Hedgehog Quilling: When and How Often They Do It?

Quilling is one of the common features that every hedgehog has. If you are a new owner of this little creature or planning to have one soon, then this article is for you.

Almost every new hedgehog owner experiences a panic attack when hedgehog starts to quill. But there’s nothing to be freaked out. Quilling is common for them.

You just have to know about the process of quilling and how often do they do it. And I am here to help.

What is Quilling?

A hedgehog has 5000 hollow and hard but flexible spines. The process by which it sheds spines is called quilling. This quilling continues until its adolescence.

Hedgehog-Quilling

When Do They Quill? 

Until hedgehogs reach in their adult size, they keep quilling. During their early stage of life, which is around 6-8 weeks, most quilling occurs.

How Often Do They Do It?

As the small fine quills loss, the new quills grow. But not each hedgehog quills at exactly 6-8 weeks. Some lose a lot of quills at this age; others lose a large number of quills at 5-6 months of old. The cycle of quilling actually occurs every 75 days for their entire life.

And quilling can last from a few days up to a couple of weeks. But the most significant quilling is during the 7-12 weeks, which may run the entire time, or it may start and stop and then start again. You may experience both because it varies with each hedgehog.

Then there is another quilling period that occurs right after 7-12 weeks of quilling. And it’s at 3-5 months of age. But it is less significant compared to 7-2 weeks quilling.

All young hedgehog quills more or less at an early age until they are adults, which is normal. But adult hedgehog doesn’t quill that much. They may drop one to two quill in a while.

Hedgehog-Quilling

As a new owner, now you know when and how often do they quill. But this quilling process is a lengthy, painful process where all 5000 spines have to grow through their skin. So hedgehog may show major attitude change during the quilling period.

There are also some problems during this painful process that all hedgehogs feel. But being the lovely owner, you can comfort them and reduce their irritation. Keep reading!

How to Determine Natural Quilling Process?

All young hedgehog quills. But how do you know they are quilling? Quilling and natural shedding are not the same. There are a few things that you need to look for to understand what your pet is going through quilling.

I am trying to put all possible way out together to make you understand better if your hedgehog is quilling or not.

  1. Look at the spines that have been shed. You should see a bulb-shaped root on them if the quilling is natural. Fallen spines should be smaller than the others.
  2. If you can see new quills are growing into the place of shed quills, then it’s a sign of natural quilling.

 

Quilling That Are Not Natural 

Apart from the natural quilling process, there are also some significant reasons to shed quills.

  • The primary reason for unnatural quilling is mite. The biggest sign of mite-caused quilling is that you won’t see new bones in place of the shed ones.
  • Stress, hormonal imbalance, and insufficient diets can also lead to quill loss.

If you are experiencing any of the above phenomenon, which is not natural quilling, take your hedgehog to the nearest veterinarian.

Problems during Natural Quilling Process 

Losing baby tooth one after another is a common phenomenon during our growing up periods. Just like that, quilling is common for a growing up hedgehog.

Hedgehog-Quilling-process

Quills are small and thinner at the early age of a hedgehog rather than at an adult age. The quills of adulthood are much thicker, and they have to grow up all through the tiny hole left by the previous small quills. Hence, it’s a painful process.

The problem that hedgehogs face during quilling is the same as the trouble of an ingrown hair. That’s why redness, swelling, or scrubbing on the base of quills can be seen, which can be very disturbing for your hedgehog. And you may experience some behavioral change of your pet.

Behavioral Change while Quilling

Changes in behavioral patterns vary from hedgehog to hedgehog. Some may not be that much discomfort during quilling, while others can be way too much grumpy. Let me share some common behavioral changes of hedgehog you may notice -

  • Showing discomfort when being petted
  • Appetite decreasing or not eating at all
  • Not being its usual playful self
  • More huff and puff rather than being relaxed
  • Become a rigid, tight ball rather than being cheerful

All these out-of-the-box behavioral patterns are common, and there is nothing to worry about. But the good news is, with constant handling, they feel better, and it really reduces their irritations. Remember not to pet but to handle. Simply hold your baby pet and allow him/her to explore and crawl over you.

How to Comfort Them during Quilling Period?

There are several processes to provide comfort while your baby pet is literally in pain. Keep their skin moisturized during the process helps a lot. And there are a few ways you can do that.

  • An oatmeal bath really helps to soften the skin of hedgehog while quilling. You can use Aveeno baby shampoo or any other homemade oatmeal soak to wash your pet while bathing.
  • You can directly use vitamin E and flaxseed oil on their skin (not on the spine) with a medicine dropper.
  • Also, the use of olive oil or even coconut oil in water while bathing is very helpful for their dry skin.
  • You can even use any healthy and natural moisturizing oil to assist them during this painful process.

Tips:  

  1. Never use tea tree oil or any toxic oil or moisturizer.
  2. Never use too much oil (either in bathwater or directly on the skin), because their skin needs to breathe even when they are quilling.
  3. You can use a toothbrush to clean the dry skin off but rub as gently as possible while rinsing. Any pressure is painful for hedgehog during quilling.
  4. Always use lukewarm water while bathing your little hedgehog.

Conclusion

I try to reach out to all the new hedgehog owners out there who are facing problems with their new pet and looking for guidance. I hope you find this article helpful. Have a happy time with your little pet!

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