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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently acquired a female hedgehog, I believe she's about 3 years old. I really have no idea how to care for hedgehogs but have been doing research so I think I have a handle on the basics.

The hedgehog is very underweight, missing a back foot, and has tattered ears. I haven't had her for long but the foot doesn't seem to bother her at all, it's completely healed, no sign of infection, and she gets around okay. The tattered ears I read can be from dead skin and oil build up, and I'm going to attempt a bath this weekend but any additional tips would help.

My main concern is how skinny she looks. So are there any foods I can give her that will help fatten her up? Obviously they should be healthy foods, but is there anything in particular that would help her? I've read that hedgehogs can have baby food as treats so I have been mixing turkey baby food (no added ingredients, just water and turkey) in her cat food, hoping that the extra calories will help.

Really, any help would be great. I really wasn't expecting to take her in and I don't know if I will end up keeping her, but I'd at least like to get her on the right track before finding a new home.

I'd like to add that she's in quite a large tote, I don't know the exact size but I'd guess it's a 105 or 120 quart , has a wheel, heat lamp and water bottle. Right now the bedding is just fleece which I know is acceptable but I think I'm going to switch to paper bedding simply because it seems more convenient to clean.

Thank you all In advance! I'm hoping that I can help her gain some weight at the very least if I don't end up keeping her
 

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I'm going to attempt a bath this weekend but any additional tips would help.
Use warm water, They don't do well with cold or too hot water. For the shampoo, You could use baby shampoo or pet shampoo, But the best is usually aveeno.
So are there any foods I can give her that will help fatten her up?
You should give her a lot of Insects such as mealworms. When I was trying to help my boy Pepper to gain a bit of weight I gave about 10 mealworms (If anyone thinks this amount of mealworms is too much please let me know).

I do hope she will gain weight, Hope this helps. :)
 

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First of all, a lot of kudos for taking her in, she really needed you and one sees you`ve read up on hedgehogs :)

I agree with the suggestions of SpikyPepper. 10 mealworms per day are ok, but not more, because mealworms can cause metabolic bone disease hedgehogs due to an unfavourable calcium to phosphor ratio. Additionally, you could give her kitten food, because it is higher in fat than adult cat food.

Tattered ears can be caused by a past or ongoing mites or fungal infection. Have you taken her for a check up to the vet? This would be very important.

Fleece and paper bedding are perfect, I like them too :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I actually had no idea I could take a hedgehog to a vet 😂 I'll have to look into that. I don't know of any exotic vets (I assume that's who would have experience with hedgehogs) near me but I will call my regular vet and see if they will look at her.

Any idea where I can get meal worms? I have some freeze dried ones that I feed to my turtles and fish but I don't know if those would be suitable. So far, she has come out quite a lot from her little hide but as soon as I get anywhere near the bin she runs. I haven't attempted to pick her up yet so we'll see how that goes at bath time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks! Unfortunately I don't have aveeno or baby shampoo, but I think I might have some kitten shampoo that should work for her initial bath.
I've been doing a lot of research regarding feeding, and they actually seem kind of fun to feed 😂 I think it will be interesting to try a bunch of different fruit and veggies with her
 

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Thanks! Unfortunately I don't have aveeno or baby shampoo, but I think I might have some kitten shampoo that should work for her initial bath.
I've been doing a lot of research regarding feeding, and they actually seem kind of fun to feed 😂 I think it will be interesting to try a bunch of different fruit and veggies with her
Yes, kitten shampoo can do. i use cat shampoo on my hedgie all the time.
Also, keep in mind that hedgehogs do not process veggies and fruits well, so your hedgie might not want to eat the vegetables. But you can give it a try. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
A quick update. She got her bath today, and surprisingly did okay. She got her nails clipped and her missing foot looks fine, all her other feet look fine as well. Overall, she looked pretty good considering.

I do have a few questions though. I noticed that she had fleece fuzz stuck between her quills, and some scrubbing did get some out but I was afraid of making her skin raw so I didn't try too hard to scrub. I used a tooth brush, but ordered a baby shampoo brush that looked like it had longer bristles to maybe help get between everything better. Is there anything else I can do to get the fuzz unstuck?

I also noticed that her skin looks really dry, so I'm going to try and put a few drops of vitamin e oil on her skin once she's dried off. But are there any other tips?

After her bath, I gave her a few spoons of turkey baby food which she absolutely devoured, and now we're sitting on my bathroom floor and she's all snuggled up in a towel finishing drying.

This is my first real interaction with her, and I have to say, they are quite cute
 

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I do have a few questions though. I noticed that she had fleece fuzz stuck between her quills, and some scrubbing did get some out but I was afraid of making her skin raw so I didn't try too hard to scrub. I used a tooth brush, but ordered a baby shampoo brush that looked like it had longer bristles to maybe help get between everything better. Is there anything else I can do to get the fuzz unstuck?
You could try picking the fuzz out gently with tweezers. If this keeps on happening you might want to switch to bedding for her cage.
I also noticed that her skin looks really dry, so I'm going to try and put a few drops of vitamin e oil on her skin once she's dried off. But are there any other tips?
you can use a couple drops of coconut oil or flaxseed oil.
Oh! I also forgot to mention, the bath really helped her tattered ears as well. They don't look perfect but much better than before
That is really great! I hope it will fully get better.
 

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You can use that tooth brush to gently brush her quills regularly. You may find she really enjoys it, and you should be able to flick the debris still in her quills upwards and out. I have had a few now who had bad dry skin and it helped improve with brushing them a few times a week.

If she will tolerate it, you can do a couple of things to help those ears. Routine washing with a damp wash cloth . Just try to let her brush her face/ears against it. The other is to use a little vitamin e oil, bag balm, nipple cream or something similar on them. WARNING: Before using any of those items, put some on your hand or on a piece of cloth and test her reaction. While unscented, those items do have an odor that hedgehogs can detect and some absolutely freak out when its on them or near them. Sadly once one them, they are not easily washed off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
You could try picking the fuzz out gently with tweezers. If this keeps on happening you might want to switch to bedding for her cage.
I did end up using tweezers while she was eating, barely even noticed me lol! I think it will take a few tries to get everything out but it's much better now! I've switched her to paper bedding so hopefully once I get it all out it's not going to be a problem again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the tips! She won't let me near her head without freaking out, but I think after a while she'll trust me enough to do it. For now, I've tried adding a little vitamin e oil to a q-tip to try and brush a little on there. I don't think it's doing much to help her ears but hopefully she will get use to me touching her head and I'll eventually be able to give them a good rub down
 
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