Senses: Motion & Emotion Detection

Jul 23, 2013 by

Senses: Motion & Emotion Detection

Motion Detection

  • Hedgehogs are very good at detecting motion around them, even when they are rolled into a ball or cannot see. 
  • Hedgehogs will often perceive movement as danger unless they are completely relaxed with their surroundings. 
  • A sleeping hedgehog (or a hedgehog trying to go to sleep) may display it’s annoyance of movement, even if it knows the cause of the movement.
  • For instance, if you are in the dark you can sense movement even if you cannot see what is moving.  A good example is a haunted house – you are naturally afraid when something moves close to you until you can distinguish between the unknown and a friend.
  • Hedgehogs will raise their quills when they sense movement to protect themselves.  They are naturally defensive until they are convinced they are safe.
  • It is human nature to want to reach out and touch a hedgehog when it is sleeping or curled into a ball in it’s cage. What we might consider touching, a hedgehog considers a poke, and it will almost always raise it’s quills with a huff and puff, resulting in a prick to the poking finger.
  • Proper handling can help prevent the automatic fear when being picked up.

Motion Detection Related to Handling

  • First and foremost when you are attempting to pick up your hedgehog – just do it.  Don’t reach in and have “false-starts” in picking it up.  Your movement around the hedgehog will cause it to huff and puff in protection.
  • Pay close attention when petting your hedgehog. Always start your petting motion from the tip of the nose and move toward the tail. 
  • Take care not to approach from the side or behind.
  • Hold your hedgehog in flat hands. When your hands are cupped the hedgehog can sense something around it rather than sitting on a flat surface.

Emotion Detection

  • Hedgehogs, like other animals, are able to sense the fear, nervousness, or confidence of the humans handling them.
  • Hedgehogs have a tendency to act more nervous if they sense you are nervous and will relax more quickly if you are calm.

Author:  Gail Dick, Millermeade Farm’s Critter Connection
Contributor:  Susan Crocker, Susan’s Hawkeye Hedgies

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