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Mean or scared?

1877 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  shinydistraction
Hi, I have a hedgehog who was 7 weeks when I got her and I have now had her for 4.5 months. However, I still can't get her to like me, or be comfortable around me! She's very active and healthy at nighttime when nobody is nearby. But the second I try to pick her up, she jumps and gets hissy. After about 10 min, she calms down on my lap and I can pet her and she is ok with that. But if I leave her alone for even a second, it takes another 10 min to get her to stop jumping and hissing again. When she's in her playpen, she goes under the fleece and hides and won't come out. The worst part is, SHE BITES! I use a non-scented anti-bacterial soap and she bites me every night. Yes, I have tried switching to another non-scented soap. I usually bond with her for 30-90 minutes about 6 times a week. I don't want to give up on her but I am starting to lose my patience! Help!
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i used one of my shirts to cuddle Crowley in to help her bond to me :) i also took her with me almost everywhere in the house during cuddle times as long as what i was doing didn't need both hands to do so that i wouldn't have to break contact.

as for biting, i would hold her in a towel or blanket while she bites that way she gets cloth instead of skin :p

you could also try wearing some gloves for a little while, while aslo doing the t-shirt thing. that way she gets use to your scent without the soap smell or assess to your fingers until she feels safer being out.

and play pen- id put heavy things she can't move around the edge of her fleece so she can't get under it, but make sure you have plenty of tubes and hides that she can explore while feeling like she has somewhere safe to hide.

I put curved pvc pipes in Crowley's pen and took those catbell/ball toys and hid some in the pipes so that she pushes them while she hides, than realizes it makes noise- pushes it around the pen to play :) also cut toilet and paper towel tubes and small plastic cups are a hedgies best friend - put a few of those around the pen and there's no way they could resist coming out and playing with them

I hope some of this helps :)
don't give up hope :) you'll both get there eventually and when you do it will be magical :)
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Gloves are a bad idea. Even with the t-shirt having your smell on it, she won't be able to recognize who is picking her up in the t-shirt. It'll make the t-shirt pointless.

As for biting, always keep cloth between your skin and her mouth. Is she chomping down and holding on? Is she biting because you hand is in her face? Is she licking before she bites? There are many different reason a hedgehog will bite. The goal is to figure out why she biting and try and avoid doing those thing. I get bit sometimes because I put my hand in front of them and they want to go that way. Biting is there way of telling me to move.

Remember, even if she never becomes a "youtube" hedgehog that your hedgehog is not mean. She is defensive and scared but not mean.
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Thank you for the comments. I've been doing the t-shirt thing for the past 2 months. It has helped in the sense that she will at least let me pet her after about 10 minutes of fussing, hissing, and jumping. The biting thing is interesting because she did not do that when I first brought her home but about a month later. She chomps down and holds on. No licks or warnings before. The worst part is that I can't get her to let go. I've tried researching and people say to associate it with a negative behavior such as blowing air in her face, but it doesn't seem to help. It's pretty painful, and I don't know what to do :(
Honestly all you can do about the biting is not give her the opportunity to bite. I have a biter too. She doesn't bite because she's mean, she bites because I apparently smell delicious. Then she hangs on because my reaction sometimes scares her. What do I do? I keep fleece between my skin and her face at all times. So long as I avoid her face, I don't really need the fleece, but if she can reach skin, there's a chance she'll bite it. If you're conscious of her body language you'll start figuring out when she's likely to bite. Also, you need to monitor your reaction. I know it's tough, but you need to keep your reaction as minimal as possible. Wait for her to let go. If you jerk your hand or whatever got bit, you'll scare her and possible hurt both of you. And the biggie, do NOT put her back in her cage if she bites you. You have to make sure she does not associate biting with going back into her cage. Keep her out another good 10 to 15 minutes before putting her away. Hand her off to someone if you have to, but keep her out. Good luck!
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