Recently, we have noticed an interesting phenomenon... a seemingly increasing number of runt hedgehogs. In our first year of breeding, we didn't see any. Then we saw them occasionally. In the past three months we have seen several in our own litters and also heard others report them more often than ever before. Among ours, some are smaller than their siblings at birth and remain somewhat smaller until final adult size is achieved (when they are often as large or larger than their siblings). The ones that really concern us are those who start out the same size as their siblings and appear to simply "fail to thrive." Of the babies we have had like that, most have either been in large litters, or have been fostered with slightly older litters. That led us to theorize that perhaps they have been pushed out of the way and have gotten enough milk to survive, but not enough to thrive? To try to remedy this, we have given supplemental feedings when possible- though some of the little guys just annoint with it! Another thing I have noticed about the lil guys in this group is that they seem to open their eyes and get fur and teeth at the same time as their siblings, but that they don't lose their baby quills and get adult quills until they finally hit a growth spurt. We have had some who didn't survive, despite our best efforts, but have also had others who eventually thrived, such as our Lady Sampoernella, and a little guy named Squidge who now lives with the wonderful Musgrove family in Texas! Our current runt has been dubbed "Tiny Tim" and he is quite the trooper! The pictures on this page are of him. Tim and his sister Latte were rejected by their mother, and were placed with different foster families. Tim's family had 5 babies and a mom I knew to be an excellent foster mom, and Latte's family had just two babies and a mom I wasn't sure about as a foster mom. Both Tim and Latte were normal sized at birth. Latte was a bit behind her siblings in size and growth rate, but not too badly. Tim, however, never seemed to grow much. When he was about 4 weeks old I placed him with a foster family of newborns, since he was the same size as they! He weighed 24 grams! At almost 7 weeks old we gave him a place of his own and have put him on Select Diet (a nutrient dense hedgehog food that is soft enough for him to chew) and are providing him with a shallow water dish and a shallow dish with a little formula in it. He seems to eat his weight in Select Diet, but so far hasn't gained any! We keep rooting for him and hoping he will be ok! Note added 12/28/99: Tiny Tim has grown up to be a normal sized sweetie, who surprised us by becoming a very handsome chocolate white! Using the same techniques we tried with Tim, we have been able to help several more severely runt babies survive and thrive. I've started referring to these hedgies as "DD" babies because they are not only small in stature, they also exhibit several developmental delays. For example, they do not begin the process of quilling, which marks the transition from adolescence to adulthood, until their size catches up, and some do not grow hair until much later than would normally be expected. Bravo to these tiny troopers, the spirit with which they fight to survive against all odds is truly amazing! All information on this web site is copyright of Hedgehog Valley. You may view/print the web pages for your personal use. You may also provide a link to these pages without prior approval. No one is allowed to re-post the information from Hedgehog Valley Web Site, including pictures, to any other web site, without the approval of Hedgehog Valley. Copyright 1999/2000
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