If you have a spiky friend, you know they’re one mysterious little animal. If you didn’t have a pet hedgehog, what would you notice first? The spikes! Hedgehog quills are the most eye-catching part of their body. Usually, people get scared of it and don’t come forward to adopt one.
But aside from those spikes, hedgehogs have a great personality and character with adorable faces once they get comfortable. They’re just like many of us who have our guards up until we get comfortable.
Are you interested in getting a hedgehog now? That’s great, but before you decide, you might want to know them better. We don’t want any pets to get sent to the shelter for no reason.
Let’s Explore Hedgehog Behavior
Hedgehog personality varies from one to another, complementing their variety of colors in species. So, today let’s learn about their characters and find ways for them to like you.
A hedgehog’s behavior ultimately depends on how much you handle and interact with them daily. Like humans, you’ll rarely find all the same characteristics in wild hedgehogs. However, you’ll notice some similar traits in them. You’ll likely discover something interesting about your little, pointy friend daily. Let’s not wait anymore and get to know them.
Hedgehog Temperament & Personality Traits
Here are seven common behaviors you can expect from your pet hedgehogs.
- 🦔 Shy: Hedgehogs are shy animals. They won’t open up to anyone so quickly. Instead, they like to be very secretive. But once you get them out of their bubble, their personality is adorable.
- 🦔 Cheerful: As we said before, hedgehogs are shy little creatures. But once you handle and care for them for a while, they will warm up to be your friend. Then, they will let you easily carry them around in your hand.
- 🦔 Peace-loving: You have always asked yourself, “Are hedgehogs aggressive?” Let us clear your confusion. Hedgehogs aren’t the aggressive type. They won’t bite you without any reason. They’re actually calm and loving and make great pets when appropriately handled.
- 🦔 Vigilant: The most noticeable act of a hedgehog is rolling into a spiky ball. This is their way of being alert— you can say defense mechanism. If your pet isn’t being vigilant, it may be too cold or too hot. Don’t let this happen. Captive hedgehogs aren’t supposed to hibernate or estivate.
- 🦔 Nocturnal: Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals meaning they’re active at night and stay asleep during the day. But this sleep cycle can change during seasonal changes. We advise you not to change your pet’s sleep schedule to match yours because you might have to deal with a grumpy hedgehog.
- 🦔 Playful: You may think that hedgehogs are nocturnal and, thus, less active. Then, you’re wrong! They’re very playful but just not when you’re awake. They love running on their wheel for hours late at night. You can try staying awake a little late to get to play with your little buddy.
- 🦔 Anti-social: A hedgehog feels happy when alone. Solitary animals hate being in a cage with other animals. The same is for hedgehogs. You should never keep two hedgehogs in a single enclosure to avoid any unpleasant fights.
Can I Have a Hedgehog as a Pet?
Yes, you can have a hedgehog as a pet. African Pygmy Hedgehogs are the most preferred hedgehog species among hedgehog owners. Their tiny size and sensitive nature make them great companions.
But you must remember hedgehogs can carry salmonella diseases like reptiles and other domesticated animals. If your household has a child under five or a senior person, avoiding having a hedgehog as a pet is better. Moreover, we advise people with a weak immune system the same.
|Did You Know❓ Hedgehogs aren’t legal to keep as pets in seven states of the U.S., California, Hawaii, Boroughs of NYC, Georgia, Nebraska, Omaha, and Washington D.C. So, check your state policies before getting one.|
How to Get a Hedgehog to Like You?
You just got your new pet hedgehog, but you can’t seem to bond with them. This is because hedgehogs are naturally solitary. Moreover, a new environment can also make them feel uneasy.
Hedgehogs don’t trust, so bonding is hard at the beginning. But why lose hope when we’re here? We’ve 6 great ways to get your pet to like you. So, let’s not wait anymore and jump into it.
Trust us, if you try these ways only for 30 minutes daily, your connection with your pet will be stronger than ever.
1. Through Touch
A hedgehog recognizes the difference between a caring and threatening touch. You can use your handling time to get closer to your spiny friend. But don’t wear gloves, as it won’t help your hedgehog understand your touch.
Here’s how you can get started:
- Wash your hands properly.
- Pick up your hedgehog by placing your hands under its belly.
- Let your pet relax on your hand and unroll slowly.
- Lastly, pet them from head to toe to avoid getting stung by a quill.
2. Through Sound
Talking to your hedgehog can help them get used to your voice. But there are some things you should consider. You shouldn’t speak too loud but rather in a soft and calm voice.
We advise you to avoid introducing many sounds to your hedgehog at once. When you speak to your pet, turn off your TV or sound system playing loud music. It will only scare them. But you can play a soft melody, keeping them in a relaxing mood.
3. Through Scent
Hedgehogs have poor eyesight. So, how do they survive? Well, they have a strong sense of smell. They can recognize and pick up odors and act likewise. The best way to bond with your hedgehog is to get them familiar with your scent. It’s not hard, but it may take some time.
- Place your used T-shirt in your hedgehog’s cage. Before doing that, make sure you don’t wash it and it doesn’t have any loose threads.
- You can also place a fleece blanket in the cage after you have slept on it for a few days.
- You must be careful when applying new lotion, soap, or perfume because the scents will be new to your hedgehog. If your pet does like the new smell, they will anoint, and if they don’t, they will get grumpy and irritated, leading to a bite.
- You can also place them on your lap. It will have room for them to play and relax while allowing you to pet them.
4. Through Playtime
Don’t try hard; instead, try being smart! Make a place for your hedgehog to roam safely and just sit with them. Let your hedgehog come to you and explore. Your little friend will try to climb you, so you should let them. This will help them bond and understand you aren’t a threat.
You can also place your hands on the ground to let them come to you and smell you. To make this process easier, you can provide your hedgehog with their favorite treat. Throughout this playtime, look for any changes in behavior and their reason.
5. Through Sleeptime
Sleeptime bonding is a great way to get your hedgehog to like you. All you need to do is place them carefully on your lap with a fleece blanket. Now you can spend time on your laptop or just watch your favorite TV show.
We know it’s not possible to resist petting your adorable hedgehog. But it’s important that you don’t. Let them unroll and explore by themselves. Some hedges may take more time than others to relax, so be patient.
6. Through Treats
No one can resist a delicious treat, nor can your pet hedgehog. Try feeding them treats from your hand. It will help them feel safe around you. But do not let them lick your hands because they might mistake you for food. Then, later on, they might develop the habit of biting your hand.
Hedgehog Fun Facts
You now know the common personalities of hedgehogs and ways to make them like you. Next, we want to get on board some hedgehog fun facts. We found three facts to be fascinating and surprising. We think you will enjoy it too.
1. Hedgehog Quills Don’t Come off Easily
Many people confuse a hedgehog with a porcupine because of the spikes. Well, you should know that porcupine’s spikes come off when they attack; you may have seen them in many cartoons. On the other hand, hedgehog’s quills stay intact and only shed off during the quilling process.
2. Hedgehog Ball Formation Is Impossible to Unroll
You have seen your hedgehog turn into a spiky ball for protection. This formation is the most compact and tight ball among all the animals. Unless you want to be stung, leaving them alone is better.
3. Hedgehogs Prefer Other Animal Burrows
Although hedgehogs can dig their own hole, they prefer other empty or vacant burrows to hide. This is because their shelter isn’t deep enough.
We get asked many questions daily about hedgehogs—some from the owners and some from curiosity. We would love to tackle some frequently asked ones here. Here are three FAQs we like to answer.
Are hedgehogs spiky?
Yes, hedgehogs are spiky. Any animal with quills is spiky, and you can get injured while touching them. Even young hedgehogs’ quills are sharp.
Do hedgehogs shed?
Not really. Well, hedgehogs shed their baby quills during the quilling process once every year. If your hedgehog is abnormally shedding quills, contact a vet immediately.
Why does my hedgehog hiss at me?
Hedgehogs are protective of themselves and also very shy. They don’t like opening up to anyone. If your hedgehog is hissing at you, they still don’t know properly. So just give them some time and wait patiently.
Now You Know Everything!
We hope you know everything after reading the article. Just like you took the time to read this article, have the patience to get your hedgehog to feel comfortable. We know you’ll love and care for them properly.
If you need any more help, you know where to find us! Leave a comment if you want to reach out to us. We’re happy to help. Have a fabulous day ahead!
I am Dana McQueen, a Veterinary Doctor who studied Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida. For years, I have got common questions from friends and family about their pets. So, I decided to open up this website and answer all those frequently asked questions. Alongside, here I share my expert knowledge about pet care, pet health and the animal environment.