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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My baby Egon was waking me up a couple days in a row... now from all the noise he makes in the middle of the night, but from the smell of him running on his "dirty" wheel. He seems to poop on his wheel a lot while running on it and I had to start cleaning it daily. I started to take his wheel out every night before I went to bed and I would hear him trying to climb the cage to reach it (The wheel being on the top of the cage but outside of the cage). After two nights of this I figured I would give it back. I woke up to find he had not made a mess of his wheel. I left it in another night and it was clean again! I think by removing the wheel he realized he could not use it as a bathroom and if he did he would lose it temporarily.

He is very smart. He is 8 weeks old and seems to be a fast learner. I would suggest if you have this problem to try this out. It works!
 

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Wheels are supposed to be cleaned daily, even if they look clean, as you won't be able to see if they have urinated on it. Also taking the wheel out at night is dangerous as a bored hedgie may climb, as yours did, and can easily be hurt. Poopy wheels are a part of owning a hedgie. Try having a dozen or more wheels to clean all the time.
 

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Hedgies naturally go to the bathroom as they run in the wild.. So naturally they will do the same when being housed in a cage. Like Nikki said, its all part of owning a hedgehog. I personally think that cleaning a wheel daily is much easier than cleaning an entire cage.
 

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You're going to have to get used to cleaning the wheel daily if it needs it. It's part of being a hedgehog owner. By taking the wheel out, you could've hurt your hedgehog as he climbed his cage, like Nikki said. When he didn't make a mess of his wheel the night he got it back, it could've easily been that he didn't run on it, or that he ran on it very little. Hedgehogs are not children and can't understand if they're being "punished" for something by having their toy taken away.
If you want, you can attempt to litterbox train him, but he could very well continue to potty on his wheel. They poop and pee as they run in the wild, and so they do it on their wheel too. You just have to get used to it.
 

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sorry 2 say ur poopin on tha wheel problem is not gonna really change much all hedgies do it, if urs doesn't ur rlly luck :). and ur SUPPOSED to clean tha wheel daily anyway other than that i got nothing 2 say other then thats sounds like an adorable, very smart hedgie of urs ! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
No, he has been actively running on the wheel. Every time I walk in the room he is on the wheel...haha, its actually really cute. He will run back into his igloo when the lights go on though. At night when the wheel wasn't in the cage I could hear him playing with the balls in the cage and I could hear him climbing or flipping his litter box. I honestly don't think he can successfully climb the cage. The plastic bottom is pretty high, especially for his age yet. I have been cleaning his wheel daily regardless because his cage is at the foot of my bed, so I would rather not have too much of a mess! I am just saying I think by removing the wheel those two times, he got the picture that its not a bathroom.

He is very well behaved too. I can keep him on my lap for hours while i watch tv or go online. He lets me pet him and he is generally very relaxed. =)
 

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You taking the wheel out has probably stopped him going on the wheel at all not just not going to the toilet. If your hedgie is not going to the toilet on his wheel then you can probably take from that they're not using it. As everyone said above a hedgie needs a wheel every night and a owner needs to take on the resposibility of cleaning it every day. It only takes me 5 mins before work to clean Turbos wheel, I don't consider that too much time out of my life to want back
 

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Hedgehogs poop. It's a simple fact of life. In the wild they poop while they run and it gets left behind, but in captivity as pets it stays on the wheel and make a mess. This is just a part of owning a hedgehog that you will have to get used to. Everyone cleans the wheel daily. Removing his wheel to punish him for doing what comes naturally is not the right thing to do. Besides, he won't understand why his wheel is gone and you will only end up stressing him out. Hedgehogs need a lot of exercise and removing his wheel when he is active (at night) is just plain cruel. I suggest that if the smell really bothers you then you should move his cage so that it's not in your bedroom. Just make sure that you have a way to regulate the temperature and that he won't be exposed to any drafts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Woah, people need to chill. I didn't do anything fatal here. I took the wheel out the first few times I saw him destroy it with poop....and it was only taken out during night hours. I put it back in the morning and was in there all day again. Now I notice he doesn't make a mess of it. Whose to say they aren't smart enough to learn not to use their wheel as a bathroom if they can be litter trained? I say whatever works, works. Im not complaining about cleaning it daily, as I do anyway, I am just training him not to use it as a litter box and it seems to have worked.
 

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So now he has it in there at night every night but doesn't poop on it, goes in litterbox instead? Or you still take it out every night?

Sometimes I sneak in after about an hour of having lights off and quick-wash the wheel after their first poopy before they have a chance to run in it. (Riley potties on it, then hops off for a drink and kibble, then hops back on) What a difference the next morning getting that first amount washed off early in the evening. They still poop on it later but its not quite the disaster as the nights I forget to do this.
 

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Given that hedgies are largely nocturnal creatures, there exists the distinct possibility that yours is not running as much as a hedgie could/should if you take out the wheel at night. Leaving it in during the day only might seem like you're giving a hedgie the option to choose to run.

Mine, for example, hardly ever does anything during the daytime... even if her beloved wheel is available. She's a night-time runner who does quite well with pooping & running at night, but once the sun is up/lights are on, has run on her wheel only one time that I can remember... and she's lived with me the past 2.5 years.

So if you're taking it out every night, or more nights than not, then you're probably just depriving your hedgie from getting needed exercise. I suspect the perception that this is what's going on is what's getting people all concerned and riled up. If you've just taken it out once or twice and now hedgie has his wheel all night every night and is running a good long time (and pooping elsewhere), that's probably fine... delightful even.
 

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Morel3etterness said:
I started to take his wheel out every night before I went to bed and I would hear him trying to climb the cage to reach it (The wheel being on the top of the cage but outside of the cage).
This part alone is enough to make everyone worry. He could have easily tried to climb, fallen, and broken a leg. I think the price to pay in cleaning a messy wheel, is far less damaging than to have a hedgie with a broken leg or internal bleeding...

But that's just my opinion. I hope yours will be fine with this training you are attempting to implement upon him. ^_^

Good Luck.
 

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Morel3etterness said:
Woah, people need to chill. I didn't do anything fatal here. I took the wheel out the first few times I saw him destroy it with poop....and it was only taken out during night hours. I put it back in the morning and was in there all day again. Now I notice he doesn't make a mess of it. Whose to say they aren't smart enough to learn not to use their wheel as a bathroom if they can be litter trained? I say whatever works, works. Im not complaining about cleaning it daily, as I do anyway, I am just training him not to use it as a litter box and it seems to have worked.
I don't see why you would tell people to chill when they are trying to help you. You posted something that you may have thought was a good idea to solve a problem but ended up being a dangerous one. Everyone that posted was giving you information to help and to explain why it was dangerous. Everything posted was with your hedgehogs best interest in mind and I find it very disrespectful that your response to it would be "people need to chill". There is first time owners that read this site, so when members see something that is dangerous they are sure to comment on it so others don't follow suit because they think what is being said is safe.

If you choose now to go against what has been recommended when it is an undisputed danger here then there is nothing that can be done. All that can be done now is to hope you make a good decision based on the information you've been given.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I accept the advice and I am glad to get any advice from long time owners! I just don't want anyone thinking I am purposely trying to "punish" an animal. I am just trying out training techniques. I became worried when I heard him trying to climb and that put an end to taking the wheel out because he was clearly looking for it. In the same respect, he seemed to get a hint that he shouldn't use it as his litter box. I think I had taken it out 2 nights in a row and then put it back in. I did notice a huge difference with it though. Now hes on it all night and no smell.

I did have a question though that I have seen in a lot of photos of cages on here.... do people generally feel it's better to keep a thin blanket down in the cage as opposed to bedding? I could imagine spot cleaning would be easier but does it seem to work better with a blanket?
 

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Yes, majority of owners use fleece liners. If you do a search in the General Questions or Housing & Accessories section I'm sure you can find lots of info on them. :)
 
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