Are Pet Hedgehogs Affectionate: Everything You Should Know

Hedgehogs are fascinating creatures that are solitary and timid by nature. 

However, if you’re curious to learn more about hedgehogs and what they’re like as a pet you might be curious to know: Are pet hedgehogs affectionate?

In this article, I’ll cover some key facts about hedgehogs, from whether they’re affectionate to whether they enjoy human interaction.

So, let’s get started.

Are pet hedgehogs affectionate?

By nature, hedgehogs are solitary creatures. Bearing this in mind if you are looking for a companion that is attention-seeking and very affectionate straight off the bat, then a hedgehog might not be the right choice for you.

They are not affectionate in the same way that you’d expect a dog or a cat to beg for attention or constantly follow you around like they’re your shadow.

Anyone thinking about adopting a pet hedgehog should know that it takes a lot of time and effort to get a hedgehog to tolerate being held. Similar to porcupines, hedgehogs have spiky, prickly quills that they use to fend off predators.

When they feel anxious or threatened, these spikes stand up as a defense mechanism, making these creatures difficult to handle.

That being said, as your hedgehog learns that you are not a threat to them, they will become friendlier with time. However, you’ve got to be patient with them and allow them the time to warm up to you!

Can hedgehogs show affection?

Hedgehogs are generally considered aloof animals. The average hedgehog is content to do its own thing and may not show any outward signs of affection. However, this is largely subjective and can differ between hedgehogs.

Hedgehogs have a reputation of not being too playful, and they need to be socialised from a young age to ensure that they have the best chance of becoming comfortable with you handling them. The more you socialise with your hedgehog, the more likely it is to become affectionate.

You have to do your part in building a relationship with your hedgehog to gain their trust. This is where bonding comes into the equation. Holding them up and allowing them to explore every day for 30 minutes to an hour is the least you can do to bond with your hedgehog. 

In the wild, hedgehogs are incredibly active creatures. As a result, you need to let them out of their cage and make sure that they are stimulated by allowing them to explore in a large, secure room. This will help to make sure that they are as happy and as healthy as possible.

Additionally, by providing them with safety and bonding with them during situations like bath time, your hedgehog will eventually warm up to you.

When a hedgehog begins to become more comfortable around you, they do show affection in certain ways as I explore below.

How do hedgehogs show affection?

Despite their somewhat solitary nature, hedgehogs can become very affectionate with their owners once they have been socialised. 

If a hedgehog trusts you, he is not likely to make a fuss when you try to hold him.

He will likely let you pet his head without too much trouble and he won’t hesitate to sleep on you either. Your hedgehog might even enjoy watching TV with you or just snuggling in your lap to take a nap.

Due to their spines, hedgehogs aren’t very cuddly animals. However, they can become very friendly and playful pets if you dedicate the time to bond with them.

It is important to note that hedgehogs are far from similar to dogs, and licking is not a sign of affection. It means that the hedgehog thinks that you smell interesting. Licking can lead to nibbling, and nibbling can lead to biting.

Although hedgehog bites are not that strong as they gain confidence, and you do not stop them in their behavior, they start biting harder and harder. As a result, you will need to stop your hedgehog from biting you to prevent them from penetrating the skin and causing an infection.

Do hedgehogs enjoy human interaction?

Hedgehogs do not typically come when called or actively seek out human interaction. 

Hedgehogs generally do not like to be petted or stroked. Some may allow you to do it on occasions like eating when they are enjoying their meals but will likely make a fuss after 5 or 10 minutes.

As I’ve mentioned above, hedgehogs are solitary creatures, so bonding or trusting doesn’t come naturally to them.

However, there are a few things you can try to gain their trust.

Give them time to adjust

Most importantly, you need to give your hedgehog the appropriate time to adjust to you. Unlike your standard cat or dog, hedgehogs aren’t going to enjoy human interaction straight away. They need time to warm up to you.

Leave worn clothes around your hedgehog

The easiest way to bond with a hedgehog is to leave your already worn clothing around the places that your hedgehog sleeps, eats, and explores.

By doing this, you are associating your smell with the good things in their life, and with the things that they associate with trust and happiness.

Spend time with your hedgehog

Socializing with your hedgehog is an important bonding time. The more time that you spend with them and the more familiar they become with you and how you smell, the more comfortable they’ll become.

Provide them a suitable environment

Hedgehogs are wild animals, and not many of their previous generations have lived in captivity. Taking this into consideration, you will need to provide them a suitable environment that promotes their health and happiness.

Additionally, make sure the lighting in the room is not too bright so they’re able to sleep properly.

In summary

Hedgehogs aren’t the most affectionate creatures by nature. However, with the right care and attention, they can become friendly pets!