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...

My Hedgehog Hates Me!

May 25, 2013 by

Perceived Signs Your Hedgehog Hates You Snuffles and raises its quills when picked up Is grumpy Runs and hides when lights turn on Runs away when owner tries to hold it Hates to be touched Is startled at every little sound or movement Wrong!  Your Hedgehog Does NOT Hate You The three most common reasons for less than friendly behavior include: Your hedgehog has “bed-head”.  (See below) Your hedgehog is afraid. Your hedgehog is uncomfortable due to quilling. By understanding your hedgehog’s behavior you can handle your hedgehog in ways that make your hedgehog more comfortable. Your hedgehog needs to be comfortable before it can relax. Hedgehog “Bed-Head” Hedgehogs are nocturnal creatures this means that they typically sleep during daylight hours and are active at night. Therefore, we need to wake up our hedgehogs in order to play with them. Some hedgehogs wake up in a great mood while others need some time. Hedgehogs, like humans with “bed-head”, need some time without a lot of stimulation, such as touch. Touching a hedgehog with “bed-head” increases the hedgehog’s irritation thus causing it to huff and puff more instead of relaxing. The best ways to wake up a hedgehog with “bed-head” is to simply hold it in flat hands or sit it down on a pillow or other soft place and allow it to become active on its own. See the article, Waking Up Your Hedgehog for more information about...

Behavior Changes & Adjusting to New Homes...

May 25, 2013 by

Behavior Changes It is common for a hedgehog to exhibit changes in its behavior between the time it is purchased and the time the hedgehog is settled into its new home. These changes can occur for many reasons. By understanding these reasons, you can help your hedgehog transition smoothly into your home. With patience and proper handling, you and your new hedgehog will be the best of friends. New Surroundings Keep in mind that your hedgehog is leaving familiar surroundings. It is leaving its cage mates and home and entering into a strange new world. A change in environment and its associated affects is often called “shipping stress”. All animals react differently to changes. This is proven by the fact that differences in stress levels between animals are noted at the time of weaning. Handling Techniques Handling hedgehogs is prickly business. A hedgehog owner’s confidence can range from having no fear of getting pricked, to being very scared of his or her new pet. Remember that hedgehogs have great emotion detection. If you are nervous, your hedgehog is likely to be nervous. Proper handling is something that is learned and perfected with practice. Read and review the tips outlined in our other guides to make sure that you are doing what is best to encourage a good response from your pet. Quilling The quilling process is likely to have started or will soon start...

Determining If Your Hedgehog Is Eating Enough...

May 21, 2013 by

Variation Between Animals Hedgehogs will eat different amounts depending on their stage in growth, metabolism, and activity level. The quality and type of food also plays a role in how much a hedgehog needs to eat to meet its nutritional requirements.   Read our Digestibility and Nutrition article for more information on this topic. Environmental stress factors including temperature, noise, light, and travel may vary hedgehog’s eating habits.  See our Environmental Stress and Eating document for more information on this topic. Unfortunately, there isn’t an exact amount that will determine if your hedgehog is eating enough. Using the following guidelines will help you gain a better understanding of your pet’s needs. Monitor Water Consumption Dehydration can become a problem with hedgehogs, just as it can with any other animal. Be sure to keep fresh, clean water available to your hedgehog at all times. Water that has sat out more than a day will no longer taste fresh and can grow harmful bacteria. Water bowls need to be scrubbed and disinfected every day before adding fresh water. Hedgehogs will kick shavings into the bowl, as well as drop crumbs of food in the water. There will also be occasional bits of feces left behind, so be sure to check on the water bowl both in the morning and before going to bed for the night. Water bottles should be cleaned on a daily basis and the...

Acclimation To New Home

Apr 25, 2013 by

Right From the Start When your hedgehog gets home you will want to let it acclimate to its new cage. Make sure it is warm, comfortable, and able to find its food dish and water bottle. The water level should be placed so that the tip of the bottle is the hedgehog’s shoulder height. Please allow your hedgehog time to rest after the ride home. It may take awhile for it to adjust to its new surroundings or it may be relaxed and ready to play right away. We suggest that you wait to put the wheel until a week after your hedgehog comes home. Your hedgehog should be eating and eliminating regularly before you introduces additional stimulation to the cage. Some hedgies are more interested in wheeling than eating or they wheel so much that they are too tired to eat after all their activity. A good comparison is my children at the park – they play and play and don’t want to stop and eat, then fall asleep in the car on the way home without getting a full meal. It is always a good idea to quarantine any new animals from other animals in your home for two weeks. We understand that it isn’t always possible but it will help minimize the stress of the new animal and decrease the risk of an illness or disease among pets. What is normal...