At Home FAQ

Nov 13, 2013 by

At Home FAQ
Briesha4728

Care

  • When should I take him to the vet?
    • We recommend a well pet visit within the first month of coming home. If you are having any transitional stress issues we recommend as soon as you notice a problem. Check our Facebook page for quick answers but feel free to email us and put URGENT in the header so we know to answer your email first.
  • How can I choose a veterinarian?
    • These are some simple questions that will save you time and prevent surprises at your first visit.
      1. Do you treat hedgehogs?
      2. How much is a well pet visit?
      3. What do you do at a well pet visit? *We don’t believe anesthesia is necessary for a friendly hedgehog but if it doesn’t allow your veterinarian to easily exam your hedgie it may be necessary. We don’t feel a fecal exam is necessary if your hedgehog has normal, formed stool.
      4. How much is an emergency pet visit? How much is a mite treatment and what do you use? This can range from $18 to $200. We feel Revolution is the safest treatment available. Many veterinarians carry it in stock and it is relatively inexpensive. Your treatment should be less than $40.
      5. How much is a necropsy report? Losing a pet is never easy but finding out the cause of death can give important information about our herd and it can help prevent future hedgehog deaths. Many veterinarians will do this for free if you are a regular client. You do not need any pathological findings.
  • How often should I put the skin oil on?
    • We recommend watching the condition of the skin. Some hedgehogs need it several times a week, others weekly and some do fine with only after bathing. If your hedgehog has dry skin we recommend exfoliating the dry skin during a homemade oatmeal bath.
  • I have the pine shavings in there now, but I am definitely going to switch to the pellets… when should I start the transition for that?
    • You can start blending in the pellets after the first few days. Be sure to watch for signs of your hedgie eating bedding.
  • What type of litter do you use?
    • We recommend either the Super Pet Potty Litter or Super Pet Critter Litter (same thing but a little larger than the Potty Litter). You can also use a NON-clumping cat litter. Some people use other pelleted litter, which is fine, but you’ll want to make sure your hedgehog does not eat anything pelleted.
  • How long do I leave the heat emitter on?
    • Your hedgehog needs constant heat at a consistent temperature. Most owners leave theirs on 24/7.

Food

  • My hedgie doesn’t seem to be eating or drinking much.
    • It is pretty normal for hedgies to not eat and drink as much their first night or two in their new home as they are getting used to their new environs. On average, hedgies should eat 1 tablespoon of food a day. Larger hedgies may need LESS because they have slower metabolisms. Active hedgies may need a little more. Make sure to give your hedgie fresh water and food every day. The biggest thing to watch for is if they are having bowel movements, as that is a great window to the intestinal health of the animal. So, if he is pooping he is eating! A couple other things to consider: Is your hedgie warm (75-80F)? Does he play on a wheel so much that he forgets to eat? Does he have a dark and quiet part of his day so that he has a time when he feels comfortable enough to eat?
  • My hedgehog eats his tablespoon of food in one day. Is she getting enough food?
    • It is pretty normal for hedgies to eat all their food in one day. You can try increasing the food to a heaping tablespoon. Smaller, active hedgehogs can eat more than ones that are larger. It is important not to let the larger ones get too fat. Spike’s Ultra is rich and highly nutritious so they don’t need a lot.
  • I was almost out of the food we got from you when I got him so I tried mixing in some cat food to see if he liked it. I looked on multiple sites to find what would be the best kind to feed him but he ate some of it but it turned his droppings runnier so I stopped feeding it to him. Do you recommend a certain type I could try feeding him?
    • We are currently doing a food study on the farm with our food, Spike’s Ultra, as well as Sunseed Hedgehog food, Mazuri Hedgehog food and Purina Pro Plan Cat Food. We do not have a definite answer yet but from what we have seen so far Spike’s Ultra is still the best hedgehog food. The other three have had a tendency to make hedgehog stool smell worse and become much more runny.

Shyness and Handling

  • My hedgehog seems very shy. What should I do?
    • The most important thing to remember what we talked about your hedgehog:
      1. Nocturnal
        1. How you wake them up
        2. Flat hands out in front of you
        3. No touching until they relax
        4. Cuddle time in hoodie pocket or sleeping bag for awhile or playtime outside of the cage before handling
        5. Try different times of day to play with them
      2. Big Chickens
        1. When spikes are up – do not touch!!
        2. Spend mat time allowing him to explore (treats help)
        3. When scared scoop up and use flat hands out in front of you
        4. Hoodie pocket or when they sleep on you is great bonding
        5. Keeping a radio on 24/7 for constant noise can help with jumpiness
      3. Quilling
        1. Oatmeal bath, exfoliate
        2. Skin care oil
      4. Individual quirks/personality
        1. Any particular likes or dislikes
        2. Try different settings when handling
      5. Time
        1. How much time are you spending cuddling
        2. Play time outside of cage
      6. Confidence
        1. Picking up quickly with one smooth motion – do it and get it over with
        2. Use gloves if necessary
      7. Personality Conflict
        1. This is the least common problem
        2. Send a video for evaluation to make sure there are no handling problems and description of how you are accomplishing other things

Behavior

  • My hedgehog doesn’t seem to like his wheel. How can I help him start using it?
    • Some hedgehogs take a little while to get used to the idea of using a wheel. Babies especially may need a little time to become accustomed to their new surroundings and wheel. The best way, we’ve found, to teach a hedgehog to use a wheel is to wait until your hedgehog is awake and very active and one can place your hedgehog on the wheel. Hold one hand in front of the wheel like a gate and gently move the wheel to help demonstrate wheel movement. When your hedgehog is alert and curious it will likely try the wheel itself to see what it is all about. You might have more luck teaching your hedgehog to wheel in a play area first rather than in its cage. Sometimes people mistakenly think their hedgehog isn’t using the wheel when in reality the hedgehog is using the wheel at night when no one is watching. A good way to check wheel use is to mark a certain spot on the wheel and see if the mark has moved in the morning.
  • My hedgehog recently he’s started sleeping out in the open on his wheel. From what I’ve read online, that’s weird hedgehog behavior. Should be concerned about health or cage set-up issues causing him to do this?
    • My guess is that he is running so much on the wheel that he is simply either exhausted or he loves it so much. If he is eating and drinking and going potty I wouldn’t worry about it!
  • I have noticed he twitches when he gets scared. Like almost a non-stop twitch until he settles. Is that normal?
    • Yes. That is what they do when they are trying to tell you they are scared, nervous or irritated.

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