FAQ - Bringing home a new hedgie

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Always into something...
Jan 28, 2009
Bowling Green, KY
Written by jandshyne:

Bringing Home Your New Hedgehog

Bringing home your new hedgehog should be an exciting time but it will also be an extremely stressful time for your new addition. Make sure you have the cage set up, the food purchased, the insects purchased, etc… before you bring your hedgehog home. This will allow you to simply place your new addition in to his new habitat without adding undue stress to the situation. Even the sweetest of hedgies will be a bit nervous their first few days in a new home. You may notice a hedgie who was very friendly at the breeder’s is a bit nervous and huffy. You may notice your hedgie has gotten car sick and doesn’t want to eat, and you may notice your hedgie is pooping a really green color of poop. All of these things are normal. Travel is stressful on a hedgehog and re-homing is equally stressful. No matter what you do, handling your hedgehog is very important. Letting your hedgehog know you love him, and you will not hurt him is the best way to break through those defenses. NEVER handle your hedgehog with gloves. Your hedgehog needs to get used to your scent and he can’t do that through gloves. The breeder should have showed you how to pick up and handle your hedgehog without getting poked. If you find you’re feeling nervous you should only hold your hedgehog in your lap while sitting on the floor to prevent injuries to both you and your hedgehog. Using your hedgehog’s blanket and allowing him to sleep in your lap while you watch TV, read a book, chat online, or check your e-mail are all good ways to ensure your hedgehog is comfortable with you. Offering their favorite treat from your hand (DO NOT do this with yogurt or another food that must be licked off or you will get bitten) is a good way to build confidence. NEVER allow anyone to try to pry your hedgehog out of a ball or purposely startle your hedgehog to get him to ball. This is a good way to ensure your hedgehog will be a huffy hedgie for life. You are your hedgehog’s protector and as such you must be ever diligent when allowing anyone contact with your hedgehog. Stress to visitors the importance of not wincing or jumping when your hedgehog huffs and pops and practice this yourself. If he thinks he can scare you off by huffing or popping at you then he will continue to do so. Also try to remember all hedgehogs are cranky when they first wake up. Especially if you wake them up! Also remember the Visor quills are your hedgehog’s last and best line of defense. Often even the sweetest hedgehog will still keep those visor quills lowered or raised in case they might need them. Do not allow your hedgehog to ram your hand or pop at you. If you encourage such things you will end up with a very anti-social, un-trusting hedgehog. Should you pick your hedgehog up, be sure to be prepared to hold him until he’s fully un-balled and relaxed. Should your hedgehog bite you DO NOT put him down. Chances are he’s biting you so you’ll put him down and by doing so you are encouraging this behavior. Instead move your hand away and sternly say “NO!”. This will teach him that biting is not allowed and is followed by a reprimand. Should your hedgehog insist on staying in a tight ball, rubbing firmly from the head to the bottom with your finger, fingernail, or a pencil eraser tip, will give your hedgie a bit of a “back rub” and should mellow him out very quickly.

Some hedgehogs take time to come around, especially if they were a bit huffy to begin with. Holding your hedgehog as much as possible, talking to him, reading to him, soothing him, will be the very best way to bring him around but please keep in mind some hedgies just prefer to be left alone. Keep working with him but try not to get discouraged. Having a huffy hedgie is just a risk we take when opening our hearts to them and huffy hedgies deserve to be loved and cared for just like any other hedgie!!
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