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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello guys, I just recently got a hedgehog, she's almost 5 months old, i picked her up a week ago. This is my first hedgehog and I would like to provide a happy and safe environment for her.

When I picked her up from the breeder i was told to socialize her a lot, every day, to get her used to me. After only a day of that i noticed she was showing signs of stress, and after consulting a vet, I was informed it was normal behavior and to leave her alone for a day and see if she got better. She did. She seemed fine after that, a little timid when I'd go to pick her up but nothing out of the norm. She appeared comfortable around me for the most part, besides a little huff and puff when she saw my hand coming to pick her up. I was told that was to be expected though.

Just yesterday she bit me though. I had cleaned her cage earlier and I read that biting can be from annoying them, So maybe she was just aggravated after me cleaning her cage and then picking her up, but ever since then she has been much more huffy than usual, not even letting me touch her before balling up and huffing. I don't really know what to do with a new hedgehog, I could really use some advice. I think it's safe to say she does not quite feel comfortable with me.

Should I continue socializing and hope she does not bite? Should I let her be for a week? a few days? I know she's a sweetheart, and she's very playful on her own, I hope she warms up to me though. Thanks guys, sorry if i rambled a bit there. haha :p
 

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When you get a new hedgie you should really leave them alone for 24-48 hours so they can adjust. After that just handle her for a little bit (30 minutes maybe) and then let her roam around you. If you hedgie proof her room than you can lay on the floor while she explores. Offer her treats such as meal worms or boiled egg to help he know you are good.
See: http://wiki.hedgehogcentral.com/tiki-in ... age=Treats

Always wash your hands before handling, she may have bit because you were tasty. Did she lick you first? Try to keep your hands away from her face. If she does bite do not put her down. Keep handling her for maybe 10 more minutes. This is to reinforce that biting will not get you to put her down. Handle her every day, even if it just her running around you on the ground.
See: http://wiki.hedgehogcentral.com/tiki-in ... and+Biting

Hedgies are sensitive to light for the most part, so try playing with her in a dark area.
Give her some tubes and other toys she can push around while she plays. Also if possible let her have the option of the wheel on the floor. (My hedgie vex would scratch at the wall when he wanted his wheel, so i just started leaving a second one on the ground.)
See: http://wiki.hedgehogcentral.com/tiki-in ... age=Wheels
http://wiki.hedgehogcentral.com/tiki-in ... ?page=Toys

Also, chances are she is going through quilling. This would explain the sudden changes in mood.
*Give you hedgehog a luke-warm bath, just like you would regularly give them but add either moisturizing oatmeal shampoo, or take non-instant oatmeal and put it in a sock and run it through the water until it is cloudy.. This will help soften the skin and allow the quills to break through the skin, reducing a lot of the pain felt. Poor the water over your hedgie's back, and instead of ruffling him dry with a towel, use a hairdryer on the coolest setting.
**After your hedgehogs both you can apply Flax Seed oil to your hedgehogs back. One drop on each shoulder and one drop on the middle of the rump should cover the entire hedgehogs back. It is recommended to use Flax Seed oil capsules and to poke a hole in one when you wish to use it as regular flax seed oil can go bad. Also if you wish you can place a few drops on your hedgies food as it will help to keep it's skin soft. Some foods also contain flax seed oil such as Wellness.
*Do not put cloth on your hedgie's back. During this time it can cause pain and discomfort in your hedgie. Instead allow it to sit on something soft and talk to it calmly, letting it now he will feel better soon.
*Do not force your hedgie onto it's back or cause it to roll up, as this will irritate your hedgie's skin.
*During bonding time allow your hedgie to either run around or sleep in your lap, do not attempt to continuously pick it up or roll it around like you may usually do as this could make it grumpier
See: http://wiki.hedgehogcentral.com/tiki-in ... aved_msg=y

If you have any most questions don't be afraid to ask!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
thanks a million, I was confused to the nature of the bite because she did not give a warning lick but she went straight for her food when i put her back in the cage.

And are there any signs to knowing if she is quilling? I had read that they do their final quilling at approx 3 months so i wasn't sure if i was going to deal with that or not, but on that link it says 3-5 months, which would explain a lot.. Should I ask the breeder?

And do you have a page on how to hedgie proof a room? I bought a small pen for pets for her to explore in that, but it's not nearly as exciting as the entire room for her to explore, and definitely not large enough for me to lay in.

I was also giving her a bandanna for her to cuddle up in for the first few days but kept having to replace it because she would sleep and go to the bathroom on it, and i wasn't sure if she liked sleeping in her own mess. But I had taken it out that day too wash all the bandannas, and I read in a similar post that they might feel insecure not having something to hide in while being handled. But this would contradict with the page on quilling you linked that says to avoid cloth, as it causes irritation.

Thanks again, I really appreciate it
 

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If she is losing quills at all, but does not appear patchy then she is likely quilling, or if she has very dry skin and you can see quills poking through her back.

Some hedgies are very skittish when they do not have something to hide in, but it depends on the hedgie. Taking her bandanna away could initiate a bite, some hedgehogs like to have blankies that are theirs. Vex is the same way with his hedgie bag, he will drag it wherever he goes when he can (and drags it through poop) and sleeps on it.

If she is quilling, touching her quills may hurt her, let her walk on top of the bandanna, just do not put it on her back. If she tries to hide under it let her, she may be uncomfortable because of the amount of light in the room, or she doesn't like being in the open.

You can also help with quilling and dry skin by giving an oatmeal bath and putting some flax seed oil directly on the back as described in the page on quilling.

Usually a hedgie begins quilling at 9-12 weeks and will continue for weeks or months. Some hedgies are late bloomers (usually runts) and may not quill until 4-5 months and then continue until 6-7 months.
 

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Scamp said:
thanks a million, I was confused to the nature of the bite because she did not give a warning lick but she went straight for her food when i put her back in the cage.
How long had you had her out? Sometimes when a hedgie is tired of being handled and wants to be left alone, they will bit to let you know that. And how did you react? If you pulled your hand away and freaked out, she may be huffing more because you frightened her.

When it comes to hedgie proofing a room, make sure there are no holes to hide in. Get down on the floor and look from her level. You can use accordian-ed (for lack of a better work) pieces of cardboard to put in cracks under beds/sofas, and you should make sure that there's absolutely nowhere she can wedge herself into/under. It's often easier just to use a playpen. I bought an inflatable kiddie pool for my little one, and he loves tubing in there. It's spacious enough for him to move and keeps him inside. If your hedgie is on the floor and the playpen doesn't have a bottom, be sure to check for hairs and strings because those can pose big problems to little legs. (You could also put a plastic tablecloth down under a playpen with no bottom).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I sent my breeder an e-mail asking if i should expect quilling from her or not, I am still waiting on a response. She does have a little wooden house with the bandanna in, and she usually goes in the house and under the bandanna, and it gets pretty dark in there I'm sure.

I will be careful not to touch her back until I can confirm if she's going to be quilling or not. She does not appear to be missing any quills at all. And her skin looks a little flaky around the quills, not much at all though, I don't know if that's normal, that's how she was when i got her. I'll try finding some pictures on the internet for a reference of what a quilling hedgehog will look like.
You said runts are late bloomers, and she was the smallest out of the 4 females the breeder had left. She was born on new years so she's 4 months, 22 days right now, sitting at about 3-4 inches long in size. So am I to understand that the final quilling takes over a month in time and up to 3 months?

Zalea, I had just taken her out of the cage, It was probably 30 seconds after taking her out. And I finished cleaning it probably an hour prior to this, which I placed her in her carrier for. And My reaction could have very well frightened her, I was not ready to be bitten. Although I know better now, I let out a small yelp in my normal speaking voice and said "ow" instinctively and placed her down on my lap, she released immediately. Then after about another 15 seconds of her being on my lap i put her back in the cage. My mistake as an owner, I won't be making that mistake again (if she even bites again that is).
 

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wooden houses can harbor mites. Plastic is a much better long term solution.

She is right around quilling age, and being a runt she may very well be a late bloomer. Dry skin is characteristic of both mites and quilling. It is best to treat her with 2 drops of flax seed oil (one to each shoulder) every second night, and an oatmeal bath once a week to help moisten her skin. This will help the flakiness go away and make her more comfortable. If she is quilling you will not notice any bald spots, but you may see a few quills scattered around the cage/floor.
 
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