The Basics

Articles on basic care and considerations for new or prospective owners.

Vet/Health Care

Articles pertaining to health, nutrition, and veterinary care.

Breeding and Development

Articles and pictures about hedgehog breeding, growth, and development.

Advanced Care Issues

Articles for people who already own a hedgehog or want to know more than just the basics.

Colors

Learn more about  hedgehog colors!

Purchase a Hedgehog

Wondering where to buy a hedgehog? Start here!

Hedgehogabilia

Where to purchase hedgehog supplies and collectibles.

Our Herd

Meet the hedgehogs of Hedgehog Valley!

Other Critters

Meet the other critters that call Hedgehog Valley their home!

 

 

My Hedgehog Hates Me

Itís not unusual to hear new hedgehog owners be concerned that their hedgehog doesnít like them. Itís important to remember that hedgehogs have not been domesticated for very long (just over two decades) as compared to most other critters in the pet trade, so a lot of ďwildĒ behavior and fearfulness of new things  is not surprising. Even the friendliest of hedgehogs raise their quills sometime. If you own a hedgehog you WILL get poked.

To really enjoy hedgehogs, we have to sometimes make adjustments in our expectations. First, it isn't reasonable to expect that hedgehogs will seek out our company like a dog or cat. They just aren't wired that way. I have had a few who do that, but they are definitely in the minority. Some naturally friendly hedgehog babies become very cranky when they go through quilling (growing in adult quills)- which can take about one to four months to get done with. Some hedgehogs are just naturally cautious or fearful.

Please don't let this scare you off! Even shy hedgehogs have their strong points. It's not that they donít like you, itís that you scare them! It takes time to earn their trust and how they want to be interacted with.

One hedgehog that I had- a big guy named Dante who came from a breeder that I know worked with him a lot- came to me at age 1-1/2. He was so very shy that he almost never showed his face. The breeder repeatedly asked me, ďAre you SURE you want him?Ē I had fallen in love with his description and meeting him, rolled tightly to try to scare me away, only made me feel more determined to understand what he might need. It took about a year of working together for Dante to finally relax. I figured he wanted space, so I let him free range on the hedgie room floor. Iíd check to find him daily and talked calmly to him, making sure not to force myself on him. I didnít expect a whole lot, but eventually he started coming out on his own when I was in the room. Then he got to where he would come out and climb on peoplesí feet if they were in the room and would come climb in my lap when I would sit on the floor. He never did like fast movements, but he liked to feel warm and safe, snuggled in my lap.

Iíve had other hedgehogs who, like Dante, did not like to be picked up. To help them get used to me, I started slowly by talking to them and just putting my hand in the cage. They slowly learned to tolerate my presence and eventually came over, ducking and huffing, to check my hand. Next I work toward getting them to let me touch their nose, then working toward scratching under their chins. They still roll into a ball if I try to pick them up, but I enjoy them because I know they trust and appreciate me. I think they do like me- they just donít like being picked up.

Each hedgehog is unique and different. Those hedgehogs who are shy or afraid give us a challenge to find ways to interact that are enjoyable for both human and hedgie.

 
Antigone Means

Iola, KS

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Last updated by Tig on  11/11/18