Taking care of Coco

So I recently bought a 2 month old hedgehog. Her name is Coconut but everyone just calls her Coco. She is the cutest little ball of fur and quills out there and everyone of my friends fights me over when they get to play with her. The problem with Coco, other than being a huge flirt, is that I had absolutely no idea how to take care of her.

The first day was great, but as soon as I realized that I didn’t know the smallest thing about her I started to panic. Every time I tried to touch her, she would roll in a ball of spiky quills and would start hissing at me. I quickly got online and started looking at videos on how to tame your hedgie. The trick was to grab her from below the quills. So I tried this and I realized that she was only playing hard to get as she quickly opened up and started licking my hands. At that point I was ecstatic. I had finally figured it out and Coco was finally walking and cuddling in my hands without trying to hurt me. The thing is, I tend to sing victory before the bell rings when it comes to girls. I should have seen it coming when Coco quickly brought me back to reality. As she licked the head of my palm and stared intently at my face, I felt a moist feeling at the end of my fingers. She had pooped 2 lumps of poop so big that they were as long as the length of my fingers. Another disappointment.

Pre-dissappointment

Pre-dissappointment

I knew I had to do something about this, so I opened up my computer and looked for help in my best pal google. I typed “how to get your hedgehog to not poop on you”. The result was a website called Hedgehog central. The nirvana of hedgehog breeding and care. Every hedgehog owner with half a brain has posted on here. And yes, most of them have had their hedgies poop on them. Apparently hedgehogs like to poop as soon as they wake up, so the trick is to let them run around their cage and do their thing before you consider playing with them. I was amazed at the amount of questions and responses that were on this forum. Literally anything I could think of asking, from what type of wheel to buy her, to how to cuddle without being hissed at, had already been asked and answered by hundreds of hedgehog Zen masters.

Other than hedgehog central, youtube turned to be a great tool as well. There is a huge collection of videos showing you exactly how to take care, bathe, and play with Coco. Although I am still getting the nuts and bolts of it, I can now enjoy my pet without being frustrated at her less savory habits. I was glad to also learn that they only poop a lot for the first couple of months because they are babies, and well babies do that stuff.

Coco getting cozy after flirting all day

Coco getting cozy after flirting all day

With the valuable source of information that the hedgehog central forums has, and the collection of videos in youtube, I was able to become knowledgeable in taking care of a pet in a matter of days. This leads me to the conclusion that there is such a large amount of platforms that contain knowledge that can help anyone. We are all unique individuals but the chances of someone struggling through something as random as having an exotic pet confuse you with a litter box are pretty high. Chances are someone out there has experienced your problems and they probably posted it on some forum.

The current goal that Coco and I are working on:

By the way, I live in the Dominican Republic and will be traveling back in winter break. I am not sure if I can take Coco as I still don’t know the laws for hedgehogs there. If I find out that I cannot take her and someone is interested in taking care of her for the break let me know.

10 comments

  1. Shes so cute! I love hedgehogs. The internet is such a good recourse for so many situations. I love hedgehogs so my friends are always tagging me in different hedgehog posts. There are so many instagram accounts dedicated to hedgehogs. In regards to the forums, how much can we trust these posts? I would think it would be better to seek professional help, but i’m sure social media is great for smaller issues. I hope you are able to bring her home.

  2. Eduard,

    Great insights about the role that social media has in forming communities around such niche topics! It really is crazy how the Internet allow you to search for the most random answer, and someone else has likely had the same problem.

    In response to @kailabc, I don’t see why any reason why most people would have any reason to misinform other users. If anything, most people who frequent niche community sites like this are probably more incentivized to provide accurate information because they are so passionate about the subject. I am sure harmful or incorrect info is posted from time to time, but the community effects of social media are likely to stabilize that.

    P.S. If you still need someone to watch Coco over break, let me know!

  3. This blog post was fantastic. One, coco is adorable! Two, it’s so true that the internet
    has so many resources and enables people to share common interests or (i.e hedgehogs) and advice. It’s true whenever I have a question about anything, I turn to Google for answers. More often than not I find the answer on forum such as yahoo answers or wikihow will have a step by step instructions.

  4. I totally agree with @bismansethi123 . The phenomenon you are talking about can be applied to anything from new mothers learning to care for their children or to me standing in my kitchen wondering how to cook an acorn squash. Google seems to have all of the answers. If we want more genuine responses we can even post on our own social media accounts for advice from our friends and family and if we want more general advice we can just go to any blog that we are interested in. I do wonder if this has negative impacts on our ability to problem solve since I rarely try to find out answers myself before going on Google. If you had used some trial and error instead of going on Google, I wonder if you would have found your own unique way to care for Coco. This is definitely an interesting topic, and one that I think about a lot whenever I am about to ask Google for advice. I love that you used Coco as a means to convey this message! Super cute.

  5. Great post, Eduard. It reminded me of a day this past summer. In this one day in August I:
    – Used a link to a Youtube video to remotely tell my incompetent tenants how to plunge a toilet (seriously, who doesn’t know how to do that?).
    – Used Youtube to figure out how to replace the passenger side mirror on my car (really easy, it turned out).
    – Used Youtube and online forums to learn how to replace the screen of my wife’s iPhone (finicky and annoying but not that hard).

    It’s really amazing the collection of knowledge contained on youtube. Part of me wonders what’ll happen with all that content far in the future (like, 30+ years from now). Will it remain available basically forever, or will it be forgotten and discarded in the way that a lot of the early web is?

  6. Great real world post. I’ve actually been teaching myself homebrewing using many of the same types of sites. It’s amazing what you can learn online.

  7. Great post about Coco! The internet really is the source of all answers. It is amazing how well the internet brings together people with common interests. I find forums such as Yahoo Answers to be very useful, but I am often wary about trusting the source. While I do agree with @saunderh in that most people have no reason to post misleading information online, it is impossible to know people’s intentions, especially through the internet. When dealing with important topics, such as animal care, I would carefully check the information. Thanks for the information on your hedgehog and I hope the training continues to go well.

  8. Your post does a great job of showing how the Internet and social media can be used to self-teach yourself just about anything. In my own life, I turned primarily to YouTube when I wanted to learn how to play bass guitar, and through nothing more than watching how-to videos I became a proficient bassist in a matter of months. Because of the Internet, and specifically YouTube, we no longer need to spend money on how-to books, cook books, instrument lessons, personal trainers, and so many other things since they’ve now become so much more accessible to the general public. The only potential downside to this is that the information that gets posted on the web isn’t always checked for accuracy or validity, while print sources are typically reviewed and fact-checked. Nonetheless, as long as we don’t give too much weight to the information we encounter on the Internet, I think it’s definitely an incredibly useful resource for learning just about anything, whether it’s taking care of Coco or learning how to play bass.

  9. You go Glen Coco. This is a great post! The ability to learn from social media is limitless. I know that whenever I need a quick fix to something around my room or want to start a new hobby, the easiest way to get started is just simply googling whatever I need help with. It seemingly never fails! Clearly you have to have a bit of a filter, understanding what seems like legitimate information and is coming from a good source, but usually trusting the majority will work well for the user.

  10. Nice post. At the age of 23, one would think tying a tie would be a simple task. Yes, I can get a basic knot in place, but the perfect knot can be difficult to replicate. I find myself resorting to YouTube from time to time….

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