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My hedgie is going crazy at night?

10583 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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krbshappy71 said:

Just a few things come to mind. They do need a wheel, and the mesh one you described isn't recommended as they can get their little toes and nails caught in it. I'd replace the wheel right away with a solid-surface one.

Itchiness brings to mind "mites". Which I'm guessing would cause her to be uncomfortable. You mention shavings, and occasionally those can have mites. (from what I've learned here) I'd have her tested for that.

I'm guessing a good, sturdy, non-squeaking wheel would help her expend some of that nervous energy.
Hi! Thank you for responding!
I will replace the wheel as soon as possible (I live in Northeast US and we've had some serious snow which = difficulty driving)! I had the mesh one because they breeder uses them (she said the sturdy/ plastic ones collect feces, etc). But I will investigate the one you suggested because it sounds like a better plan!
I use "Guardian Condensed Softwood Pellet Horse Bedding" at the moment (again, from the breeder...I'm guessing that is what they use). I'm not sure what kind of wood it is made from, but basically the pellets turn into small very soft bedding with water added...and I'm not sure if its better to leave them as pellets or add the water.
And I will check for mites, although I did work at a small animal (dog/cat, not exotics) vet hospital for a while and it doesn't seem like she has mites but I will have her tested if the itching doesn't subside. Her skin is also a little pink between where the quills and the belly-fur are and behind her ears. It's been like 10 years since my last hedgie so I'm not sure if this is normal or a sign of something else.
Anyway I'm just telling you this b/c your answer was very helpful and you seem to know a lot so any further/ additional advice is appreciated! Thanks again!
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