Last Updated on December 11, 2022.

The following is a list of things to observe both in selecting a hedgehog as a pet and as a way to identify potential problems with your pet.


  • Check their eyes to make sure they are bold, clear, round, and bright.
  • The eyes should be wide open.
  • The eyes should not be watery or sunken or dull.
  • They should not have any discharge or matting of the fur around the eye.


  • he hedgehog’s nose should be moist and clean.
  • It should not be dry, bubbly, or running.
  • Keep in mind hedgehogs have an excellent sense of smell so their nose is likely to be busy sniffing you or the air to check out its surroundings.


  • Your hedgehog’s ears should be clean with no drainage or crustiness of the fur at the base of the ear.
  • There should be no flaking or “finger-like” projections on the outer part of the ear.
  • Some hedgehog babies may have ear damage that occurs during birth or at a young age. As long as the wound has healed a less than perfectly shaped ear should not affect its quality of life or health status.

Skin and Quills

  • Check the skin to make sure there are no:
    • abrasions
    • open wounds
    • lumps
    • bumps
    • excessive dryness
  • Missing quills or bare patches may be a sign of mites. Some colors of babies may appear to have thinner, less dense quills and may look a little bare when their spines are erect and still be perfectly healthy.

Underbelly Fur

  • The underbelly fur should not be matted.

Body Shape

  • The hedgehog’s body should be filled out through the back and sides.
    • Some hedgehogs have a streamlined appearance, but their skin should not be loose and they should be filled out below the ribs.
    • Other hedgehogs are plumper but they should not be so fat that they cannot easily roll into a ball.


  • Breathing should be regular with no wheezing or signs of stress. Do not confuse the normal hedgehog huffing for the rattle of a respiratory illness.
  • Notice the amount of food and water consumption from the previous night and has the hedgehog gained or lost a significant amount of weight.

Bowel Movements

  • The hedgehog’s bowel movements should be similar in color to the hedgehog’s food. Green droppings or diarrhea are signs of illness and stress.

Movement and Gait

  • Your hedgehog should move freely without limping, wobbling, or dragging their feet.
  • A hedgehog’s normal gait will create a “pitter-patter” sound.





Contributors:  Gail Smith, Melissa Ramos





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