How To Encourage A Hedgehog To Release A Bite...

Oct 11, 2013 by

Keep in mind hedgehogs are natural hunters.  Their instinct is to hold on until what they have in their mouth is still.  Do not attempt to shake off your hedgehog (or other small critters). Hedgehog enthusiasts tend to disagree on what is the best method to stop a bite.  What one person might consider safe and effective another person might view as cruel. Regardless of your behavior modification preference, should your hedgehog actually latch on to your skin, pulling away might encourage your hedgehog to grip tighter. One method of getting a hedgehog to release a bite is to simply scream like the dickens when you get bit.  This startle technique lets the biter know that a negative reaction happens when they bite.  It is also a good healthy way for the one being bitten to relieve their stress! Another safe and simple way to encourage your hedgehog to release a bite is to gently cover both nostrils.  The hedgehog will release its bite so it can take a breath. Blowing in the hedgehog’s face works sometimes, but many breeders recommend not doing this because it could cause the hedgehog to clamp down tighter. Others have found that a splash of water or a quick dash under running water will shock the hedgehog into releasing.  Of course you will need to ensure that your hedgehog is properly dry before retuning it to its cage....

Introduction To Biting Articles

Jun 24, 2013 by

Introduction  Most hedgehogs do not bite. Any animal with teeth has the potential to bite, so hedgehog owners must understand the potential of getting bit is always present. Hedgehogs aren’t like dogs, where the bite is usually an intentionally mean or aggressive act. Their main line of defense is to ball up and use their spines for protection, rather than to bite. Hedgehogs do investigate the world around them with their nose, eyes, and mouth.  Quite literally, your pig probably doesn’t even realize she’s hurting you. Also keep in mind that hedgehogs are *hard-wired* to put new/odd/unusual things in their mouths, chew on it and then anoint with it.  So in a way, it’s a compliment your hedgie is biting you, because she finds you interesting. The good news is that hedgehogs’ mouths are designed to crush bugs and not fingers! Their tiny teeth and elongated jaw make it difficult to get in a good chomp when compared to the average cranky hamster. One need not be fearful of a hedgehog bite, but we do want to make you aware that it can happen and when it happens, what to do and how to understand your hedgehog’s biting. Proper understanding of hedgehog behavior will help decrease the risk and/or frequency of biting. How Bad Does it Hurt? Hedgehogs have fairly small teeth designed to crunch insects. They do not have the typical rodent incisors...

Non-human Biting

May 21, 2013 by

Hedgehogs Biting Each Other If you have more than one hedgehog and when they are together you notice them biting each other’s quills, this may be a pre-cursor to anointing or a fight. Often, hedgehogs will chew on each other’s quills and then anoint with the smell of the other hedgehog on their quills.  (Justice) One might also notice biting accompanied by singing during the mating process.  This is common in many animal species and not to be of much concern. Hedgehogs CAN bite and injure each other.  Ear and leg injuries can easily happen when two hedgehogs are trying to establish territories. If one hedgehog has latched onto another hedgehog and won’t let go, don’t try to pull him off.  If you pour a tablespoon or less of water over his face, it will startle it enough to let go.  (Justice) In conclusion bites do not happen that frequently, but you should be prepared in the event that it does. Risk of Damage to Inanimate Objects Hedgehogs are insectivores with small teeth and small incisors when compared to rodents. Hedgehogs will not damage furniture or wood trim by chewing, nor are they likely to gnaw through fabric, cords or wires. Hedgehogs will go through a teething process as babies, but they do not have the need to chew and destroy objects like a puppy or dog. Redirecting hedgehogs away from items or simply...

Chewing

May 21, 2013 by

The Need To Chew Hedgehogs are not rodents, so their teeth do not continue to grow throughout their life. They do not need to wear down their teeth by chewing or gnawing. Hedgehogs are not destructive and do not destroy their surroundings like rodents. Even though hedgehogs aren’t likely to chew wires, it is still safe to use caution with electric cords and other potentially dangerous items. “If you buy your hedgehog something to chew on, like a wood block or a ball, it will most likely just ignore it or push it around with its snout. If you buy something flavored and textured, the hedgehog may attempt to lick it to get the taste. It has also been noted that hedgehogs can cut their tongues on rough textured surfaces causing more harm than good.”   http://wiki.hedgehogcentral.com/tiki-index.php?page=Hedgehog+Chewing+and+Biting Some hedgehogs will attempt to tug on carpet and attempt to chew it.  These fibers are indigestible and dangerous to your hedgehog. Chewing is typically done in preparation to swallow.  This breaking apart is preparing the object (food) to eat. Chewing and Mashing of Objects Other Than Food or Treats If a hedgehog likes the taste or smell, it will lick it first before attempting to chew or mash the object. When a hedgehog mashing something it’s mouth moves up and down.  It is simply trying to break apart or mix the taste of the object with it’s...

Handling After A Bite

May 21, 2013 by

Overview Don’t be discouraged and don’t attempt to punish your hedgehog. The most important thing to do is to NOT give up or to quit handling your hedgehog. This is often easier said than done, but there are some things you can do to make handling easier. First and foremost try to determine the cause of your hedgehog biting in order to help you modify your hedgehog’s behavior. The hedgehog will sense if you are nervous or afraid,so it is best to learn ways to protect yourself. It’s very important not put your hedgehog down after it bites.  Simply hold your hedgehog for another 10 to 15 minutes.  This helps your hedgehog know that biting is not something it can do so that you will leave it alone. A hedgehog is likely to become unsocial if biting is not deterred.  Using Gloves Find a pair of new dish washing, gardening or winter gloves that are tight fitting and flexible. Rub the gloves on your hands, arms, etc. to scrub your smell onto them. If your hedgehog bites, you can comfortably push back into his mouth – not too hard, but firmly. This will help the hedgehog associate biting you with something unpleasant, while at the same time saving your skin! Allow the hedgehog to sleep with the gloves in the cage or simply be in the cage. You can choose to scent the gloves as...

What To Do If Biting Occurs

May 21, 2013 by

What to Do If You are Bitten Don’t Panic. Most are just tiny little “nips” that feel like pinches, and there is not much to be done other than to try to figure out why you were bitten and how to prevent it in the future. Review our article How to Encourage a Hedgehog to Release a Bite, to better prepare you should a bite occur. Most hedgehog bites barely break the skin and a simple hand washing is sufficient to prevent infection. However, if the bite is more severe and breaks the skin more than a pin-prick (rare) you will want to wash the area directly with soap and water, treat with an antibiotic ointment and cover with an adhesive bandage. Time Out The reason a hedgehog bites will determine if you should immediately return your hedgehog to its cage after a bite. Normally friendly hedgehogs that bite out of spontaneous bad behavior can be returned to their cage as a form of punishment. One of the most important things you can do for a grouchy hedgehog is NOT to put your hedgehog down.  This can be the response your hedgehog wants and so putting the hedgehog down can be a positive reinforcement. Instead, simply hold your hedgehog away from your hands (such as in the crook of your arm) so that your hedgie can relax, but not get its way. Incurable Hedgehogs...

Ways To Help Prevent & Discourage Biting...

May 21, 2013 by

There are several ways to prevent biting. This knowledge will help prevent any chances of your hedgehog biting. Hand Washing Always wash your hands and rinse them well before handling your hedgehog. Some soap may smell nice to your hedgehog and encourage licking and nipping, so always be sure to rinse well. You may have to try various soaps if you find your hedgehog finds one particularly tasteful. Do not handle food or another pet before handling your hedgehog. Avoid Hand Feeding Hand feeding treats may cause your hedgehog to associate your flesh with food and may actually encourage biting. Feeding tongs and syringe feeding treats are ways to bond and give treats without sending your hedgehog the wrong message about your fingers! See out Hedgehog Treats article for more information on syringe and tong feeding. Careful Handling When your hedgehog begins to lick open your hand until it is completely flat. Gently move your hedgehog around in your hands away from the spot it is licking. It will be harder for your hedgehog to nip flat hands or a moving target. Always be relaxed and calm when handling your hedgehog. If you are in a hurry, agitated or frazzled your hedgehog will pick up on your mood and feel insecure which could lead to a bite. Make sure you are focused on your hedgehog  and in the right frame of mind when you...

Reasons Why Hedgehogs May Bite

May 21, 2013 by

Scent & Taste Hedgehogs are very scent oriented and use their sense of smell to search out food. Sometimes you might smell good enough to eat!  If you smell good, and taste good through licking… watch out! Sometimes hedgehogs will lick salt from sweaty hands and become tempted to bite,because they like the salty taste. When a hedgehog bites due to taste and smell it is exhibiting normal, but unacceptable behavior. This is the most common reason for biting and the easiest to avoid. Fortunately, this is one of the easiest behaviors to manage.  Simply move your fingers or hands when your hedgehog starts to lick! Washing hands after eating will help reduce the risk of food smell but some soap or hand sanitizer scents smell good to hedgehogs and are just as tempting to hedgehogs as actual food smells. If your hands are clean and your hedgehog is fascinated with licking you, it is helpful to only let your hedgehog lick the palm of your hand rather than your fingers. Keep in mind that food odors may linger for several hours after eating. According to Becca Loane in an article on Hedgehog World, “Another very frequent problem causing scent is tobacco smoke. It is very common for breeders to get contacted by people wanting to get rid of their hedgehogs because they frequently and painfully bite, with the hedgehog stopping their biting immediately...