- 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, this is a habit you may see in humans.
Quilling and Dry Skin
- Quilling also can cause scratching because it is uncomfortable when the new spines are working their way through the skin.
- 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.
- Mites are the first thing people typically think of when they see their hedgehog scratching.
- If you are sure that the cause of scratching is only mites, be sure to look out for other signs of mites.
- Signs of mites include:
- Loss of quills with a flaky root rather than a healthy root bulb
- Visible mites or mite droppings
- Scratching and itching to the point where the hedgehog leaves marks on its body.
- A trip to the vet may be necessary if excessive itching continues or if other signs and symptoms of mites accompany the scratching.
- Check out the Mites & Other Ectoparasites article for more information on this topic.
Contributor: Jamie Hand