Hedgehog Won’t Let Me Cut Nails (Help With Stubborn Hedgehogs)

When you have a pet hedgehog, trimming its nails is essential. Even if your hedgehog doesn’t like it, they should be cut.

Hedgehog Won't Let Me Cut Nails (Help With Stubborn Hedgehogs)

This article will give you some tips and tricks to get close enough to their nails to trim them.

Why Do Hedgehogs Need Their Nails Trimmed?

Hedgehog nails grow quickly, usually taking about two to four weeks. If their nails grow too long, they can curl under their feet and dig into their skin.

If this happens, you’ll risk yourself some vet bills, as only they can remove an embedded nail.

But it won’t only be the vet bills you have to worry about, as your hedgehog might struggle with walking if the nails curl too much. 

You might be wondering how a wild hedgehog looks after its nails. The answer’s pretty simple.

When a hedgehog lives in the wild, their nails will naturally be blunted down by the amount of digging and foraging they do.

While your hedgehog’s living in a cage, it can’t do this, so it’s up to you to look after it.

How Do I Trim My Hedgehog’s Nails?

The first thing you need is a pair of nail clippers. It doesn’t matter what kind, so long as you’re comfortable using them.

In an ideal world, you’ll be able to clip each nail one by one. When you look at hedgehog nails, you’ll see a white part and a pink part further down.

Try not to get the pink part since it contains a small bundle of nerves. Try your best only to clip the white part. 

Don’t panic if you cut the pink part of their feet, but work quickly to stop any bleeding.

Grab some cornstarch or flour, and dip your hedgehog’s foot in it. Just add a bit of pressure, and it should stop.

If it doesn’t, then go to your vet. Hedgehogs do have thin blood, so you don’t want to leave them like that for too long.

Your hedgehog should be lying on its back on your lap, making it easier to grab each foot.

Only trim one foot at a time, and if it’s nervous, try popping it in a bath first to make your hedgehog’s nails softer to cut.

What If My Hedgehog Is Nervous?

Hedgehog Won't Let Me Cut Nails (Help With Stubborn Hedgehogs)

If popping it in a bath first doesn’t help, and your hedgehog is curling up into a ball, then don’t fret.

But if its spines are starting to come out, I recommend grabbing a towel to make you and your hedgehog more comfortable.

If it keeps curling into a ball, try cutting its nails while in the bath.

It can’t curl up into a ball when you’re bathing your hedgehog. This makes it easier to grab each paw and trim one nail at a time.

It might be easier to get the back paws first if you’re worried about getting caught.

Your hedgehog might not pay too much attention to their back feet, and if that’s the case, you can trim it a lot easier. 

This should hopefully work, and if it doesn’t, then there are other methods you might be able to try. 

Get one of your friends to hold your hedgehog with a towel. If they hold on to your hedgehog, it won’t be able to curl itself into a ball.

Of course, your hedgehog might still try to  bite you if it’s particularly uncomfortable. 

Overall, the best way to cut your hedgehog’s nails is by being patient. If it’s not used to being handled from a young age, it might take a while to become used to you.

Some hedgehogs might have sensitive legs, making nail trimming more uncomfortable. It’s a different experience for each hedgehog.

What If My Hedgehog Bites Me?

A hedgehog won’t usually bite, but that doesn’t mean it won’t if it’s particularly unhappy about getting its nails trimmed.

They typically only do this when they’re stressed and uncomfortable, so don’t take it personally if they do bite you during this time.

Don’t immediately pull your finger away if your hedgehog does bite you.

You could do your pet and yourself more damage, but push towards them slightly. Its jaw will naturally relax then, and you won’t have to worry about having a worse cut from the bite.

You can also blow on them lightly, as they’ll let go in their confusion. You can also offer them a stern “no.”

This should at least remind them that biting is wrong. Don’t yell, though, because you might do more harm than good.

When they do bite, don’t stop the nail trimming immediately. Simply give them a break and go back to it, or they might think it’s a great way to prevent this from happening again.

What If I Still Can’t Trim My Hedgehog?

If you’re uncomfortable with trimming your hedgehog’s nails, then don’t worry.

If you contact your vet, they should be able to cut your hedgehog’s nails without any charge.

Sometimes, it’s better to leave it to someone with more experience if you’re worried about hurting you or your hedgehog.

Of course, this isn’t the case for all vets, so it’s best to consult them first.

Depending on where you live, if there’s an exotic pet store near you, you should be able to check if they do hedgehogs’ nails.

Usually, they’ll do this for free or simply charge you a small fee. It’s best not to feel too defeated if you can’t trim your hedgehog’s nails yourself.

Sometimes, it’s better to consult a professional to ensure that you and your hedgehog feel happier about their nails. 


In a perfect world, your hedgehog will love getting its nails trimmed. But, this isn’t always the case.

Sometimes, a hedgehog will just hate getting its nails trimmed. However, cutting a hedgehog’s nails is vital to their wellbeing, so if you are struggling, don’t be afraid to contact someone for help.

All hedgehogs are different, and some don’t mind getting their nails trimmed, while others will do their best to wriggle their way out of it.