Vocalization & Noise

Jun 7, 2013 by

Vocalization & Noise

Vocalizations

  • Hedgehogs have a wide range of sounds that they use to communicate. 
  • You must listen carefully and observe the hedgehog’s behavior to clearly understand what your pet is trying to communicate.
  • Different people can describe each noise that a hedgehog makes in different terms.
  • Some sounds require little or no attention on your part.   For example, the squeaking or chirping of new babies lets you know babies have arrived and as long as momma isn’t stressed there is nothing you need to do. 
  • Other sounds such as clicking or popping should be a clear sign to you that your hedgehog is in defense mode, and you need to change how you are handling your pet.

Chirping

  • This sound is also referred to as “squeaking”.
  • This sound is often the first indication of new babies.
  • Leave your mother hedgehog alone if she is in her nesting box. If you hear this sound and your hedgehog does not have a nesting box, you’ll want to give the new mother a box right away. Be sure to disturb her as little as possible when she has newborn young.
  • This sound can also be an indication of male hedgehogs breeding and trying to court a female hedgehog.

Clicking (Kissing Sound)

  • This soft clicking sounds similar to kissing.
  • Some hedgehogs do this when they are happy and content!

Clicking (Popping)

  • This sound is an aggressive/defensive sound that is made when a hedgehog is trying to defend itself due to fear or irritation.
  • Never intentionally provoke your hedgehog to make this sound.
  • It is best to avoid behavior that elicits this sound form your pet.  Your hedgehog might be so scared that touching it will make it more scared.

Grunting

  • This sound may be a sign of contentment.

Hissing

  • This sound is an aggressive/defensive sound that is made when a hedgehog is trying to defend itself due to fear or irritation.
  • It may sound like a chainsaw or a motorboat.

Huffing

  • This is a sign of irritation, annoyance, or uncertainty. 
  • Hedgehogs usually make this sound when they hear someone or something that is too close in proximity. 
  • Hedgehogs might huff and puff, but they will not blow your house down!  They are simply trying to tell you to back off and give them some space.

Popping

  • This may sound like a grunt or growl.
  • This sound is an aggressive/defensive sound that is made when a hedgehog is trying to defend itself due to fear or irritation.
  • Never intentionally provoke your hedgehog to make this sound.
  • It is best to avoid behavior that elicits this sound form your pet.  Your hedgehog might be so scared that touching it will make it more scared

Puffing

  • This is a sign of irritation, annoyance, uncertainty, displeasure or distrust. 
  • Hedgehogs usually make this sound when they hear someone or something that is too close in proximity. 
  • Hedgehogs might huff and puff, but they will not blow your house down!  They are simply trying to tell you to back off and give them some space

Purring

  • This sound is a sign of contentment.
  • You know your hedgehog is truly enjoying your company when you hear this sound.

Screaming

  • This sound is something that you never want to hear because it is a sound of pain or extreme fear.
  • This sound can be an indication of a fight between hedgehogs.
  • Accidental injury, such as getting a leg caught, can also be a cause for this sound.
  • Hedgehogs have been known to make this noise in their sleep with no apparent cause as if they are having a hedgehog nightmare.

Singing

  • This strange sound is part of the mating ritual.

Sneezing

  • This sound can mean displeasure and uncertainty when it accompanies a puffing sound.
  • This sound certainly can be a sign of illness, but some hedgehogs are simply trying to have a hedgehog “conversation” with you or are simply checking things out.

Snorting

  • This sound is a sign of displeasure, irritation, annoyance, or uncertainty.
  • This sound typically accompanies puffing. 

Snuffling

  • This sound can normally be associated with a hedgehog that is happily exploring his surroundings.

Squeaking

  • This sound can also be referred to as “chirping”.
  • This sound is often the first indication of new babies.
  • Leave your mother hedgehog alone if she is in her nesting box. If you hear this sound and your hedgehog does not have a nesting box, you’ll want to give the new mother a box right away. Be sure to disturb her as little as possible when she has newborn young.

Squealing

  • You may hear this sound when a fight is about to occur between two hedgehogs.

Wheezing

  • Certainly this sound can be a sign of illness, but some hedgehogs are simply trying to have a hedgehog “conversation” with you or are simply checking things out.

Whistling

  • This is a sure sign of contentment!!
  • You know your hedgehog is truly enjoying your company when you hear this sound.

Noise

Relatively Quiet

  • Hedgehogs won’t disturb neighbors in an apartment.
  • They don’t bark or squawk and aren’t likely to make any more noise than a hamster running on its wheel and banging its water bottle. 
  • You are likely to hear a hedgehog crunching on its food, but they don’t eat a lot so it shouldn’t last long!

Nighttime Activity

  • Hedgehogs are pets that are primarily active at night.
  • Hedgehogs have been known to rearrange cage furniture during the night.
  • They might bang on their water bottles.
  • They might engage in climbing and the subsequent falling (which should be avoided through cage modifications).
  • Hedgehogs might also scratch at a Sterilite ® tub wall to escape.  Shelley, at Beach Bum Hedgehogs, advises that you can avoid this ritual by keeping a ventilated lid on the cage. They learn that escape is just not going to happen!

Wheeling

  • Hedgehogs will run on their wheels, which might cause some minimal noise.
  • There are ways to cut down wheeling noises such as well lubricating the spindle of a Comfort Wheel with Vaseline and using a wheel with a bearing such as a Flying Saucer wheel.

Contributors:
Nicole Belval, formerly of Prickly Pair Hedgehogs; Shelly Fowler, Beach Bum Hedgehogs; Susan Crocker, Susan’s Hawkeye Hedgies

References:
Hedgehog Bottom Rescue (Creator). (2012). What the Heck is that Noise [Audio file]. Retrieved from http://www.hedgehog-rescue.org.uk/sounds/noises.php

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