Do Hedgehogs Stink?

Do Hedgehogs Stink

Hedgehogs are one of the cutest and most beloved pets out there, but many people wonder – do hedgehogs stink? People often associate small animals with a certain odor, however this is not necessarily true for all pet species. In this article, we will discuss if hedgehogs have an unpleasant smell, what causes it and how to prevent it. We will also explore other aspects of hedgehog care that can help ensure your pet stays clean and healthy. Read on to learn more about these charming creatures!

Do Hedgehogs Stink?

The short answer is no, hedgehogs do not usually have an unpleasant smell. This is because they are naturally clean animals and groom themselves regularly. The only time a hedgehog may emit an odor is when their cage or bedding becomes dirty and soiled, which can happen if the pet isn’t properly cared for.

Causes of Odor in Hedgehogs

If a hedgehog does begin to smell, this could be due to various causes such as:

  • Dirty bedding – If your hedgehog’s bedding isn’t changed often enough, it can collect dirt and become smelly.
  • Poor diet – Feeding your hedgehog unhealthy foods like processed snacks can lead to digestive problems that cause odor.
  • Dental issues – Poor dental hygiene or gum disease can also give off foul odors.

Preventing Odor in Hedgehogs

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep your pet smelling fresh:

  • Clean their cage regularly – Make sure you replace old bedding with new material at least once a week. Also be sure to spot-clean any messes daily.
  • Provide proper nutrition – Give your hedgehog healthy food options such as insect larvae, fruits, vegetables and nuts. Avoid sugary treats or processed snacks.
  • Check teeth regularly – Have your vet examine your pet’s mouth every few months for signs of decay or other dental issues.

The Pros of Keeping a Hedgehog as a Pet

Hedgehogs make unique and fun pets. They are generally low-maintenance, quiet, and easy to care for. Here are some of the benefits of having a pet hedgehog.

  • Low Maintenance: Hedgehogs need minimal exercise; they’ll be content with just running around their enclosure or cage several times each day. They don’t require extensive grooming and can even clean themselves like cats by licking off dirt and debris from their fur.
  • Quiet: Unlike other animals that might bark or chirp when excited, hedgehogs tend to stay quiet unless startled or threatened. This makes them ideal if you live in an apartment or have close neighbors.
  • Affectionate Bond: Hedgies form strong bonds with their owners quite quickly. With regular handling, your hedgie will become comfortable being held and cuddled.

The Cons of Keeping a Hedgehog as a Pet

There are also some drawbacks to keeping a hedgehog as a pet. Consider these disadvantages before making the decision to get one:

  • Expense: Hedgehogs cost more than most other small pets due to their specialized diets, cages, bedding, toys, etc. It’s important to consider how much money you’re willing to spend on your new pet before taking the plunge.
  • Limited Lifespan: While hedgehogs can live up to 7 years in captivity with proper care, they typically only live 3-4 years due to genetic diseases caused by inbreeding in captivity.
  • Time Commitment: Owning any pet requires time commitment but especially hedgehogs since they need daily interaction from their owners so they don’t become lonely or stressed out. If you work long hours, then this may not be the right pet for you.

The Unpleasant Aroma of Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs are cute and cuddly animals, but they can also produce a rather unpleasant aroma. This odor is due to the animal’s natural bodily secretions, as well as its diet of insects, worms and other small creatures. The smell may be more noticeable when the hedgehog is frightened or agitated.

What Causes the Smell?

The main source of the smell comes from the hedgehog’s sebaceous glands, which secrete an oily substance called sebum. This secretion helps to keep their fur healthy and waterproof. However, it also produces a musky scent that some people find off-putting.

In addition to this, hedgehogs have anal glands located near their tail area which release a strong-smelling fluid when they are in distress or feeling threatened. This fluid is used to communicate with other hedgehogs and mark territory.

Dietary Habits

The type of food consumed by a hedgehog can also affect its smell. Insects, worms, snails and other small animals form part of their regular diet and these can add to any existing odors.

  • If your pet has access to wild prey such as slugs or mice, then this could make them particularly smelly.
  • Feeding them fresh vegetables will help reduce any smells coming from dietary sources as these contain fewer proteins that break down into smelly compounds.
  • It’s important to ensure that your hedgehog has enough water available at all times since dehydration can exacerbate any existing odors.

Tips for Reducing Odors in Your Pet Hedgehog

Hedgehogs are a popular pet choice, and they can be relatively low maintenance compared to other animals. However, one issue that some hedgehog owners have is odor control. Here are a few tips to help reduce odors in your pet hedgehog:

Clean the Cage Regularly

A clean cage is an essential part of keeping odors under control. Make sure you are cleaning the cage regularly – this includes scrubbing down all surfaces as well as changing out bedding or litter as needed.

Provide Ample Bedding Options

It’s important to provide ample bedding options for your hedgehog so that it has somewhere comfortable to sleep and play. Be sure to choose materials that are absorbent and easy to keep clean. You may want to consider using natural fabrics such as cotton or wool which can help absorb moisture from urine and feces.

Keep An Eye on Diet & Nutrition

The type of food you feed your hedgehog can have an impact on odor levels. Stick with a high-quality diet that is balanced and complete, avoiding any processed foods if possible. Mealworms, crickets and other live insects should also be fed sparingly since they can produce more odorous waste than dry food. Be sure to check with your veterinarian about dietary recommendations for optimal nutrition and health.

Bathe Your Hedgehog Regularly

Regular bathing can help reduce odors by removing dirt, debris, oils and even bacteria from the skin. Make sure you use lukewarm water (not hot) when bathing your hedgehog so that its delicate skin won’t be damaged. Using a gentle shampoo specifically made for small animals will help keep their coat soft and free of odor-causing bacteria.


In conclusion, hedgehogs do not typically smell bad. While it is possible for the animals to develop an unpleasant odor, this is usually caused by something other than their natural body scent. Owners can help prevent any foul smells from developing by providing a clean environment and taking proper care of their pet. With regular grooming and attention, your hedgehog should remain odor-free!


  • 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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