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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,

I'm really worried about my hedgehog meatball. I went away for the weekend, and I had my responsible roommate taking care of her. She seemed fine when I came back sunday night, but early this morning, when I normally take her out for a little bit, she seemed really lethargic, and was wobbly on her feet. I'm narrowing it down to either it being too chilly (It got much colder this weekend than it has for a while) or she may have hurt herself when I was out of town and my roommate didn't notice. Other information: she hasn't run on her wheel the past couple of nights (my roommate didn't clean it, and it's spotless from the weekend), her wheel is a silent spinner, and I know there has been some controversey as to whether or not thats an OK wheel... Her appetite looks like it has decreased a bit, but she is eating approx 1 Tbsp a night, and the room temp is between 69 - 71 (I know its low, but my vet said 68 - 75, so I figure its ok... right?). If anyone has any advice i would really appreciate it. I love her so much! If anyone knows how I can properly do an injury exam? that would be great also. Thanks.

Jane
 

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Warm it up a few degrees- try around 75. A lot of hedgies get lethargic at low temperatures, and may attempt hibernation. For some unknown reason, this is an issue more among females than males. 68-75 is low, and a lot of hedgies need it warmer than that.
 

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It sounds like she is too cold. That will cause the lethargic behavior, lack of running, and affect her appetite. 68 - 71 is not warm enough for most hedgehogs. 72 is minimum, and I would recommend 74 - 76.
 

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Microwave a dry towel for a few seconds to get it warm. Wrap her up in the warm towel and stick her inside your shirt, close to your body. Put on a sweatshirt or a heavy flannel shirt to trap some body heat. She needs to be warmed up immediately. Just turning up the heat doesn't help, she can continue to be lethargic unless her core temperature comes up.

Your vet is wrong, those temps are too low for most hedgehogs and down right unsafe on the lower end for almost all hedgehogs. You may have to keep her in the higher temps now that she has attempted hibernation.

Also, make sure she's getting 14 hours of light a day. Shorter days can trigger hibernation attempts in borderline temperatures.

Once she's up and active, make sure she's eating, drinking and pooping. A hibernation attempt can cause a slowdown of the GI system. You might want to add acidophilus to her diet for a week or so to make sure it's all ok.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks so much for the help guys. i'm trying to warm her up right now. I think it was a hibernation attempt. My room doesn't get a lot of sunlight and when i went away for the weekend, the lights were out. For an extra, more permanent heat source in the cage with her, what would you recommend? Its a wire cage with a platic bottom, and I think a heating pad on the bottom might melt the plastic. Would a lamp work?
 

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What heat source are you using now? (sorry if I missed it posted above). You could use either a ceramic heater emitter & fixture with at thermostat, or you can use a room space heater. Both work excellent.

If you go with a heat emitter, you must get only a heat emitter, not a heat lamp. A heat lamp produces light which is no good during the night hours as the light produced can keep your hedgehog thinking its the daytime. A heat emitter produces only heat a no light.

A space heater will heat up the room as a whole, but if in your bedroom this may not be the best option as I know that I'm uncomfortable sleeping in temps of 75-77*F.

In regards to the lighting, as Hedgemom stated, hedgies need 12-14 hours of light per day. If you leave again, just have your roomie turn on the room light in the morning, and turn it off at night :)
 

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I have one of those cages, and I think you can use a heating pad under them, so long as it's set low. I admit I've never actually tried that, though. I have a ceramic heat emitter and thermostat set-up, which works fine on the rare occasions that my apartment gets cold. Of course, the truth is that my "real" thermostat is usually turned up way to high to be practical--because I get miserable and lethargic in the cold. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have a heater fan thing, but i'm really uncomfortable turning it on when I'm not in the house or when I'm sleeping. Its not very high quality, and I'm afraid it'll start a fire somehow. Do other people with space heaters keep them on at all times? Maybe I should resort to a heat emitter lamp...
 

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I'd go with a ceramic heat emitter with thermostat controller in your situation. They're perfect for wire-top plastic-bottom cages like yours. In addition to that, you can put a regular light on a timer so that if you're out, the light will go on and off at consistent times.
 
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