• What To Do When Your New Hedgie Arrives Home

    Written by Antigone Means-Burleson

    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:

    Handling Hedgie
    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 doesn't mind being held right away. Although, it's 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 don't handle it at all, it may learn to act like a prickle ball to keep you away. So, you will have to use your best judgment 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 won't drink from the water bottle on arrival. We're not sure why this happens, but it doesn't 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 don't have a source for that food, be sure to ask for some of hedgie's 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 it's 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.

    The Poop
    It's 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. Unless it is gelatinous and very sticky (signs of possible bacterial imbalance) or very deep green and tarry (signs of possible intestinal dysfynction), it is no reason for alarm if it occurs briefly. If it continues for longer than 4 or 5 days, or hedgie becomes lethargic or dehydrated, you will want to take hedgie to a vet to make sure that everything is ok.

    Vet Care
    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 don't 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.