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My hedgie is going crazy at night?

10582 Views 9 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Ahava
Hello everyone, I am a second-time hedgie owner. Sadly, my first one was bought from a pet store and was not friendly. My new one, Freckles, I got from a local breeder and she is very friendly and wonderful!

Everything has been going well, except every so often, at night, she will seem to get very restless and looks like she is trying to 'escape' her cage. This has only happened a couple of times, but it was especially noticeable last night/this morning...at 5am (not good timing for me!). She was climbing the sides of the wire cage and poking her nose out...somewhat frantically. Sometimes she would climb up and then fall (the cage isn't very tall and there is plenty of soft bedding and no hard stuff for her to land on, and I checked to make sure she has no injuries...she seems happy and fine today). She actually seems to enjoy the falling, or at least isn't upset by it. It's actually kind of amusing, although it does worry me.

What worries me more though is the fact that she is sticking her nose through the cage wires very hard/ aggressively, it's like there's a fire in her cage and she's trying to get out, but shes also sniffing the air like there's something she wants...but there haven't been any new smells. My previous hedgie never did this (but she was a grump). Is this normal? Is there something I can/should do? I know she loves climbing. I have a wheel too, which she loves (squeak squeak squeak...thank goodness for ear plugs)! But the wheel broke (came off the hinges...it's a finely meshed wheel given to me by the breeder) about two days ago and I haven't been able to get to the pet store yet. So that is one reason I can think she might be acting this way, but she did it when the wheel was in the cage as well. She also has some small cat toys (mice) that she likes to grab by the tail (if anyone else has any other toy recommendations please let me know).

I also let her run around in an enclosed hallway (no holes to escape) every evening after she 'wakes up'. I sit there with her and she really seems to enjoy it. So she does get what I think is enough exercise. Also the scurrying is very cute. So does anyone have any idea what is going on? She is 3 months old now and I think she just finished her 'quilling' phase (I am noticing a lot less). Her cage is clean and warm and dry and she has fresh food and water (she loves the water in a bowl...does not use the canteen, though I have both available.

But her climbing and running is very noisy and, moreover, I am worried she will injure herself. Also, she has recently started to 'burrow' in her little house (she kicks out all the shavings), and I have noticed her scratching herself more often (like she is itchy). I gave her a bath not too long ago (tearless Aveeno oatmeal bath), which she seemed to appreciate.

So I guess my questions are: Is this normal behavior? What should I do about it (if anything)? And what could be causing it?

P.S. Sorry for the 'essay' I just thought the more info the better! And I love my baby girl and want her to be happy.
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What kind of cage is she in? Some hedgehogs just like to climb. But you're right to be worried since they're fragile and a fall of just a few inches can be hazardous.

Perhaps you could buy a different kind of cage? I use a very large sterilite bin and it works well. I used a soldering iron to melt vent holes into the top 1/2 of the cage and I also leave the lid off. This would stop her from climbing and potentially hurting herself.

If she's restless at night it could mean that she doesn't like her wheel, or being without one since it broke. I recommend that you find a cake topper wheel, a bucket wheel, or a flying saucer wheel. And make sure that it is at least 10" wide. 12" is preferable.

As for the itching - most hedgehogs scratch themselves every once in a while. If this is happening frequently then she might have mites. A vet will be able to do a quick test and a dose of revolution will get rid of them. Unfortunately if it is mites you'll have to throw out all of the bedding, including the unused contaminated portion.

Most people prefer fleece liners as it greatly reduces mite infestations. As long as the pine bedding is kiln dried it should be fine. But contamination does happen with tree products. You could always try an alternative bedding like Yesterday's News or Care Fresh.
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