Help! My Hedgehog Is Not Eating: Tempting Taste Buds...

Sep 2, 2013 by

Symptom The loss, or lack of appetitive, is medically referred to as Anorexia. The first sign of illness is often loss of appetite. It is important to get your hedgehog checked out right away by a veterinarian, if you cannot easily determine the reason for the change in eating pattern. Cause – Change in Environment or Routine It is not uncommon for hedgies to skip their first meal or two, in their new home. Sometimes hedgehogs are just too busy sleeping, exploring, or running on the wheel, to take the time to eat. Waiting to introduce the wheel, after the hedgehog has acclimated to eating and drinking in its new home, will help prevent eating distractions. Make sure your hedgehog is warm and comfortable and that they have easy access to their water bottle or dish and that your hedgehog in fact is drinking. Our small bag of “baby” food is the “trick up our sleeve” to tempt babies into eating when they go to new homes.  It tastes really good to them and they will typically eat it without a problem.  It is very rich so even a little food will sustain them through their adjustment period. Refer to our Environmental Stress and Not Eating article for more information on this topic. Cause – Change in Food It is a good idea to keep your hedgehog on the same diet for at least a month,...

Water & Food Receptacles

May 27, 2013 by

Water Bottles Water bottles are one of the most popular methods of offering fresh, clean water to small mammals including hedgehogs. The tip of the water bottle should hang at your hedgehog’s shoulder height. We encourage you to always monitor your hedgehogs to make sure they are drinking freely from their bottle.  Online pet accessory stores carry inexpensive bottle-brushes that will help keep the bottle clean. Baby bottle-brushes will also fit in many traditional water bottles. Both glass and plastic bottles are available. Glass bottles are typically used for chinchillas and lab animals and are much more difficult to find than plastic bottles. Water bottles should be dumped, washed, and refilled at least every other day. Special brushes designed for water bottles clean more thoroughly that simple rinsing.  Advantages of Bottles Water bottles are typically less messy compared to dishes especially if bedding is being used other than cage liners.  Water bottles are easy to clean. They typically mount on the side of the cage so that there is more floor space available for the hedgehog. Water bottles come in a variety of shapes and styles and are relatively inexpensive. It is easier to monitor how much water your hedgehog is actually drinking with a water bottle as opposed to water being spilt out of a water bowl. Disadvantages of Bottles The water bottle should be checked every day to ensure the bottle is...

Transition From The Breeder’s Home To Your Home...

May 25, 2013 by

 When to Feed Your Hedgehog Hedgehogs are typically crepuscular (awake during dusk and dawn) to nocturnal animals. Wild hedgehogs typically spend most of their awake-time hunting for food. We feed our animals in the morning because that is what our schedule allows. Our animals know the routine and are very well adjusted. Most of our hedgehogs come out and take a nibble of their favorite part of the mix and then go back to sleep and eat the rest in the evening. Other hedgehog owners find that evening feeding works well for them and it certainly doesn’t hurt hedgehogs to adjust to a new routine. Moist or wet food or treats should be left in the cage for about four hours to prevent spoilage. This needs to be kept in mind while developing a routine. Your hedgehog will adjust to feeding at any time during the day or evening but it is important to be consistent in feeding at the same time every day. Shipping Stress Overview Baby hedgehogs in transition to new homes are subject to “shipping” stress.  Shipping stress occurs in all types of animals and can occur at any age. The most common problems during shipping stress are diarrhea or loose stools, and/or not eating. Many hedgehogs are happy to discover a new wheel and be so absorbed with running that they forget to eat, drink, and attempt to use the...

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...

Bathing Your Hedgehog

May 17, 2013 by

 Hedgehogs and Bathing Many hedgehogs love to play in warm water and will enjoy themselves during bath time. Other hedgehogs may not like the water at all, but bathing a dirty hedgehog is necessary for the overall wellbeing of the animal. Some hedgehog owners have found giving hedgehogs a bath when they are young makes bathing less stressful when they are older. Even though hedgehogs are good swimmers, one should never leave a hedgehog unattended while in the water. Frequency  Hedgehogs do not groom or clean themselves like most other animals. You will know your hedgehog is ready for a bath when it looks dirty, has dry skin, “poop boots” (dirty feet from, well, you know!), or anointed spots of dried “stuff”. Once a month bathing is adequate for the average hedgehog. Some hedgehogs need baths frequently and others seldom need one. Bathing generally helps to relieve dry skin; however, bathing too frequently may contribute to dry skin. Suitable Bath Tubs Common places to give hedgehogs a bath are in a sink, dishpan, infant bathtub, laundry sink, or a bathtub. Hedgehogs are prone to relieve themselves in the warm water so it is a good idea to select a place that is easy to disinfect and that does not come in contact with food. Some owners prefer to have a dishpan or tub that is used only for hedgehog bathing. Infant bathtubs usually have...

Nutrition

May 5, 2013 by

In the Wild Hedgehogs are insectivores and like many other insectivores they can eat one third to one hundred percent of their body weight in insects and food every night. Hedgehogs eat the whole insect including the hard exoskeleton. Wild hedgehogs seem to have a preference for soft-bodied insects such as centipedes and millipedes when available. (Graffam) They are also opportunistic omnivores and may feed on small vertebrates they can catch or carrion they encounter. Birds’ eggs are said to be a hedgehog favorite. Hedgehogs do not have a cecum, which is the lower end of the colon in other animals. Herbivores have a relatively large cecum, hosting a number of bacteria, which aid in enzymatic breakdown of plant matter such as cellulose whereas carnivores have only a small portion of a cecum called vermiform appendix. Hedgehogs have been known to eat some seeds, soft fruit, and vegetation. Their body is not designed to digest plant matter; it is probable that they eat these foods because there is a shortage of their preferred diet. Traditionally, hedgehogs are a welcome friend in gardens and will never become agricultural pests. What We Know A majority of the hedgehog diet information available today originates from research by Dr. Graffam-Carlsen of the Bronx Zoo. She presented her research at Go Hog Wild 1998, a convention of hedgehog enthusiasts. Like humans and other animals, hedgehogs need a blend of...