Why Do Hedgehogs Bite? Reasons & Prevention

Hedgehogs are usually peaceful animals and they don’t usually bite, however, they have teeth that they can use. The best way to prevent a hedgehog from biting is to comprehend why they bite and how to handle the situation if it occurs.

These little mammals may learn biting as a great way to get their needs met, so ensure not to reward them or put them in their cage immediately after biting. In this article, you’ll find out all there is to know about hedgie bites.

Reasons Why Hedgehogs Bite

If you get bitten by your pet hedgehog, the first step is to understand why it is doing it. There are multiple reasons why a hedgehog will bite. Here are the most popular reasons why hedgehogs bite:

– Aggression

Hedgehogs don’t usually bite as a major form of defense. When they are frightened, defensive, or scared, they mostly curl in a ball after raising their spikes.

However, if they are in a situation, when they feel they can only avoid the danger with biting, they will actually use their teeth. Aggression is not very common among hedgehogs, but in some situation they can become aggressive.

– Discomfort

A hedgehog may bite to communicate discomfort, stress, or tiredness. A hedgehog that is quilling may bite due to discomfort. Some hedgehogs dislike nail polish and may bite polished nails. They won’t stop biting until the polish is completely removed.

Some hedgehog owners report that their pet tends to bite most smokers. Some will bite when you hold other hedgehogs. Furthermore, some hedgehogs may bite after playtime while you are taking them back to their cage.

– Curiosity

Hedgehogs can also bite due while exploring their surroundings. They will occasionally bite in an attempt to get accustomed to their owner and their surroundings. It’s a way of learning or differentiating between acceptable and unacceptable hedgehog behavior.

It works the same way other animals and young children will use their teeth on different non-food items out of curiosity.

– Taste & Smell

If something smells good to hedgehogs, they will want to taste it. It is a common instinct in almost all animals. Hedgehogs will sometimes lick sugar or other tempting items off your hands.

Generally, it’s not recommended to allow them to lick. Just like children licking a lollipop, it’s only a matter of time before they’ll start crunching. A hedgehog can bite after licking an item, not as a form of meanness but a progression of curiosity.

How to Prevent and Stop Your Hedgehog From Biting?

Try handling the hedgie at different periods during the day. They may have a time when it’s easier for them to relax and play with you.

Ensure to clean your hands before coming close to them. Lotions, hand soap, and food may have a tempting smell to a hedgie.

Watch for sensory overload signs. Some hedgehogs don’t like the company of many people but might be fine being around just a few numbers of people.

Does Hedgehog Bite Hurt?

Hedgehogs’ teeth are fairly small and suited to crunch mainly insects. They are not as effective as the big carnivore canines or the typical rodent incisors. While their typical bite may not feel good, it doesn’t cause any excruciating pain. Imagine a cricket crushing power!

The extent of hurt you feel is determined by the reason the hedgie bit you. A bite that says, “I wonder if it’s edible” won’t hurt you as much another bite saying, “I’m really angry with you”.

A bite on your arm or the soft skin between your fingers will hurt more than a finger bite. Bites from hamsters and other rodents are bloodier and more painful than hedgehogs.

What to Do If Your Hedgehog Bites?

Although there’s no foolproof way to train a hedgie not to bite, figuring out its reason for biting will help determine your response or next step to take. The intensity of pain experienced can also determine your reaction.

– Say NO to Biting

Hedgehogs get scared when they hear loud noises, so creating one can help discourage bad acts. A loud “NO” can possibly distract your little hedgie. You can scream, he’ll, or dance around to create an awareness that biting isn’t acceptable behavior.

This training method is more effective on hedgies that trust you than a new pet that is just getting to know you.

You can combine the “push” method with the loud “NO” to reinforce your message. You can also combine noise with the “blow” method.

– Blow In Its Face

Blowing in your hedgehog’s face is another great solution. A puff of air in the hedgie’s nose will typically force it to let go.

For more effectiveness, you can make multiple forceful blows up their nose in a row. You can also combine this method with the “Push” and the Noise method.

– Push It Away

We naturally pull away when reacting to a bite, but it encourages the little animal to follow your movement while holding on tighter.

Instead, push your hand or finger towards the hedgehog to push its head back, and its jaw will open. This backward pressure might be uncomfortable, but it’s not painful, and it forces the hedgie to relax or open its jaw.

Most animals dislike their throats being exposed; hence, they’ll typically release their grip to drop their head down.

This method is effective in training kittens, ferrets, and puppies as well. Several health workers are trained to supply the method with patients too.

– Stimulate Its Smell

If your hedgie bites and isn’t willing to release its grip, you can put it under running water. Hedgehogs will typically release their grip and look around at an instant stream of water. Some hedgehog owners suggest using cotton wool or a cloth to apply alcohol or vinegar to their nose.

However, I don’t recommend the method, perhaps causing the hedgehog even to bite more. Besides, the hedgehog might have stopped biting by the time you reach the alcohol.

What You Should Not Do if Your Hedgehog Bites You?

You should never reward or offer your pet hedgehog a treat after bites you. If you do this, you will get bitten again, because your pet will think, this is the method to get treats from you.

Also never offer your hedgehog food, in order to release your hand or finger from its jaw. This will also encourage your hedgehog to bit you again, in the hope to get food again.

Can You Get Sick From Hedgehog Bite?

Hedgehog bites can’t make you sick. If you get bitten, treat it like you would do to any deep wound that bleeds. Clean and bandage it. It poses no danger, though every cut exposes you to a risk of infection. But you’ll be fine as long as it’s cleaned.

Wrapping Up

Nobody wants a biting pet; hence, you can improve the enjoyment you get from your hedgehog more by training it not to bite. It may take some weeks to teach your pet hedgehog to behave, but the result will be rewarding.

avatar Noah
I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets. read more...

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