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Discussion Starter #1
Help. Merlin (now 13 weeks old) came to us at 8 weeks. As time has progressed he is becoming more and more unsociable. Lots of hissing and growling and just wanting to burrow under things or get back in his vivarium. He eats and drinks OK, his house is kept at around 21degrees, cleaned out regularly etc etc. just so very unfriendly! Being new to hedge ownership I am both frustrated and worried about this, as this behaviour seems to contradict everything I read before I got him.

Any advice would be very welcome. If he is going to,stay like this I am bitterly disappointed.
 

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As the others pointed out, 21C is too low. Hedgehogs need 72F at minimum, but they often prefer it a few degrees warmer. 21C is under 70F, which can risk a hibernation attempt, and being too cold or being in the beginnings of a hibernation attempt can definitely cause grumpiness and low activity. 23-25C is what to aim for.

Could definitely be quilling in addition to the temperature, as some hedgehogs will have an "attitude problem" from quilling that goes even to 15-16 weeks old before tapering off. You should handle him as much as possible despite the grump. Invest in a sleeping/cuddle bag so you can have him out on your lap - a carry bag is also excellent for socialization and bonding, so you can carry him around the house while you do other things. Also remember that hedgehogs in general tend to be timid and defensive by nature, and a lot of hedgies will have at least a little bit of a "grumpy streak" their entire lives. It's just part of their personality. While it can be frustrating for a new owner to have to deal with the initial quilling period, especially if it's a very bad quilling, part of owning a hedgehog is understanding that they might never be a perfectly friendly, outgoing, or cuddly pet. Try to be patient and love him for what he is, even if he doesn't turn out exactly how you hoped. :)
 

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Hi. Thanks for your replies. I'll turn the heat mat up a bit, although he doesn't like being near the mat and always sleeps the furthest point from it for some reason.

I handle him every day, he's out of the vivarium for at least an hour, but just wants to burrow away under a shirt or something similar.
 

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Heat mats/pads are not an ideal method of heating. It could be that it is too hot for him. I would suggest getting a space heater. I only ever use a heating pad if I know it's going to be REALLY cold outside (which, in Texas, is almost never lol) and I need some extra warmth or sometimes I use it after her bath. Heating pads are not a very good heating method because it doesn't actually warm the entire cage, only the one spot, which can either get too hot and cause them not to lay there or can make it so they never want to leave that spot as the rest of the cage is too chilly. Try a space heater and see how that works :)
 

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Ditto JulieAnne, a heat pad isn't going to provide the heat he needs - try getting a space heater or a CHE that will heat the whole cage. Think of it this way - if you had a room that was 40*F, but it had heated floors, you wouldn't be cozy just because the floors were warm. The whole room needs to be warm. :)
 

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CThody said:
just wanting to burrow under things or get back in his vivarium. Any advice would be very welcome. If he is going to,stay like this I am bitterly disappointed.
The one word that caught my eye was, "vivarium". What exactly do you mean by this? Is he in a glass tank and do you have dirt and live plants in it? Please verify. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hi. No, it's not a glass tank, but wooden with glass fronted sliding doors. No plants etc, litter tray and large wheel, bedding etc.
 

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Vivs are fairly popular and aesthetically pleasing. It's not always suggested as a "simple" caging option because its usually a DIY project. LG has an entire stack of vivs for her herd.

As for burrowing while out, perfectly normal for a burrowing/sleeping/"cuddling" type. My boy only sleeps when he's out. I'll have him in my lap and he'll just curl up in his fleece. He'll hiss every time I move or disturb his precious beauty sleep lol then throw me a death glare and curl back up again.
 

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Yes, Prim also spends most of her time out of her cage asleep. I usually have her out during the day so it makes sense. Sounds like everything is normal to me. Just fix your heating methods and you'll be good to go :)
 
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