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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone!

So a few days ago I became the new owner of a 1 year old hedgehog that I've named Peanut Quill.

He is the cutest little thing, and I love him so much, but ever since I got him we've had nothing but problems.

The first thing is, he's pretty grumpy. I try waking him at all different times of the day to see what he prefers. When I wake him, I let him relax a little bit before I pick him up. I let him smell me first, and he just hisses at me.

Next, he's super active. I'm sure he's just checking out his new environment, but I don't particularity want him pooping and peeing all over my room. I try holding him but he always squiggles and moves. Any tips on trying to get him to bond with me?

Next, we had an incident yesterday. I put a wheel in his cage. He's never had one before. I realized the morning after I put the wheel in there was little spots of blood. At night, I tried clipping his nails (the previous owner told me she never did) when suddenly one fell off. It started bleeding so much and I tried everything I've researched to try and stop it (cornstarch, some pressure). I brought him to the vet (not an exotic pet vet as it was too far away and I was in complete panic mode since he lost a bit of blood) and they stopped the bleeding. I've been checking his foot, and it seems fine, just scabbed. Should I do anything else besides check on it for possible infection?

Today, I woke him up (being that it was 9:45 at night and he was still sleeping) to play with him because I have seen it is recommended to play and bond with your hedgie for at least a half hour a day. He nibbed on my fingers 4 times and once he broke skin! Maybe it was the soap I used? It was aloe vera scented...

I also noticed he's scratches himself sometimes and I had what looked like dandruff on my shirt. Is this normal?

I live in NYC as well and hedgies are illegal here but they're legal in the rest of the state. I know this is a big no-no but I love this little guy and I've wanted a hedgie for years. Owning him kind of came suddenly and I don't think I thought it through. Any way you guys can help I would appreciate it a lot.
 

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Little Peanut Quill is definitely a cutie pie!

Okay, so unfortunately I can't really help on the toe/bleeding issue, since it's never happened to me, but definitely keep an eye on it. Maybe take out the wheel for a few days until it's healed, or at least looks better, so he doesn't irritate it further.

Since he's a rehome, it's definitely going to take some time for him to get used to you. It's a completely different environment for him, but definitely keep doing what you're doing. Try to form a routine with him, so he knows what to expect - wake him up around the same time (is it possible to ask his previous owner what sleeping schedule he was on? Like, what time did she handle him every night?), and spend the same amount of time bonding with him. Have you tried the t-shirt trick?

As for the squirming, that's usual for hedgehogs, as most don't particularly like being held. You just have to be firm (but gentle), and avoid putting him back in his cage, or putting him down, if he hisses/balls up/bites. If you put him down, or back in his cage, when he acts naughty, he learns that that's what he needs to do in order to be left alone. He's probably biting because of a new scent he smells on your hands, so washing your hands with unscented soap would be helpful, so he just gets the scent of your normal hands (hopefully that makes sense). Oh, and is your room darkened at night? Most hedgehogs get anxious and more squiggly if they find it too bright, so maybe try darkening it to see if that relaxes him.

Do you have a playpen for him, or a blocked off area, where he can explore? Sometimes just sitting or laying down in a playpen, while he explores and sniffs around you, helps the bonding process. If you're nervous about him peeing and pooping in your room, allow him a few minutes to go to the bathroom in his cage, before handling him. For instance, I usually wake my hedgie up, let her eat/poop/pee for about fifteen minutes, then I take her out for bonding time.

And the dandruff thing is usually normal, as hedgehogs have dry skin. However, dandruff, as well as an abnormal amount of scratching or quill loss, can mean a skin infection, or mites. Just keep an eye on it :) an oatmeal bath, flax oil, olive oil, humidifiers, or dry skin spray treatments can help with a hedgie's dry skin. You can search this forum for more information on that if you want.

And lastly, I would just be super careful about having a hedgie in NYC. It sounds as though you have found an exotic vet outside the boroughs though, correct? Even if it's a further away drive/travel, it's probably better for both you and your hedgie to take him there in the future (I know this past time was an emergency, and you were right to take him to the vet you took him to). Unfortunately I've read of owners having to surrender their hedgehog in illegal states :(

Hopefully that helped, good luck with the bonding, and keep us updated on the toenail! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I will try to talk to the previous owner about his sleeping schedule. I don't think she had him on a set schedule, but I will try my best to do that. I usually (accidentally) wake him up in the morning so I can clean out the cage before I go to work/school (around 9 A.M.), especially after the foot incident. I don't want him stepping in it. I see people have used polysproin, Maybe I should call an exotic pet vet to see if neosporin would be okay? Just to prevent infection.

I have found several vets in the NJ/ Long Island area (Jersey is closer and better and the nearest vet is only 35 minutes away), so I will be bringing him there as soon as I have some money to get him a check up.

My room is darkened at night except for when I just get home (Usually M, W is around 8, T Th is 10ish). I am on a pretty set schedule every day, so with time he can probably adjust that way? I would still be able to hang out with him at night. And after that, my room is dark.

I don't have a playpen. Should I buy one? Or maybe is it possible I can make one?

I tried giving him a bath the other day, he pooped about 6 times (and they were green, I guess because he was stressed/ nervous) and I used baby shampoo/body soap. I also have aveeno oatmeal bath which I will use next time.

And oh no! :( Yes, I will try my best. I don't want him taken from me. What happened to those who had their hedgies taken from them?

Thank you SO much! You've been really helpful lilsurfergrlsp :)
 

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Can I ask what type of wheel you are using? Some wheels have the potential to really hurt a hedgehog.

Neosporin is fine. Just make sure you apply the original kind. Not the pain reducing kind or anything that is extra strength.

You can either but a playpen or make one. Some people make play pens out of c&c cubes.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Can I ask what type of wheel you are using? Some wheels have the potential to really hurt a hedgehog.

Neosporin is fine. Just make sure you apply the original kind. Not the pain reducing kind or anything that is extra strength.

You can either but a playpen or make one. Some people make play pens out of c&c cubes.

Good luck!
This was the wheel I bought: http://www.petco.com/product/14921/Super-Pet-Large-Silent-Spinner-12-Wheel.aspx?CoreCat=OnSiteSearch

I thought this would be good because it wasn't a wire one, or that other weird wire cage.

I assume that because there are tiny little slits, his nails got caught in them and made it loose which caused it to fall off during the nail cutting process.

So I took the wheel out and returned it. I saw that Carolina Storm wheel which looks really solid so there's no potential of nails getting caught. I just feel bad because he loved the wheel and never had one and I already took it away :/

Do you have any other suggestions on wheels that I could get?

But thank you for the neosporin tip and the play pen tip! I think I saw one in walmart that was like less than $30 so I might get that, or I'll look into the c & c cubes.
 

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It's good that you took it away!! Those wheels are known for hurting hedgie feet. Some hedgies have lost toes from those wheels! The best wheels to buy for hedgies are California storm wheels. You can only order them online but it's well worth it. I have one for my hedgie and it is super safe, stable, and quiet!!

Another option is a comfort wheel from the pet store. I had one for a little while but I didn't like it much.
 

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Yup, I second the Carolina Storm Bucket Wheel. It's awesome, super quiet, and very easy to clean.

And yes, hedgies can be super picky about lighting and heating, but with time, he should adjust to that schedule. Pretty much it's a requirement to be patient and persistent as a hedgehog owner :)

Also, some small animal playpens can be easily escaped from, so before buying one, I would check out the reviews on Amazon. I bought my girl the Prevue Pet Small Animal Playpen, and even though it's never happened to me, I've read reviews where small animals have been able to escape from them. It's just best to research anything you buy, first. But, another option for a playpen, would to get one of those collapsible dog/cat pens, or the collapsible carriers. I've also heard of people using small inflatable pools, or kiddie pools. But those can get pretty big to use indoors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yup, I second the Carolina Storm Bucket Wheel. It's awesome, super quiet, and very easy to clean.

And yes, hedgies can be super picky about lighting and heating, but with time, he should adjust to that schedule. Pretty much it's a requirement to be patient and persistent as a hedgehog owner :)

Also, some small animal playpens can be easily escaped from, so before buying one, I would check out the reviews on Amazon. I bought my girl the Prevue Pet Small Animal Playpen, and even though it's never happened to me, I've read reviews where small animals have been able to escape from them. It's just best to research anything you buy, first. But, another option for a playpen, would to get one of those collapsible dog/cat pens, or the collapsible carriers. I've also heard of people using small inflatable pools, or kiddie pools. But those can get pretty big to use indoors.
Thank you all! I appreciate your help. The little guy has been sleeping in this tree stump, he's digging a hole in it and basically going to the bottom of the cage. Is this normal?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yup, I second the Carolina Storm Bucket Wheel. It's awesome, super quiet, and very easy to clean.

And yes, hedgies can be super picky about lighting and heating, but with time, he should adjust to that schedule. Pretty much it's a requirement to be patient and persistent as a hedgehog owner :)

Also, some small animal playpens can be easily escaped from, so before buying one, I would check out the reviews on Amazon. I bought my girl the Prevue Pet Small Animal Playpen, and even though it's never happened to me, I've read reviews where small animals have been able to escape from them. It's just best to research anything you buy, first. But, another option for a playpen, would to get one of those collapsible dog/cat pens, or the collapsible carriers. I've also heard of people using small inflatable pools, or kiddie pools. But those can get pretty big to use indoors.
He's also only peeing and pooping when I take him out of the cage... What should I do?
 

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Yup, hedgehogs like to burrow so if he's digging, he's probably trying to find a more comfortable spot to sleep in. It helps to put something in there he can burrow in, like fleece strips, a cozy pouch, or an old t-shirt or blanket (preferably something that smells like you, so he can get used to your scent).

Also, just to clarify - he's peeing and pooping only outside of the cage when you're having him out for playtime correct? Other than that, does he go to the bathroom in his cage normally?

If he's going to the bathroom while you have him out, it's usually helpful to watch for signs that he's about to poop or pee. Most hedgehogs will become more squirmy if you're holding them, or more frantic to be on the ground. Also, they will crouch and lift up their tails; most get a sort of focused look on their face while they're crouching too (it's actually pretty funny to watch :lol:). It also helps a lot of keep a litter pan, or a designated place that you want him to go to the bathroom in, nearby so you can plop him in there if you start to notice these signs.

That's actually how most people tend to "potty-train" their hedgehogs (I use that term loosely, since not all hedgehogs can be trained). Watch for signs that they're about to potty, then put them in their litter pan, so they associate the pan with going to the bathroom. Usually hedgehogs will pee and poop more than once, so it helps to keep them in there until they're done doing their business.

Also, have you noticed little Peanut going to the bathroom in a certain area of his cage? If so, sometimes putting the litter pan in that area will encourage him to use it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yup, hedgehogs like to burrow so if he's digging, he's probably trying to find a more comfortable spot to sleep in. It helps to put something in there he can burrow in, like fleece strips, a cozy pouch, or an old t-shirt or blanket (preferably something that smells like you, so he can get used to your scent).

Also, just to clarify - he's peeing and pooping only outside of the cage when you're having him out for playtime correct? Other than that, does he go to the bathroom in his cage normally?

If he's going to the bathroom while you have him out, it's usually helpful to watch for signs that he's about to poop or pee. Most hedgehogs will become more squirmy if you're holding them, or more frantic to be on the ground. Also, they will crouch and lift up their tails; most get a sort of focused look on their face while they're crouching too (it's actually pretty funny to watch :lol:). It also helps a lot of keep a litter pan, or a designated place that you want him to go to the bathroom in, nearby so you can plop him in there if you start to notice these signs.

That's actually how most people tend to "potty-train" their hedgehogs (I use that term loosely, since not all hedgehogs can be trained). Watch for signs that they're about to potty, then put them in their litter pan, so they associate the pan with going to the bathroom. Usually hedgehogs will pee and poop more than once, so it helps to keep them in there until they're done doing their business.

Also, have you noticed little Peanut going to the bathroom in a certain area of his cage? If so, sometimes putting the litter pan in that area will encourage him to use it.
Okay, i read about hibernation attempts I was just making sure that wasn't happening.

He normally goes in the cage, and let's say if I wake him for playtime, he won't go. He just runs back into his little tree stump and hides away or goes back to sleep. He normally goes on the opposite side of the cage where he sleeps. I've put a t-shirt in the cage with a treat on top and he still won't go near it :(

But if I'm holding him sometimes he'll just go on me. But ill try to look out for the signs as well.
 

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I have a lap peer and pooper too! She always goes on me. What I do is place her in her play pen, a kiddie pool, and I toss in a couple of mealworms, or crickets or whatever else they are having and then she moves around a little bit eating and then she goes potty. There can be nothing in the play pen during this time besides the bugs so he has to move around. If you don't have a play pen just remove all hidey spots from the cage and wake him up so he goes. :grin:
 

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for bonding sleep in the same shirt for a few nights and then put it where he sleeps, like I put mines snuggle sack in his igloo because that's where he sleeps. So wherever yours is sleeping put the shirt in it and he will learn you scent and be less grumpy towards you.
 
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