For most pet owners, having an animal friend that can do well both inland and water is a blessing. It is rare in animals, and those small-sized ones are fun to watch while they swim. Some of those few animals that can swim in the water, and walk on land, are the hedgehogs.
Hedgehogs are the pet you can keep everywhere, be it in the deserts and forests. You don’t need to train these animals to swim every time you go out swimming because these animals are not required to swim. A typical hedgehog would only play in their running wheel, eat, and roam around whenever they like to. So, instead of spending time on swimming lessons, you can focus on other things that matter and would benefit your hedgehogs.
Are Hedgehogs Good Swimmers?
Can hedgehogs really swim? Hedgehogs are great natural swimmers and they swim very well. It is proven by the experts in the field indicating that these cute creatures can float and move in the water. They can run and swim up to 2 kilometers per night to search for food. Creeks and rivers make perfect places for hedgehog swimming parties because they need a ledge to get in and out of the water.
However, if you have a domesticated hedgehog and you decided to bring him to the pool, it will be difficult for your pet to reach and climb the ledge because of a high-sided structure. You have to keep an eye on your mini companion as an unexpected incident is possible.
When we have a pet, the constant principle that we have to do is to know all about their habits, capabilities, care, and diet. Learning doesn’t stop when you have a companion. Since having a pet is a long-term commitment, you should give your complete dedication. You are likely curious about everything when you have a pet.
Like when you have hedgehogs, you become eager to know what makes them happy, sad, and enjoy. You don’t have to force them to do the things they are not capable of as you are applying pressure to them. It makes your pet hedgehog respond negatively. If you like to swim and thinking about bringing your cute little pet with you, then a hedgehog is the right for you.
Are Hedgehogs Afraid of Water?
During their first time, it is normal for the hedgehog to be afraid in the water. These little pricky pets may even poop and pee in the water because of nervousness. You don’t have to worry about their reaction as it is natural and only from the start.
Once they get used to the water the whole time, you will always see them playing comfortably. However, since it is your pet’s first time, you have to consider the water temperature. Hedgehogs are not ready for cold water during day one. You have to introduce them first to the lukewarm water.
During bath time, pour the lukewarm water into the kitchen sink or bathtub. They also like to spend time relaxing. That is why some owners prefer to use the laundry sink as it is easier to change water than in the bathtub. It also lessens the risk of dirty water as it is away from where you prepare the food.
Hold your pet by its belly and slowly put it in the lukewarm water. Give your pet hedgehog time and space to relax. The next thing you will see is the surprising swimming skills they will execute as they are getting used to it.
Although hedgehogs are swimmers, never leave them alone in the water. Look and observe while they are enjoying the water. They will have a hard time recovering from an incident when something tragic happens, and it can result in a permanent trauma whenever they are in the water.
Can Hedgehogs Float in Water?
Wild and domesticated hedgehogs can float naturally. Thanks to their strong quills, they can roam around the water as they practically do in their cage or the wild. Their quills have air-filled chambers making them effortlessly float.
All they need to do is to roll themselves like a ball, and just like how they do it whenever they are ready to defend themselves. The air-filled cavities in their quills are responsible for their floating habit. These animals are probably one of the cutest you will see whenever they execute their floating exhibition in the water.
A study claims that when a hedgehog floats in the water, they try to convey to everyone that they need space and time to relax alone. Whenever your pet feels stress, this kind of relaxation is a must to ease the worries away and to get back on the right track. As the owner of these animals, it is your task to guide them.
Whether they are in the water or not, hedgehogs need supervision from their owner. In this way, they would feel special as they have someone like you whom they can count on and can entrust their life.
Stay with them while they swim. Provide something that will enable the hedgehog to climb onto the pool and so that your pet won’t experience a hard time leaving the pool once satisfied.
Can Hedgehogs Drown?
So, is it possible for hedgehogs to encounter an incident in the water? Unfortunately, they can also drown in some instances. These creatures are one of the animals that can swim but can drown. You may see them enjoying and playing around, but there is always a chance of something unexpected that may happen, and the consequences aren’t worth the risk.
Although hedgehogs are excellent swimmers that can swim 2 kilometers, it is still not safe to leave these little guys alone in the water. Just because they look comfortable around the water and can spend their time swimming doesn’t mean they cannot drown.
Some hedgehogs can drown in the bathtub. Sometimes, the bathtub has no sides because of its rounded shape. When your pet feels that they should get out of the water, probably because they feel satisfied already, your pet will search for a ledge to climb. If they don’t find anything, they might lose their balance and struggle big time. They can get tired quickly and begin to feel weak if you are not present in the actual situation. Worst, it can result in their unexpected death.
Another one is in domesticated garden ponds. Your little pet can drown for a simple reason. A reason that is hard to accept because you have no one to blame but yourself for being careless. There are objects or unnatural sides that can harm your hedgehog. It can be the reason why they drown. Slipper plastic liners, overhanging brickwork, and steep sides are some of the many insurmountable barriers to a hedgehog.
Taking Care of Your Pet Hedgehog
When you have a hedgehog at home, you must treat the pet like your own. Like humans, they also have their needs, likes, and dislikes. It is your job to figure it out. The goal of having this adorable creature is to give them the life they deserve.
You don’t have them just because you are bored. You probably have a reason why you choose hedgehogs as your pet out of other popular domesticated animals.
Indeed, when you tell everyone that you have a pet hedgehog, people would find it unusual. They expect something like dogs, cats, parrots, and they only see hedgehogs as just a typical wild animal. When taking care of these little animals, you have to know the level of their sensitivity. Find a source where you can have a complete guide in raising a hedgehog.
For their shelter, provide a spacious cage but avoid wire grate cage bottoms as their little feet can get injured if they fall through these grates. Change out regularly soft recycled paper material bedding or towels for the benefit of their sensitive feet.
When they have a cage, they should have toys in it. A running wheel is a toy used for their exercise. Make sure it is clean to avoid foot infections. If they fail to get the amount of exercise they need, they may become overweight, feel depressed, and develop foot sores. You should support this activity as this is the way they become more and more healthy.
Food Bowl for Hedgehogs
It is necessary to put a food bowl, hide box, and water bottle as well. You have to consult the vet for the nutrients they need throughout the day for your pet’s diet. The recommended foods are those high in protein (30 to 50%) and low in fat (10 to 20%).
Since hedgehogs do not groom or clean themselves with water like some animals, you are in charge of bathing them frequently though others seldom need one. It helps them to relieve dry skin. Experts recommend using water only, but most hedgehog owners use batch products to clean and soften the skin.
Generally, hedgehogs can swim. But they do not need to swim for survival. They can survive their entire life without even swimming. Some hedgehogs don’t like to swim because their body doesn’t like the water temperature.
Like when you bring home a hedgehog from African deserts, it is expected that they will need some time to get used to this routine. It’s not hard to convince them to swim even though they never try it once in their lifetime.
You may probably think that swimming is an essential activity for your pet. But in reality, it is not. This activity has nothing to do with a need to survive. It is just that some owners would intentionally take their pet to swim because they like to see this little-adorable creature spend time efficiently and enjoy the water as it is an occasional therapeutical for hedgehogs.
If you have spare time to take your hedgehog for a swim, then this could be a perfect bonding time for both of you. Always be careful and keep your eyes on them. Ensure that your pet can get out of the water under your supervision when they got tired.
Hezekiah is a pet lover since birth, according to his parents. He started writing for the Pets Checklist in 2020. He is fond of playing with and taking pictures of different friendly animals around his neighborhood. He loves to read and write articles about pets, science, and music.