Last Updated on August 23, 2022.
There are several ways to prevent biting. This knowledge will help prevent any chances of your hedgehog biting.
- Always wash your hands and rinse them well before handling your hedgehog.
- Some soap may smell nice to your hedgehog and encourage licking and nipping, so always be sure to rinse well. You may have to try various soaps if you find that they have a preference toward the taste.
- Do not handle food or any other pet before handling your hedgehog.
Avoid Hand Feeding
- Hand feeding treats may cause your hedgehog to associate your skin with food and may encourage biting.
- Feeding tongs and syringe feeding treats are ways to bond and give treats without sending your hedgehog the wrong message about your fingers!
- See our Hedgehog Treats article for more information on syringe and tong feeding.
- When your hedgehog begins to lick, open your hand until it’s completely flat. Gently move your hedgehog around in your hands away from the targeted spot. It will be harder for your hedgehog to nip flat hands or a moving target.
- Always stay relaxed and calm when handling your hedgehog.
- If you are in a hurry, agitated, or frazzled your hedgehog will pick up on your mood and feel insecure- which could lead to a bite. Make sure you are focused on your hedgehog and in the right frame of mind when you are handling them.
- If your hedgehog tends to be a biter, you can use this idea from the “Hedgehog-faq:” “Purchase an inexpensive pair of work gloves and rub your hands briskly on the outside of the gloves (or sleep with them for a night) This is to get your scent all over the gloves. Put on the gloves and pick up your hedgie and hope it bites! Then push back into their mouth – not too hard, but firmly.” This will help the hedgehog associate biting you with something unpleasant while, at the same time, saving your skin!
Pay Attention to Your Hedgehog’s Needs
- When your hedgehog appears tired, afraid, or stressed, simply allow your hedgehog to snuggle in a hoodie pocket, a jacket next to you, or in a sleeping bag while you are holding it..
- Hedgehogs that appear frustrated or are trying to get down may need to burn off some energy. Allowing your hedgehog to climb on you or explore a play area may help them feel better.
- One way to bond with your hedgehog better is to allow them to become very comfortable with your scent.
- An easy way to do this is to sleep in an old T-shirt, a snuggle bag, or a piece of fleece for several nights so that the material is heavily scented with your smell.
- Tip: A quick trick is to have small pieces of fleece that you can tuck into your clothing so that this bonding can start right away.
- Give these items to your hedgehog and allow him or her to sleep with them.
- You can pick your hedgehog up with larger items like T-shirts, snuggle bags, or a larger fleece hedgehog blanket.
- Our friend Coley Emde states that she uses white mint Tic Tacs when handling her baby hedgehogs as a form of scent bonding and she recommends them to families who are purchasing a hedgehog from her, so that when their babies go home it can help familiarize them with the scent they are already used to.
Contributors: Gail Smith, Melissa Ramos, Holly Payton