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I had been researching getting an ouch-mouse for a little over a year, then my older sis (bless her heart) bought one at a stockyard sale for $50. :(

Fortunately, other than having dry/flaky skin, she seems to be in good health. The seller told my sis that she's around a year old. She also doesn't seem to be very socialized at all (I've had her a few weeks now).

In the past I've mostly owned dogs and reptiles, so this is my first 'small animal' pet, and may need a little help on this journey! m(_ _)m


What I have for her:
-Midwest Plus cage
-Exotic Nutrition Hedgehog Accessory Starter Kit (Silent Runner Wheel, Nest Pouch, 6-oz Glass Water Bottle, 10-oz Feed Dish with Clamp, Grass Ball Trio, Play Tunnel)
-Dig box with felt strips
-Bonding infinity scarf (Etsy)
-Carefresh bedding (mixed reviews on this one)
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Corner small pet litter box (she uses it, but also poos all over the rest of the cage, so I dunno if I'll keep it)
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Toothbrush (for bath time)
-Ceramic heat lamp

Things I Need:
-Treats (I've tried mealworms, wet cat food, various fruits/veggies, and home-made dog treats, but she doesn't seem interested in the least)
-Cage Liner (very pricy. looking for sewing patterns/materials if anyone makes their own!)
-Fun Toys (she uses her wheel, but that's about it. Would kong treat toys work?)

Q's/Opinions needed:
-Outside. What's your opinion on taking a hedgie outside? I raise quail and chicks, so I have brooder cages and think a bit of outside time would be nice.
-Changing Food. With dogs/cats I know you have to change their food gradually if you change brands to keep their tummy from getting upset. Is it alright to switch back and forth for a hedgie?
-Bonding. Is bonding with an older hedgie harder? Any ways, other than carrying her around in a bond pouch, that can help?
-How often to bathe/ best oils to use for dry skin.


Hedgehog Erinaceidae Domesticated hedgehog Rodent Fawn

[Rosie] (because every Rose has its thorn!)
 

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Hi! I hope you're enjoying your new hog so far. Just gonna jump in and start answering questions.

Outside - this one is a debate. I won't tell you what to do, but I will give you some facts and let you decide.
  1. Hedgehogs are nocturnal creatures
  2. Temperature for hedgehogs is important
  3. They are fast and can be hard to catch
  4. Birds of prey and neighborhood cats exist
Basically, in my opinion, you'd have to do it during the day so you can see them to keep them safe. But since they are nocturnal, they are unaccustomed to being out in the daylight and may be overwhelmed. This will bother some hogs more than others of course. But keep in mind you'd basically be waking them up in the middle of their night to go outside. You'd also need to do it when the outside temperature is in the 70's or higher to avoid a hibernation attempt. Hedgehogs are also quick little buggers. Take your eyes off of them for a second and they're gone. Their coloring can make them hard to find if they find themselves a good hiding spot. Finally, outside threats like hawks and outdoor cats may cause you problems. Personally, the only time I've taken a hedgehog outside was at night while I held her so she could sniff the night air. Personally, not something I would fool with. But if it's something you want to do, keep all those things in mind and plan accordingly.

Food - Hedgehogs can be super picky, so changing food can be a process. In general, you would do a change in four parts. 25% new 75% old the first week and see how it goes. If no tummy upset and the new food is being eaten, do 50% new 50% old the next week, then 75% new, the finally all new food the fourth week. If you get tummy upsets, or she stops eating, go back a step. It's best to avoid swapping foods around if you can as they sometimes will become upset and refuse to eat. But it is common practice to use a mix of two or more different foods just in case one of them becomes unavailable or changes formula and your hog refuses to eat it. It's not a requirement though, just a safety precaution. The more important part is to make sure you've chosen a high quality food with 30%-35% protein and preferably less than 15% fat. Unless you have a runner that can't keep weight on. You can have higher fat in that situation.

Bonding - This is honestly hog specific, but I would expect to spend significant time on this. I've only ever gotten them as babies. I've never raised one that was already an adult. Some hogs come around within days, some in weeks or months, and other can take a year or more. Hedgehogs are patience pets and will come around when they are ready and not a minute before. Really, it doesn't matter that much how you bond with her, it's mostly about time spent. There are things you can do to increase you chances of success though.
  1. Create a nightly routine and stick with it
  2. Create an environment they feel safe in
  3. Have Bribes on hand
Again, hedgehogs are nocturnal. So time spent with them should be at night. Keep the lights low (still make sure you can see of course!), have the tv or radio on to cover unexpected noises. Keep other pets away (dogs and cats milling around trying to figure out what you're holding can be stressful and potentially cause harm if they meet). Beyond that, just work with your hog. Some are happy to chill in your lap while you watch tv or play video games. Some want to run around and explore. A playpen big enough for you to sit in is very helpful here. My girl mostly wants to nap on me. But she has nights she just has to move. Sometimes crawling all over me on the couch is good enough. Sometimes she needs her playpen and even her wheel. The important part for you is just to be there and part of her nightly routine. I would recommend touching her feet as much as you can get away with to get her used to it. You're going to have to clip those nails which can be a huge process if they don't want you to.

Bathing - Personally, I don't give my hedgehog a bath at all unless she has somehow made a giant mess of herself and a bath is the only way. They don't really like the water, and their skin gets so dry. Plus, beyond having poopy feet which can be dealt with a damp paper towel, they just don't really get that dirty to begin with. With the trauma of the bath, and making sure they are warm and completely dry before putting them away for the night, It's just not worth it. If you feel like a bath is a must, don't do it more than once a month.

For oils you can use vitamin e oil or coconut oil. Just a couple drops on her back should do it.

For treats, keep offering the treats you've already tried. They are like children and will often refuse the first several times they are offered. But if you are persistent likely she'll try one of them and like it. Just be sure to only offer one thing at a time just in case of tummy upset. That way you'll know what didn't agree with her.

As for liners, you really don't need to be fancy. If you want to switch to a liner, you can literally just cut a piece of fleece to the correct size for your cage and lay it in there. Or, you can double it and lay two pieces down at a time for extra cushion and absorption. No sewing necessary. I will be honest tho, two pieces sewn together is very nice.

Hope all of that helps. If you have other questions, please feel free to ask.
 

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Hi there! I adopted my hedgie when she was just about a year old and definitely not socialized well so I've got a bit of experience there!
Honestly just brute force it. Hold your hog every single night for at least an hour even if she's pretty upset. You can hold her in something at first but once she's warmed up to you you could just hold her in your hands against your chest or in your lap. Something I did with Pebbles that helped was putting a shirt that I wore recently into her favorite sleeping spot to get her used to my scent. Bonding is hog-specific though like the person above me said, so take your time and figure out what works best for you and her!
For taking her outside- I love taking Pebbles outside during the summer when it's warm enough and Pebbles adores it! Once she gets going her little sniffer is going so fast and so is she! They can get pretty darn fast so prepare some sort of fencing they can't dig under or get overtop of to be safe.
On your wheel- you said you had a Silent Runner wheel, is that the Silent Runner or Silent Spinner? Silent Spinner is two half pieces, usually one white and a coloured piece with a seam down the middle of the running space. Hedgies can get their nails caught in that seam and tear them off. If it's Silent Runner, with the closed wheel and three hedgie-shaped holes, as long as the running surface is one complete piece it'll be fine :)
For treats- I give Pebbles her treats in a specific bowl so she can eat them at night when she's most hungry. She goes bonkers for little apple pieces and mealworms. Definitely keep trying to give your little guy treats! Just make sure they're hedgie safe first.
On heating- If you don't have a thermostat, I 1000% recommend it. It keeps track of the temperatures and shuts the heat lamp on/off. Definitely a must with any heating equipment. Inkbird is the best brand to go with if you can!
On liners- I sewed up all the liners I use for Pebbles's cage since it's a homemade one and a bit of a strange shape. I used a sewing machine to sew it all up so it was pretty quick! It's really easy to do, but honestly two pieces of fleece on top of each other would work just fine. Carefresh bedding should be okay as well as long as you are not using wood shavings of any kind. It can hurt their feet (or in a worst-case scenario with cedar and pine, it could kill them because of the stuff in those woods).
And finally, on dry skin- I use Jojoba Oil for Pebbles. I've got a bottle with an eyedropper and drop a couple of drops directly onto her skin when it's looking dry and it works really well! I've also heard Aveeno Oatmeal Baby Shampoo can work wonders in a bath (just don't let them drink it!).
All in all congrats on your new baby and best of luck to you on your hedgie parent journey!
 
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