaning his cage every now and then. He came with his cage (terrarium) and all his other stuff.

Before I even replied to the ad I spent a couple of days reading up on hedgehog care on the internet, finding a vet, etc. I even called the local santuary for European hedgehogs to hear if they had any advice. I figured I could give Tommy a good life and we decided we would adopt him.

We brought Tommy home, kept the setup of his cage exactly the same, he got the same food and his mealworms, he acted like he didn't notice he had moved.
Gradually I changed his bedding over from beech chips to fleece liners because the chips got stuck in his quills and he tracked them onto his wheel too.
He had a silent spinner wheel he used obessively.
I had taken him in to the vet for a welness exam and she told me he was overweight and that she would figure out a weightloss plan. I weighed Tommy every week. His previous owner fed him loads of mealworms (a little bowl every day) and decreasing those made him lose a little weight already. I counted out his kibble and kept a spreadsheet of what he ate every day to establish his normal food intake.

After 6 weeks the weather started getting cooler and one night I woke up cold so I went out of bed to check the temperature in Tommy's room. He was not using his wheel, I thought that was strange but maybe he had wheeled enough earlier in the night. The next evening I found out he had not eaten a lot of kibble that night. He was still running around but when I got on the floor and looked under him i noticed he didn't use one of his hind legs. When I got him to the vet she showed me his foot was severely injured and had to be amputated. We were very sad he would have to lose the foot but we would do anything to give him good quality of life after the surgery, but the vet advised me to rather put Tommy to sleep because she thought the stump had little chance of healing properly and in her opinion it would he would not have good quality of life that way.
I still wonder if I made the right call when I had him put to sleep and I also still don't know how he managed to injure his foot like that. The vet thought he injured it on the silent spinner wheel. (he had been using that for two years without any problems)
Even before I got Tommy I read about the CWS wheel and wanted to buy that but didn't right away because I did not want to change too much all at once, but I have regretted that decision ever since.

This is my favorite picture of Tommy:



Our cat Flynn was totally fascinated by Tommy and kept making sounds at him inviting him to play. In this pic Flynn was rolling around, showing his belly and making "play"sounds, but Tommy always ignored him:



This monday my brother drove me 6 hours to Germany to pick up two hedgie girls. Their owner found a job somewhere where she couldn't care for her animals anymore, everything she had was for sale, her hedgies, her dogs, her horses, even the house !
Since the end of august she has worked somewhere else and only came home for the weekends, after a month she moved the hedgies to her parents' house where her brother took care of them.

When we went there to collect the hedgies we were taken into a living room with almost no furniture, the place stank of urine with no animals other than the dogs in sight. The girl had told us we could come round all day so she didn't know what time we were coming but there already was a cardboard box on the table with three hedgie girls, we had agreed I would take two. Fortunately they looked fine. I picked the two that were the least shy when I handled them. They were obviously far less shy than Tommy used to be.
I asked to see there cage because I wanted to keep things the same for them as much as possible. I was told she had already sold their terrarium so there was nothing to see.
I asked for the food they ate and she sold me some for 2 euros even though I know for a fact it costs 90 cents, I paid for the hedgies and we got out of there. I feel sorry for the third hedgie, I wonder how she is housed and I worry if she is warm. I just couldn't take her because my terra is already a bit on the small side for two hedgies (I'm saving up for a bigger one). It said in the advert they also had a male and now they are offering them as a breeding pair. I hope she never put my girls in contact with the male, I'm a little worried I might be surprised with a litter or two. I'll breathe a little easier about that once six weeks have passed.

The new girls are great, they are called Surfer Rosa and Speedy Marie. Rosa is the darker and bigger one, Marie is smaller and has a lighter coloration.

Marie is not at all shy with me but is scared of our cats and still a little cautious about investigating outside of the cage. Rosa is a bit shy with me but she goes up to the cats to sniff them. We noticed immediately she is the kind of girl who gets into everything ! She moves everything around in the cage, she climbs into the bookcase, she managed to push a litterbox aside so she could invesigate behind it, etc.

Marie:



I gave them a shallow bowl of sand to use as a sand bath and Rosa seemed absolutely delighted when she spotted it the first night, she dove right in and rolled around in it, she seemed to have forgotten she was in a new environment,so funny and cute ! She makes a big mess though.



Marie on the left, Rosa on the right, just to show the difference in color:



Rosa wanted to sniff Ernesto but he stayed safely on his side of the fence They did touch noses though.



Because of what happened to Tommy I am a little paranoid, I keep checking if the girls are OK. At one moment in the car on the way back I was convinced Marie had only one eye and the next day I was inspecting their feet and thought for a moment Marie was missing a toe, even though I know very well hedgies only have four toes on their hind feet.

Even though I've read up on hedgies since before I got Tommy I still have a lot of questions. It takes a bit of getting used to having a pet I'm not as knowledgeable on as on cats. There is so much info available on cats, I go to scientific seminars meant to keep vets up to date or from breed clubs, I read a lot of books on health and behaviour, I follow genetics research and am writing a coat colour genetics course that two breed clubs have asked me to teach, I feed my cats a natural raw diet taking into account all the data available on cat nutrition, most of that info is not out there for hedgies and that makes me insecure, especially because I lost Tommy and I have never lost a pet that didn't reach old age before.
 

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AW what a great but sad story.

You did a great thing rescuing Tommy and he was just gorgeous. God bless him he's up in hedgie heaven now safe and warm im sure :)

And your two new girls are just as gorgeous, you did a great thing rescuing them aswel. That woman sounds like she should never have had animals in the first place as she didnt seem to give 2 hoots about any of them. Im sure the other 2 hedgies found a great home, better than that womans anyway. And your 2 little girls im sure are having a great time in their new loving home.

Try not to worry too much. I worry all the time about my pets, i'd do anything for them, so i understand but just take 1 day at a time. There is loads of info on here if you need any advice on something you're not sure on.

And hello and welcome :)
 

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did he have a wire spinner? if he does thats how he could of hurt his foot, i prefer the flat plastic spinners.and dont worry to much about them, just always care for them, play with them, and ull be fine, you ever need any help or anything feel free to message ne, [email protected]. and goodluck on the 2 girls:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
paulwall31 said:
did he have a wire spinner? if he does thats how he could of hurt his foot, i prefer the flat plastic spinners
It was a plastic one with little ridges on the inside:



Afterwards I found bad stories about this wheel, but beforehand I had read nothing bad about it. i am not sure if it even was the wheel that caused the injury.
 

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What a sweet story, kudos to you for taking these hedgies into your home and treating them well. You look like you are doing a fantastic job. :)
 

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Hey, I just want to let you know, WATCH THAT PLAYPEN.

Haha, there's nothing bad with it, but my guy has found/been finding ways to escape. You have to watch because some of them may try to climb over or will nose the pen open. Just something to watch out for so you don't leave them one day and then come back and *GASP* hedgies have escaped! :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
For Tommy we could just put it there but for these ladies we tape it to the doorframe :lol:
Our Rosa seems to be quite the escape artist so we have had to hedgehogproof the house a little further. She just wants to climb onto/into/between about everything. She has even pushed the back panel out of one of our bookcases because she wanted to go through.
We have storage bins all over the house that function as litter trays for the cats (most people don't know that for indoor cats you should have a tray per cat + 1, we have four cats so need five trays), there is also one in the study where the hedgies are and Rosa just pushes it aside when she wants to go behind it, that tray + litter is pretty heavy but she seems very strongwilled :eek:
 
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