How Does a Hedgehog Drink Water?

Small, spiny mammals of the Erinaceinae family, known as Hedgehogs, have distinctive drinking behaviors that set them apart from other animals.

They are nocturnal animals that have evolved to a variety of settings, including desert areas with possibly limited water sources.

It is crucial for hedgehogs’ overall health, especially those maintained as pets, to understand how they drink water.

The fascinating world of hedgehog drinking habits, including their anatomy, natural water sources, and drinking methods, will be explored in this article.

Understanding how they drink can help us better care for these cute animals and ensure they keep hydrated.

Understanding How a Hedgehog Drinks: Anatomy of a Hedgehog

Understanding the peculiar anatomy of hedgehogs is essential to understanding how they consume water.

Hedgehogs have a unique mouth anatomy that makes it easier for them to drink.

They have lengthy tongues and a long, narrow snout with a small mouth aperture.

A hedgehog uses its snout to sense the presence of water when it approaches a water source, like a puddle or a bowl of water.

They can find water even in poor light because of their strong sense of smell.

The hedgehog normally lowers its head and slowly approaches the water source after spotting it.

Hedgehogs use a different method than most animals; they don’t lap up water as most of them do.

They create a sort of “straw” by dipping the lower part of their jaw and tongue tip into the water.

They generate suction with the muscles on their tongues, bringing water into their mouths.

The water they have gathered can then be swallowed by pulling their tongue back into their mouth.

Wild Water Sources and the Environment for Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs need to stay hydrated; thus, they come across many water sources in the environment.

They are known to live in both dry and humid climates, and their natural habitat includes both forests and grassy areas.

Natural water sources like streams, rivers, lakes, and puddles are what hedgehogs largely depend on. Even in desert areas, they are adept at finding water.

Hedgehogs can benefit from rainwater accumulated in various natural depressions or plants during rainy seasons.

In addition, a sizable amount of the water hedgehog consumes comes from their food. Insects, bugs, snails, slugs, and even tiny vertebrates make up their diet.

These prey items frequently contain moisture, which helps the hedgehog stay hydrated.

Hedgehogs kept in captivity, including those kept as pets, need access to a clean, easily available water source.

Hedgehog owners should always provide them with access to a modest bowl of clean water.

As captive conditions may not provide the same water availability as their natural habitats, it is imperative to monitor their water intake to ensure they remain appropriately hydrated.

Understanding hedgehogs’ natural water sources enables us to mimic their habitat and provide for their needs while keeping them in captivity.

Giving these adorable critters access to fresh water is essential to their health and well-being.

How Hedgehogs Approach Water When Drinking

Hedgehogs are careful when they approach a water source. Since they are often cautious creatures, they could hesitate before entering the water to determine how safe the area is.

Hedgehogs naturally avoid prospective predators and may display this behavior even when being kept in captivity.

A hedgehog will lower its head and place its snout close to the water’s surface if it decides it is safe to approach it.

The hedgehog can detect the presence of water because of its excellent sense of smell.

Before choosing to drink, it may also test the water or make ripples with its front paws.

Water Consumption: Factors Affecting Hedgehog Hydration


Hedgehogs’ water intake can be considerably impacted by the moisture level of the food they eat.

Fresh fruits and vegetables and other foods with a greater moisture content can help people stay hydrated.

Environmental Factors

A hedgehog’s water requirements can be impacted by temperature and humidity levels.

Hedgehogs may need extra water in hotter, drier climates to make up for greater water loss and probable dehydration.

Activity Level

Hedgehogs with higher levels of physical activity, including running or playing, could need more water because they lose more of it through perspiration and panting.


A hedgehog’s water intake and degree of hydration may be affected by illness, diarrhea, or specific treatments.

To achieve sufficient hydration during such times, monitoring water consumption is essential.

Water Intake Enhancement: Advice for Hedgehog Owners

Hedgehog owners must enhance sufficient water intake to keep their pets hydrated. The following advice will assist in encouraging water consumption:

Supply Fresh Water

Check that your hedgehog has access to clean, fresh water at all times to avoid the development of bacteria; change the water in the bowl every day and clean it frequently.

Bowl Selection

Pick a bowl that is shallow, strong, and difficult to knock over. A stable dish reduces the clutter caused by water spills by hedgehogs.

Water Bowl Position

Put the water bowl somewhere your hedgehog feels safe and secure. Keep it away from their dining area and litter box to avoid infection.


Monitor how much water your hedgehog consumes. This might assist you in noticing any modifications in their drinking habits and address any potential hydration problems immediately.

Moist Meal Alternatives

Include foods high in moisture in your hedgehog’s diet. Along with their water intake, this may aid in achieving adequate hydration.

Keep in mind that various hedgehogs may have varied water intake and dietary inclinations.

You can ensure your pet is adequately hydrated and in good health by monitoring their actions and changing their water supply accordingly.

Potential Problems: Dehydration and Water-Related Diseases

Hedgehogs are very concerned about dehydration. Drinking insufficient amounts of water can cause a number of health issues and discomforts.

Hedgehogs can exhibit dehydrated skin, drooping eyes, lethargy, reduced desire to eat, and reduced urine output as indicators of dehydration.

Hedgehogs can have other water-related health issues in addition to dehydration.

In particular, if the drinking water source is unclean or polluted, hedgehogs may consume dangerous bacteria or parasites, resulting in digestive problems.

Fresh, clean water must be available to reduce the danger of such diseases.

You should speak with a veterinarian specializing in exotic pets if your hedgehog exhibits any signs of dehydration or if you suspect water-related health issues.

They can offer an accurate diagnosis and therapy that is catered to your hedgehog’s particular needs.

Conclusion: How Does a Hedgehog Drink Water?

Hedgehogs approach drinking water in a distinctive way. They employ a suction technique rather than lapping water like many other animals.

Hedgehogs produce suction to suck water into their mouths by partially submerging their lower jaw and extending their tongue.

Due to this adaption, they can sip water effectively while avoiding touch with possible pathogens.

For the health of hedgehogs, especially those maintained as pets, it is essential to comprehend their drinking habits and to ensure that they have access to safe, purified water.

We can ensure hedgehogs stay appropriately hydrated by monitoring how much water they consume and considering aspects like diet, ambient circumstances, and activity levels.

To avoid health problems associated with drinking water, keep an eye out for signs of dehydration, supply appropriate water bowls, and implement the required security measures.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

As hedgehog owners, we want to ensure that our pets are happy and healthy. Here are some frequently asked questions about hedgehogs and drinking water:

Do hedgehogs need to drink water?

Yes, hedgehogs need to drink water to stay hydrated and healthy. Although they can get some water from their food, they still require a fresh supply of water to drink.

How much water should I give my hedgehog?

The amount of water your hedgehog needs depends on its size and activity level.

A general rule of thumb is to provide a water dish that is at least 4 inches in diameter and 1 inch deep. Check the water dish daily and refill it as needed.

Can hedgehogs drink out of water bottles?

Yes, hedgehogs can safely drink from water bottles. However, some hedgehogs may prefer drinking from a dish. It’s important to clean the water bottle or dish regularly to prevent bacteria growth.

What kind of water should I give my hedgehog?

Hedgehogs can drink tap water or bottled water. However, it’s important to avoid flavored water or water with added vitamins, minerals, or electrolytes. These additives can be harmful to hedgehogs.

How can I encourage my hedgehog to drink more water?

You can encourage your hedgehog to drink more water by placing the water dish in a convenient location, such as near their food or sleeping area.

You can also try adding a small amount of unsweetened fruit juice to the water or offering fresh fruits and vegetables with high water content.

However, be sure to monitor your hedgehog’s water intake and adjust accordingly.

By understanding your hedgehog’s water needs and preferences, you can help ensure that they stay healthy and hydrated.

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