Are Hedgehogs Prickly?

Are Hedgehogs Prickly

Do you ever find yourself wondering if hedgehogs are prickly? It can be hard to tell, as these small mammals with their round bodies and sharp spikes may appear to have a soft surface. In this article, we’ll investigate the truth behind hedgehogs’ prickliness – or lack thereof! We will explore why some people think that hedgehogs are not necessarily spiky, while others believe they are most definitely covered in quills.

By examining various factors such as behavior, appearance, and habitat of the animal, we’ll learn whether or not it is safe to pet a hedgehog without fear of being pricked by its needles. So let’s dive into the world of prickly critters and get to the bottom of this question: Are Hedgehogs Prickly?

Are Hedgehogs Prickly?

The answer to this question is complicated. While hedgehogs have quills on their bodies, they are not as sharp and spiny as those of other animals such as porcupines. However, the prickliness of a hedgehog depends on its age, size, and even its mood.

Young Hedgehogs

Hedgehog babies (called “pups”) are born with soft quills that are covered in fine hairs or fur. As they grow older, these quills become harder and more rigid while still retaining some flexibility. This means that younger hedgehogs may be less likely to cause injury when touched.

Moody Quills

Hedgehog spikes can also change depending on how the animal feels. If it is scared or threatened, a hedgehog will puff up its spikes so they appear larger and more intimidating—likely causing more discomfort if petted at this time.

Size Matters: Larger adult hedgehogs tend to have longer quills than smaller individuals; thus making them potentially sharper or more irritating if touched without caution.

The Danger of a Hedgehog Prick

Hedgehogs are cute, spiny mammals that can make great pets. However, their sharp quills can pose a danger to humans if they are handled improperly. A hedgehog prick is when one of the animal’s spikes penetrates the skin, causing pain and potential infection.

Preventing Hedgehog Pricks

To avoid getting pricked by a hedgehog, there are several measures you can take:

  • Always wash your hands before and after handling your pet.
  • Do not pick up your hedgehog from above – instead approach it from the side or below.
  • Handle your pet gently and carefully. Avoid squeezing too tightly as this may startle or frighten them into using their quills for defense.

Treating a Hedgehog Prick

If you do get poked by a hedgehog spike, there are steps you should take:

  • Wash the affected area with warm water and soap to reduce risk of infection.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin to the wound.
  • Cover the puncture with a bandage to protect from dirt and bacteria.

When To Seek Medical Attention for a Hedgehog Prick?

If any of these symptoms occur after being pricked, seek medical attention immediately:

  • Intense pain at site of puncture
  • Redness, swelling or warmth at site of puncture
  • Severe dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Headache
  • Itching or rash
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Are Hedgehog Thorns Painful to the Touch?

Hedgehogs are known for their spiny coats, which can make many people wonder if they’re painful to touch. The short answer is no, hedgehog thorns are not typically painful when touched by humans.

The quills of a hedgehog are actually made up of keratin and melanin, two proteins that give them their signature spines. They vary in size and hardness depending on the species, but most hedgehogs have softer quills than porcupine quills. This means that when touched lightly, most hedgehog prickles won’t cause pain.

However, it’s important to remember that hedgehogs may get scared or startled easily. If you handle your pet too roughly or without proper care and caution, their quills may become more rigid as a defense mechanism and could result in some mild discomfort.

Tips for Handling Your Hedgehog:

  • Be gentle: When handling your pet, always be sure to do so with gentleness and care. Rough handling can make them feel agitated or scared which can lead to their quills becoming more stiff.
  • Avoid holding by the quills: It’s best not to try and pick up a hedgehog by its back as this could hurt them. Instead use two hands to gently scoop under their bellies instead.
  • Wear protective clothing: If you’re worried about getting poked by your pet’s sharp spikes then wearing protective gloves or long sleeves is recommended!

Are Hedgehogs Prickly?

Hedgehogs are small mammals, native to parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. They have a distinctive spiny coat that helps protect them from predators. But are hedgehogs really prickly?

The answer is yes – but not as much as you might think! Hedgehog quills are made up of stiff hairs that lay flat against their bodies most of the time. When they sense danger, however, the quills stand up and form a tight barrier around the animal’s body.

While this can look intimidating to potential predators or humans trying to pet them, the quills themselves aren’t sharp enough to puncture skin. Instead, they feel more like bristles on a brush when touched.

Do All Hedgehogs Have Quills?

Yes – all hedgehog species have some kind of spines covering their backs and sides. The African pygmy hedgehog is one exception; these little creatures don’t have any quills at all!

Types Of Quills

  • Soft Quills: These are found on young hedgehogs who haven’t yet developed their full set of spikes.
  • Sharp Quills: As hedgehogs mature, their quills become harder and sharper which help them defend themselves against predators.

Hedgehog owners should be aware that while it’s safe for humans to handle their pets’ quills, they can still cause discomfort if handled too roughly.


In conclusion, hedgehogs are not prickly animals. In fact, their quills are soft and can be compared to a soft bristle brush. While they may appear spiky from a distance, it is only because of the way their quills lie flat against their body. Additionally, when petted or handled correctly, hedgehogs will become comfortable with human interaction and will even curl up in your lap for a nap! With proper care and handling, these small mammals make great pets for any home.


  • Frederick

    Frederick Faunce is an experienced and passionate hedgehog writer, blogger, and researcher. He has dedicated his life to understanding the conservation and care of hedgehogs, and is committed to educating and inspiring others to do the same.

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