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New Owner with some concerns...

1358 Views 8 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  silvercat
First off my name is Juan and I just became the owner of a 4mth old male hedgie who i named Chiko. I researched somewhat before going ahead and bringing him home both on this website and a few others. So here goes...

Well I've only had him for about two days and I'm getting more and more worried about his behavior. First of all, it doesn't seem like he's eating at all or drinking any water. I initially started with a bowl of water that came with his cage (rabbit-type cage but i removed the bottom floor as it was wired, so now the cage lays on the flat solid base). i filled up his bowl that first night and noticed the next morning that he had not only spilled the water but somehow unhinged it and dragged it out from the wall it was hanging on. He did the same with the food bowl. Yes I have them at an appropriate level where he can reach. So yesterday I went to the pet store to get a water bottle to use instead, took it home, filled it, placed it (this was in the morning) and let him be. The rest of the day and into about 4 in the morning today the water level hadn't moved at ALL. he didn't even seem the least bit interested in going near it. I had no choice but to put his bowl back in since at least that way I know he has much more ease of access to the water. I'm afraid he didn't drink all day yesterday nor eat food (dry cat food). Also, he did the same thing with the food bowl in the morning by somehow grabbing it and dragging it out (spilling his food in the process). The only time i've seen him eat is when i gave him some mealworms that first night, practically inhaled 'em! Other than that, I just don't know if he's eating the cat food i'm giving him. I don't want to just keep giving him mealworms without knowing if he's going to eat his regular food or not because I heard they can become obese if you overdo it with that kind of stuff. As for his behavior with me, he SEEMS to be warming up to me...he only hisses and puffs a little on initial pick up but quickly opens up and walks about me, although it seems like he is ancy and wants to get away from me...also he doesn't seem to like when i pet his back...even if i'm holding him. He huffs/puffs as soon as he feels my touch on his quills..

So tell me, am I being paranoid? Is this normal behavior until he gets adjusted to the change of environment? I know most animals tend to become stressed when brought into a new home and act out in different ways, is this what's going on with his eating habits (or lack thereof)? Is there something I can do to encourage him to eat/drink? I GREATLY appreciate any and all help/advise/info that i get...the little guy is quickly growing on me and I just want to make sure he is happy and healthy.
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It's hard to tell whether a hedgehog is drinking or not unless you see it. Sometimes it may seem like nothing is gone from the bowl, but they actually did drink from it. I'm betting he's drinking a little bit, at least, even if you don't see a noticeable drop in water level. Is he peeing?

Sometimes hedgies will go on hunger strikes for a day or two due to new environments. Is the food the same as from where you got him? If so, count the kibble tonight and again in the morning. He's probably eating some, even if just 5-10 pieces, and will increase as he settles in. If not, find out what he was on before and try to get some of that. Hedgies have sensitive tummies and a sudden change in food can cause some serious upset.

Hedgies love to rearrange. Especially since it's a new cage and he's exploring. So the bowls being moved shouldn't be a concern. But like silvercat said, you might want to try something a little heavier, and a little wider along the bottom so it doesn't spill so easily.

As for the petting of his back, he puffs because he thinks you're a predator trying to attack him--he can't see behind him, so he'll be a little jumpy about you touching his back. Even mine, who is close to two years old now, is still a little sensitive about his back being touched.

It sounds like your little one is warming up very quickly. Congratulations!
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