Some people seem to doubt when someone asked them to hold a hedgehog. These animals may be adorable, but you cannot deny the fact that they have some pointy spikes. It is one of the reasons why some think twice about handling a hedgehog. Fortunately, it is not like the quills of other vicious animals that are ready to attack anytime. But the question is, how can you handle a hedgehog properly? What are the steps to gently hold these pets?
During the nighttime, let your hedgehog sniff your hands. You can put your hands on their side and gently pick them up. When they start to get aggressive and fight back, give them space and time to adjust. Some first-timers typically experience handling aggressive hedgehogs since they are not yet familiar. But the most challenging part is only in the beginning. When they get used to you, they will give you the power to handle them and will rust no one but you.
How Long Can You Hold A Hedgehog?
You can handle your pet hedgehog for at least 30 minutes a day. However, it is much better to split up the time into 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening. First-timer hedgehog owners’ impression when handling their pet is all the same. They think the quills of this animal make them challenging to handle. They also even think that these pets are too sensitive. Sometimes, it is not the spike.
The mood of your hedgehogs makes you think twice if you can handle them. At first, it is natural that your pet will feel shy around you. Do not be in a hurry to pick them up. Give a couple of days until they get familiarize with the new home and your presence.
When you buy and get your hedgehog in your local pet store or some animal rescue organization, check their overall condition first. If you can see that your hedgehog is playful and active, you can gently grab them and put them in your hands.
Observe for a minute (but not too long) if they are comfortable around you. It will be the start of your bonding that would be beneficial for your pet whenever they socialize.
Steps To Handle A Hedgehog Properly
In able to handle your hedgehog, you must remember to be gentle at all times. There are situations when your pet will show you an attitude simply because they are not comfortable with how you are handling them. These little guys are way sensitive, and you need to be careful around them. They may be cute and adorable, but they tend to be quickly annoyed whenever they feel unsecured. You can easily see it just by observing how they behave.
1. Start It In The Evening
Since hedgehogs are nocturnal, they are most likely to be active at night. So, use it as an advantage and practice handling them gently during nighttime.
When you do this often in the morning or afternoon, your little guy might feel sleepy, making him short-tempered, and handling tasks would be impracticable.
2. Sniffing Method
Just like other animals, hedgehogs can sniff as well. It is their way of identifying people. When handling your pet, allow him to sniff your hands so that he will recognize you.
3.Getting To Be More Familiar
Place your hand palm side up, or you can corner your pet in their cage. They will feel free to move and walk onto your hands.
When you make these a habit, your pet will identify you as their master and comfortably move around you. It makes them feel safe and secured whenever you are with them.
4. Gentle Push Your Hands Underneath Your Hedgehog
Now that you got their trust, it will be easy for you to push your hands underneath your hedgehog. But, always keep in mind that whenever you are doing this, do it a gentle way.
You can put up bedding in your hand if you feel nervous about getting pricked. When they decided to roll like a ball, keep your fingers together.
5. Try To Cradle Your Hedgehog
Hold your pet or try to cradle him by placing your hand gently over his neck or back for safety. You can also put your hedgehog in your lap. This adorable creature will unroll once they feel safe and will begin to roam around.
6. Give A Tasty Treat
The owner should think wise when handling their hedgehog. These little pets likes to have eggs sometimes.
Whenever they see that their pet roll like a ball, prepare a mealworm, and offer the treat once they unroll. This approach is most likely essential as hedgehogs will think that it is good whenever picking them up because of the reward.
7. Let Them Roam Around Your Hands And Lap
You do not have to force your pet to move around with your presence when they feel comfortable. Hedgehogs will unroll from the ball and explore your hands and lap.
However, it still depends on their mood. Never attempt to touch your pet when they feel comfortable in their situation.
8. Avoid Touching Their Face
When trying to make your hedgehog relax, never attempt to touch their face as they do not like it.
The typical hedgehog will lay down its spines when it is relaxing. Once you see that their quills are flat, you can touch your pet where the spikes lay.
Bonding With The Hedgehog
Now that you have your hedgehogs, the goal aside from giving them the best possible care is to have the chance to bond with them. You and your pet hedgie must create an owner-pet attachment.
The more you spend your time with your charming little pet, the more they will grow to love and enjoy your presence, and the same goes with you. Since hedgehogs are naturally born with poor eyesight, they make bonding more challenging. As an owner, you must exert your effort, be persistent, and understand that your pet needs more time to cope-up with a situation, especially when you are trying to interact with them.
In the absence of their vision, bonding is still possible by using their other senses like hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching. Through the sense of hearing, you can talk with your pet. You can do this often while holding, bathing, and doing other activities that will help your hedgehog to be familiar with the sound of your voice with their comfort and convenience.
Since hedgehogs would like to receive their treats, perhaps you can prepare their favorite treats like mealworms, apples, bananas, and boiled chicken. Place the treats in your hand and let your pet grab the food. It would help them to remember you as someone who always prepares their treats.
To get used to your scent, place your t-shirt over the hedgehog cage. They will sense that it is your scent. Whenever you try to play with your pet, the hedgehog will easily recognize you through smelling.
You can bond with your hedgehog by simply holding him on your lap while watching television. You can also sit with your pet down on the floor and make sure that your little guy is safe. Do not try to touch your hedgie. Allow your pet to get to know you more on their own terms.
Importance Of Handwashing
Just like how you practice washing your hands before you eat, it is essential to do the same before and after handling your hedgehogs. Before anything else, you have to make sure that you already wash your hands using antibacterial soap with no signs of a sweet smell.
Why do we need to do it? Since hands are functional, it is also one of the dirtiest parts of our body. Remember that hedgehog is too small. Bacteria and dirt will quickly affect not only their hygiene but their health as well because of their sensitivity.
Hand washing protects you from possible biting or sniping. So, when you have a plain handwash soap with no extra smell of sweetness, your pet will probably assume that your hand is not as tasty as their treats. After you finish doing activities, it is essential to wash your hands. There are times that their quills might fall to your hand. It can be a threat to you if you accidentally sniff or eat the quill.
Time Of The Day To Hold Your Pet: Hold Your Pet Hedgehog
It is no big deal when you try to handle your hedgehog, whether in the morning or the evening. Hedgehogs can consider or accept the new phase of the routine. Some believe that morning is a perfect time of the day to handle their pet hedgehog as it is the only time that is convenient for the owners.
While others would likely hold and play their nocturnal pet at night. It all depends on their current mood and the availability of the owner. As an owner of these cute little animals, you must learn how they react and how they feel at the moment just by looking at them.
Allowing your pet to do everything on their terms is a good start for their daily activities. You can use your spare time whenever you see that they are enjoying what they do. A good mood can lighten up the chance that the handling process will be successful. Convincing them to wake up every morning will turn out to be a bad idea. That is the time when they are not active.
The chances are, they will only ignore you, and worst, they might bite you and throw tantrums. Hedgehogs are not socially active every minute of the day. You must understand their space and respect their alone time whenever they are still sleeping or relaxing.
Indeed, the best time to handle your hedgehog is during nighttime. These animals naturally woke up at night and became playful. They are one of the animals that starts their day during the night because they are nocturnal. But the good news is, these creatures can adjust slowly in your lifestyle if you put lots of patience when dealing with the process. Feed and play with your pet earlier in the day. You will be surprised when you noticed that they are getting used to being active during the day. The approach is only applicable to those owners who have night duties at work. However, it is still not advisable to do it as they naturally embrace nighttime.
How To Pick Up A Scared Hedgehog: Holding A Hedgehog
Before picking up your scared hedgehogs, you have to know first what makes them afraid in the first place. There are many reasons why and it is for you to find out. It may be because of loud noises, your presence (since it rarely sees you), uncomfortable nature, or it is also possible that if you have another household pet, your hedgehog may feel bothered. They have their defense mechanism, but your pet still needs you. After you discovered the root of the problem, place one of your worn shirts in his cage. Place it where he likes to stay at all times. It will make him feel that they are safe and secured because of your scent.
When you noticed that they are less afraid now, pick your pet and keep him somewhere away from disturbing noises. The loud sounds make them feel stress and scared. They supposedly live in a calm nature. Keep them warm with the way you handle your pet by gently touching them. You can bring your hedgie in your room to avoid other pets. Some animals can injure your hedgehogs. Close the door and make sure there is no one around except you and your adorable companion. Prevention is better than cure.
Two hedgehogs in one cage will make them feel uncomfortable, especially if they are same-sex. These animals should be alone in their shelter. The only way they can be together is when they are with their mother or in the process of breeding. Experts said that hedgehogs most likely do not feel any stress or fright when they are with their mother or mate.
Will The Hedgehog Prick Me?
Generally speaking, hedgehogs can prick you instantly. Picking up your pet doesn’t hurt nearly as bad as getting prick by their sharp spines. They only intentionally do it whenever you are acting aggressively towards them. It makes them feel threatened. Just because they have poor eyesight doesn’t mean they can’t detect movement as well. Their instincts are sharp as their quills as well. So, you have to be careful and observe your behavior towards them.
Fortunately, being pricked with a spine is nothing too serious. However, some people break out in hives after handling them because of their allergic reactions.
With that said, you have to avoid your hedgehogs when you see them upset as they can curl their head and feet under them and roll into a protective ball with sharp spines. Adults may not feel hurt, but young children may feel the pain due to low pain tolerance. For additional tips, teach your child to distance themselves to an upset hedgehog.
Do I Need Gloves?
Now that we know that hedgehogs can prick you sometimes, is it a sign that you should wear gloves when handling your pet? Because of their spines, people mistakenly think it is best to use a glove for safety purposes. However, it is not advisable to wear this handwear.
Your pet will not be able to smell you, and they can be frightened by the smell of the gloves that would result in your pet biting your hand. However, if you do not want to use your bare hands, you can use a piece of cloth or blanket as an alternative for gloves. You can get the t-shirt you already wore throughout the day as it carries your natural body smell.
Hedgehogs rely on their sense of smell since they have poor eyesight. Gloves use both organic and synthetic materials that can block the smell of your hands.
Wearing gloves may be a disadvantage for you as your pet will get confused about the scent. It is also essential to know that you should avoid hand lotion and perfumes as it will not help the hedgehogs recognize who’s exactly picking them up.
Final Thoughts: Hold Your Pet Hedgehog
For some, handling hedgehogs is not an ideal practice to do. Their sharp quills make people frightened. But, do not be too scared. Your pet’s spine is not barbed, and it is not the same with porcupine quills. There are few things that you can do to prevent the danger of mild injuries.
Do not pick up your hedgehog from above. When they roll like a ball in your hand, avoid laying your fingers in a way that could trap them. These animals are emotionally unstable and can quickly conclude that you are going to attack them. Consider nighttime as the time where you can handle and play with your pet. If you are a first-timer, place a towel or your t-shirt in your hand. Think twice before you lift your hedgehog quickly if you don’t encounter a bonding yet.
One of the essential bonding processes between you and your hedgehog is when you are holding him. Experts said that these animals are intelligent or fast learners. Once they smell your new lotion, hand sanitizer, and soap, it will be an ineffective tool for bonding. When cooking dinner, and you suddenly decide to hold your pet, do not be surprised if your hedgehog bites you. Since you didn’t wash your hands, they will be curious about your hand’s smell.
If you are cooking chicken, they would probably know as chicken are one of their favorite treats. A small creature like hedgehogs deserves handling gently. Consider your pet as a child that needs tender love and care from its parents. When you notice that they are acting strange lately, do not hesitate to consult the Vet as they are willing to execute their expertise in ensuring that they can bring back their hedgehog’s energetic attribute. Be protective and never let anyone handle your pet aggressively.
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.