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Hedgie Aggression?

Discussion in 'General Hedgehog Discussion' started by milkandsam, Aug 3, 2014.

  1. milkandsam

    milkandsam Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2014
    Messages:
    62
    Just wondering if anybody had any tips for people who may be new to hedgehogs and may be having trouble with socialization or aggression?


    Just thought it would be useful for new hedgehog owners!
  2. Josh

    Josh HedgehogForums Admin Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2014
    Messages:
    178
    As with any new animal, I would recommend letting them get settled into their enclosure first. This will give you a place to put them where they feel safe while you're working with them. The time varies by animal. Usually you want to put them in their enclosure somewhere where there isn't too much activity - it helps to drape a towel or other cloth over the enclosure to make it more private. Eliminate other stress factors like other animals, noises, flashing lights, etc. Don't change the layout or placement of their wheel, food/water dish, hides, etc. Try to keep things as consistent as possible for a few weeks. This will help them settle in and feel at home.
    After this period you can really start to work with them. Do so in short intervals. If they aren't receptive at all, return them to their enclosure. Work with them for a maximum of 10-15 minutes, then either return them to their enclosure or let them roam about without being handled or corrected much, if at all. Continue this for weeks, maybe months. Then gradually increase the amount of time you're actively working with them.
    Use treats to encourage good behavior. At first remember to use slow deliberate movements around them. Try hard not to startle or scare them. You're building trust.
    Abdulla likes this.
  3. gracefulchaos

    gracefulchaos New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2014
    Messages:
    19
    Josh, that is wonderful advice for socialization.
    My Gabriel had aggression issues for a while. He would consistently bite at my fingertips, ripping flesh and causing blood flow. I was advised to keep fleece between myself and Gabriel at all times, offer food from tweezers or bowls, and ensure his teeth were never near flesh. Also, I was advised to encourage him to only bite on food or fleece. I made small fleece blankets, only just hedgehog sized. I used the tiny blankets to pick him up and also, when he was in his pen,I would shake the blanket gently at his face, moving it and making it wiggle. Kill the fleece has become Gabriel's favorite game. It took a few weeks to train him to do this, but I have a happy hedgie and my fingers remain unbitten for several weeks now.
    milkandsam likes this.
  4. milkandsam

    milkandsam Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2014
    Messages:
    62
    I've also had some issues with my hedgie biting (I think because she wants to get your human smell, especially if you are a new human!) We have had people put hand sanitizer on their hands and that seems to help too
  5. gracefulchaos

    gracefulchaos New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2014
    Messages:
    19
    You can usually tell the difference between an "I'm curious about you" bite and an "I want to destroy you" bite. Gabriel was definitely in category 2 :) For category 1 a change in hand soap is usually key.