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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I am new to this forum. I rescued my hedgie, Quillie (neutered female) in March of this year. According to the previous owners, she was approximately 1 year old and had been passed around from home to home because she is antisocial. I am absolutely sure that most of the reason she is so antisocial is because awful people just passed her around like she was a piece of meat and gave her no attention. Even the couple I got her from did not have a wheel for her or any form of exercise. Upon getting her, I immediately got her a hedgie-safe wheel, which she began using (and pooping on) nightly. Instead of a cage, I purchased a kiddie pool, and I just line it with puppy pads and switch them out daily. She is litter trained, but did not bother with using the litter until the past month or so. From the day we got her, she has not made much progress socially, but I was prepared for that. She seems happiest if we leave her alone, but I still try to force her to sit with me for at least an hour a night, or I sit with her in her room (we have a room for her that we keep at least 77 degrees and it is always quiet and dark at night) and let her run around and climb on me. I am past the point of wondering how to get her to be more affectionate; I think her previous owners did too much damage. Now I just want her to live a happy life. However, in the past couple of weeks, she has completely stopped using her wheel, and this scares me very much. She looks like she walks normally, and I've checked her every day to make sure nothing was wrapped around her legs, but she seems fine. She LOVED her wheel, and now she does not go on it at all; we have even set up a video camera to see if we can catch her doing it, and she does not get on it. We also had a very large hamster ball that she loved rolling around the house in, and now she refuses to move when she is in it, and instead will roll toward me and stretch out pathetically, almost like she is begging me to let her out (so of course I immediately let her out and I have not put her back in). I am scared to death that she is exhibiting the early signs of WHS. I live in an area that does not have a vet that sees hedgehogs specifically, so I am freaking out. She is also eating less, but not drinking less from what I can tell. I know that I can't make her happy by cuddling her, or anything like what my instincts tell me to do, so I'm desperate for suggestions on how to help her start exercising again, be happier, etc. Sorry if this post is too long. Thank you!
 

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I would suggest looking into taking her to the vet. How does she walk? Does she wobble unsteadily (hedgehogs do have a slight wobble when they walk) or does she fall from side to side? Are you positive the room temp is 77 degrees?
 

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I only have a few month's hedgehog experience, so don't take me as gospel.

1. Does she have a lighting schedule? Hours of light are just as important as hours of dark.
2. Some puppy pads have chemicals that could be out-gassing smells overwhelming a tiny hedgehog. Depends on the brand. More discussion.
3. Maybe try boosting the temperature a bit? Some hedgehogs like it warmer than others, and reduced activity is a classic sign of being slightly too chilly for comfort.

I'd be surprised if she's actually neutered; it's pretty unusual to perform that surgery on a hedgehog as they're unlikely to break free and shack up wit the hedgehog next door, and don't go through fertility cycles unless near a male hedgehog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both so much for your quick replies!
Mel_W - she doesn't fall, but she has started to do this thing where she will stretch all the way out and stay that way, as if she's paralyzed, and it's different than her normal stretching. The room is always between 77 and 80 degrees, and it is very easy to keep it that temp right now because we live in Florida and it is soooooooo hot. With that said, we make sure it doesn't go over 80 in there.

Annie: I did not realize that about the neuter thing! I will have to look into that, I don't know why I thought her previous owners would even care enough to spend that much money on her! :(
I will DEFINITELY look into the puppy pad thing, we have switched brands in the past couple of months, and God, that would be great if that was the culprit!
She does have a lighting schedule, and she seems to have been doing fine on it (although I wouldn't ever really be able to tell if Quillie was happy)
Thank you again!!
 

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Yeah, neutering is expensive, risky, and unnecessary for hedgehogs. I hope it's the puppy pads!
Neutering a male is expensive and risky because their testicles are internal. Spaying a female is not and is a very common procedure. Many owners are choosing to spay to prevent uterine and reproductive cancers which are so common in our hedgie girls. It is no riskier to spay a female hedgehog than a cat or dog or rabbit.

bhirras, I wonder if she is too warm.

Some of them take a long time to warm up or trust people and even then, may never be cuddly. For many, I would sit beside the cage and talk to them, or sing and set a treat in bed with them. It became a routine and slowly hedgie would start coming out of bed to wait for the treat and then to be sitting at the bars of the cage waiting for me. A slow routine works with many. For some, varying the time of day you interact with hedgie helps. Some who are totally antisocial at 7pm will be totally different at 9pm, 10pm, midnight, or even first thing in the morning. Even if their schedule differs from ours, we can with a routine, get them more accustomed to our time frame. :smile:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I will be buying new puppy pads today for sure! What's the ideal temp? She's always nesting in her igloo like she's content, and I thought that they sprawled out when they were hot. For those who have rescued, what is the longest it's taken for your hedgie to fully warm up? I know she trusts me out of a group of people, and she will run and hide under me when she is afraid, but those are the only signs of "affection" I get after six months. We've tried everything. Including mealworms, which she ignores completely. I hate seeing her miserable. And now, inactive.
 

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Treats are good. Some hedgies do not like mealworms- two of mine have not after multiple times trying. You can try other treats though that might entice her so you can do what Nancy recommended. Fruits, veggies, cat treats that are healthy or other insects besides mealies (under the food section of the forum there is a guide on insects). You can try the fruits and/or veggies in baby food form if she does not like fresh- sometimes hedgehogs prefer those. For cat treats try brands like Wellness, Blue Buffalo, Zukes- the all natural ones. I have a hedgie that goes CRAZY for the chicken or turkey PureBites (they are just freeze dried meat bits) and he still has not eaten any other treat I have tried offering him over and over. Sometimes you need to offer the treat a few times for them to get to the point of tasting it.
As far as temperature- were the people before using a heat setup? One of my hedgehogs who was a rescue had no heat setup before I got her. I put her in her cage here with a temperature of 76-78 since that was always the "norm" temp for me and I ended up finding out she liked it more like 74-75. Just don't go below 73 and make SURE you have a very reliable thermometer in the room. Also do not reduce the temperature quickly, only go down one or two degrees at a time since even though the temp may be above the mark, a quick dip could lead to a hibernation attempt. I went from 77-78 down to 76-77 down to 75-76 and so on.
I'm sorry but I don't have the rescue experience that others do on here. All I can say is it sounds like you HAVE made a lot of progress if she runs to you when she is scared. She obviously knows you are safe and that is a huge part of rehabbing. It sounds like you have done an excellent job so far and are really dedicated to her which is great. She's very lucky you found her!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I just wanted to say 1) thank you all SO, SO much for replying and 2) I'm sorry it has been so long since I have been on here!! I am extremely happy I came on this website for advice; everyone was more than helpful, and I ended up finding the solution because of all of you :) Thank goodness I was blessed enough to discover the problem soon enough that I did not have to take her to the vet! However, I did take her a couple of weeks later just so I could get her an overall health checkup, and the vet said she looked like she was in great shape. ANYWAY, sorry to beat around the bush!

Annie&Tibbers: you were right, it was the puppy pads! Pretty much the night after we switched them out for paper towels, she was right back on the wheel, much to my delight (and a casual glare from her) when I opened the door to the room and turned on the light at 1 am. Also, I know I mentioned that, unlike normal hedgies, she hates meal worms; thankfully, this past weekend, we discovered that she loves hunting small crickets!! That made me and my husband very happy, since so few things seem to make Quillie happy... still. We bought twenty, and within one night, eighteen were gone. She's quite the huntress. This weekend, we're going to buy another twenty and put her in a big, empty box with them so she doesn't have any obstacles in eating them. It's ridiculous how excited we get about things like this. We're calling it: Hedgehog Gladiator
Oh- and during this past winter, I was worried that she might get too cold even with our space heater constantly set to keep the room to 75-77 degrees, so I got her a reptile heating pad and have been keeping it plugged in under her blanket for approx. 75% of the day (I'm a worrier, and I hate thinking of starting a fire). Her pool is big enough that if she gets too warm, she moves away from it. I think it's been working out well. My two bunnies have seemed to like it too.
Also, thank you for saying that, Stellara :) It's always nice to hear things like that!
 
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