May 27, 2013 by


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, 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

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