4) I have had some who simply do not like sleeping in newspaper but will happily curl up in a towel. One of mine used to wrap himself up like a parcel in his towel. He would stand on the corner, grab the corner in his mouth and roll over backwards, pulling the towel over him as he went and then he would scrape the loose bits under him.
5) Sometimes the problems arise just before they go to sleep, almost as if they are fighting it. They may be of borderline weight. These may improve after de-miting and worming or perhaps giving them the chance to run around a room for a while to use up pent up energy and reduce stress.
6) Adding sunflower seeds to their food for zinc may help as low zinc levels are found in humans suffering from stress.
I have had some odd experiences here. When a hedgehog comes in and it has not been eating, it is quite difficult to get it started again and I often go right back to the start and use Esbilac and rehydrating fluid fed by pipette. I gradually change this to liquidiized dog food or I may use ordinary baby food. I cut a pipette to a fine spoon shape and can sometimes get semi solids into their mouths.
I had one hog who was an adult and had been very ill indeed with Cystitis. When he was ready to feed himself, he refused all solids but would drink a whole bowl full of liquidised food. This went on for a long time and I booked him in for a scan but, on the morning of the scan, I found he had eaten the solid food as well as the liquid. We never found out what the problem was.
Recently I have had one who would eat only IAMs kitten biscuits. Again, it went on long enough for me to decide to take him to the Vet. Nothing appeared to be wrong and suddenly, a week later, he ate a dish of fresh cooked chicken and then started to eat anything and everything put in his cage.
I think when these problems arise, the answer is to keep putting a little of everything and a lot of what the hog is eating in to the cage and be patient.
NEW POSSIBILITY The hogs have woken and were eating well then several went off their food. I did usual investigations and had a Divine inspiration.......normally when they wake, it is still quite cold and, in captivity they eat well until released. This year it has been extremely hot and I think they have decided to shed the winter fat layer earlier as it is keeping them too warm.
One hedgehog a couple of years ago, had mange and ringworm and I had a great deal of difficulty in clearing it. Eventually his tests were negative but he was completely bald and this is not a pretty sight!
He hibernated but prickles did not grow, nor did his hair. I was saving up for laboratory tests but started to think more carefully. His toenails were curled and soft and I got to thinking that his problem was actually a defiiciency in something that governed the growing of hair. (Prickles and nails are only variations of hair). Our nails show white flecks when we are zinc deficient (people think it is calcium but it is zinc - trust me!). I decided to boost his zinc intake by feeding him sunflower seeds. He loved them and his hair and prickles grew back amazingly rapidly and his claws righted themselves. He became a very handsome hedgehog. I have banned the names Spike, Spikey and Prickles as hedgehogs with all those names have finished up with severe prickle loss!
Whenever I think a hog is too scaley or it is losing prickles, I put sunflower seeds in their food. Usually they finish up absolutely gleaming.
I have just read that zinc is often found to be low in the body when a person is under stress....why not in hedgehogs? Spike was under severe stress having had mange and ringworm and having to have constant baths to combat ringworm and Hannah was hyperactive! She seems a lot calmer now.
LOOKING AFTER BABIES
You will need
Esbilac Puppy Milk from the Vet or Spikes World. I prefer the liquid one but, if you choose the powdered one, make sure it is very well mixed and don't change from one to another. The powder can coagulate in the roof of the mouth or in the intestine.
Goat's Colostrum This is becoming hard to get and, despite what people will tell you, it is the nearest to hedgehog milk, tested and proved by MAFF.
Full Cream Goats Milk if the other two cannot be found.
Abidec baby viitamins from any Pharmacy
Syringes or pipettes, cotton wool, flannels, Zinc and Castor Oil cream, fleece or woolly hats, water paint and brush, scales, ice cube bags, Milton.
Babies need a constant hot temperature of around 80 degrees so an incubator is best but a heat pad is a must at least.
Small, white babies rarely survive, especially if under 13g so do your best but don't be disheartened.
When the babies or baby arrive, weigh and sex them quickly and toilet them as you do not know when they last went. Hold them on their backs in your hand and gently but firmly stroke their tummies across their genitals in a downwards movement with some damp cotton wool until they relieve themselves. I find they get sore after a while so I then put a little Zinc and Castor Oil cream on them. I also rub it over their lips after feeding as the pipette is harder than Mum's apparatus and the lips go a bit red. I use a different finger!
Dab a blob of coloured paint on their backs if it is a litter so you can identify them. Of course you will be using record cards to keep all this data and I find hard copy cards are better than computer records as the card stays with the hedgehog.
HOLDING A BABY FOR TOILETING