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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, here is my problem.
I am becomingin increasingly dissapointed in our hedgehog Sonic. We brought him home for Christmas, and I built him a cavy cage measuring 10 square feet, he has every possible amenity his or her little heart could desire, high quality cat food, treats of bugs and veg, a wheel, a house, a heat lamp if it is chilly, a nice tube, a small stuffed hedgehog...the works!....but he is so mean!
I have read the behaviour pages, and I knew what to expect, and have tried sitting with him on my lap in a blanket, sitting next to him and letting him run around, i have tried all kinds of things. He always balls up and hisses at the slightest noise.
He is healthy, eats and does his business well, no wierd colors or smells, runs in his wheel and seems very happy unless i try to interact at all. He usually hides under one of his fleece blankets, and I would really appreciate some tips on how to make him a happier hedgehog. Even if he doesn't like being held, just come on out when I am around so I can watch him...and I do this at night when he/she wakes up so I do not anger him/her any further.
 

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I've had my hedgie since Nov, and he basically still does all that you said yours does.

He'll huff at noises(especially if I move while he's near me or on my lap...he LOVES his sleep) and depending on what the noise is and where he is, he'll puff his spines up as well. I just go along with it and usually just ignore it, or start petting him to get his spines to lay flat again. I've never had him NOT hiss at me when I move while having him in my lap :roll: Course when he hisses, it just means I have to keep him awake longer by petting him until he relaxes and doesn't hiss, then I let him go back to sleep. I don't expect that my hedgie will ever stop hissing and huffing when he's sleeping in my lap or near me. It's just how he is, and he really loves to just snuggle and sleep. I know I'd be grumpy if I kept getting woken up :lol:

Shinjy almost never comes out of the cage when I am there. He's done it about 2-4 times in the past 2 1/2 months because he was in my room, and I was there at the computer in the afternoon and he came out to eat. But, the slightest noise and he'll quickly run back to hide. It's perfectly natural for them to run and hide until complete darkness and what they feel is safe. He has never been active in his cage while I'm around. Though I hear him at nights when I head to bed, and I have crept over to spy on him :lol: but the moment he realizes I'm there, back to his bed he runs and hides until all is quiet, then he'll slowly come out again.

If you want to see him active and run around, why not make a play pen for him? then you can put some toys and you can sit in there with him, without his usual hiding places.

There's a good chance that he will always huff and puff, but that's just how they are. Just don't let it ge to you and continue to handle him like you would, as if it didn't happen.
 

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How much have you been handling the hedgie? Because from your post it sounds like you're not even sure what gender the little critter is...
Are you sure it's not normal hedgehog behavior? My hedgie still hisses and balls up when there's a noise that scares him. Unless it's not coming out of a ball at all behavior, it actually sounds quite normal--especially since you've only had the hedgie for a month. Some take longer to come around than others. If by mean, you mean he/she hisses and balls up, that's perfectly normal behavior and it doesn't mean that he/she is being mean: it means he/she is scared. It also doesn't mean hatred--mine still hisses at me all the time, and I know he loves me even if sometimes I think he doesn't (after all, I'm the bearer of mealies--how could he hate me? ;)).
You should probably just try spending more time holding and interacting with the hedgie. You haven't had him/her very long, and some can take months to get used to you. Handling and letting them know your scent can go a long way toward forging a bond.
 

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2 things, more patience and more acceptance

Your hedgie has only been with you for over a month, this isn't very long. Give him and yourself more time. Is he young? he could be going through quilling, which is a grumpy time for most hedgies.

You need to be more accepting of the nature of a hedgehog. He isn't mean, he does not hate everyone, he is just being a regular shy hedgehog. Sure some hedgies are social, but just as many are not .Bring down your expectations to a more realistic level and you will not be disappointed :)

If you haven't already, read this sticky by Kalandra, it is very relevant to what you are experiencing
http://www.hedgehogcentral.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=13
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I knew what to expect behaviour wise with a hedgehog, I did research the animal before I brought ine home. Zalea, if he is always in a ball with his quills sticking out, how could I tell what gendre it is? I don't understand how you guys can pet a hedgehog-I have tried, and bled as a result. The minute the quills come down and he/she is touched, they go up again and he pops. I have read that wearing gloves is a bad idea because it inhibits my natural scent and would make bonding impossible.

I keep him in my lap for about a half hour to an hour, and on a blanket next to me...He never comes out of a ball on my lap, and if he is next to me, he looks at me and goes right back into a ball. I try to coax him out with meal worms, aand he will not take them out of my hand. If he is sitting next to me, he will grab it and chew it while he is in a ball.

The thing is, I don't think it is fair he is always so scared. What if he had a heart attack or something, or he gets really stressed out from my continuous attempts at bonding with him? It is really disheartening to think I am making him miserable. I keep trying though to make him get used to me...only I am worried about his hedgehog sanity....

Also, being stabbed is NO fun.

Cimredopyh- he/she is not quilling. I have read about this before, and nope, not happening. There are only like 3 or 4 quills at the bottom of the cage every 4 days when I tidy up after him.
 

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Being poked and bleeding is a part of owning hedgies. I can't remember a day when I haven't been poked by at least one of mine, and I know they don't mean to hurt me they're just being hedgies. There are alot worse things in life than being poked and I'll never miss the drop or two of blood that results from the poking.

It can take up to 6 months, sometimes longer, for a hedgie to accept you as part of their life and start to settle down around you, some never do. I take in rescues and know how frustrating it can be when you're doing your very best for them and they don't seem to appreciate it, but believe me its all worth it when finally, months later after daily handling, they finally look at you and don't ball up again. You just need to have patience.

Please don't take this wrong, I am not saying its like this for you, but hedgies just aren't the right pet for some people because of how long it can take to warm up to you. And you have to be prepared for the fact he/she may never warm up to you, some don't. All I can suggest is alot of patience.
 

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Being poked and bleeding, is a LOT more fun than being bitten and bleeding. At least if he's rolled in a ball, he wont bite you :p

I'm sorry. But I've had Oscar for about 3 and a half weeks, and he's a grumpy little boy. He's a baby, if yours is a baby, he will be afraid and grumpy MOST of the time. Think of a human baby being disturbed. "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH" which translated to hedgehog is "HUFFFISSSISSISS HUFFISSISSISSISS!" You just have to be patient for a few months. DO not give up please, because there's no way i'm giving up on little oscar, so keep doing what you're doing, until he comes around. Let him sleep with a shirt of yours without perfume, this will let him know that this is a non threathening smell. :)

Good luck, and don't lose hope.

(Sonic might also dislike his name. Maybe he's a unique Hedgie lol)
 

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I get along well with my girls and still get poked, thats just the way it is. Many hedgehogs do not like being patted or touched on their quills,especially near the head, but may be more receptive to being stroked along the sides of their tummy below the quill line ( the furry part )
Once again give it more time and try not to expect anything of him. That way every little breakthrough and every small bit of progress will be a joy and a surprise :)

( If he is a baby, don't be too sure he isn't quilling, some of them take very long to finish and only lose one quill a day. Some lose a great amount daily and are done quilling in a short time )
 

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And yes, Oscar lost about 1-2 quills a day for his first week...now it's like hes ejecting them like a porcupine does :p
everytime I let him run around I find about 3 he lost.
So be prepared for when the quilling REALLY gets going. Make sure you pick up every quill.

The first quill I ever found was plunged into my rib area :shock:

And Sonic's just got a different personality maybe.
 

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Kara said:
I knew what to expect behaviour wise with a hedgehog, I did research the animal before I brought ine home. Zalea, if he is always in a ball with his quills sticking out, how could I tell what gendre it is? I don't understand how you guys can pet a hedgehog-I have tried, and bled as a result. The minute the quills come down and he/she is touched, they go up again and he pops. I have read that wearing gloves is a bad idea because it inhibits my natural scent and would make bonding impossible.
Try using a blanket or piece of fleece to pick him up instead, then roll him onto his back. Yes, he will probably stay in a ball at first, but most start kicking and complaining about being on their backs after a minute or two. Once the legs come out, you should be able to tell if you've got a gentleman or a lady.
Try holding off on petting and just let him explore around you and get used to the environment, then try petting after a few weeks when he seems to be more comfortable. Quentin still doesn't entirely like me petting him, and I've had him for close to 6 months.

The thing is, I don't think it is fair he is always so scared. What if he had a heart attack or something, or he gets really stressed out from my continuous attempts at bonding with him? It is really disheartening to think I am making him miserable. I keep trying though to make him get used to me...only I am worried about his hedgehog sanity....
It sounds like you just have a shy hedgie. If you got him from a pet store (I'm not sure where you got him so I figured I'd suggest this), this is understandable as he probably wasn't handled much as a baby.
Do you have a hedgie bag? If you're really worried about stressing him out too much, try putting him in the bag and letting him sleep on your lap in that dark bag where he feels safe. Even if you just sit it beside you on the couch, he'll start getting more used to being out of the cage and being around people.

Also, being stabbed is NO fun.
Honestly, you get used to being stabbed. After awhile it doesn't hurt as much. My hedgie only made me bleed one time, and it was right after I first got him. I startled him and he repayed me for it. I probably deserved it. :lol:
 

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i just got my first hedgehog yesterday. I decided that instead of buying a baby from a breeder i would rescue a little bit older of a hedgehog from a shelter.

When i first held him he was a prickly little *******, but him being grumpy only made me more determined to take my time to have him open up to me.

ALL of the tips on this site worked great for him. I wore a shirt for two days without cologne or deodorant (my co-workers weren't happy) and put it in his hidey hole for when he was scared or wanted to sleep. He would just run into my scent wherever he went all the ride home.

When i finally got home he was still hissing in his ball (j/w is it normal behavior for the hedgehog to twitch/kick its quill flaps to try and hurt you? mine sort of spazzes when hes scared or frustrated. kind of like hes kicking inside of a sleeping bag, and the sleeping bag is his quills) and refused to come out. If you keep him on his back he will get fed up and start kicking. If you notice a little bellybutton like thing on his stomach (directly intersecting all legs with straight lines) he is a male. When he finally started roaming around, even changes in light and shadows would make him get tense and shoot his quills up into a defensive position.

Some other tricks that helped him warm up to me and eventually put his quills down in just a day was hand feeding him treats. I put him on the ground and let the mealie crawl around on my hand. Vex was hesitant at first but charged the meal worm and sat on my hand eating it defenselessly. He quickly realized that if he was nice to me, he was rewarded, and in just a day is crawling all over me, my family and my dog. Vex is one and a half years old, so his previous owner must have payed very good attention to him.

First of all it is important to know the age of your hedgehog. If he is still young he may be beginning quilling, and will be a cranky little bugger. Reading a few of the posts on quilling will give you more information than what i have gathered over my constant googling at work. Try to keep a shirt you wore near him while holding him, preferably the one you left in his cage as he will associate that smell to his bed. I found that with Vex he did not like having his quills on his face patted, but starting about the middle of his back to an inch from his tail he doesn't mind it. He also enjoys having his belly rubbed.
When he starts kicking on his back and you can see all 4 feet, try slowly placing a single finger on his stomach (don't rub, just place). If he curls back up, just slowly remove your finger (try not to flinch) and wait for him to open up again.

I find that when he is upset or frustrated he is very cute with his fruffled brow and squinty eyes/face. Just keep patient as unlike Vex, most hedgehogs will take more than a single treat to warm up to you. Don't give up. I like to think of it like a game, be patient, and when he makes progress reward him, and eventually you will know the satisfaction that you have bested him in his game of grumpitude.

As for getting pricked, you get used to it. Just make sure to wash your hands before and after you handle him to insure he doesn't push anything under your skin that could get infected.
Think of it as free hand acupuncture.
 
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