Bedding & Litter Eating Or Ingestion...

Jun 7, 2013 by

Reasons for Eating Bedding Inquisitive – Hedgehogs are inquisitive by nature and often attempt to learn about their environment through their senses of taste and smell.  Baby or young hedgehogs are very prone to eating new brands or types of bedding. Self-Anoint and/or Camouflage – Many hedgehogs will ingest new bedding in order to create a forth to self anoint. Hunger – It is believed that hedgehogs that have had drastically reduced diets or an inadequate diet may eat bedding to attempt to satisfy hunger. Nutritional Deficiency – Some believe animals eat things in their environment to try to combat something they are lacking in their diet. What to Do The most important thing to do is to monitor how much bedding your hedgehog is eating and to try to discourage your hedgehog from eating more bedding. Hedgehogs that eat a single piece of new bedding and spit it out or self anoint with it are most likely eating it out of curiosity and will discontinue eating the bedding once they realize it isn’t food. Offer additional treats or additional staple diet to encourage the hedgehog to eat food rather than bedding. Immediately remove bedding if you notice your hedgehog eating multiple pieces of bedding. Dangers Ingested bedding can cause serious abdominal impactions that can lead to death. Always keep an eye on your hedgehog’s appetite and stool after your hedgehog eats bedding. Your hedgehog’s stool should...

Miscellaneous Bedding Options

Jun 6, 2013 by

 Corncob Bedding Corncob is relatively inexpensive, but care must be taken to keep the cage clean and dry. Corncob bedding has a tendency to retain liquids and it molds very quickly. Many molds are respiratory toxins. Frequent cleaning can decrease the potential of this problem. The corncob can stick onto the genitalia of male hedgehogs. It can get caught in the penile sheath and be dragged (drawn) up inside, and cause great irritation, raw sores, urinary tract infections, and an inability to urinate, which if not addressed promptly, can be fatal. Some believe that corncob bedding is not as comfortable for the hedgehogs as other bedding options. Pelleted Straw or Wheat Grasses Oxbow Hay’s Eco-Straw is made out of 100% wheat straw. Critter Country is made from Western Red Winter Wheat Grass and several other fibers. Critter Country is safe if ingested, as it contains no chemicals or additives that could be harmful. These products are highly absorbent, relatively dust free, and are heat treated to eliminate mites and other pests. Both are biodegradable and can be composted or flushed down the toilet. Veterinarians highly recommend these products over wood pellets based on the qualities mentioned above. Mountain Meadows Pet Products, Inc. http://www.mtnmeadowspet.com/ was gracious enough to allow us to try Critter Country. We were very happy with this product but cages did need to be cleaned more frequently than with pelleted pine. Since...

Dust Baths & Sand Boxes

Apr 24, 2013 by

Dust Bath and Sand Box Dilemma Hedgehog enthusiasts sometimes wonder whether or not a hedgehog actually needs a dust bath. Many hedgehogs have been observed dust bathing in a variety of “dusty” things including spilled chinchilla dust, broken down pelleted litter, and litter in litter pans. Dust bathing is a natural behavior for many types of animals both large (our horse and donkeys) and small (chinchillas and small rodents). These animals use rolling in dust as a way of bathing in a dry environment. While researching this topic more we’ve found a mixed review of opinions both for and against dust bathing. Positive Reviews Most hedgehog owners only provide a traditional bath to clean a dirty pet hedgehog but in addition to the fun of a dust bath there may be some benefits. HedgeMom posted on Hedgehog Central that she has many hedgehogs that seek out and play in spilled chinchilla dust. Ifc claims “My guy LOVES his dust bath; when I let him out of his cage for a run its the first place he goes, often even before he checks out the treats bowl. He looks positively blissful as he rolls and wallows. I think dust baths are more in keeping with hedgehog behavior in the wild. There dusting conditions the coat and deters mites. Greebly has never needed a water bath (which, considering his opinion of any water not in his...