So, you've just picked up your new prickly friend up from the breeders. What is the best way to bring your new friend home? How do I handle the hedgehog the first 24 hours? What should I put the hedgehog in to travel on the way back home? All of these important questions and more are going to be answered here.
Going home from the breeders with your new hedgehog is super exciting! Although, the hedgehog may not feel the same way at first. To the hedgehog, they are being taken away from their home, they don't know where they are and there are new smells everywhere, the hedgehog is totally unfamiliar with where he/she is at.
The best way to travel with a hedgehog is to have it quiet in the car. The hedgehog doesn't want loud noise, it's too stressed and confused already.
You should make sure the hedgehog is kept warm, it will keep the hedgehog less stressed and comfortable. Heating discs, hand warmers etc are ideal. A heat source that is animal friendly and not hot is a must. We use and recommend the SnuggleSafe Animal Heat Disc, it keeps the hedgehog warm and is perfect for traveling, anywhere. Always keep the cover on the disc, without the fabric cover, your hedgehog could get burned by the disc. You warm up the disc in the microwave and it stays warm for as long as 10 hours! Another excellent heat source that we use and recommend is HotHands® Hand Warmers, this can be used by putting the hand warmers under a Snuggle Bag/Pouch or inside two layers of the pouch. Make sure the hedgehog is not accessible to the HotHands® Hand Warmer itself.
What should the hedgehog travel in? A crate used for small dogs/cats works great. A container with holes for ventilation works very good as well. Make sure your hedgehog has a large amount of space and ventilation, no hedgehog should be kept in too small of a travel container, ever.
If you're traveling for more than 5 hours than you would definitely want the hedgehog accessible to water and food. You can attach a water bottle to the side of the crate/container.
Now that you know the basics of traveling with the hedgehog, you should know what to do when you get home with the hedgehog.
Put your hedgehog in the cage, let the hedgehog explore and check out everything and get use to its new surroundings. The hedgehog may just cuddle up to the sleeping area and go to bed, that's usually what they'll do. They probably aren't up to checking things out, as they are likely very stressed out and tired, especially babies. We recommend placing a used T-shirt in the sleeping area in the cage, as that will make your hedgehog more familiar with your smell and bond easier with you. Make sure the hedgehog has a full bowl of food and plenty of water. Leave the hedgehog alone the first 24 hours, as much as you want to play with the hedgehog, it's best just to let them adjust to their new surroundings and get some rest. We recommend taking the wheel out for three days, that way the hedgehog can fully explore their new home before running on their wheel all the time. Also, if you got a baby, its best you don't let the baby run on the wheel regularly, they can't keep up with their weight just yet.
DO NOT expect the hedgehog to be nice the first month. Many people think their hedgehog is mean, never assume the hedgehog is mean unless the hedgehog is fully adjusted to its new home. If the hedgehog is mean, it is likely due to stress. But could also be because of no heat (hedgehogs have to be kept in a warm cage preferably 78-80 degrees, any lower we find is too risky), quilling, or because the hedgehog is sick. The breeder should let you know the hedgehog's temperament (unless its too young to tell) before you buy the hedgehog. If the breeder says the hedgehog is not tame, then it is not tame.
If the hedgehog starts biting the first month of bringing the hedgehog home, that is not surprising. Hedgehogs can bite, click and huff (even if the hedgehog is normally VERY tame) the first month of bringing it home due to stress and not being familiar with the new surroundings. In rare cases, hedgehogs could take up to 6 months to get used to somebody!
Do not get "Anointing" mixed up with biting. A hedgehog may bite/lick you and put the spit on its back, that's a normal reaction to new things, even treats, and it probably means that they like whatever they anoint!