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 Quilling in Hedgehogs

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Quilling is a natural occurence in a hedgehogs life. It is the shedding of a set a quills and growing a new set. This is a gradual process. New quills will replace the old quills within a short time. This typically happens at age 2-3 weeks, 5 weeks, and 8-12 weeks of age.

When your hedgehog is quilling you will notice dropped quills and quill points that are breaking through the surface. You should not see bald spots within the coat. As they fall out they are replaced and only shed quills should be evidence. Bald spots are an indication of another health problem.

Hedgehogs can become extremely irritable during this time. Their appetite may also drop off so do not be overly alarmed. Think about what they are going through and you can well imagine what it must be like. Fortunately it is over fairly quickly. Some can take only 4-5 days to be through with the process while it may last 2-3 weeks for others.

Handling them during this time can make them extremely uncomfortable and breeders suggest understanding and gentleness. This does not mean don't handle them. Some may  continue in this grumpy attitude if left totally alone during this time. They will resume to their normal nature soon enough so be understanding.

Many breeders do recommend warm baths. Oatmeal baths can be given twice a week to help soothe the discomfort. Add Aveeno powder to warm water deep enough to make the hedgehog swim. You can use a cup to pour the water overtop his body as he swims. Make sure he is always attended during his bath as he can tire quickly. Do not rinse the oatmeal bath off. Their skin is naturally dry and this will help them.  Adding a non-flavored, non toxic oil such as olive oil to the last rinse may also prove helpful to soften the skin. Make sure you dry them well with a towel afterwards and keep them out of drafts.

On occasions hedgehogs will go through another quilling at 1 year of age. This is seldom as harsh and many times goes totally unoticed. Growing up is tough for all and we had teething to get through. Be understanding and gentle and it will soon pass.

 

God bless,

Marty Petrizza
marty@hedgehog-care-expert.com


                       
 
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