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I'm getting a new hedgie soon and want to make sure the care I provide her is the best I can give. I was curious whether a water bottle or a dish is better? I have read so many opinions on each. I read that hedgehogs tilt their heads when drinking from a bottle and that's bad for them. But I read that bacteria grows really fast in dishes. Which is best?
 

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I don't know about bacteria growing faster in dishes than bottles, but given that you should be washing the dishes daily (usually when you wash the wheel), it should be a non-issue either way. Because of that combined with what you mentioned about drinking angles, plus the tendency of some hedgehogs to chip their teeth on the bottle, most people recommend a dish. The only consistent exception I've seen is if particulate bedding (aspen, Carefresh) is used instead of a fabric liner. In that case, a bottle is often used to keep the bedding from being tossed into the bowl and soaking up the water. All of this is just stuff that I've read on the forum and from this book:
Pet African Hedgehogs by Kimberly Goertzen
 

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Dishes are actually easier to keep bacteria free over water bottles. Most people don't change the water in the bottle daily, which needs to be done, and even if they change the water they don't clean the inside of the bottle. Its also very difficult to clean inside of the tube and both bacteria and algae can grown in there.
 

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When I first got my girl, she was used to a straight-nozzle bottle that the breeder used, so I got one just like it. After a week or so, she started nibbling on it, and I got worried about her teeth, so I've since switched her to a bowl. She has aspen bedding, and yes, she does get a few pieces in her dish, but not enough to absorb all the water. She also seems to drink more from the water dish. But she adjusted really well, I had both the water bottle and dish in her cage for a few days, then took away the bottle
 

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When I first got her home I offered my hedgehog both and she went for the dish. I had originally hoped for her to use the bottle, but changed my mind when I kept finding that it got jammed all the time, and that my hedgehog would lay under it and her body touching it would make it drip cool water onto her, which is not good. Plus, it took so much longer to clean than the bowl!
 

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I have several water dishes and I change them out twice a day--once at morning check time and then again at night when she eats her main meal.

In the morning there are always food crumbs--must be from her whiskers or else she's washing her face in her water dish.

When you get your hedgie from the breeder and (s)he is used to the water bottle, then just put a water dish under the water bottle. They are pretty quick to adapt.
 
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