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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all hog lovers!

Since losing my skinny pig a few months ago, I feel compelled to take in a new small animal. I'm quite interested in hedgehogs. I've been doing loads of research and have already found a little guy from a privately owned, independent pet store (dont hate me!!!) whom ive already interacted with who I'm jonesing to take home.

He is completely well socialized and is really receptive to me and the store owner who takes incredible care of him. I immediately fell in love with him and bonded completely.

Naturally, I have a few questions that i was wondering if all u hog owners could answer for me. I have read multiple sites but wanted to hear your personal responses. Indulge me, please!

1) Ive read much controversy about whether to feed insects or not. I lean toward not wanting to, is there any owner who doesnt feed their hog mealworms and such? Ive read its not necessary....just more of a nutritional treat....So what say you, can i exnay the insects from the diet plan and supplement it with lots of other nutritious, delicious, healthy treats?

2) Kinda gross, but is there pee like a guinea pigs? (kinda thick and not watery with a strong odour) Or is it more like a dogs? Also, are their poops pellets or runny like a ferrets? Whats the smell factor, essentially? (obviously id clean the cage all the time)

3) Water bottle or dish? (read the pros and cons but again am wondering what u guys have)

4) Ive read u can change their sleeping habits by taking them out more in the day....that u can adapt them to a different schedule so to speak. Is this safe?

5) Just a note to say, my mind isnt made up on anything yet....im open to feedback and opinions my friends. Please share!!!

Thanks guys! (its my first post!) :D i might add some questions in here as they come to me.
 

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1.Hedgehogs are INSECTAVORES and as such insects should be at least offered 2-3 times a week as a suppliment to a mix of 2-3 premium cat foods from Repers list

2. Their urine can have a strong odor, esp. when they are babies...but it is nothing unbearable and it usually mellows out after a couple of months. Healthy poo is the consistency of toothpaste and most likely will cover the wheel every morning.

3. Dish, not only is this a more natural way to drink...it also prevents all of the injuries and health hazards of the bottle(broken/chipped teeth, cut/stuck tongue, dehydration from not being able to get enough water, etc.0

4. All you will do by trying to change them from being nocturnal is make them very sick and very unhappy...they are nocturnal and as such need to sleep during the day and be awake at night.

5. Best of luck with your new little one if and when you get him....Please be sure to refer to the housing and nutrition forums on how to properly have things set up for him when you get him home.
 

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Hope there isn't too many repeats...

1. It is recommended and beneficial to feed insects like crickets and mealworms, but your hedgie won't die if he/she doesn't get any. A good diet consisting of a mix of high quality cat foods, as well as offering other treats like scrambled eggs, fruits, veggies, babyfoods, and unseasoned meats is absolutely fine.

2. Their pee is more like a dog's, I'd say, just not nearly as much. :lol: Like dorasdaddy said, it is a lot stronger as a baby but the smell should die off as they get older.

3. Water dish is preferred because it's a more comfortable and natural drinking position. Hedgies tend to drink more out of a bowl than a bottle, too.

4. No, hedgies are nocturnal and it's very unhealthy to try to change that. It's fine to take him or her out during the day to play, as long as you aren't forcing them to be awake during the day so they'll be tired at night.

5. Don't forget that hedgies require their air temperature to be 73-78* F at all times. That's a big one. I'd recommend just reading the stickies, and doing a search if you need to find anything in particular.

Also, welcome to HHC!
 

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1. Hedgehog are insectivores but many of them will not touch a bug. A good quality cat kibble with fresh veggies and fruits will be fine. That is if they will eat veggies and fruit. Many will not. Offer bugs and fruits and veggies a few times. If he doesn't catch on to eating them, oh well. It isn't a live threatening problem. A mix of 2-3 good quality cat foods will suffice.

2. Baby urine is strong smelling and usually improves as they become adults. Some adults though have strong smelling urine and will require more frequent cage cleanings. Strong smelling adult urine does not seem to be sex related. I have found it to be in both sexes. Poops are the size and texture of toothpaste but fresh hedgie poop smells as does any fresh poop. If you have to keep the hedgehog in your bedroom, the smell of fresh poop may be an issue. Normal healthy ferret poop should not be runny. Healthy ferret poop is much the texture of toothpaste as well but I cannot comment too much on the smell of ferret poop since I am allergic to their poo.

3. IMO, not the bottle for the following reasons.

- Hedgehogs necks do not articulate the way rodents do so drinking from a bottle is un-natural and uncomfortable for them.

- Because of the unnatural position they tend to bite at the spout trying to get more water. They can break their teeth and hedgehog teeth unlike rodents, do not grow back. Once broken they are broken.

- There have been cases of hedgehogs getting their long tongues stuck between the ball and the tube.

- Bottles are difficult to clean properly and bacteria can build up quickly.

- People tend to leave water in bottles longer without changing than they do when using a dish. Fresh water must be given daily.

- Bottles can leak and soak the cage. Yes, bowls can get spilled but using the proper size and weight of dish prevents this.

- Bottles can get clogged and not work which makes the hedgehog bite even more at the spout which makes even more risk of breaking teeth.

- Many people who have used bottles and switched to bowls have found their hedgehogs drank much more with the bowl. Drinking more water is healthier.

4. No, you cannot change their sleeping habits. Hedgehog mostly sleep during the day and get up in the evening or middle of the night, depending on the individual hedgehog. Some hedgehogs can be gotten up for short periods of time during the day and are fine with it. Others do not like being up at all during the day. Trying to convert a hedgehog to being up during the day is unhealthy for him/her.

Feel free to ask any questions. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
interesting, interesting. Ive read so much debate about the insect thing. i know in the wild they need them, but ive read domesticated ones dont NEED insects to survive. id prefer to do the healthy alternatives route.

as for food....it seems the general consensus is cat food then? do hogs not like hedgehog food? ive read about watching out for protein and moderated fat content on various foods and such.

ok. im def. gonna use the dish then for water.

i might try some meal worms and see if he like them. anyone know of any good treats to give? success stories?

he will be going in my room, but i mean i had my skinny pig there as well. and he pooped like MAAAAD all the time (he ate loads to make up for the lack of hair) so im used to having a cage in my room. the temp thing isnt a problem as my house is always between the recommended settings.

last question for the moment - whats the average, realisitic life expectancy of these guys? ive read many conflicting parameters. what do u guys say?

thanks!
 

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Usually 3-5, based on things like diet and genetics and vet care. Some hedgies live a lot longer if they get past the usual health problems that start occuring around 3.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
LizardGirl said:
Usually 3-5, based on things like diet and genetics and vet care. Some hedgies live a lot longer if they get past the usual health problems that start occuring around 3.
what kinds of problems do they get around 3?
 

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Hedgies are pretty prone to cancer and other tumors, especially oral and reproductive. If caught early they can usually be removed, but sometimes they are well hidden until it's too late, or are in an inoperable (is that a word? lol) area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
thats sad to hear :(

still, id rather give one an awesome life than have it dwindle away in various pet stores.

i always have a soft spot for the more uncommon pets.
 

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critic85 said:
as for food....it seems the general consensus is cat food then? do hogs not like hedgehog food? ive read about watching out for protein and moderated fat content on various foods and such.
You'll find that most people here feed a mix of at least 2-3 different brands of quality cat food. And while the protein and fat content are important, the actual ingredients that are used in the food are just as important, if not more so.

Some hedgies do like the hedgehog food, but it would need to be added into a mix along with other food. And there are some that are actually bad to feed to our hedgies as well, so that's something to watch out for.

If you take a look at Reaper's food stickies, it'll tell you which foods are recommended, as well as what kinds of foods to stay away from. ^_^
Cat food:
http://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=15

Hedgehog food:
http://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=45

Treat wise, if you do a search for fruits and veggies and meats, lots will come up. But in a nutshell....Mine LOVES hardboiled eggs, chicken/turkey, bananas, seafood(shrimp, crab, lobster, fish), strawberries and raspberries, pears. (all meats should be unseasoned)

Oh! and something that you didn't ask, but a problem you'd run into is dry skin. Again, a quick search for bathing, aveeno, oatmeal will give you more detailed answers, but again, in a nutshell....
Aveeno oatmeal wash, or plain oatmeal for bathing, then a flax seed oil rinse. And you can also add a capsule of flax oil once a week directly onto the food. ^_^
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
so one type of food wont be enough then? even if the hedgie is getting what he should from that (treats and such aside) one type of food?
 

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Currently, there is not "one" food that meets all of our hedgie's nutritional requirements, so finding this "one" food would be impossible as of this moment in time. ^_^ So it's recommended to have a mix of a few different good quality cat/hedgehog foods. The more variety the better, as APH's are still relatively new, and the feeding process is still being perfected.
Some popular choices to mix have been Wellness, Natural Balance, Chicken soup for cat lovers, Solid Gold, Blue Spa and Fromms(you will come across these names a lot, as many here feed these).

My current mix is wellness healthy weight, Natural balance green pea and duck, and solid gold.

Take some time and read the stickies on this forum, there's lots of great info around. And feel free to ask questions if you can't find the answer from the search engine.
 

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A mix of 2-3 foods is best so hopefully those foods will cover most of their nutritional needs. Having only one hedgie means you will end up with wasted food. Many companies offer sample or trial sized bags which are great and will give you the variety he needs without needing to buy all larger sized bags. There are also people that sell a food mix.
 

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Aveeno oatmeal wash, or plain oatmeal for bathing, then a flax seed oil rinse. And you can also add a capsule of flax oil once a week directly onto the food. ^_^[/quote]

Watch out with adding flax oil to the food. When I tried that with my hedgehog he wouldn't eat his food. To try it I would recommend trying a little bit first and to see if he will eat it.
 
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