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  #1  
Old 02-28-2014, 04:20 PM United States
marleymom marleymom is offline
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Default Wont Uncurl

We have had Marley for a few months. Got him from a breeder as a baby (7-9 weeks old maybe). He was pretty friendly for the first month or so, explored when held, usual hedgie stuff but for the past few weeks he seems so shy. If we take him out of his cage (in the evening of course)he will ball up and stay that way. Sometimes if we sit with him and are COMPLETELY quiet he might stick his nose out but if we move at all or make ANY type of noice he rolls back up, hissing and popping. You can only sit motionless for so long. We cannot get him to open up to trim his nails or really check him over at all.. He is eating, drinking and pooping like normal. Running on his wheel at night like normal. Only thing we have noticed is dry flaky skin on his fleece. Will add some flax seed oil or olive oil to his food (Chicken Soup for a Cats Soul). He does not seem to be losing quills, I think we already went through his first quilling so I do not think that is it. We take him out in the evening every night, let him sit on us in his sleeping bag but all he does is stay in the bag (sleeping?). We do have to wake him up to do this because he does not usually wake up on his own until about 10 pm and by then we are ready for bed. I have read everything I can find on the forums but cannot really figure out what to do other than be patient. Oh and he doesnt seem to be intersted in treats when we try to bribe him to come out...have tried fruits, vegs, chicken, mealies etc. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
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  #2  
Old 03-01-2014, 12:10 AM United States
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Kathy_Bunny Kathy_Bunny is offline
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Are you talking about a hedgehog? This is the Chinchilla part of the site haha
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Old 03-01-2014, 03:46 PM United States
akane akane is offline
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Often times animals start out seeming friendlier because they are excited by their new home and over stimulated. When they settle down they start deciding how much interaction they really want and feel comfortable turning you away. Really the only answer is patience. Hedgehogs in particular take a lot of patience because they are not well domesticated and their solitary lifestyle makes them very independent. They often don't really seek out attention. They are especially antisocial when they have to be woken up for handling. He may develop a better schedule with age and consistency. Some though are always just late risers. Take a little time to uncover him and brush his spines lightly until he starts moving around before scooping him out of the cage. Some just need time to wake up and not be grouchy. Like turning the light on in the room for a human at 4am. Unless you are my stepfather who has a weird 6pm to 4am sleep schedule most people are not going to pop out of bed and suddenly start talking to you. Forcing them to quickly wake up will create a grouchy friend for many hours.
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Old 03-01-2014, 11:40 PM United States
Lil'Monster lover4life Lil'Monster lover4life is offline
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I'm wondering if it's mites honestly I'm going through same thing except ours eats takes the chicken from my hands but has never played . She stays balled past few days and hisses and huffs I still say she has mites. Waiting on vet response we've had her about 3-weeks now such a learning experience. Good luck.
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Old 03-02-2014, 04:17 PM United States
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If you've had him with your for this long and he's been fine before now, I'm thinking something has changed in his world.
It's possible that there is some type of injury or illness that he's hiding from you.
Another possibility is that something in his environment that's off. Try bumping the temp a degree or two. Perhaps you've changed laundry detergents, fabric softeners, deodorants, or soap and the scent is off-putting to him.

What I'd do is bring him out for snuggle time and let him snuggle in a hedgie bag (or under a blankie or under your shirt). Keep you hand in with him. Hopefully, he'll uncurl. With luck, on the first try. With a bit slower luck, over the course of several snuggle sessions.

Also, do your best to check him over for the things you can see - nails that are too long, ears that are ratty, skin that's dry. Take note of his pooping, eating, peeing, and wheeling.

And consider a vet visit.
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Old 03-03-2014, 07:56 AM United States
marleymom marleymom is offline
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Thanks everyone for the responses and thanks especially to whoever moved my message over to the Hedgie board (new user, not very computer savy).

We did bump up the temp a few degrees, from about 74 to 77 or so, just in case.

We have added olive oil to his food to try to help the dry skin. I know that you are not suppose to bath them very often but how do you clean their poop boots without a shallow bath (we do not put water on his quills)? The skin under his quills looks fine it is really the skin on his belly that looks dry. Always add a sock of oatmeal to his foot baths, should we add a bit of oil to those as well (the baths I mean)?

Suggested to my daughter (his favorite person) that she sleep with all his stuff ahead of use - his sleeping bags, fleece for cage bottom, fleece pieces for igloo (to get her good smell on everthing). Will make sure that his stuff is not getting any fabric softener.

I guess the question is patience, acceptance or vet visit? Will probably take him to vet to rule out any medical issues.
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  #7  
Old 03-03-2014, 01:36 PM United States
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For poopboots, I'd give a foot bath daily as needed. 1cm or less of water does the trick. You can put a washcloth down first so he has traction when he walks around.

Yep, you can help ensure that his things are scented like you/your daughter to help him get used to the scent. Do a quick double-check before you give them to him and pull off any loose strands of hair.

As long as you know that he's unballing at other times (like at night when it's dark and quiet), that's a good thing. Check that he's pooping and peeing and eating and drinking and wheeling each night... well, not literally while he's doing it... you'll see the evidence in the morning. You'll also want to scoop him up each morning and make sure he feels warm to the touch. As long as he's consistently warm, is eating, is maintaining and gaining weight, has nicely formed poops, and is active at night, he probably just needs consistency in his snuggle time and he'll come around.

I'd keep a vet visit as an option... It doesn't sound like any particular big bad thing happened to him. Nor that he's outright sick. Just that question remains about why the change? why now? that keeps me a bit concerned. If he were mine, I'd probably do something like schedule a vet visit and pursue a course of watchful waiting in the interim.

It could be something as simple as having a quill bent and poking him the wrong way. These little ones hide their issues so well!
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Old 03-04-2014, 03:17 PM United States
marleymom marleymom is offline
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Taking him to the vet for a check up tomorrow. Don't know how we will get him to uncurl but hoping for the best!
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Old 03-06-2014, 02:30 PM United States
marleymom marleymom is offline
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Vet did skin scrape, bacterial skin infection. Had to give him some gas to get him to uncurl. Vet was not surprised that his behavior had changed as his skin was red and was probably very itchy. Not a cheap visit but so glad we got to the bottom of his discomfort. Will happily give him his medicine and do his soaking baths and know that at least we are making him more comfortable and hope for happy hedgie days ahead. Thank you all for pointing me in the right direction - to go to the vet!
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  #10  
Old 03-07-2014, 08:45 AM United States
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Awww... poor little buddy. Those skin infections are no fun at all.

I'm glad you noticed his behavior change and brought him in. Keep his stuff (fleece, toys, hidey places...) extra clean as he's being treated. And be sure to wear a clean shirt and wash your hands before and after snuggle/medicine time.

What meds did his vet prescribe?
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