Quilling

Jun 5, 2013 by

The Process of Quilling There are times when a hedgehog will shed large numbers of quills and replace shed ones with new ones.  This process is called quilling.  The quilling process is different than the replacement of spines that are lost individually.  Quilling is a gradual and natural process that happens over time rather than an over-night occurrence.  It can be better compared to teething in human babies. Quilling occurs over an extended period of time rather than shedding like a snake that typically occurs overnight or in a short period of time. Quills that are shed naturally have a root or bulb at the end (like human hair) but spines that are shed due to a skin condition or mites tend to have a flaky or soft tip on the end of the spine. The first major quilling or heaviest quilling occurrence is often distinguished by the loss of small fine quills and the growth of new quills.  New quills can most easily be seen on a relaxed hedgehog looking down the spine and over the rump.  They will be thicker new quills beginning to poke through the skin surface.   Quilling is often equated with the “Terrible Twos” or “Adolescents”. New quill points will break through the skin fairly quickly after spines are lost so there are no bald spots or large areas of visible thinning in the hedgehog’s spine coat. Each...

Grouchy Hedgehogs

May 27, 2013 by

Are Hedgehogs Truly Grouchy or Are They Simply Misunderstood? Understanding Hedgehog Behavior “I’d rather be alone.” One of the biggest misconceptions about the hedgehog is that this naturally shy animal is “grumpy” or “grouchy”. The reality is hedgehogs are simply fearful of changes in their environment (i.e.: Being handled by a new person). “I heard that!” Hedgehogs have poor eyesight, but heightened senses of hearing, motion detection, and even emotion detection. This makes them very sensitive to changes in their environment, and changes in your approach and mood.  The way in which hedgehogs are approached and handled can determine their reaction. “Trust takes time.” You must to prove yourself trustworthy before a hedgehog can completely relax and enjoy being in your company. To do this, you must be persistent, patient, and relaxed. If your pet senses you are scared to handle it, then it will most likely react defensively. “Take a step back, please.” When hedgehogs are nervous or scared they will ball up, becoming a handful of prickly quills. This natural defensive mechanism is not a sign of aggression. They are simply protecting themselves from the unknown. “I don’t feel so good.” Hedgehogs with health issues may be less responsive to handling due to pain or discomfort, and may prefer to be left alone. Quilling is an example of a normal process that can be very uncomfortable for a hedgehog and can impact...

When & How Much to Handle Your Hedgehog...

May 25, 2013 by

Handling Frequency Pet hedgies do best if handled every day, even if it is for just a short amount of time. We recommend handling your hedgehog for at least half an hour a day.  The easiest way to accomplish this task is 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening. Some hedgehog owners suggest that you wait for a few days to handle your new hedgehog, so that it has a chance to get accustomed to it’s cage.  This is not a bad idea, but it is not always necessary in many cases.  We believe that if your hedgehog is not showing signs of stress it is ok to handle it from the beginning.  This allows the bonding process to start immediately with your new pet. Even with consistent handling they may take a long time to become accustomed to their new owners and environment. Like most pets, the more time you spend with your hedgehog the better socialized and friendly it will become. Time of Day You will find that your hedgehog will be more receptive to handling or play at different times of the day. Some hedgehogs might be more active in the morning; others might be more active in the evening.  Hedgehogs that want to run and play are likely to become frustrated if you try to restrain them in your hands. We typically handle our hedgehogs in...