Northern Plains Hedgehogs
What should I expect when my new hedgehog comes home?
When you bring you new hedgehog home, place him or her in their new cage, and give them some privacy, so they may acclimate themselves to their new home and surroundings. Some people say you should leave them for 24 hours, others say 12 hours. We like to tell people to see how your hedgehog reacts and go from there. If there are out in the evening and appear to be doing well, take him/her out for a little bit and see how it goes. If they appear to be scared and hesitant, give them a bit more time to warm up to everything.
It is good to have a soft blanket to lay them on in your lap, this will help protect your hands when they get scared and will also allow them to walk on you and not make a huge mess. We like to use fleece as their toenails do not get caught on it like towels.
Be patient with your new hedgehog, some will adapt sooner then others and once they do you will have a wonderful pet. Another option is to wear an old tee shirt (so it smells like you) and place it in your hedgehog’s cage. This will allow him/her to get to know your scent sooner. They will more then likely self anoint on it. This is a behavior where they will foam at the mouth and place it on their quills. So don’t panic if this happens, they will do it a lot when investigating new things.
Baby hedgehogs need quite a bit of sleep the first month after they come home with you, so don't be too concerned if he sleeps a lot at first. Once your hedgehog knows you and learns to trust you, you should be able to pet it with out causing him/her to hiss and ball.
Green poop…This is not something to be alarmed about. Hedgehogs will have a green poop when they are introduced into a new environment. They tend to have them when they are stressed and a new home is a big change for them. This will pass after a few days when they have adjusted.
Tips for handling your hedgehog
Many new hedgehog owners are nervous about handling their new family member. Follow these suggestions, and soon you and your hedgie will be best friends forever!
Start in the evening, after it gets dark, and your hedgehog is likely to be awake. Ours are used to waking up about 9 pm and we start to socialize with them after they have woken up, gone to the bathroom, etc.
Place your hands palm side up on either side of the hedgehog. If necessary, you can gently corner your hedgehog in it's cage. Gently place your hands under the hedgehog. If you are really nervous, grab a fleece blanket or hedgie bag.
Cup your hands and lift up your hedgehog, cradled in your hands.
Your hedgehog may huff or roll into a ball. It's okay to scoop him or her up if she has rolled into a ball.
Hold your hedgehog and try cradling your hedgie on one hand or forearm and placing the other hand gently over his or her back for security. Most will unroll shortly and begin exploring.
Feel free to resort to bribery if necessary. If your hedgehog rolls, offer a treat such as a tasty mealworm as soon as he or she unrolls. Your hedgehog will probably decide quickly that being picked up is a good thing!
Once your hedgehog is out, allow him or her to explore your hands and lap at his or her own pace. If they are huffy, do not try and pet them, or touch them, give them space and let them get used to everything at their own pace. Some people state hedgehogs should be man-handled to show the hedgehog you are not scared of them. This should not be done. Hedgehogs should be handled gently and it should be a gradual process.
A relaxed hedgehog lays down its spines, and at this point you can try petting him or her (in the direction the spines lay, of course).
Offer treats intermittently while handling your hedgehog, and your pet will likely learn to look forward to handling.