Can Hedgehogs Hurt You?

Can Hedgehogs Hurt You

Hedgehogs are adorable, spiny critters that have been popular pets for decades. But is it safe to keep one as a pet? Can hedgehogs hurt you? This article will examine the potential risks of owning a hedgehog and provide advice on how to handle these animals safely. We’ll also look at whether or not they can transmit diseases to humans and other animals. Finally, we’ll discuss what precautions should be taken when handling hedgehogs in order to ensure both human and animal safety.

Can Hedgehogs Hurt You?

Hedgehogs are generally not aggressive animals and they do not typically hurt people. However, like any animal, hedgehogs can become scared or defensive when handled incorrectly or if they feel threatened. It is important to be careful when handling a hedgehog so as to avoid injury.

Potential Risks of Handling a Hedgehog

The most common risk associated with handling a hedgehog is the potential for getting pricked by its spines. Although their spines aren’t particularly sharp, it is still possible for them to break off in your skin which can cause irritation and/or infection. Additionally, some people may experience an allergic reaction after coming into contact with a hedgehog’s fur or saliva.

It’s also important to remember that hedgehogs have powerful jaws and teeth that could potentially cause bite wounds if provoked. Therefore, it’s best to always handle these animals carefully and cautiously using appropriate gloves or other protective gear when necessary.

In order to minimize the risk of being injured by a hedgehog, you should:

  • Wash Your Hands: Before and after handling your pet, make sure you thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Handle Gently: When picking up your pet, use two hands and support its body from underneath instead of grabbing at its quills.
  • Avoid Stressful Situations: If your pet seems frightened or agitated by something (e.g., loud noises), put it back in its cage immediately so as to reduce the risk of being bitten.

Are Hedgehogs Dangerous to Humans?

The short answer is no. While hedgehogs have the potential to harm humans, they rarely do so in a malicious way. In fact, many people find them to be quite loveable and make great pets.

Hedgehogs are relatively docile animals that do not generally attack humans or other animals unprovoked. They may become defensive if threatened or scared, but this behavior is usually limited to hissing and snorting as well as puffing up their spines.

If handled correctly and given proper care, hedgehogs should pose no threat to people. That being said, there are some important safety considerations you should keep in mind when interacting with these creatures:

  • Groom Carefully: Hedgehog quills can break off easily if mishandled or roughly groomed. It’s best to use a soft brush when grooming your pet to avoid any accidents.
  • Wash Hands After Handling: Hedgehog saliva contains bacteria that can cause illness in humans if ingested or applied directly onto broken skin.
  • Keep Quills Away From Eyes: Although unlikely, it’s possible for hedgehog quills to become lodged in the eyes of both humans and pets. Be sure to keep these sharp objects away from faces while handling them.
  • Avoid Biting: It is possible for hedgehogs to bite if provoked or frightened. Make sure you handle your pet gently and carefully.

Understanding the Potential Consequences of Hedgehog Spikes

Hedgehog spikes are sharp, poisonous spines that hedgehogs use for protection from predators. While these spikes can be a great deterrent to potential attackers, they can also cause harm if handled improperly or when in contact with human skin.

Physical Injury

The primary risk associated with handling hedgehog spikes is physical injury. The spines can easily penetrate the skin, causing cuts and puncture wounds. In some cases, these wounds may become infected and require medical attention.

Allergic Reactions

In addition to physical injuries, hedgehog spikes have been known to cause allergic reactions in humans as well. These reactions vary in severity but can include rashes, swelling and itching. Some people may even experience anaphylactic shock after coming into contact with hedgehog spikes.


Hedgehog spines are coated with a toxic substance that causes irritation upon contact with human skin or eyes. If the toxin gets into an open wound or makes direct contact with mucous membranes such as those found inside the nose or mouth it could lead to poisoning.

Preventing Injury from Hedgehog Spikes

  • Handle carefully: When handling hedgehogs it is important to do so gently and cautiously; be sure not to squeeze too tightly as this could cause their spines to prick you.
  • Wear protective clothing: It is recommended that you wear thick gloves and long sleeves while handling a hedgehog in order to protect yourself from accidental injury.
  • Avoid direct contact: Whenever possible try to avoid any direct contact between your skin and the hedgehog’s quills; if you must handle them directly then be sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
  • Seek medical attention: If you experience any signs of an allergic reaction after coming into contact with hedgehog quills then seek immediate medical assistance.

Do Hedgehogs Bite and How Painful Is It?

Hedgehogs can bite, although it is not common for them to do so. The main reason why hedgehogs bite is when they are scared or feel threatened. If a hedgehog has been handled too roughly or if its habitat is disturbed, then it may react by biting.

A hedgehog bite can be quite painful due to the sharpness of their teeth, but usually only causes a minor wound. However, there are some instances where a more serious injury may occur from a hedgehog bite if left untreated.

How To Minimize The Risk Of Being Bitten By A Hedgehog

  • Handle your pet gently and calmly. Move slowly and avoid sudden movements near your pet.
  • Provide plenty of space for your pet to move around in its cage/enclosure.
  • Avoid using gloves when handling your pet as this could cause them to feel threatened.


In conclusion, hedgehogs may not be the most cuddly of pets, but they can certainly make great companions. Although it is possible for a person to receive an injury from a hedgehog, it is highly unlikely and generally preventable with proper handling techniques. With their unique personalities and array of colors and patterns, hedgehogs are sure to bring joy into any home as long as owners handle them with care and respect.


  • 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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