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Hey again all! Sorry for late response but thank you all very much for your knowledgeable responses. Been two weeks and she seems to be doing well. I will have a look on the link provided for the hedgehog experts, however I’m unsure about the likelihood of actually getting her to one as neither of us drive – all we have locally is a small veterinary practice, and from everything I gather in general vets don’t have much knowledge specifically towards hedgehogs.
whilst they are captivated and charming and we think they are healthy because active – this tends to be a result of their stress levels – and she will simply be looking for an escape when she is awake. sometimes they pace and scratch so much that they injure themselves in the process – which is also something you don’t want to be witnessing.
I’m glad you mentioned this actually as I believe the behaviour I’ve witnessed shows she’s doing well – first couple of days we had her, I could hold her without much if any protest from her – now if I try to hold her (only really when we clean her out) she is intent on returning to her bed – which hopefully means it’s familiar and comfortable to her, and she’s behaving as a hedgehog should. Has never come close to injuring herself as it’s only for short periods of time and she’s either in my hands or being closely supervised on the floor but will move faster than I ever imagined a hedgehog could, I imagine to try and get back to bed, and if I try to stop her track with my hand she will nudge/shove into me strongly with her little nose to try and get through – and once her bed has been cleaned and put back and I put her back, she makes a beeline straight to it.
We’ve raised baby/young animals with both positive and negative outcomes before so can fully understand and appreciate the emotional rollercoaster but it’s something I’m willing to go through with. If we were worried about Miranda in any way, or if there were even any tiny signs at all that there was anything not right then we would be actively looking into transporting her to the nearest hedgehog specialist, or a the local vet at bare minumum. But she is thriving in every way we can tell (and my OCD makes me notice and become very paranoid about anything possibly wrong – eg last night I panicked because she was curled up extra tight – just for her to wake up and do everything she’s expected/supposed to do).
Anything I don’t know/need to know, please tell me. I am willing to learn and do anything I need to do in order to take good care of Miranda and be able to release her myself when she’s ready. Whether that means sifting through her extremely smelly poo with my bare hands or buying a night-vision camera that links to my phone so I can check on her night and day with no disturbance, I’ll do everything I can.
A few questions:
– How often is best to clean out a hedgehog? We’ve been keeping her indoors in a large indoor dog crate with a combination of torn up newspaper and dead leaves – with intentions to move her to/attach a larger dog pen and include a tray with dirt from outdoors, sticks, etc, to make it as natural as possible for her. Her bed has been a cardboard box inside the dog crate full of torn up newspaper and leaves. We’re replacing the box today as she’s been weeing in it but keeping some bedding so the smell is familiar to her. At first we were cleaning the box out daily but we’ve reconsidered and switched to weekly because we believe that even though it smells, she prefers it that way – are we correct?
– Handling-wise – considering Miranda is obviously wild and we have the full intention of returning her to the wild – BUT we’re not sure when this will be depending on whether she puts on enough weight to hibernate this winter or whether we have to overwinter her – is it better to handle her less for now (which we have been), or handle her more just for the moment to make cleaning her out less stressful for her, but wean her off of human contact gradually before releasing her?
– Sort of following on from the last question: Last night we changed her bedding (after nearly a week) as she had dragged a large amount of leaves out (we don’t know whether on purpose or by accident) and wondered if it was because they were dirty. When I got her out (late evening I believe) I was really worried at first because she was curled up more tightly than I’ve seen her so far. I was worried that she had either gone into hibernation or passed away. Then like it was nothing she just woke up and acted as normal. I feel like I’ve read that underweight hedgehogs aren’t able to curl up as tightly/well whereas fatter hedgehogs can. Could this be a good sign that she’s gaining weight? Or could she have curled up more tightly because she was stressed at being handled as we’ve been making a point to handle her minimally lately – which brings me back to the above question!
– And lastly – I’ve read that hedgehogs can roam for miles a night, but do they come back to a specific ‘home’? Plan to set up some hog houses in the garden at some point (we have a lot of long grass and sticks/overgrown spots in our garden so would likely be perfect for hedgehogs. But would be interesting to know if upon releasing Miranda, there would be a chance of her setting up home in our garden and returning frequently?
We honestly wouldn’t be caring for Miranda if we didn’t believe we could provide at least adequate and hopefully good care for her whilst we are lucky enough to have her. Anything I need to know I will willingly learn and I have a decent amount of free time to dedicate to her – would really appreciate some more help, please and thank you! 🙂