- Hedgehogs often scratch a bit when they first wake up or after they are handled.
- One might compare this scratching to fluffing out a “bed head” hairdo.
- Hedgehogs’ skin may also feel tight or need to be scratched when their spines are out of alignment.
- Some hedgehogs scratch when nervous or exploring. Again, you may see this habit in humans.
Quilling and Dry Skin
- Quilling also can cause scratching because new spines working their way through the skin cause discomfort.
- Dry or dirty skin can also cause scratching.
- A bath and olive oil treatment (or our skin care oil) should help alleviate both these problems.
- Check out the Quill Loss and Quilling, Dry Skin, and Bathing Your Hedgehog articles for more information on these topics.
- People typically think first of mites when they see their hedgehogs scratching.
- If you believe that the cause of scratching is only mites, look out for other signs of mites:
- Loss of quills with flaky roots rather than healthy root bulbs.
- Visible mites or mite droppings.
- Scratching enough to leave marks.
- A trip to the vet may be necessary if excessive itching continues or if you are sure your hedgie has mites.
- Check out the Mites & Other Ectoparasites article for more information on this topic.
Contributor: Jamie Hand