What to do When Your New Hedgie Arrives Home
Whether you have picked up your hedgie in person, or have had it shipped to you, we know that making it comfortable in its new home will be important to you! While each hedgie is different in personality and needs, here are a few tips to help smooth the transition:
Some hedgies are happy to be handled right away, some need a little while to feel safe again. If your hedgie is calm and relaxed, it probably doesnít mind being held right away. Although, itís probably best to wait several days before taking hedgie on the rounds to meet all your friends and such, especially if hedgie is a youngster. Remember that while some handling is good, too much can be quite stressful. If hedgie is shy or appears stressed, you may want to just briefly hold it, then let it get in the hidey hole in its cage. We always provide a hedgebag with our hedgies, so that they will have a familiar place to hide. We find that talking to hedgies in a quiet, soothing voice helps get them used to us, too. There is one danger here with a shy hedgie, and that is that if you donít handle it at all, it may learn to act like a prickleball to keep you away. So, you will have to use your best judgement and try to strike a good balance between handling and not handling, so as to avoid both stressing hedgie out and teaching hedgie that being prickly scares you off.
All of our hedgies drink from water bottles, but we very frequently hear from new owners that the hedgie wonít drink from the water bottle on arrival. Weíre not sure why this happens, but it doesnít hurt to offer both a dish and bottle initially. You may want to use bottled spring water initially, as some hedgies will refuse to drink water that tastes funny to them, and ours are used to water that comes from a small town well without a lot of chlorine or anything in it.
Remember to ask the person you are getting the hedgie from what they are feeding the hedgie, so that you can continue that diet, if appropriate. If not appropriate, or if you donít have a source for that food, be sure to ask for some of hedgieís old food, so that you can mix in some of the old with your new. Hedgie may take a little while to adjust to the new diet, but itís pretty rare that they totally refuse. We feed our hedgies a mix of foods so that they are used to a variety of things, and we find that this reduces problems in switching to a different diet when they go to new homes. It is not entirely abnormal for hedgies to go off their feed for 1 to 3 days sometimes, but if you notice that your hedgie has not eaten in 3 days, then you should take hedgie to the vet for a check.
Itís not unusual for hedgies to exhibit green stools for a few days after moving to a new home. This can happen for several reasons. It can be a reaction to stress, or to different food or water. It is normal, and no reason for alarm unless it continues for longer than 4 or 5 days, or hedgie becomes lethargic or dehydrated. If that happens, you will want to take hedgie to a vet to make sure that everything is ok.
It is always a good idea to find a vet in advance, before you get your hedgie and before there are any problems. We have a web page with suggestions about how to find a vet if you donít already know of one who will see hedgies. Hedgies do not need any shots, but mites and respiratory infections are not completely uncommon and can be easily treated if caught early. Some people take their hedgies for annual well pet visits, while others watch carefully and only take them to the vet if there are signs of problems.
We do our best to answer questions in as timely a manner as we can. You can email and I will write back as soon as I can. Please donít be offended if I refer you to a web page that I think will be helpful, and be sure to ask more questions if I havenít answered yours completely. Another excellent resource is online hedgehog mailing lists. My two favorites are hedgehog_help and HedgehogWorld. You can find out more information or sign up for these groups at egroups. Hedgehog_help is more geared toward sticking to serious helpĖtype questions, while HedgehogWorld gets more chatty. Both have quite a few members, which range from persons who are just thinking about getting their first hedgehog to a few folks with nearly a decade of experience! They are certainly a wealth of information.
The mailing lists I just mentioned are one great way to learn more about hedgies (and to share your enthusiasm and experiences). Another way is to join a hedgehog club and/or participate in hedgehog shows. I highly recommend the International Hedgehog Club. It is only $20 a year for a basic membership, which includes an informative monthly newsletter. Hedgehog shows are a great way to meet other hedgehog owners and to learn more about hedgehog care. Find out more about hedgehog shows at the IHC website.
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