- Each hedgehog will have its own personality. That personality can be shaped and molded through proper handling.
- The personality you see at the time of purchase may change and develop over time depending on how you handle your new pet.
- Most hedgehogs will be a little nervous when a strange person handles them or when they first wake up.
- The hedgehog should come out of a ball fairly quickly so that you can see its feet and nose. It may cover its forehead when it is nervous.
- You should be able to be visually inspect your hedgehog to ensure good health.
- Some hedgehogs will completely lay down their spines, while other hedgehogs may keep their quills somewhat erect due to nervousness.
- Huffing is okay because that is part of hedgehog nature and communication.
- The hedgehog should not click, jump, or pop. This behavior means that the hedgehog is trying to defend itself by threatening you.
- Keep in mind that most babies go home right around the time of their first quilling. This will make the hedgehog more agitated and uncomfortable than when it is not quilling.
- Choosing the right hedgehog for your pet can be hard. Every hedgehog has its own personality.
- There are several key things to keep in mind when you first meet your prospective hedgehog.
- Are they quilling? This may make even the sweetest hedgehog grumpy. It is often compared to a baby teething, and there skin will be very sensitive.
- Would they usually be sleeping right now? Being woken up can make a hedgehog scared, nervous, or grumpy.
- When you pick them up, how long does it take for them to uncurl (if they curled up at all)? Typically, if they are not quilling, you want a hedgehog that uncurls quickly [within a minute or so.]
- They are most likely scared. You are new to them and you have unfamiliar smells and sounds. You are also much larger than they are.
- Does the hedgehog look healthy? The main thing to look for is discharge. The hedgehog’s eyes should be clear, and its nose should be free of discharge (slightly wet is okay). The hedgehog’s fur should be clean looking [no discharge], and its ears should not look tattered or have a waxy buildup. Its breathing should not sound raspy.
- All of these things will affect your hedgehog’s current personality.
- Here are several very basic personalities:
- ‘Huffers’ – These hedgehogs are very vocal. Often they will curl up and/or huff for everything. [This is fine as long as they uncurl quickly, do not click, pop, or act in an aggressive manner.]
- ‘Runners’ – Typically they will not sit still. They are explorers who have to run everywhere and see everything.
- ’Couch Potatoes’ – These are “lazy” hedgehogs. Generally they will lounge around, love to eat, and will curl up and fall asleep when you pick them up.
- Keep in mind that you can have friendly hedgehogs from each of these personality categories and the categories can overlap.
- There are lots of personality traits not listed. Most importantly, your hedgehog’s personality is influenced by their routine, handling, health, and positive reinforcement.
- Hedgehogs like their owners, have different personalities.
Primary Author: Gail Dick, Millermeade Farms
Contributing Author: Amber Silvus [www.AEhedgehogs.com]