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Discussion Starter #1
So I have had an albino female for a few months now. She is hilarious! I bought everything in the world, but she's just a bit of a brat. :) I bought her a wheel that she refused to even go near. Ended up taking it back because it was just using up her space. Her favorite toys are toilet paper rolls cut once long ways, and a cat toy ball with a bell inside of it. I'd heard a lot of people tell me to try a stuffed animal, but she didn't care about that either. She gets her exercise by running around our enclosed pool cage. She loves it out there! She interacts very little with the dog and cat, they pretty much all ignore each other.

A lot of people warn against using wood shavings as bedding, but I switched over to Carefresh, and honestly, there's just as much dust from that as there was from the pine shavings when I clean out the cage. People also say not to use aquariums, but that's what she liked best. It's the only one she'd even think about coming out and running around in. Granted, I used a 55 Gal tank so she'd have room, but she loves it. And it's not tough to clean at all, really. Also, I ended up adding a cement block that I put her food and water bowls on. This forces her to walk across it to get to them, helping keep her nails trimmed. (Although she does sometimes squeeze on the side and just stick her head up high enough to reach, see above brat comment. :) )

While I'm not going to claim to know any more than anyone in here, I definitely believe this site to be a WONDERFUL source of information. I would just suggest for new owners to be ready for some trial and error with bedding, toys, etc. After all, it is all about making YOUR hedgie happy. Experiment with a few things and see what they react to best. And to those whose hedgie's use a litter box, you're lucky. Acacia won't touch one. She avoids it like the black plague (or the wheel I'd bought her. :lol: )
 

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I love this post! The only thing that I would change (for health sake) is changing the pine shavings to aspen shavings. Pine shavings have dangerous fumes that can harm little respiratory systems. Your hedgie may like it, but she doesn't know any better on what is healthy for her and what isn't. It's on your to provide the healthiest! And since you are using an aquarium, she's more likely to inhale more of those fumes since they won't escape as fast because it's semi air tight.

And I'm not just singling out hedgehogs. This goes for all pets that are on pine shavings.
Aspen isn't more expensive, also. Wal-mart has a GIANT bag of the stuff. I think it's like 25lbs for $10? I can't remember, but it's along those lines, and it last forever!

-Emily
 

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Alot of people warn against aquariums mainly because of poor ventilation not just because they are harder to clean. I personally wouldn't suggest using them as there are so many other safer options that aren't expensive. You said that the Carefresh you use is dusty so I'd be very scared to use this when there is already less ventilation from being in a tank. The cement block can tear there feet up and doesn't substitute clipping their nails, there is many threads on here where it says a hedgie walks on their feet more like a dog where its the bottom of their feet that are walking on the abrasive texture, and if there nails are long enough to touch then they are too long to begin with.

The choices you make for your hedgie are yours but I personally wouldn't recommend this set up to any new/or potential Hedgie parent that may be reading this.
 

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I agree with Hedgieonboard. I'm glad the OP hasn't run into any problems yet, but I certainly would not recommend caring for a hedgie like that to anyone. There are reasons people consider those things to be bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
First of all, the cement block was suggested to me by a very respectable breeder and rescue. The whole intent of this post was proven by the replies. Anyone can argue anything for any number of reasons. You think aquariums have "poor" air ventilation. Others warn of the dangers of toxins in the plastic used on other cages. A lot of people say a wheel is a "must have", while several realize that some hedgie's won't bother with them. There is no ONE right answer. As for the Pine vs Aspen thing... once again you find arguments both ways. You find breeders that have used nothing but pine for tens of years without a single problem with it. The main enemy is cedar. NEVER use cedar!!! Pine/Aspen... take your pick. Some will tell you Pine is worse, others will tell you Aspen is just as bad, that you should use a product such as Carefresh. And anyone who disagrees with how my Acacia is living, I challenge you to take a look at her and tell me 1, she's not happy. Or 2 that she's in any danger. Just take the posts for what they are. Opinions.
 

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Actually, pine v aspen isn't opinion, it's fact. Fact-pine, even kiln dried, gives off VOCs. Pine soaked in urine gives off more VOCs. VOCs cause liver damage.

As far as "breeders" using pine, having known many breeders over the past 15 years of hedgehog ownership, often they go "least expensive" rather than "best quality". They also often rehome retired breeders so any cancer or health issues end up on the adoptive parent, not the breeder. In addition, they expect to lose so many a year and rarely do they have necropsies done to prove cause of death in older animals.

You may brag that your hedgehog has good quality of life. I disagree. Simple science tells me that she could have better quality air and a safer environment if you cared enough to put some effort into proper housing. But instead you put your energy into alibiing your poor care.

There's an old axiom that if one person tells you you're wrong, you should listen. If two people tell you you're wrong, you should think about it, if three people tell you you're wrong, you're wrong.
 

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HedgeMom said:
There's an old axiom that if one person tells you you're wrong, you should listen. If two people tell you you're wrong, you should think about it, if three people tell you you're wrong, you're wrong.
Heh, I really like this. It really strikes home for me right now, as I have a "friend" online who wants to get sugar gliders. I highly doubt she can care for the properly, and she has had no less than 10 friends tell her it's a bad idea. She won't listen to any of us and is determined to get a pair anyway. I have a strong feeling that these poor animals are going to get hurt or neglected by her. :( (Sorry this has nothing to do with the original topic. >.>)
 

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I don't agree that an aquarium is a suitable choice for a cage but a 55 gallon aquarium is much different than a 10 or 20 which is what many people who use an aquariums think is ok. Although a 55 still has poor ventilation and difficult to clean properly, if someone feels they must use an aquarium it is a better option than something small. Still IMO, not a good choice. Using shavings even in a 55 adds to poor air quality. What other cages did you try and why did she not like them and how long did you try each cage for?

I do agree with the OP though that not all hedgehogs will use a wheel. The vast majority will but often with those who won't it's because the wheel provided is not suitable. Wheels can be a trial and error thing with some hedgehogs. Sometimes the problem is the size, construction, running surface or angle of the wheel but some hedgehogs are very particular about which wheel they use and that can also apply to the colour. Some hedgehogs also take a long time to catch on to the wheel. I've had many that took 2-4 weeks and one of my rescues never touched a wheel in the months he was here but very quickly started using one at his new home. shrug Since you have only had her for a few months, and have already bought and returned her wheel, you cannot say that she won't use a wheel because you have not had her long enough or her a wheel long enough to accurately make that claim.

Walking on a cement block will not keep her nails trimmed. They walk on the pads of their feet and their nails do not come in contact with the ground unless the nails are very long and curling under.

As for litter training. Most hedgehogs won't ever become trained but as you have stated, some things are trial and error and litter training is one of those trial and error things. You may not have found the right litterbox, litter or location.

As you stated, you've only had her a couple of months and sure she might seem happy in the setup because that is all she knows. It doesn't mean the setup is a good one or that long term it won't cause problems. When there are safer, healthier options, why not use them? This is kind of like a parent who feeds their children junk food because they like it. :roll:
 

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dbrealey7 said:
First of all, the cement block was suggested to me by a very respectable breeder and rescue. The whole intent of this post was proven by the replies. Anyone can argue anything for any number of reasons. You think aquariums have "poor" air ventilation. Others warn of the dangers of toxins in the plastic used on other cages. A lot of people say a wheel is a "must have", while several realize that some hedgie's won't bother with them. There is no ONE right answer. As for the Pine vs Aspen thing... once again you find arguments both ways. You find breeders that have used nothing but pine for tens of years without a single problem with it. The main enemy is cedar. NEVER use cedar!!! Pine/Aspen... take your pick. Some will tell you Pine is worse, others will tell you Aspen is just as bad, that you should use a product such as Carefresh. And anyone who disagrees with how my Acacia is living, I challenge you to take a look at her and tell me 1, she's not happy. Or 2 that she's in any danger. Just take the posts for what they are. Opinions.
I don't want to way in on what's right or wrong. My only comment is that I see so many people come back saying "well the respectable breeder of xx years told me so,""that's the norm in this country," "she's happy & doing fine," etc. That's like saying "well my friend has been smoking for 30 years so cigarettes don't cause cancer" or something similar. Everyone & everything reacts differently to things but if you've been given good reason to suspect it could eventually lead to something - may not, many people smoke for years & don't get cancer - why would you risk it?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
While you people on this site may disagree with me, the International Hedgehog Association backs up everything I've stated. Whether you agree or not, whether it's what you would want to use or not, I was right in my statement that there is no ONE right answer. It just depends on who you choose to listen to.

As for the cement block, again, as pointed out in a previous reply hedgehogs do walk like dogs. Which is why if you ask a vet or anyone else, walking your dog on say the sidewalk is a great way to keep their nails from becoming too long. You'll still have to cut them eventually, I never once posted you wouldn't.

Those who disagree are entitled to their opinion. And as I said in my original post, newbies should be ready for trial and error. And do some research. If you like wire cages better, that's fine. But if you get a climber beware that the poor thing can hang itself in the wires if it's feet slip. If you like plastic containers better, that's fine too. Just beware if they chew on it, not only would plastic chunks destroy their digestive system, the plastic itself contains enough toxins in it to do a lot of damage, if not take the life of the hedgie.

From another hedgie care site on a certain lining:
Some folks use vellux blankets as cage liners and to make hedgie bags out of. I have used them myself. Vellux blankets can be found in most stores that sell bedding, are easily cut to fit your cage, do not fray, and therefore do not need sewing and will not shrink. The downside to useing vellux is that many hediges have been known to chew it up and digest the foamy material. My Emma was a perfect example of this. She was lucky and passed it all on her own. Others have developed blockages and required surgery to repair the problem. Although vellux is a wonderfully warm and versatile material, I will no longer endorse its use to anyone. It just can be too risky and there are other options available.
From hedgehogworld.com:
Glass aquariums:
As noted, 20 gallons or larger are best. Some people complain about the lack of ventilation and I've heard claims of mildew growing in glass cages, but I imagine that is only a problem if the cage is not cleaned regularly. Aquariums can be easily escaped if there is no lid and a water bottle is hung from the side. A wire lid that allows good ventilation is best. My biggest problem with aquariums is that they are very heavy and that makes them difficult to handle when cleaning. These are readily available at pet stores, but can be quite pricey.
From International Hedgehog Association:
BEDDING: Aspen, Pine or White shavings (NOT CEDAR!) are by far the best choice for bedding material. Crushed corn cob makes a relatively good bedding and is safe to use for females and adults, but it SHOULD NOT be used for young male hedgehogs.
Like I said, any one can argue anything for any number of reasons. My advice to newbies still stands. This IS a great site for information, but still look around and make your own decision. EVERY option has pros and cons. Just because you don't follow the same practices as hedgehogcentral posters, does NOT mean that you are endangering or putting your hedgie at risk. It means they have a different preference. I could sit here and tell them all the ways they are endangering their poor animals because I didn't like their choice of cage or bedding or food or water dish/bottle or whatever other reason. Take in as much information as possible, ask an exotic animals vet (as I did) for their opinion, and make your own decisions.
 

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dbrealey7 said:
From International Hedgehog Association:
BEDDING: Aspen, Pine or White shavings (NOT CEDAR!) are by far the best choice for bedding material. Crushed corn cob makes a relatively good bedding and is safe to use for females and adults, but it SHOULD NOT be used for young male hedgehogs.
Like I said, any one can argue anything for any number of reasons. My advice to newbies still stands. This IS a great site for information, but still look around and make your own decision. EVERY option has pros and cons. Just because you don't follow the same practices as hedgehogcentral posters, does NOT mean that you are endangering or putting your hedgie at risk. It means they have a different preference. I could sit here and tell them all the ways they are endangering their poor animals because I didn't like their choice of cage or bedding or food or water dish/bottle or whatever other reason. Take in as much information as possible, ask an exotic animals vet (as I did) for their opinion, and make your own decisions.
Why can't you use liners? And I'm not talking about Vellux blankets, I'm talking about fleece. Your hedgie will more than likely love that more. You should give her options.
Also, In addition to the aromatic oils irritaing their lungs in pins shavings, any wood shavings can harbor mites, even if the package says they've been sterilized. Recycled paper bedding is healthier, and lasts alot longer. But even with that you have the chances of them digesting the paper, which is BAD. So why not switch to fleece liners? I know I said to use aspen, but any bedding other than pine is better. Also, you can't tell that mites are living in the shavings just by looking at them.
I think most people on here are getting so irate towards you because you keep saying to use trial and error to see what works. Well, what if the error came out to be that your hedgehog died because of something you used? I mean, it's better to be safer, ya know? That's why the experts on here are just that, experts, because they've been doing this for YEARS, but I bet you they didn't start out by trial and error, they did what was safest. And, after people repeatedly telling you that this isn't safe you continue to just say that 'it's what your hedgehog likes because she seems happy.' I don't care that your using a tank, I don't care that you don't have a wheel, and I don't care about all the other stuff that everyone is mad about, I'm just worried about the pine bedding. Yeah, you may have had a source like IHA say that it was an option, but they never said it was healthy. They probably stated that because, other than cedar, it's the better choice. But I bet that if you talk to a source from IHA one on one, they are likely using something other than pine. I mean, scientists have even done studies on humans and found that the oils in pine is just as much harmful for us as it is for animals.

Why risk it, really? I mean, there are healthier options. Just because nothing has happened yet, doesn't mean nothing will. You haven't even owned her long enough to be solid in knowing that she'll be just fine.
I really hope you take her to her needed veterinary appointments. Do what you want, whatever. You seem to only want people to tell you that your right which isn't going to happen. I think you shouldn't have even posted that here because as far as I know, everything you are doing for your hedgehog isn't the healthiest. I don't even OWN a hedgehog yet, but I've owned many animals in my life and I know that this isn't the safest. And, when I do get Indie, I won't be going by what HHC tells me what to do, I'm going to do what is healthiest.
 

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I am not an expert in any way. I am not even close to that! Over the years I have gotten to know some people here. If Nancy and HedgeMom speak on a topic or make comments of concern; well, it is from experience and research. It is, I believe, worth looking into. As for Lilysmommy and LizardGirl: they are fanatics about the health, welfare, and quality of care for Lily and Inky (and other hedgies LizardGirl cares for). Lilysmommy notices if a quill changes direction! I am always fascinated with their questions and their sources of information.
 

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dbrealey7 said:
As for the cement block, again, as pointed out in a previous reply hedgehogs do walk like dogs. Which is why if you ask a vet or anyone else, walking your dog on say the sidewalk is a great way to keep their nails from becoming too long. You'll still have to cut them eventually, I never once posted you wouldn't.
Yes, hedgehogs do walk like dogs, however the differences between them is more important than that one similarity. Dogs have tougher pads on the bottom of their feet than hedgehogs do. Several people have posted on here about their hedgehogs running so much on their wheels that they end up with bloody feet, even when the wheel has no raised ridges or anything that would bruise the foot. Hedgehogs are also much smaller than dogs, so infections are much more dangerous to them, and can spread very quickly. It's difficult to keep injured feet clean, since they potty on their wheels and then run through the mess. That sets them up perfectly for an infection in even a small cut on their foot.
Cement may be a great tool to keep dog nails from growing too long, but it's dangerous for hedgehogs, and it's much safer to just clip them more often since, as you said, you'd have to clip them anyway when using a cement block.

shetland said:
As for Lilysmommy and LizardGirl: they are fanatics about the health, welfare, and quality of care for Lily and Inky (and other hedgies LizardGirl cares for). Lilysmommy notices if a quill changes direction! I am always fascinated with their questions and their sources of information.
Thank you, Shetland, for your comments. :)
 

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There is a lot of information out there that is outdated, even on great sites, but that doesn't mean its right and doesn't mean that it should be used when you are made aware of safer options. You'll find most people enjoy this site because of the active forums that keeps people up to date. If I read on here that someones Hedgehog was injured you're not going to see me or many ppl here say oh well it hasn't happened to mine. Most people wouldn't want their hedgehog to go through something when it can be prevented. I'm going to choose an active forum over a static page everytime. Use information from years ago or go with what is current? I would think it was obvious. If you search long enough you can find anything to support what you "want" but it doesn't mean its right and I would hope you're acting with your hedgies best interest and not that its what you want. Do you learn from others mistakes or do you have to repeat them and learn the hardway? It's your hedgie that pays for it if its the second one.

As for the nails I would think it was obvious the comment with comparing hedgie feet and dog feet was that they are both walking on their pads and nails not touching, not to compare a dogs pads with a hedgehog pads. Doesn't matter either way because whether its my dog or my hedgehog Im going to spend the minute to trim them myself instead of letting them tear their feet up.

You may have thought when you got your hedgie that your set up was great because of the information you read, that would be understandable. However now you have up to date information. You know of the dangers now whether you agree or not so hopefully you'll make the best choices with your hedgehogs best interest in mind.

*Im curious too what options could have been given with cages and how after a few months you are so sure your hedgehog won't use his wheel, many hedgehogs are still settling after 3 months. In my opinion it sounds like you had your mind made up what your hedgie was going to like and not like.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
To answer the question asked "what's wrong with using liners?", the only problem with liners is that they don't allow for the hedgehog to burrow and dig, which they do by instinct. Like I said, I'm no expert. And everyone is entitled to their opinions. No offense to anyone on this board, but I will be taking her vet's recommendations over any blogger's without hesitation. He has over 20 years experience with hedgehogs (and other exotics), and has a better all around knowledge. This is what he went to school for, this is how he makes his living. It's not just a hobby to him as it is most people on these boards. I did countless hours of research before bringing my Acacia home. The bedding was a big concern for me. This is where the vet came into play. I read literally thousands of message boards on many, many different sites. Again, everyone argues all points for many reasons. This man has not only treated hedgehogs for over 20 years, but has been a rescue for dozens upon dozens. We talked for hours about this issue. And I did follow up with other vets for second, third and fourth opinions. So get irate if you must. I adopted an overweight hedgie who never got played with. Now she is "one of the healthiest hedgehogs" this vet has "ever seen". And for a guy that's seen probably (just guessing on the number here) 20 hedgehogs a week for over 20 years, that's saying something.
 

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I don't see where anyone has gotten irate. Facts are facts and I think the very basics that have been talked about in here are obvious facts once brought to ones attention. Dangerous is dangerous. You've made it obvious you intend to continue using this set up instead of making healthy changes for your hedgehogs benefit and it is your right to use a dangerous set up if you choose. At least you were given safe information and that is all anyone can do. I also think the truth to the matter is obvious now as well as the inaccuracies in the story. I do wish the best for your hedgehog.

As my final 2 cents I would just like to let any new or potential Hedgehog owners know that is reading this that the set up talked about is dangerous and not recommended, and that there is many safer options out there. I feel better about leaving this thread now that I think it will be obvious to new owners why the above mentioned set up is bad.
 

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dbrealey7 said:
To answer the question asked "what's wrong with using liners?", the only problem with liners is that they don't allow for the hedgehog to burrow and dig, which they do by instinct. Like I said, I'm no expert. And everyone is entitled to their opinions. No offense to anyone on this board, but I will be taking her vet's recommendations over any blogger's without hesitation. He has over 20 years experience with hedgehogs (and other exotics), and has a better all around knowledge. This is what he went to school for, this is how he makes his living. It's not just a hobby to him as it is most people on these boards. I did countless hours of research before bringing my Acacia home. The bedding was a big concern for me. This is where the vet came into play. I read literally thousands of message boards on many, many different sites. Again, everyone argues all points for many reasons. This man has not only treated hedgehogs for over 20 years, but has been a rescue for dozens upon dozens. We talked for hours about this issue. And I did follow up with other vets for second, third and fourth opinions. So get irate if you must. I adopted an overweight hedgie who never got played with. Now she is "one of the healthiest hedgehogs" this vet has "ever seen". And for a guy that's seen probably (just guessing on the number here) 20 hedgehogs a week for over 20 years, that's saying something.
I don't see why you keep wasting your time here trying to convince people that you're a good hedgehog owner. These people obviously disagree with everything you are doing, yet you are continuing to express why and how the things that your doing are good. I'm not trying to be mean, I just don't see the point anymore. This thread has lost it's point from the beginning, expcept for correctly informing new/soon-to-be owners.

Also, hedgies can dig in fleece, too. All you have to do is put some fleece strips on their cage. And there are tons of hedgie bags, hats, and blankets that serve the purpose of letting them dig. And some of these people are vets/vet techs as well on here.

PS: I truely believe that you are doing the best for what you have been told for Acacia. Some people are fed different information, and if it works for you, then great. All I ask, from having a veterinarian mother and father, as well as being enrolled in vet tech school, that you reconsider the pine bedding. Switch to aspen, so that way you still have the digging purpose available if you don't want to use fleece. It doesn't have any harmful oils, and it's actually more absorbent since nothing is artificailly added to it (in the good brands anyway).
 

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dbrealey7 said:
And for a guy that's seen probably (just guessing on the number here) 20 hedgehogs a week for over 20 years, that's saying something.
Not likely. Since hedgehogs weren't really around prior to 1992 AND there weren't that many, there is no way he saw 20 a year 20 years ago. In fact, I'm in an area where there is a large population of hedgehog owners and the best vets here still only see less than a dozen a month.

Nothing like making up stats to support your point when real stats won't.
 

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HedgeMom said:
dbrealey7 said:
And for a guy that's seen probably (just guessing on the number here) 20 hedgehogs a week for over 20 years, that's saying something.
Not likely. Since hedgehogs weren't really around prior to 1992 AND there weren't that many, there is no way he saw 20 a year 20 years ago. In fact, I'm in an area where there is a large population of hedgehog owners and the best vets here still only see less than a dozen a month.

Nothing like making up stats to support your point when real stats won't.
Took the words right out of my mouth.

Who is the vet and where is he located? If he sees that many hedgehogs, I'm sure he'es seen ones owned by some of the members on here. Is he listed on the veterinarian listing?
 
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