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I got my male hedgehog, Yuki, three days ago from a breeder who interacted with him a lot. I chose Yuki, because he was immediately comfortable with me. His quills didn't prick up and he showed zero hostility even though it was my first time handling him. He even climbed up my shoulder. I placed him in a hedgie bag and drove home.

When I got home, I brought him up to my room, because I didn't want him to roam around downstairs where the dogs were. I placed the hedge bag on the floor and waited for him to come out. After about an hour, he was still in there. I got worried and decided to gently pull him out of the bag, which I had done at the breeder's. Even before I got to touch him, he jumped and started hissing loudly. I tried again after a few minutes and he was still hostile. I ended up just placing the hedgie bag in his enclosure. He came out around 11 PM that evening. I tried to handle him, but he kept hissing (he even started hyperventilating). I attempted again the next evening. I got the same response. Last night, I tried to pick him up with a towel. He reacted so violently that I decided to just leave him alone.

I'm worried I might hurt him if I keep trying to handle him even though he doesn't want to. Should I change my approach? The breeder insists that I should keep trying to pick him up, but I'm afraid I might traumatize the little guy.

I would really appreciate detailed advice. I'm a first time hedgie owner and I haven't adjusted to their temperament yet.
 

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What he's doing is completely normal. The first day home, they should be left alone completely. He's in a new place that he's not familiar with, which is why he's acting how he is. The news smells and new surroundings are scary. If you leave him alone while he's popping and acting up, will encourage him to do so. Even if he balls up, pick him up. They all do this (pretty much). It can take months for a hedgehog to "warm up" to you, some hedgehogs never do. Put a shirt you wore that day or to bed into the cage for him to sleep with. This will help him get use to your scent. Again, what he's doing is completely normal. When he unballs, give him a mealworm or cricket :) . Here's something I told someone else yesterday:

What should I do to make him more social?

First, one thing you have to remember is some hedgehogs will never become social. Hedgehogs aren't like dogs or cats, you have to actually earn their trust. This doesn't happen fast, and it can take months. The older the hedgehog is when you get it, the harder it will be to socialize, especially if he came from a... not-so-good owner. For socialization:

1. At night, wear a t-shirt to bed, in the morning when you get changed, put that shirt into his igloo (or where ever he sleep). This way he will have your scent and will get use to it quicker. It will help him associate your smell with safety and comfort.

2. Keep a schedule with him. The light on his cage shouldn't be going off until about 8PM (they need 12-14 hours of light per day). So during the day, he will be sleeping. When you get home from school, and are doing homework, watching tv, or using the computer. Put him on your lap in a shirt (that smells like you), and leave him alone. He needs to be sleeping, so let him sleep.

3. Every time you pick him up, wash you hands first with the SAME soap every time. Never use gloves.

4. 1 hour before the light on his cage goes off (so say 7PM), take him out of his cage and hold him. Now you wake him up. Yes, he will be grumpy when you first wake him up, they pretty much ALL are. When you first wake him up, let him do his thing in the cage for 10 minutes. Then take him out and put him on the floor with you or bed or whatever.

5. When you have him out after 7PM, keep your room DARK and SILENT. This is a major thing. Hedgehogs are nocturnal and come out at night (when it's dark). He will be more comfortable in the dark. A night light is a good idea or a dim light. TV's can bother their eyes from the lighting in the room constantly changing.

6. When he unballs, give him a cricket or mealworms. Mealworms are high in fat, so don't feed too many. I feed about 6 a day. Are you feeding live mealworms or freeze-dried mealworms? Freeze dried mealworms aren't easily digestible, live ones should be fed. You can buy live ones then freeze them, then thaw when you need them. This will help him associate mealworm/cricket with unballing.

7. Time, patience, time and more patience.
 
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All young hedgehogs will seem friendly where they were born.

Think about it this little hedgie is in an alien environment taken away from brothers, sisters, and mother and all the hedgehog has ever known so its going to be stressed.

In addition a hedgehog is a prey animal and will react that way to anything it doesn't know, it takes time, you hedgehog likely wasn't' hyperventilating they puff and hiss fast when defensive the more you show fear the more it tells your hedgehog this is all it needs to do to get you to go away. Take you hedgehog out with a shirt or towel with your scent that you've worn/slept with for a day and just let her sit on your lap and sleep or wander. It will take a good amount of time have the hedgie bag available and realize that trust from a hedgehog may take weeks, months, or a year to gather and some just end up having a much more grumpy disposition.

You need to show your hedgehog that huffing, hissing, and puffing fully quilled will not make you go away as time goes by try to gently stroke the quills back (start far away from the head as time and trust is built you hedgehog may or may not allow this).

When you say reacted violently I assume you just mean your hedgehog was popping and hissing full quilled this again is normal you need to handle your hedgehog daily to gain that trust.

This is my experience with my two girls

:)
 

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You are doing fine, all you need to do is to find a quite area and the night befor find a towel that will be good for the hedgehog, sleep with the towel and when you get the hedgehog out, put the hedgehog in the towel and let him/her sleep in it. You can watch t.v and hold him or you can go on the computer with her wraped up and sleeping. If you keep doing that then you and your hedgehog will be comfortable with eachother. If that is not enough, find a shirt you worn the day befor or your pajama shirt that you are not concern if the hedgehog poops on it, put it in the hiddy hole or in the hedgie bag you have and when he/she is sleeping inside it, the smeel will be you. :mrgreen:
 
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