Does It Hurt To Hold A Hedgehog?

Does It Hurt To Hold A Hedgehog

Holding hedgehogs is a fun and exciting experience, but many people have wondered whether or not it hurts them. Hedgehogs have sharp spines all over their body which makes it difficult to tell if they are hurt when being held. In this article, we will explore the answer to this question – does it hurt for a hedgehog to be held? We’ll look at what causes discomfort in hedgehogs, how you can safely pick up and hold a hedgehog without hurting them, and some tips on how to keep your pet happy and healthy while handling them.

Does It Hurt To Hold A Hedgehog?

No, it does not hurt for a hedgehog to be held. Hedgehogs have sharp spines all over their body which can make them appear uncomfortable when being handled, but this is just a natural defense mechanism. With proper care and handling, you can pick up and hold your pet without causing any discomfort or pain.

What Causes Discomfort in Hedgehogs?

Hedgehogs are very sensitive animals and they can become easily stressed with too much handling. This stress can cause them to curl up into a ball as a defense mechanism. Additionally, hedgehogs also have very delicate skin that may become irritated if they are held too tightly or scratched by the quills on their back.

How You Can Safely Pick Up And Hold A Hedgehog Without Hurting Them

  • Place one hand under the middle of the body while supporting its head and neck with other hand.
  • Gently scoop up your pet from underneath so that its quills do not come in contact with your hands.
  • Hold your hedgehog close to your chest for support and comfort.
  • Be sure to keep a firm grip so it won’t escape but don’t squeeze too hard – you should be able to feel its ribs but not see them through its fur.

The Pros and Cons of Holding Pet Hedgehogs


  • Hedgehogs are generally low maintenance pets, as they require minimal grooming, exercise and attention.
  • They have a relatively long life span compared to other small animals, with some living up to 8 years.
  • Hedgehogs are quite clean creatures that do not need their bedding changed often; once every two weeks should be enough.
  • They are fairly quiet animals that rarely make any noise unless scared or excited.
  • Hedgehog owners enjoy watching their pet explore its environment and interact with its toys.


  • Hedgehogs can carry salmonella bacteria on their skin which may spread to humans through contact.
  • Keeping hedgehog cages clean is important in preventing the spread of harmful bacteria.
  • Hedgehog care can be expensive due to the specialized diet they require, veterinary visits and equipment needed for proper housing.
  • If not handled properly, hedgehogs may bite or scratch when startled or frightened.
  • They’re nocturnal animals so they will be more active at night than during the day, making it difficult for owners who work full-time jobs to spend time with them.

Tips for Safely Handling a Hedgehog

Hedgehogs are beloved pets, but they can also carry certain diseases that can be passed to humans. To ensure both your safety and the hedgehog’s, here are some tips for handling them safely:

Wash Your Hands After Handling The Hedgehog

Before and after handling any hedgehog, you should always wash your hands with warm soapy water. This will reduce the risk of transmitting any germs or bacteria from yourself or the hedgehog to another person.

Calmly Handle The Hedgehog

When you handle a hedgehog, be sure to approach it calmly and allow it time to become accustomed to being held. If it becomes overly agitated or begins squirming too much, gently put it back in its cage. A stressed out hedgehog is more likely to bite or scratch.

Keep The Hedgehog In Its Cage

Whenever possible, keep the hedgehog inside its cage when you’re not actively playing with it. This will ensure that the animal stays safe from harm as well as reducing the risk of spreading any potential illnesses.

Be Careful Of Their Spines

Hedgehogs have sharp spines along their backs that can easily catch onto skin and clothes. When picking up a hedgehog, make sure you do so very carefully so that these spines don’t get caught on anything else.

Provide Plenty Of Toys

To help keep your pet entertained while inside its cage, provide plenty of toys such as chew toys made specifically for small animals like hamsters and guinea pigs. Not only will this give them something to do while they’re cooped up indoors but also helps prevent boredom which could lead to aggressive behavior.

Dangers of Handling Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs are generally very low-maintenance pets, but they can still pose some dangers if handled incorrectly. As with any animal, hedgehog owners should use caution when handling their pet to ensure the safety of both themselves and the hedgehog.

Salmonella Risk

Hedgehogs can carry salmonella bacteria in their droppings, even if they appear healthy. This means that any contact with the hedgehog or its environment could potentially lead to infection by this bacteria. It is important for people handling a hedgehog to practice good hygiene and always wash their hands after touching it.

Sharp Spines

The most obvious danger from handling a hedgehog is its sharp spines. These spines can easily puncture skin and cause pain or discomfort if not handled properly. Owners should wear gloves when picking up a hedgehog to protect their hands from injury.

Stressful Environment

Handling a hedgehog too much can be stressful for the animal and may cause it to become aggressive or ill over time. To prevent this, owners should keep interaction with their pet minimal unless absolutely necessary. Additionally, providing enough hiding spaces within its cage will give your pet places to escape if it feels overwhelmed by too much contact.

  • Practice Good Hygiene: Always wash your hands before and after you handle your hedgehog.
  • Wear Gloves: Wear protective gloves when handling your hedgehog in order to protect yourself from getting pricked by its spines.
  • Limit Contact: Keep interactions between you and your pet brief and infrequent in order to avoid stressing out your hedgie.
  • Provide Hiding Spaces: Make sure there are plenty of places where your pet can hide away if it needs some peace and quiet.


Overall, it is clear that holding hedgehogs is not an incredibly painful experience. Hedgehogs may attempt to defend themselves against being held by curling into a ball or making a loud noise, but this does not necessarily mean they are in pain. It is important to take necessary precautions when handling them, such as washing your hands before and after contact and providing them with plenty of space to explore. With the right approach and respect for their natural behaviors, you can enjoy interacting with these unique creatures without causing any harm.


  • 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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