What Do Hedgehogs Do When They Are Scared?

Hedgehogs are small creatures, and there’s a lot that scares them. Unlike cats and dogs, which have been kept as pets by humans for centuries, hedgehogs are somewhat newly discovered.

Most people don’t see them as loving animals because of their spikes.

However, if you are interested in keeping a hedgehog as a pet, you need to know what scares them and how they react to the stimuli. Hedgehogs act like turtles when they feel scared.

They retreat into themselves to hide from predators, so don’t take it personally.

Remember: Hedgehogs are wild animals. They have a solitary nature and don’t usually enjoy company. As a pet, they need to be nurtured and loved.

The only way a hedgehog will remain calm around you is if it trusts you won’t cause any harm.

What Are Hedgehogs Generally Afraid Of?

Hedgehogs are afraid of everything bigger than them. From human beings to animals and even objects, frighten them.

They even get startled by sudden movements and loud noises. This behavior can be quite problematic if you have young children or other pets in the house.

As a result, the chances of the hedgehog hurting itself can be high.

What Do Hedgehogs Do When They Are Scared?

When scared, hedgehogs curl up into a ball to protect themselves. It’s an instinct that helps them feel secure and safe.

In this position, their spines are out at attention, which shields them from predators and other threats.

It’s important to remember that you should never touch a hedgehog in its curled position.

The spines will injure you badly and prevent you from trying to uncurl them because this will hurt the hedgehogs.

At first, the hedgehog will make a hissing sound to scare away the predator.

If it still feels threatened, it will try to bite the predator. After taking the necessary precautions and seeing them not working, the hedgehog will curl into a ball.

Despite these tricks, a hedgehog is still vulnerable to attacks.

Since it is small, it might get crushed or stepped on. Hence, you need to be careful when taking care of hedgehogs.

What Scares Hedgehogs?

Hedgehogs get scared easily when they sense danger. Their timid nature is due to being isolated in their habitat for long periods.

They are always on alert to ensure they don’t get trapped by wild cars, birds of prey, and snakes.

Hence, they hide in dark places when the danger is too big.

Even when there’s no one nearby and an unfamiliar object, such as a toy, makes a loud noise, they seek refuge.

You probably think that this means hedgehogs don’t like human contact.

That’s not true! All they need is a little time to adjust to their new environment, and they will be comfortable with you.

Don’t forget to offer them treats so they can develop a bond with you.

Animals Hedgehogs Are Afraid of

A few natural predators of hedgehogs include foxes, mongooses, wolves, cats, owls, and rats.

Amongst these, cats are the least threatening, and it’s possible that the two animals might become friends. Rats, on the other hand, hit close to home.

Rats usually hunt for hibernating hedgehogs. They attack them, chewing at their legs and biting their throats.

If the hedgehog manages to escape, they usually die because of the wounds. This is why you need to keep your hedgehog away from any openings that might lead them to the following:

  • Dumpsters
  • Sewers
  • Areas where there’s lots of trash
  • Around swimming pools
  • Places where you know rats congregate

Calming a Scared Hedgehog

If your hedgehog is scared, grumpy, or anxious, you need to give your full attention to calm it down. This process requires commitment and can be time-consuming.

Hedgehogs can recognize a soothing voice. While they are not intelligent animals, they do have the power to communicate with their owners.

Hedgehogs show affection in different forms. For example, some owners say that their hedgehog likes to lick their faces.

When a hedgehog is uncomfortable, it tries to bite or nibble its owner’s fingers. When content and happy, it makes a low purring sound. For new pet owners, here are some tips on how to calm down your hedgehog:

  • When your hedgehog curls into a ball, pick them up gently with a towel. Wrap the towel around your hand and lift it from the side. Flip it in your hand so their belly is facing upwards. At this point, your hedgehog might hiss at you and try to wiggle away because they feel exposed. So, make sure your grip is secure
  • Place your hedgehog in a dark place, away from any noise. If your hedgehog has bonded with you, you can hold them close to your chest
  • If the hedge still tries to wiggle away, something has scared them good. It’s better to put them in a cage and cover it with an old t-shirt that has your scent
  • After the hedgehog has calmed down, give it a bath with warm water. Hedgehogs like to be stroked with a toothbrush, so start there

Earning a Hedgehog’s Trust

Whether you are buying a hedgehog from a breeder or local pet shop or adopting one from your garden, they are still wild animals.

So, you might have your hands full with a very angry and stressed hedgehog at first.

As mentioned earlier, it will take time for you to bond with the animal. However, if you are lucky enough to get a baby hedgehog, you won’t have trouble taming it.

Older hedgehogs are seasoned. They have seen the world and know the threats out there. On the other hand, a baby hedgehog hasn’t had the time to socialize.

So, you might get a trusting, playful, and curious hedgehog.

An Irritated Hedgehog Is an Angry Hedgehog

Your puffed-up hedgehog is trying to communicate that it’s angry and better to leave it alone. Just like humans, animals also need time and space to calm down, and hedgehogs are no exception.

It’s possible you disturbed it while it was sleeping or took away its toy or treat.

You need to be aware of a hedgehog’s natural rhythm. Since it’s a nocturnal creature, you will find your hedgehog active at night and sleeping during the day. So, the best time to bond with it is during the evening.

  • To bond with your hedgehogs, get them used to your smell. Hedgehogs have bad eyesight, so they rely on smell. You could spritz your favorite perfume on you when playing with them. This will help them recognize you through your scent.
  • Try holding it with your bare hands. This might sound a bit scary, but as long as you are gentle, you don’t have to worry about it spiking up.

Final Word

In conclusion, a hedgehog might not be the friendly pet you are looking for, but with time and patience, it can become a loyal and playful one.

This might go against pet training rules but try to lure it with treats and then strengthen the bond with love.

If your hedgehog still curls into a ball in fear, use your touch to soothe it. Make a place for them in your home with no light so that they can retreat to it when frightened.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What noise does a hedgehog make when scared?

When scared, a hedgehog may make a hissing or clicking sound. They may also curl into a tight ball as a defensive mechanism.

How do you know if your hedgehog is scared?

There are several signs that can indicate if a hedgehog is scared.

These include curling into a tight ball, hissing or making a clicking sound, puffing up their quills, hiding or trying to escape, and even biting or nipping if they feel threatened.

It is important to approach hedgehogs slowly and gently and to give them time to get used to their environment and new people before handling them.

Do hedgehogs shake when scared?

Yes, hedgehogs may shake when they are scared or stressed. This can be a sign of fear or anxiety. It is important to provide a comfortable and safe environment for hedgehogs to help prevent stress and fear.

Do hedgehogs bite when scared?

Yes, hedgehogs can bite when they are scared or feel threatened. However, it is not a common behavior and most hedgehogs will only bite as a last resort if they feel cornered or in danger.

It is important to handle hedgehogs gently and with care to avoid scaring them and to prevent any potential biting incidents.

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