Newbie hedgehog rescuer
10th November 2018 at 3:43 pm #13056
Hi I work at a vets and we tend to get a lot of hedgehogs come in this time of year. I have chosen to rehabilitate him at home. He is currently living in a large Guinea pig cage in our spare room. He weighs 442g at the moment. The plan is to get him up to 1kg before moving him into a hutch outside for the winter (this is what I’m being told to do anyway) he’s currently eating cat meat and cat biscuits will be moving onto hedgehog food this weekend. Is there anything else I can do to fatten him up?12th November 2018 at 2:13 pm #13061
First thing to ask I guess is whether you are ready for the responsibility.? Hogs are surprisingly easy to look after once settled, if they settle, not all do- but they are very smelly and messy to have indoors – but most of all is the worry about whether you are doing the right things for them. I assume your veterinary practice is well versed in the wellbeing of hogs – and at least you have some connections there – but I would recommend you get in touch with your local hog carer or rescue and make yourself known to them – these people are the ones who really know about hogs, habits and behaviours and when and what needs looking at. just having the back up for a quick call can be a huge relief once you are on your own with a hog – they can do strange things that can make you worry!
Anyway – I always provide a corner of the cage that is ‘theirs’ – so they can build a nest from materials (lots of hay usually and shredded paper work) you provide and they can hide in (I use absorbant layer Stayfresh from Pets at Home, with a top layer of hay) – I cover the nest side of the cage (I tend to use big outdoor sized rabbit hutches) with things that block out the light and gives them extra assurance in their nests. I clean the cage daily but quickly when they are asleep by scraping poo from wherever they have splattered it outside the nest and clearing wet patches (they will push poo through the edges of the cage as well – so you’ll need protection on your floor under and around the cage). I take them out for a weekly check, any claw clipping and a weigh once they get to 400g plus weekly is fine – and at the same time check their nest for wetness and poo. Some poo in their nests, but most don’t really.
You need to source hedgehog specific food ideally – but cat kibble and wet cat food / dog food will suffice. Plenty of fresh water – that he will tip everywhere, walk through and poo in. Your hog will put on weight very quickly once captive for a while – so its more likely a problem keeping the weight down.
You need to keep them away from general traffic and noise in the house as much as possible – its very stressful for them and you do want him to stay wild. also – people will be interested and want to see and have a hold etc – resist the temptation to do this for his sake – the less handling he has the better.
I’m afraid hibernation at 1kg sounds like its straight forward – but because of the captivity and confusion – many don’t go into hibernation or are too confused to do so – so simply putting him outside when he is 1kg may not be straight forward, his initial thoughts will be to try and escape his cage – so ensure its robustly locked up and he cant hurt himself on the chicken wire they often put in the windows of hutches.
Fingers crossed for you.13th November 2018 at 2:13 pm #13068
Hi, I’m in my second year of hog caring. I have two young hogs in my care at the moment, I think they are from the same litter as they were found within 100 yards of each other and weigh 430 and 436 grams. I have one of their parents hibernating in my shrubs, which I believe is one of the two hogs I overwintered last year.
I use wood based cat litter in their cages to help keep the smell down. Their food is supplemented with Spike moist hedgehog food available from most pet stores.
Keep at it, the results are rewarding
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