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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently got a 15 week old hedgehog from a friend who (sadly) ignored it for most of the time. Since I got her, she's been responding quite well to handling (30 minutes or more every night) and I'm really happy with how well she's been coming along! I've had her for about a week and a half now. So cute.

Anyway, as a (brand spanking) new hedgie owner, I had a question. She sleeps *a lot*. I attributed it to a new environment and have let her sleep away. I figured she needed some time to sleep and readjust. She sleeps all day (obviously) and wakes up at about 2:30 am and goes to bed 5 or 6 am. I know this because her cage is in my room and I can hear every single little squeak and wobble that blasted wheel makes. (I'll get used to it ;) )

Is this kind of sleep pattern normal? I know they're nocturnal, but is 2:30 (give or take a half hour or so) a normal time to wake up?

If so, then that's fine with me. But if not, is there any kind of way to slightly readjust her internal clock (waking her up earlier, tiring her out with exercise, etc) to get her comfortable with waking up earlier? I'm a night person, but when 2:30 am rolls around, I'm definitley getting sleepy. I'd love to be able to play with her a little earlier without her being so grumpy tired. But I don't want to do anything that would be unhealthy for her.

I also wondered how long it's ok to have her up during the day.

Hope this all makes sense. Thanks- look forward to hearing your advice!
 

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Younger hedgehogs sleep A LOT! As she gets older she will be awake longer. When I first got Herisson he would wake up at about 1 and go back to sleep around 4 or 5. Now he's a year old he usually wakes up at about 11 and goes to sleep around 5 or 6. Your hedgehog sounds normal in that regard.

As for "slightly readjust her internal clock" that is a major no. Hedgehogs are nocturnal and there is nothing you can do about it. Trying to unnocturnalize one would be very unhealthy for them. Even though they are nocturnal you can still play with her in the day. She will be grumpy when she first wakes up (you would be too, think about it) but once she is fully awake she should be fine. I play with Herisson in the day for about 10-30 mins and sometimes as long as an hour. A lot of the time Herisson will sleep on my lap for hours and hours while I do work on the computer (like now ;)).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks so much- so helpful!

And good heavens; I wouldn't think of "unnocturnalizing" a hedgehog! I was merely talking about possibly having her up at 11 pm or 12 am. Is that kosher, or is it too much to expect from a young hedgehog?
 

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I guess my hedgehogs are early risers! My Charlotte is up by 9pm at the latest, but Wilbur doesn't appear until around 10 or so. Wilbur has a snack and then goes back to sleep for a couple more hours. Then he's up until 5 or 6. Charlotte on the other hand stays up straight thru until the morning. She's my athlete runner :D
 

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Since you are a night person are you leaving the lights on until you goto bed around 2:30am?
If you have the lights on then that might be why your little one isn't getting up earlier.

I'm a night person as well but I don't normally go to bed until about 5:00am but I turn the lights off in my room by 12:00am at the latest. and I can normally start hearing them moving around within about 30 minutes.

*Edit....Or if you need your lights on you could probably put a sheet over the cage so the hedgie thinks it's dark.
 

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There are many opinions on here about adjusting a hedgehog's schedule. Some say that a little bit is ok as long as it is consistent others say not at all adjust your schedule to meet the hedgehogs.

In my opinion having the hedgehog out whenever you want for as long as you want is fine as long as the hedgehog has the option to sleep. Keep a fleece blanket on your lap with the hedgehog or set up a play pen with toys, food, water and a blanket. Develop a schedule that works for you but never try and deprive your hedgehog of sleep.
 

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I haven't owned a hedgie for that long, but just like hamsters and other nocturnal animals I can't see why there would be a problem waking them up to play a bit earlier. Every type of pet is woken by it's owners at points, but just be reasonable. If you wake your little one up at 10:00pm to hang out for a half hour I can't see how it would affect their health. However, they may be a bit more grumpy! Heheh :lol:

It would be interesting to know if there were actually any studies done on waking up nocturnal pets. I actually find my hamster a LOT more grumpy than my hedgie when I have to wake her during the day!
 

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Actually I'm a psych student and there are lots of studies about what happens when animals are deprived of sleep.

See it takes time to get into REM sleep which is the part that makes people and animals feel rested. The more sleep is broken up the less REM sleep you get. When an animal is deprived of REM sleep they can get irritable, uncoordinated, overly drowsy, and have many other side effects (including health detriments). These side effects aren't severe at first but become more severe depending on how much REM sleep is lost.

Look up Rats and Sleep deprivation you should find something.

It's true that half an hour in the evening is probably fine but creating a schedule is important because if you wake up your hedgehog during the day to play they will need to sleep later at night to make up for it. If your schedule constantly changes then your hedgehog's body will not be able to adjust or accommodate with more REM sleep at other times.
 

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I have the same problem with my Polly, but dimming the lights usually helps. If I have all the lights on, she won't wake up until around 2 am, and she is 4-5 months old (I'm not sure.) Replacing the lamp near her cage with candles also helps. I've had quite the problem with finding time to bond, and I don't see how it's harmful to make it darker for her in the wee hours, she she'll come out sooner... She used to be overly active on her wheel, but it's gone down to 2 hours a night or so, which is fine. She just really, really hates light, I guess all hedgehogs do.

I rarely wake her up during the day, because she's sooo grumpy, but sometime's I'll take her out anyway, even if she just curls up in her fleece and goes straigh to sleep - can't blame her! :)
 

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On a night where I don't have time to spend with my boy, he'll wake up when the room goes dark, around 10pm to eat drink and do some brief wheeling. Then he'll go back to sleep for a bit, then come out again later.

On a normal night, I usually give him fresh food and water at around 9-10pm, and I'll gently wake him up by uncovering him in his tangled mess of sheets :lol: He knows the drill and will stretch and slowly make his way over to his food. Once he's done eating, I'll take him out for a few hours and he'll just sleep next to me, or in my lap. I usually put him back into the cage somewhere around 11pm-12am, and he'll eat a bit more, then go back to bed. By now, his side of the room is dark, but I usually have a small table lamp on, or the tv on. But by 1am, I turn everything off, and I'm just there with my lap top. My boy is fine with the lap top light, and me talking on voice, so he'll come out and start his nightly foraging and wheeling.

However, on a foot bath plus oil rinse night, I'll wake him up at around 7-8pm. Mostly this is just to ensure that he has enough time to dry while cuddling with me, as I let him to naturally dry while he sleeps next to, or on top of me. Again, I'd put him back into his cage at around 11-12am, so that's plenty of time to dry.

I have also taken him out during the day, sometimes outside. I usually keep this short, 1 hour or less. Afterward, I don't bug him for the rest of the night, other than to feed him and wake him up at about 10pm to eat. I don't take him out, and I just let him go back to sleep.
 
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