Last Updated on August 27, 2022.

Bed Head

  • 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 of 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 hedgehog has mites.
  • Check out the Mites & Other Ectoparasites article for more information on this topic.

Contributors: Gail Smith, Jamie Hand, Melissa Ramos

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