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My hedgehog is roughly 6 months old and seems to be quite healthy. Over the past several weeks he has developed the habit of biting me. This wouldn't be a big problem except he bites very hard. It hurts a lot and if I don't get him to stop soon, he breaks the skin. I have switched soap and I don't use any scented products and he does it even when I wear gloves. I also tried to make my hands smell bad and he kept biting. Is there anything that I can do to make him stop?

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Ok, first thing, stop using gloves. They're masking your scent and probably freaking him out a little. If you need to protect your hands while handling him, use a fleece blanket.

Next of all, consistency. You switched soaps so you probably don't smell like you anymore. It's ok to continue using what you're using now, but you need to make sure that's what you always smell like when you handle him. Hedgehogs rely heavily on their sense of smell so if you smell different as far as he's concerned you aren't you.

Next, I think it would be a good idea to go back to the basics and do the T-shirt trick. I'm sure you're familiar with it, but you'll want to sleep in a shirt you don't mind gifting to your hedgie for a few days and then place the shirt where he sleeps. This will help him associate your smell with safety.

Next, you'll need to figure out why he's biting. Are there new smells in the home? New sounds? New pets or children? Anything that might make a small spiny animal nervous? Is he trying to explore new areas and you're stopping him? Is he just hungry and needs a snack before you play? If you pay close attention to him, especially his behavior and what's going on right before a bite happens you may be able to prevent it from happening to begin with.

Like I mentioned before, you'll want to use fleece when handling him. The fleece won't cover up your scent like gloves will. But you'll still get protection for your skin. While he's going through this phase you'll want to keep any exposed skin away from his face entirely. This should break the cycle of biting and let you both get back to building a bond.

And of course, if he bites, NEVER put him back in his cage right after. He'll learn that if he bites he'll get put back in his home and left alone, which will encourage him to continue biting. You must keep him out for at least another 10 minutes after a bite, but the longer the better.

The biggest more important thing of all though, is to be patient. This isn't a fast thing to correct and time, patience and lots of love are necessary.
 

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I just wanted to add that six months is when they go through puberty and quilling. As you can imagine with all that raging testosterone and also quilling which is very painful (like teething I guess) that he could be grumpy.
Please be patient and give it time, and follow the suggestions you have already been given.

Another thought would be to take him in for a vet check to rule out any physical reason that he would be acting like this. You say he "seems" healthy, but you really don't know for sure unless a vet knocks him out w/ gas and does a full physical exam. He could have a broken tooth and you would never know, or some other reason that he could be in pain.

Good luck!
Susan H.
 
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