Taming your new hedgehog is the most important part of owning a new hedgy. Anyone who is a current parent or want to be one needs to have a look on this article where I explain the exact way you can do so.
I have taken my time to research all these after getting tons of questions. Make sure to read it completely to get a full grasp of things.
Can hedgehogs be tamed?
Hedgehogs can be tamed but not like other pets. You have to patient with a hedgehog are they are new to humans as species.
Hedgehogs are lonely animals and they rarely live in groups so to compare their processes to dogs who always hunt and live quite socially is absurd.
A hedgehog will take his time to bond with you and there are tons of other factors that determine how long the bonding will take.
There are surely some tricks through which you can speed up the process. Let’s talk about them.
How to tame a hedgehog?
The easiest way of taming a hedgehog is putting a used T-shirt in their cage. This way they will get acquainted with your scent and likely will not fear you at all. Another easy way is to avoid gloves and handle them with naked palms to make them more comfortable with your odor.
Some other ways can be:
- Playing with them daily. You can use toys like these to enhance their experience and make the task a lil bit more fun.
- Hedgehogs are great explorers and if you provide them amble space to roam around, they will clam down and take the new environment as livable.
- Use the car method. Herein you take your pet for a ride and when they get scared, you cling them to your bosom and they think you’re their mom or something.
- Give them treats like mealworms with your bare naked hands.
- Hold them daily to avoid unnecessary puffing and hissing when you want to hold them.
- Some people using soothing music to make a hedgehog friendly environment as well.
- Hedgehogs can get stresses by all night lighting. Hence a friendly setup can help as well.
- Always show confidence while handling your hedgy.
- You can use a bag or towel to take out your hedgehog. This way they have a feeling of safety.
Those tips were about normal run of the mill pet hedgehogs. What about wild ones? Can/should they be tamed?
Should wild hedgehogs be tamed?
Wild hedgehogs should not be tamed as this is both illegal and immoral. These are wild creatures and capturing them would cause immense harm to them,
There are other reasons as well:
- Wild hedgehogs are solitary creatures and they only get out either to mate or to eat. For them, the world is all about predators, mates, and food. You are neither of the 3.
- Wild hedgehogs also produce a lot more scent that pet hedgehogs as they need to attract mates from far away. They could make your house smell real bad.
- Wild hedgehogs carry fleas, ticks and various kinds of parasites. They not only can get ill in a home scenario but can also infect other pets.
- They are not legal in most countries and keeping them could lead to charges and even jailtime.
That is why there are only limited species of hedgehog, such as African Pygmy, which are advised to be kept as a pet.
The rules and regulation regarding taming or keeping wild hedgehog as pet differs from country to country. Thus, they are legal to a pet in some areas, and for some, they are not.
Is it illegal to keep a wild hedgehog?
In most parts of the US and Canada, it is illegal to keep or import wild hedgehogs. Besides them, UK does not allow you to keep or capture wild hedgehogs.  Australia and New Zealand also have similar laws regarding wild hedgehogs.
I emailed the British Columbia chapter of SPCA and the specialist officer there, Erin Ryan, told me that B.C does not allow keeping wild animals without a permit. And as hedgehogs aren’t native to Canada, the question of them being found in garden is implausible.
In any case”, the BC SPCA does not support the keeping of exotic pets,” she further noted.
If there are no legal restrictions against owning them, you can probably get a permit from your local authorities to keep them in that area.
How long does it take to tame a hedgehog?
A newborn hedgehog may take 1-2 weeks to get used to you, but an adult will likely require 3-4 hours of patient care and affection.
But be careful not to overdo it, as your new friend may bite if handled too roughly. Make sure that you are ready and willing before committing yourself.
There are some hedgehogs which would be quite hard to tame even if you apply all the required tricks with them.
Why are hedgehogs grumpy?
Hedgehogs are grumpy because they are solitary creatures who fear everyone beside themselves. They wither look around for a mate or a predator. There is no in between and hence they remain aloof to human connections.
Other reasons for grumpiness could include:
- Past bad experiences with humans who abused them.
- They could be suffering from some medical condition or hidden injury.
- They could be under severe stress from a new environment, a new noise, a new smell, etc.
Can grumpy hedgehogs be tamed as well?
Grumpy hedgehogs can be tamed but they may take more time than usual. You will have to put an extra effort in taming them as their nature and temperament often take time to change.
The grumpy ones can show signs of aggression and can bite their owners, but you should handle them with care and patience to get them tamed.
They might be more difficult to tame than the normal and peaceful ones, but there can be a few steps to help in easing that process.
How to tame a grumpy hedgehog?
- Keep bonding with them. You should try 30 minutes each day to play with your pet and handle them not matter how they behave.
- Hedgehogs cant ball up when they are in water. So you can take some time bathing them and start bonding with them there. But make sure the water isn’t cold as that could make your hog ill.
- Even when the hedgehog is not willing to be with you, you will need to increase the time you hold him. As he understands that he will have to cope with you, he will start behaving better. Don’t leave him till he stops hissing else you will reinforce that behavior.
- The same should be applied to balling. Don’t stop touching unless they get comfortable with your touches or starts coping with them. But do remember that sometimes this behavior can be because they are suffering from some disease and the doing this will increase their discomfort.
- Let them sit on you for as long as you can.
In case everything fails, you will have to keep trying and the pet is now your family. I have added more pointers as to how you can make the hog feel much better with you.
How do you get a hedgehog to trust you?
You can get a hedgehog to trust you by holding them daily with your bare hands, providing them delicious treats to eat and having quality time like reading books with them on a scheduled basis.
- Provide them treats
- Provide them toys
- Let them sit on you
How do you get a hedgehog used to being handled?
Getting used to hedgehogs requires having a strong bond between both of you, and to do that, play with and spend time with your hedgehog regularly.
The best way to start handling them is to take them out of their cage.
Don’t try holding them with gloves because they can harm you, just pick them up and hold them from under their arms.
Use one hand for each arm so that the hedgehog’s bottom is not hanging over the palm of your hand.
This will make the hedgehog feel secure and less likely to panic when you pick them up. Once they are used to being picked up, you can place the hedgehog on a blanket or pillow on your lap.
Don’t try to pick them up from the bottom, as they will struggle and possibly injure themselves as they thrash around.
The best way is to use a towel or blanket to calm them down. Place the hedgehog on the ground in its cage and place the towel or blanket over it for about 15 minutes.
The hedgehog will be more than likely be nervous at this point but will relax as soon as you pick it up and hold it, allowing you to examine their coat.
What if the hedgehog still hisses and bites?
If your hedgehogs keeps hisses and bites, get him checked up by a vet. Sometimes, these could be the signs of a disease or injury.
Other reasons could include:
- Usual solitary grump behavior
- Stress due to new environment
- Hasn’t bonded with you
- Is not able to get proper sleep
What are the signs of a tamed hedgehog?
Hedgehogs don’t like them touched at the forehead and they hiss and puff when you do so. If you can do so without the balling and the hissing them your hedgehog is tamed.
Other ways to understand:
- If your hog is willing to sleep on you, is relaxed and have his quills down when you approach him.
- He/she will be calm and let you clip the nails without any fuss.
- She/he may feel unease when around other people but will immediately get relaxed when you come back.
How do you calm a scared hedgehog?
You can calm a hedgehog by putting him under dim lightings or putting a towel over his cage. If he is frightened by you, you should keep away for sometime until he feels comfortable.
- Put the cage in a quite place where irritating sounds don’t bother him
- Keep him away from smells of predators to lessen the scare.
- Use lite music (optional)
How do you pick up a wild hedgehog?
Use the thick piece of clothes or light blanket to pick up your wild hedgehog into the arms.
What do hedgehogs do when scared?
The hedgehog tries to hide all other body parts inside the spine coat in their head.
Is it cruel to keep hedgehogs as a pet?
No, it is not all cruel to keep hedgehogs as a pet. But you should give them love and provide them the care they need.
Why does my hedgehog run away from me?
Hedgehogs run away when they get scared. If they don’t trust you yet, they can run away.