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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all! I realize that I've been silent on this forum for quite some time. Spork and I have been doing great so I just didn't really have anything to say. It's been nearly a year since I brought her home. She isn't really the snuggly, cuddle-bug I had hoped for but I still love her. She's actually exploring my desk as I type this (although she's most interested in trying to get past my arm and walk off the side :roll: ).

My question is about trimming nails. See, I've gotten her nails a couple times in the past year. Always while in the bath and always just a few at a time. But recently, she's started putting up huge fights about it. Last time, she bit my pinky pretty good, got a nice rip in it. Now I love my little girl but she really isn't terribly into being messed with. Or touched in general. Unless she is already awake when I go to get her, bonding time is usually me sitting with a ball of hissing spines in my lap.

So finally getting to the point, I work in a vet hospital and was thinking of bringing her in to see if there was something they could give her to calm her down enough that I could trim her nails. I don't want her to have to go under anesthia (totally spelled that wrong) because I know how dangerous that can be but I was wondering if there was anything that might just calm her down, relax or her something? I really don't know what else to do. Thank you so much for any advice!
 

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Maybe you could give her a treat to nom on while you clip her nails? They say to do the same thing with pet skunks, because they're unlikely to relinquish the treat just to bite you. If necessary, you may have to towel her.

I notice that you said that she didn't bite before. The sudden change in behaviour might be something to be concerned about, though I could be wrong. I'm sure one of the more experienced hedgie parents will chime in in short order to tell you whether or not you should be worried.

Also, she's very cute. <3 'Spork' is a hilarious name and I love it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Haha thanks, I think she's a cutie pie.

She has bit in the past before but only when she's very stressed or very scared. I can count on one hand the number of times she's bitten. Her first visit to the vet and 2 nail trim experiences. She just hates having her feet touched.

I've thought about the treat thing too. A great suggestion but she's odd about treats. She wont take them from my hand, I have to set it down in front of her and wait for her to realize it's okay, smell it, then eat it. And if I move to touch her while she's eating, she instantly freezes and starts hissing again. So I'm not sure that route will work but it's definitely something for me to try.
 

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It may be then that you need to towel her. This method will require two people, one to hold the towelled hedgie and one to clip the nails. Since I don't have to towel either of mine to get the job done, I don't really know much about the process, I just know of it. Does that make sense?

Anyway, as I said before, I'm sure someone more experienced than myself will be here in fairly short order to help you.
 

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Have you tried holding her in a different position? For almost all hedgehogs I have always held them so that their back was against my chest, and my left hand was holding their foot steady while I clipped. This method does not work with Cooper at all! While he was a pretty aggressive biter when he first came to me, he hasn't actually bitten me for many many months now, except if I try to trim his nail holding him in that position.

For him I have to allow him to stand on my lap, I then pick up each foot and trim them. He doesn't even attempt to bite me in this position.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hmm, I'll give those different holding positions a shot. She absolutely hates being on her side or back and refuses to unball if she isn't upright. But perhaps just hanging out in my lap will work. I'll try this in the next few days and let you know how it goes. Thanks!
 

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One more thing to note. You may have to figure out ways to wrangle a hedgehog with their feet on the ground. I try to corral Cooper with my hands/arms as I trim. I also pick up his feet often even when I'm not going to trim. It initially was more difficult, but he has gotten used to it now and settles down much faster.
 

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When I trimmed Basil's nails for the first time (and I mean the first time ever for him, he's about two years old. His nails were absolutly horrific) I had my mom cover his back with a toel, rollhim on to whatever side I needed and we put a washcloth over his face for a blind while I grabbed a foot. This process worked remarkably well. Maybe it'll work for Spork?
 

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Quigley is also a biter (again usually just when he is scared or upset). He figured out that I can't trim his nails well if he runs, huffs, and bites. Our current method that seems to be working is me putting him in an inch of water, scruffing him (remarkabley easy with practice) and then my boyfriend grabbing one foot at a time and clipping the nail. After each foot Quigley gets a meal worm.

I say that scruffing is easy with practice but I actually can't do it properly without the water to open him up first. Before we started nail trimming I was able to bug his feet, pick dirt from between his toes in the bath, hold and touch his feet while he was sleeping. For some reason he's terrified of the nail clippers and as soon as he sees them he freaks out even if I was touching his feet without issue moments before.
 

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Our foster hedgie, Jake, remains extremely uncooperative even after 8 months. He huffs, clicks, and pops to no end in bath and balls up in fine sea urchin form when we try to trim his toenails for 30 min or more (I wish I knew how to scuff him in the water though. Hedgielover, do you mind taking a few pix next time you’re scuffing to trim Quigley’s toenails and post them here as instructions? ;) )

A long time ago, someone on this board posted saying s/he had great success trimming her/his hedgie using a mesh-screen lid for a reptile aquarium. After all other methods failed, we tried this as a last resort and had considerably success. We couldn’t trim all toenails but got 75% done in one shot on our first try.

Basically, I laid Jake in a tight spike ball on the mesh-screen lid, waited until he started to come out, then when he was on his feet, I gently tilted the lid so that Jake had to cling onto the lid. Then a second person with scissors carefully clipped the nails stuck out through the mesh screen. You still have to be very careful when you clip the toenails sticking out so that you want cut into the quick or nick your hedgie’s toes, but we found it’s a relatively safe way to do the job.
 

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The method suggested by the breeder I got Winston from is thus:

Place hedgie on top of bars of cage. When a foot slips between the bars, grab it, and clip a few nails.

It may take a few tries, but they seem more interested in balancing than what you're doing to their toenails. I've been really lucky with Winston not minding so much when I clip his nails. Bathtime, however, is a whole different story... Poor little traumatized hedgehog. :(
 
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