Some Changes at Paws and Prickles

Recently, we retired two of our female hedgies, Amelia and Priscilla, and we brought in Eliza and Clementine (two beautiful lady-hogs from Kentucky). Eliza is a sweet reverse pinto, and Clementine is a lovely salt and pepper.  We can’t wait to see what wonderful mothers they are!

Gregory is also heading towards retirement… He’s not exactly happy about that as he loved his job, so we haven’t told him yet… But we have kept one of his son’s to be our new little stud muffin. Gregory is going to be staying with us though. He was our first hedgie and will always have a little piece of our hearts :)

Choosing a Wheel

There are several different kinds of wheels out there for a hedgehog, but the big divider is wire mesh or solid plastic. When it comes to choosing your wheel, there are a couple different things to consider.

Wire mesh con? Though we have never had this happen, we have heard a little hedgie foot could get stuck in the mesh. That is the danger with the wire wheel, and the reason they are so shunned on forums and Facebook groups.

Wire mesh pro? The benefit we have found, is that their pee and poo, goes through the wire onto the bedding below. Some poo gets stuck (mostly just residue), and the wheel does need to cleaned occasionally, but the hedgie isn’t running through a swamp of it’s waste every night.

Solid Plastic Con? The poop swamp.

Solid Plastic Pro? Extra safety and being forum safe.

Really, this choice is left up to every owner. I can’t make the choice for you, but I see very sound reasoning behind both options. In the long run, just make sure the wheel is about 12 inches in diameter so your hedgehog has plenty of room to run. A wheel is an extremely important part of your hedgehog’s home. So even if the choice seems hard, just make it. Your hedgehog will be so happy about either option!

Gregory’s First Post

Hi all!

So Gregory wanted to tell you all about his road trip this spring. I have translated it into intelligible writing.

If I were to write his exact words it would go something like this… “Gregies ‘ere: Springies ai wentededed adventurous me! *flexes forehead quills (with intent to impress whoever is watching with a determined look in his eye)* LIFE! Lots of lotses ofes anty biters mountains far in the sun. Impressable???” 

I will just stop here. Allow me to interpret his story.

“Gregory here:

This spring I embarked on the adventure of a lifetime. It was far away beyond the ant hills in the yard. My travels took me east. Impressed? I am like the Marco Polo of my herd. My wives think I am brave and strong now. I have proven myself! I was put in a fuzzy sack. It was blue on the outside and grey on the inside( like a dismal, scary hole). But it was soft and warm, and I slept in it for a long time while my master transported me to the east. We moved at the speed of light (I am sure because I saw the sun rise and then the moon poke out a multiple times during my journey). I met a great hairy beast named Ella. I tell you more of her, but don’t want to frighten the young hoglets who may read this. I will say that she has claws that were all long as my tail and delighted in eating bones. Her ears could hear noises beyond what my master could hear. I was afraid, just a little, but I only saw her a few times. She did not make it into the speeding transporter and was left behind somewhere on the journey. I am home now. I can die an old experienced hog with tales to tell my offspring.”

*Disclaimer, Ella was happily left behind at her owner’s home and Gregory was never in danger. And Gregory is only about 2 years old. He still has many more years. Also, Gregory has never wandered into an ant hill or been stung, but we do have ants here… What Gregory doesn’t know is that we visited friends in Tennessee via our car and had a 20 hour-through-the-night-with-no-hotel-return trip. Thank God for Starbucks cold coffee and 24/7 gas stations…

Overcoming Huffs and Puffs

So you get your hoglet home and peek into her carrier or box, debating mentally whether to let her crawl out of it, or if you should scoop her out. But chances are, you are also hesitating because she is huffing. She is curled up in a tangerine-sized ball of quills and has huffed at you.

This is perfectly normal. While the hoglets are not very huffy with us at Paws and Prickles, a car ride combined with new voices and smells may put them on the defensive. Curling up, huffing, clicking, and the like are all because she is scared. Hedgehogs may seem intimidating with all those prickles, but they really are very little animals and need all the help they can get when it comes to defending themselves in the wild.

Here’s what to do: pick her up anyway. Don’t let her intimidate you! Believe me, she will uncurl for you. And rather quickly too. Our hoglets get a lot of handling and is only huffing because she is scared. She needs to get to know your smell and voice. For the first few days, pick her up several, several, times. Keep it short and sweet. Let her look around, sniff you a bit, and offer her a mealworm or other treat. Talk to her, read her a story, sing to her- let her learn your voice. After she has relaxed, gently set her back in her home. This will teach her that she doesn’t scare you, and eventually, she won’t be scared of you either. After a few days, stretch the handling times to longer and longer. If you can hold your hoglet while watching TV or reading- DO IT! This is so good for bonding. If she falls asleep with you, she trusts you for sure.

In short, be brave and it will be worth it. She is only scared and your reassurance will help her very much!

Feeding a Hoglet

In the wild, hedgehogs munch and crunch on bugs… this means lots of protein, and little fat. So, as responsible owners, we need to supply a diet that fits the bill. Sure, you could give them crickets and worms and other stuff, but for simplicity’s sake, most of us turn to cat food. High quality cat food will not only have protein, but also vitamins and minerals, plus it comes in a variety of flavors. And since a full grown hedgehog only eats about 2 tbsp. of food a day, a bag of food can last a long time. (I recommend putting it in a sealed container or bag so it doesn’t get stale.)

Here, we feed Purina One Smart Blend and occasional treats of egg, mealworms, canned crickets, boiled chicken, or apple. And different hogs have their favorites. Amelia loves her apple chunks, and Dorothy loves her crickets.

So, play around with it and find out what your baby likes.

Why Kids Make Great Hedgie Owners!

1) You have more free time than the average adult! (Believe it or not…)

2) You aren’t as easily swayed by trends. You will be more determined in getting a hedgie just because you wanted one. You didn’t get it to impress people. (Stay that way for as long as possible. You’ll be so happy!)

3) Kids know how to have fun! You guys turn hedgehogs into princesses, spies for the Canadian government, and exhibits in imaginary zoos. You can have such fun with a hedgie!

4) It’s cliché, but pets really do teach you about responsibility. Your hedgie will depend on you for her whole life. Plus, pets help teach people how to love. Pets often don’t return anything that you put into them, beyond affection and companionship. When you learn to love a little animal, you learn how to give to those who can’t give back.

Why We Sell to First Timers

Several years ago, before I headed off to college, I thought about getting a hedgehog. They were adorable little creatures, and being a girl, I like adorable little things. So I started doing my research. They eat cat food. Easy.They like a wheel? So…. like a hamstercat.  Needless to say, I was not intimidated. I have owned a myriad of pets. Compared to Katahdin sheep or a horse, a hedgehog seemed very simple to care for. The big problem was that I was heading off to college that fall and didn’t want to leave this new pet. So I didn’t buy one. But my grandparents did get me a stuffed one for a graduation gift and he went to college with me.

Fast-forward two years, and I left college with my new hubby and we settled down in south Texas near my family and church. After a few months, I was wanting a hedgie again. A real live breathing and eating one this time. So, we talked about it and added up expenses and I took one of my little pay checks from my part time job and we bought Gregory.

It was a wonderful day! We had not yet bought any of his supplies, but we had plenty of storage tubs from our college days. We grabbed a bag of bedding and a water bottle on the way home and set up a rinky-dink little home for Gregory and we were all so happy! Within a week or two, we had bought him a wheel, figured out our brand of cat food, and set up large clear tub. Now, Gregory lives in a hedgie condominium with a gaggle of wives. He is very happy indeed.

This is often what I run through my mind when we sell to first time owners. I never wanted to be the breeder that expects you to fail and kill your hoglet in three days because you didn’t realize he needs water. I just have to remind myself of Caleb and I buying our Gregory. I also want to encourage first timers- please don’t feel like you need to hide the fact that this is a first! We want to help you and answer any questions you may have.