Hedgehogs/BEDDING

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Question
Hi Laurel,
am planning on a hedgehog. I read about bedding choices and have narrowed it down to fleece liners, carefresh, and aspen shavings. I am not too sure the fleece liners are for me because other hedgehog owners tell me it needs to be changed daily. So, if I had to choose between Carefresh and Aspen, what would you go with?
Irene

Answer
Hi, Irene:

Sorry for the delay in my answering.  I have quite a bit on my plate at present: besides a full-time job in a new position, I have been serving as executor of my aunt's estate (where we just closed on the sale of one of her properties).

I guess this must be your first hedgehog!  Congrats on your decision, and bravo for your willingness to research before bringing the new quilly-kid home!

I may not be completely unbiased, because I use liners.  But they are not fleece.  The bottom layer is "Sherry Liners," which are made-to-order pieces of corduroy (sp?) sandwiched over Vellux (blanket material).  My top layer consists of two or more cut-to-size additional pieces of vellux.  While I do not usually change out all of the liners in the habitat on a daily basis, it kinda depends on the specific hedgehog.  Some of my current 4 rescue-guys are pretty particular about their living space, and others "fling poo to the winds," quite literally.  I can extend the time of my liners somewhat by putting puppy training pads under or on-top-of the liners.  If the liner is severely soiled and cannot be tidied up (as in sopping wet with urine), I change it.  If things are more in-the-middle (i.e., lots of well-formed intact poops), a quick pick-up with a piece of kleenex or TP can stretch out the life of the liners.

That said, if I was not using liners, my next preference would be care-fresh, I think.  Any kind of shavings are very messy and get all over the hedgehog and your floor in front of the cage.  It is also hard to tell when either carefresh or shavings need changing, except by fairly close-range smelling.  If you can tell from long-range smelling, whatever bedding you've used is overdue to be replaced!

If you end up with a messy guy or gal, there is still cause for hope of improvement.  Watch where hedgie goes (either type of waste) and place a folded paper towel or litter receptacle there after cleaning.  It doesn't hurt to put some pee or poo on top to facilitate recognition, but some kids just never get the idea (or don't want to).

And please don't worry too much if your hedgie hides and fusses at first.  Hedgehogs are typically shy.  Don't handle him/her much for a week or so to let him/her adjust to the surroundings and all of its new smells.  But then, the best thing to do is to start gradually increasing hold-time (esp. snuggling in your lap with a blankie covering).  Regular handling is necessary to keep hedgehogs used to humans.

If you have other questions, please feel free to write me again.  I wish you all good luck in your search, procurement, and friendship with your new companion!

Hedgie Blessings,

Laurel

Hedgehogs

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Laurel Sedgwick

Expertise

Can answer care, health, & behavioral questions, as well as basic breeding questions. Can help questioner figure out if a hedgehog is the right pet for them.

Experience

Have had hedgehogs since 2001 - 16 so far. I have no experience with non-weaned babies, and limited experience with breeding and with pregnant hedgehogs. I have had too much experience with WHS (Wobbly Hedgehog Syndrome). I would rate myself "expert" at syringe-feeding, and as "advanced" at performing SubQs. Two of my hedgehogs have injured an eye to the point that it had to be surgically removed. I have had a lot of hedgehogs who suffered from cancer, some who had surgery and some who didn't. Some of my quilly kids have had abcessed teeth; one guy lost all of his teeth but one! I have had multiple female hedgehogs who suffered from bleeding, who had to have surgery for uterine cancer, which was in most cases successful. Temperamentally, I have had very timid hedgehogs, persistently grumpy hedgehogs, biting hedgehogs, and very friendly hedgehogs whom I took with me as "ambassadors" for educational presentations.

Organizations
I am a Certified Judge for the IHA, and run a rescue station for the HWS. My application to be a rescue station for the IHA is pending.

Education/Credentials
I read everything I can get my hands on. Have read the best of the books, Dawn Wrobel's THE HEDGEHOG and Tig M-Burleson's THE HEDGEHOG PRIMER. I am a member of the International Hedgehog Association (IHA) and Hedgehog Welfare Society (HWS), and have been a member of various online bulletin board groups since 2002.
I have attended many hedgehog shows and have served as a judge in IHA conformation shows.

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