We can all agree that hedgehogs are among the most adorable looking animals in the world – but some people often claim that hedgehogs are dirty animals, and they might carry diseases.
As a result, many will avoid hedgehogs and look down upon them when they’re out and about. But should you be doing that? Are hedgehogs actually dirty, disease carriers?
We’ve written this article to clear that up for you. So, if you’d like to know if hedgehogs are actually dirty and carry diseases – read on!
What’s The Truth?
The reason there’s such confusion over this is that the answer is yes and no. We’ll look at both of these areas; dirty and diseases.
Are Hedgehogs Dirty?
While hedgehogs aren’t “dirty” because they frequently clean themselves, they can cause their surroundings to be dirty with their own waste.
This however, is only usually due to humans keeping them in a small enclosure or because of their natural response to fear.
When a hedgehog runs and is frightened, they will often urinate and if they do this in their enclosure on a hamster wheel for example, their waste can go all over their enclosure.
Hedgehogs in the wild though will generally keep their surroundings relatively clean, or they will move on.
The next area of contention is whether hedgehogs carry diseases, so let’s examine that.
Do Hedgehogs Carry Diseases?
Unfortunately for our prickly friends, they are known to carry with them zoonotic diseases.Zoonotic means they can be transferred to humans, so it makes sense that some people have become wary of hedgehogs.
Some of these diseases include:
- Foot and mouth
However, a hedgehog’s hygiene and likelihood of carrying these diseases can be reduced by following certain advice.
How To Look After Your Hedgehog
To keep your hedgehog clean and healthy and reduce the risk of contracting these potential diseases, here are some tips for you.
Keep Their Enclosure Clean
It’s critical that you keep your hedgehog’s enclosure clean. Frequently clean out their waste from their cage and make sure that any food bowls or water dishes are kept clean as well.
Keep The Hedgehog Clean
Every couple of months, it’s a good idea to bathe your hedgehog with soap and warm water. Ensure that the soap is not too strong for their skin though.
Avoid Kissing Your Hedgehog
Hedgehogs may still be carrying diseases even when they are clean, so be sure that you’re not putting your face too close to them, as much as you want to give them a kiss!
It’s wise to use gloves when you’re handling them and always wash your hands thoroughly after you do.
Feed Your Hedgehog Right
A good diet and large enclosure for exercise can keep your hedgehog healthy and reduce their likelihood of diseases. It’s also important to feed them fresh vegetables and fruit each day.
Ensure That You Keep Them Safe From Other Animals
If you live in an area where predators may be around, then you need to ensure that your hedgehog has protection from them. This could mean using a protective box or building them a den.
Not only does this keep them safe from the obvious, but it means that other illnesses cannot be contracted from other animals.
Visit The Vet For Checkups Regularly
Your vet should be able to check your hedgehog regularly to see how they’re doing. They’ll be able to tell you what their health needs are and advise you on how best to care for them.
They can also help you identify any problems that your hedgehog may have before they get worse.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that we’ve cleared up if hedgehogs are dirty and if they carry diseases, here are some other common questions that arise when it comes to owning a hedgehog.
Can My Hedgehog Live With My Rabbit/Hamster?
Yes, they can co-exist peacefully together. However, it’s recommended that you don’t allow them to share the same enclosure at all times.
If you do decide to house them together, then it’s advisable to separate them into different cages.
Do I Need A Cage For My Hedgehog?
No, you don’t need a cage for your hedgehog. They will happily live in an enclosed space such as a shed or garage. Just remember to provide plenty of toys and places to hide.
What Is The Best Way To House My Hedgehog?
The ideal way to house your hedgehog is in an enclosed space such as a shed or garage. This will protect them from outside elements.
Make sure that there’s enough room for them to move around freely.
How Often Should I Bathe My Hedgehog?
You should bathe your hedgehog every 2 weeks. Soap and warm water should be used to clean them. Be careful not to overdo it though, as too much soap can cause damage to their sensitive skin.
Always remember to rinse off the soap and dry them after they’ve been bathed. You can use a hairdryer on a low heat setting which can help.
Are Hedgehogs Social Creatures?
Yes, they are social creatures who enjoy being with one another. They love to play and interact with one another.
So, if you have another hedgehog friend – they will absolutely love to be together.
What Do Hedgehogs Eat?
Hedgehogs eat a wide variety of foods including:
- Some pet foods
Is There Anything Else I Can Do To Help My Hedgehog?
You can help your hedgehog by providing them with lots of toys and hiding spots. Also, try to avoid giving them food treats that contain nuts, because they can choke on them.
Hedgehogs aren’t necessarily dirty, but they can be, and they may carry diseases which can be transferred over to humans.
Therefore, it’s critical that you follow the advice above to try to reduce the risk of them getting diseases and reduce the risk of you personally contracting one of their diseases.