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So I am a new hedgie owner and my name is Andrew. Knuckles is my 6 month old female hedgie. I have owned her for 6 days... Today I came home at my normal time from work, 10 PM and went for my normal routine with her. I'm in the process of resocializing her, so I always take her out when I get home, and lay on my couch and watch a movie with her under the blanket so she's feels safe and cozy so we can bond. She's been pretty huffy, but I read that wasn't uncommon so I've been patient. Anyways, I came home, and she was nowhere to be found. I panicked and tore my house apart looking for her. I couldn't find her anywhere. I always open the cage from the top hatch so I know she coudlnt escape. And I came home and I beleive all the doors were closed. I know she's too big to squeeze between the wires of her cage, So my only guess, which is a far-fetched one is that she squeezed herself between the bars and the plastic bottom of her cage. That would be extremely tight for her and take a tremendous amount of energy from her. So I have no idea what the heck happened. Anyways, I spent the next 5 hours ransacking my house looking for her. It's now 3:30 AM and I just found her. There was a couple of rips on the underside fabric on the box spring of my bed. They've been there for years. Anyways she found that, and climbed inside the box spring matress, and went to the far end. I have no idea how many hours she had been in there, because I had been away from her for 15 hours. So once I located her by listening and pointing my phone and a flashlight inside the Box spring so I could see if she was in there, I cut a holein the box spring on her side, and shoved my arm up inside the box spring to grab her. She kept running away and latching on to anythjng in there. She was quilling me and grabbing springs and fabrics and trying her best to escape my loose grip. I was able to get her out and back in her cage. My biggest concern is I had a hard time getting her out, and Isa trying really hard to maintain my grip on her body without squeezing the life out of her. It seemed like t was a little rough, but I didn't know what to do. My question is how do I look for signs of medical damage done to knuckles by my firm grip. I really hope I didn't man handle her too hard. I'm worried sick about her and am feeling like a horrible owner. I love her so dearly, but I had no choice to be kind of rough on her, and that's after she some how escaped. I feel like a horrible owner. But can someone please tell me my little lady is going to be ok??? Please no rude comments or anything that's going to make me fee even worse about almost losing her. And any suggestions on cage security to try and prevent another escape?
 

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Don't beat yourself up too much! Accidents happen and you did what you had to get her out so you could keep her safe.

To check for any sign of health issues, I would watch for signs of bruising, as well as any changes in behavior - eating/drinking less, less active, changes in appearance of poop & pee, etc. If you see anything like that in the next few days, I would get her in to the vet to be checked out. Changes in her attitude might not be great to rely on as this will unfortunately probably set back your bonding work with her & she'll probably be pretty huffy & upset for a couple days, at least. But just keep with your usual routine and give her some extra treats and hopefully she'll settle back down.

I would double check back over the cage carefully & see if there's anywhere that the wires bend enough or come apart easily enough that she could've squeezed through. I'm not sure what else to do honestly. Some hedgies are just magic at being escape artists, I swear. If you're pretty sure she squeezed between the bottom of the wire & the top of the plastic section, you could possibly try modifying it to put extra clips or something around the cage there, but I'm not quite sure how. Sorry I'm not much help with that part! Hopefully she decides that one adventure is more than enough for her.
 

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I'm not going to offer any health advice, but I will say they are pretty resilient, and look for the signs Kelsey mentioned. She is most likely going to be just fine though. I would make sure Knuckles has plenty to do in her cage so she isn't bored enough to look for a way out. A wheel, digbox, toys, etc will keep her occupied all night, and a warm, cozy bed to settle down in is mighty enticing. Also, until you can escape proof the cage, you may want to hedgie proof the room as well so she isn't in danger if she gets out again.
 
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